Sunday, February 15, 2015

Who Is the Spookman?

I received my copy of THE CHARLTON ARROW #1 early last month from Charlton Neo. My connection to Charlton Comics is pretty limited. I never read any of the books when Charlton Comics was in publication and only became as interested as I am due to the online promoting and interest of various comic book pros whom I enjoy. But I got my comic and then leafed through it.

One of the characters has gotten a lot of buzz among people I know. His name is the Spookman. The final story in THE CHARLTON ARROW #1 featured a short story set within an asylum for the criminally insane which appears to be beset by paranormal symptoms.

There was a man named Crispin who apparently killed his wife and children forty years before. He wrote a crazy confession letter shortly before this story began involving his old employer Aaron Piper -- and a demonic creature known as the Spookman!

We then learn that Crispin has disappeared from his locked cell -- but video footage captured something quite horrifying:

It was the Spookman and he came from nowhere to either rescue or destroy Crispin. I presume that Crispin is no more.

It was an interesting story by Roger McKenzie and Sandy Carruthers -- but once again, I didn't know much about the character and moved on without dwelling on the story too much longer. I know that he's shown up in the latest couple issues of THE CHARLTON ARROW, but I haven't read those books yet.

But then I gained access last week to the new Pix-C Web Comics being put out by the Charlton Neo guys and noticed that Spookman has a weekly strip. I was totally hooked.

We were introduced to a couple named Dianne and Jason. It seems that Dianne had some sort of tragic encounter with the Spookman when she was a child. It was raining and it seems that her family car ended up crashing. Presumably, her parents died and she survived. Since then, she has been obsessed with a demonic urban legend know as Spookman. Frankly, Jason is getting sick of it! And then...

I really want to know more about this demonic menace. Who is he and why is he attacking other people. Is it all random? Is he attacking bad guys? I really want to know!!

So I google-searched Spookman and found a slightly different character dating back to 1967. He was created by Pat Boyette and premiered in CHARLTON PREMIER Vol. 2 #1, but didn't appear in any other stories until his Charlton Neo tales.

I learned that Aaron Piper was a failed archaeologist who decided to open his own museum gallery. He found an artifact called the Moonstone Amulet that allowed him to transform into a demon called the Spookman. He quickly learned that he could travel through time when he was wearing the amulet, so he and his assistant, Crispin X Crispin (remember him?), decided to travel back in time to claim valuable artifacts that they would then sell to modern-day collectors for big money.

Their first trip was to ancient Rome, where Spookman defeated one of Rome's greatest fighters. He didn't go all crazy like he did above. This fight was fairly mundane. In exchange for his victory, Spookman was allowed to buy a valuable statue from the Roman emperor -- in exchange for a cigarette lighter.

Did I mention that the Roman emperor was Nero? Not my poodle, but the guy who inspired Nero's name. It seems that he likes fire a little too much -- but Spookman really doesn't care!

The story from THE CHARLTON ARROW #1 made a lot more sense once I'd read this original story. It seems that he spent the next few years following his debut collecting historical items -- and then began seeking out arcane objects. These magical objects did something to Aaron Piper. Either they brought out his dark side, or they slowly made Spookman more powerful and more prominent -- or both.

Either way, Aaron Piper transformed himself into the Spookman one final time roughly forty years ago and the demon is now permanently loose. This final transformation profoundly affected Crispin and led to him murdering his family. And now Spookman is stalking others and committing horrific offenses.

It's an interesting way to take a forgotten and corny concept ("Antique Roadshow" with demons and time travel) and organically evolving it into something much darker and mysterious. Have I mentioned that I'm hooked??

THE SPOOKMAN was created by Pat Boyette and his latest stories are created by Roger McKenzie and Sandy Carruthers.

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