Treasured Stories: “The Servant of Chan” (1975)

« Followers in death: Attendants and relatives who were killed so they could be buried in the tomb with the person (normally someone very important or wealthy) who had died. » — The British Museum

Let’s face it, Gold Key’s would-be-spooky comics rarely lived up to their habitually fine painted covers (mostly courtesy of hard-working George Wilson, with Vic Prezio, Luis Dominguez, Jesse Santos or Jack Sparling occasionally chipping in); as with most things, there were exceptions: I’ve raved earlier about a particular issue of the generally ho-hum Grimm’s Ghost Stories, namely issue 26, boasting, along with the usual Paul S. Newman sleep aids, two excellent yarns from the undervalued Arnold Drake (co-creator of The Doom Patrol, Deadman, and the original Guardians of the Galaxy).

Ah, but today, we’re celebrating Drake’s co-conspirator, the prolific Argentine master (yes, another one) Luis Angel Dominguez, reportedly born ninety-five years ago to the day (Dec. 5, 1923), and still among the living… as far as we know. I like to envision him warmly surrounded by several generations of loved ones and well-wishers, an impish gleam in his eye.

Without further foot-dragging, here’s a vintage tale of quick wits in ruling class hubris from beyond the grave, The Servant of Chan, by that dastardly duo, Drake and Dominguez.

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GrimmsGhost26CoverA
George Wilson’s cover highlights a dramatic scene from our little story. This is Grimm’s Ghost Stories no. 26 (Sept. 1975, Gold Key).

Some further details on historical context, from Ancient China for Kids (!):

« Slavery in ancient China was not a pleasant experience. The lives of slaves were filled with hardship. Many were abused. Many slaves were children.

Most people who were slaves worked in the fields, alongside of peasants. They did the same job, and had the same hours, and pretty much the same clothing and food, as free farmers. But they were not treated with the same respect given to farmers. Some slaves built roads. Some worked in government.

But slaves who worked for the emperor, the royal family, and sometimes the nobles, had the worst of it. They could only do what they were told to do. They were treated in any way that their master and his family felt like treating them. Many were treated with great cruelty. When their master died, they were killed, and buried with their master in his tomb, so they could continue to serve their master after his death. »

Brr. All the same, if you’ve enjoyed this yarn, check out Arnold Drake’s other contribution to this issue, The Anti-13, which we enthusiastically featured some time ago.

¡Feliz cumpleaños, Señor Dominguez… wherever you may be!

-RG

5 thoughts on “Treasured Stories: “The Servant of Chan” (1975)

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