Ghost Zero: Kentucky Writer/Artist puts the Supernatural in Superheroes!

Kentucky writer/artist, Dave Flora’s pulp style supernatural vigilante, Ghost Zero, delivers justice from beyond the grave!

Greetings, my loyal legion of Lou-natics, it’s The Phantom of the Ville here with a special edition of the Phantom Gazette. This week I’d like to introduce you to a fellow specter that haunts his own part of the country’s heartland not far from our own city lights. This particular apparition is one part of a comic book vigilante team, one small town kid of flesh and blood and one deceased crime fighter, who when joined together through the power of a magic ring becomes the supernatural avenger, Ghost Zero!

Young Eddie Quick lives in the small, late 1940’s period town of Secrets Crossing where one day he discovers a lost, magical ring containing the spirit of Charles Pallentine, a masked avenger who was brutally murdered some ten years past and whose ghost is trapped inside the ring. Whenever Eddie wears the magic ring, he can summon the eternal spirit of Pallentine to possess his body giving him supernatural powers. Ghost Zero’s primary weapons are a pair of Civil War era LeMat pistols that Pallentine’s ghost fills with ectoplasmic bullets that can both kill the living and destroy the undead.

Together, Quick and Pallentine set out to avenge the former crime fighter’s murder and to protect the city of Stockton Station from supernatural threats and Lovecraftian creeps.

Ghost Zero and all the spooks, monsters and murderous cultists he must contend with are creations from the mind of Fleming County, Kentucky storyteller, Dave Flora, who grew up fascinated by the Pulp Magazine Era of dark heroes like The Shadow, The Phantom, Doc Savage and The Spider. When Flora set out to create his own comic book avenger, however, he didn’t want to set his adventures in a big metropolitan city like those protected by Spider-man, Batman and other modern comic book heroes.

He decided to stick to the old storyteller’s adage, “Write what you know.”

“I grew up on a dairy farm in Fleming County,” relates Flora, “where I learned the hard labor of farming as a young child. I’d go to school during the day and come home and milk cows at night.”

“All I knew about the city is what I read in comic books, pulp fiction novels and what I saw in movies on TV,” says Flora, “so I set my stories in the backyards, dank basements and old barns I grew up in. Eddie Quick lives in Secrets Crossing, which is basically the small town of Poplar Plains were I spent my childhood. The city of Stockton Station is basically Flemingsburg, Kentucky.”

“The land really enchanted me,” Flora says of his connection to his hometown. “The rolling hills and the mysterious hollows captured my imagination, and I could imagine vampires roosting in the dark woods just beyond the tree line.”

“One of the things about living on a farm in a small town is the sense of isolation and mystery lends itself to ghost stories, superstitions and urban legends. I could tell you some pretty hair raising stories that were passed down to me as a kid that would keep you up at nights.”

“I think what makes stories set in this type of location interesting,” Flora continues, “is the isolation. Nobody is coming to help you and the nearest neighbor couldn’t hear you if you screamed for help. If you get yourself into something, you have to get yourself out of it.”

Flora came up with the basic concept for “Ghost Zero” back in 2000 while participating in an exercise of collaborative, improvised fiction on an Internet message board where one person would pick up a chapter written by someone else and continue the story using their own ideas of where it would go from there.

“That’s where I created the character of the Revenant, Charles Pallentine, and his LeMat pistols as sort of an homage to the Pulp Era characters like The Shadow and The Spider.”

“A few years later,” Flora continues, “web comics became a big thing, and I thought I might be able to produce a series of comic panels that would eventually form a complete story, and I did manage to complete a couple of Ghost Zero stories, but it was extremely time consuming.”

“I have a full time job that pays the bills and I was doing the comic for a couple of hours a night. It took one to two weeks to complete a single page. I needed a way to tell the story faster.”

The need to get his ideas out faster resulted in the first Ghost Zero novel, the 194 page “Spookshow,” now available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions. The success of “Spookshow” was quickly followed up by its sequel, “The Midnight Society.” Now both full length novels and the collected comic book adventures, “Ghosts with Guns” and “Escape from the Vigilante Crypt,” are available to order on Dave Flora’s Amazon Store page at http://www.amazon.com/Dave-Flora/e/B00I1MXG9Q/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1440811588&sr=1-2-ent.

The comic books are only available via Kindle editions right now, but if enough interest is generated, Flora promises to have more physical copies printed. As an old school ink and paper ghoul, I look forward to being able to hold copies of the “Ghost Zero” comics in my boney hands. I read, absorbed and thoroughly enjoyed the digital versions, but it just doesn’t feel right to me to behold Flora’s stunning tribute to the Pulp Era dark avengers on a computer screen. I need to feel and smell the newsprint paper and get inky smudges on my fingertips. I want to be physically possessed by the spirit of the story just like Eddie Quick is possessed by the ghost of a masked crime fighter.

Currently, Flora is also working on a new comic book character that draws inspiration from Pulp Era heroes and Classic Horror called “Doc Monster,” which was a finalist in a 2009 DC Comics competition.

“I guess the thing I’m most pleased with at this time,” admits Flora, “is the fact that my Ghost Zero books are on the shelves of the local Fleming County library. Some kid could walk in there at any time and read about ghosts and heroes, and those books could live on his own imagination long after I’m gone.”

To keep up with the latest news about Dave Flora, “Ghost Zero” and “Doc Monster,” check out http://daveflorapresents.com/.

The Phantom of The Ville

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