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Recommended Stories

Jumbo Comics These best stories of the comic books are preceded by their issue number.

Many issues of Jumbo Comics can be read free online at Comic Book +.


Ghost Gallery

Ghost Gallery was an anthology series of supernatural stories. The host of the tales would often recount stories from his "files", thus giving some continuity to the series. Quite a few of the stories had crime elements, and would have been considered as crime stories, except for a small supernatural component.

The Rise of John Roman (1944). Writer: ? Art: Alex Blum. When impoverished chauffeur John Roman wears the gloves of a dead villain, he rises to become a big time gambler. This story is notable for its class consciousness, and even its class warfare. It takes place in 1935, in the depths of the Depression. John Roman bitterly laments his miserable working class life, while rich people are wandering around spending money frivolously. When he gets the gloves, he can't lose as a gambler, and he starts taking on all the perks of wealth and power that were denied to him earlier. The tale's bitterness and ferocity are clearly touching a nerve in the tale's creators. Even after he becomes a big shot, he is still socially rejected by the class conscious rich people around him.

It is notable, that the first thing the hero does when he gets money is to buy nice clothes. Good clothes were an obsession with people in the Depression. Most people barely had any, but everyone would have liked to dress like the heroes in the movies. Alex Blum has done a spectacular job with the hero's clothes. They are spiffed up to the max. They are clearly on the flashy side: more what would be worn by a gambler than by someone born into the upper classes. Still, the hero looks genuinely great in them.

In addition to its social commentary, this story is a wish fulfillment fantasy. Most readers would enjoy day dreaming about becoming rich and powerful. The glamorous art showing John Roman also is the stuff of day dreams.

This tale is quite different from what many people think of as a supernatural story. It has no horror elements, and does not try to frighten anyone. Nor does it take place in a spooky old house at night. Instead, it is a vigorously told story of daily life in the Depression, told with realism except for the supernatural element.