RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT! #1

“Fact Pages”
Writer: Ben Meares
Artist: Renzo Rodriguez

“Framing Sequence”
Writer: Ben Meares
Artist: David Geotten

A father and son are visiting the odditorium in Branson, Missouri. They listen to a speech by a hologram of Robert Ripley then explore the strange things.

“A Tale as Old as..”
Writer: Howard Mackie
Artist: Hakan Aydin

A new maid drops the tea cup and hears a story from the woman of the mansion. A young boy Petrus Gonsalvus in the Canary Islands has a condition. He has thick hair all over his body. The inhabitants cage him and ship him off to Paris to amuse the nobles. King Henry II sees a soul in the young boy and takes him in. He educates him and he becomes a member of the court. When he grows up they find a young woman to be his wife. They have seven kids and some inherited the hair condition as the daughter that was telling the story.

Fact Page
“Beauty and the Beast” is based on a true story. Pedro Gonzales who became known as Petrus Gonsalvus suffered from the rare condition hypertrichosis which grows thick hair all over the body. He was the first known case and only fifty have been observed. He had seven children and three also had the condition.

“The First Believe It or Not! cartoon wasn’t titled Believe It or Not!” On a slow day at work for a newspaper in New York. Ripley drew a panel featuring various odd achievements in sport. Ten months later he drew a cartoon titled “Believe It or Not!”

“I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”
Writer: Fox Kavanagh
Artist: Daniel Maine

San Francisco 1848. Phinneas Gage works for the railroad. An accident while blowing up a boulder drives a railroad spike through his head. Doctors manage to save Gage but his personality is different. He swears all the time and is mean. He gets fired from his job but gets another by being an attraction in a freak show.

Fact Page
“Phineas Gage survived after an iron rod was driven through his skull” His injury was very informative to modern neurology and is still being studied today. Gage’s personality returned to normal a few years later while driving a stagecoach.

“The First Ripley’s Odditorium” was opended at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. Beds were provided for patrons who fainted due to the shocking sights within.

“A Ride of his Life”
Writer: Dale Mettam
Artist: Allan Otero

A young man comes to an expert to lose weight to qualify to be a jockey. The old man tells a story of Buddy who he helped by sweating him in hot baths and copious does of laxatives. He loses twelve pounds and gets to race Gentle Touch. While racing the grim reaper chases him and touches him on the shoulder. Buddy wins but is soon discovered that he died. He still gets the win since there is no rules about being alive when you cross the finish line. No one will ride the horse again and it becomes known as the Gentle Touch of Death.

Fact Page
“A dead man won a horse race!” 1923 in New York Frank Hayes wins the race. The audience thought he was showboating when slumped over but died of a heart attack. His horse was named Sweet Kiss and no one would ride it. It became known as the Sweet Kiss of Death.

“Robert Ripley collected shrunken heads”. He bought his first head in Panama city. One head was mailed to him from Equador with the message “Please take care of this. I think it is on of my relatives.”

“Mother Nature”
Writer: Victoria Rau
Artist: Pat Broderick

A man and his daughter leave a cabin to go hunting. The man tells the story of how a rainbow lake in the Yellowstone Caldera one day turned into a supervolcano. It covered the land with ash and people starved. At the end they come on the ash covered ruins of Las Vegas.

Fact Page
“The Yellowstone Supervolcano is due for an eruption!” Three eruptions have occurred in Yellowstone at 600,000 to 850,000 intervals. The last one was 640,000 years so we are due.

“Fire Sale!” Ripley tried to buy a newly formed volcano in Mexico but the government wouldn’t let him.

“49 Lives”
Writer: Ben Meares
Artist: Marcelo Basile

At a nursing home a new nurse is introduced to the therapy cat that knows when a person will die. The cat goes to them and lays with them as they die.

Fact Page
“A cat has correctly predicted 100 deaths!” Oscar a therapy cat at Steere House nursing in Rhode Island will take a nap by the person that soon dies. Doctors hypothesis that the cat can smell chemicals that are released when a person dies.

“That’s a Whole lotta Odd!” There are over 100 Ripley attractions in eleven countries worldwide.

Conclusion to the Framing Sequence.

After spending all day at the odditorium the boy and father leave. As they go the holographic image of Ripley gives the boy a wink. The boy comments that he believes it is a ghost and you can Believe It or Not!

I loved Ripley’s Believe it or Not! I remember fondly the old Gold Key issues. So when I saw a new series I had to check it out. It is still an enjoyable read. The new one is about more weird stuff than ghost stories but very entertaining.

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