Thursday, October 8, 2015

Horror Key Issues Part 10

Continuing with the Silver Age of horror comics, these key issues are basically to feature some of the companies and titles that preserved the genre during the Silver Age. Warren Publishing was considered the best publisher that carried on a few traditional horror comics.

In the last year of the decade, a certain female vampire would make her debut and become an iconic character in the world of horror comics as well. If you missed Part 9, the link will bring you back. If you're ready for more ghastly tales and monsters, here's more horror key issues for ya!

WEIRD #10 (#1) VOLUME 1
Intro Morris the caretaker

Eerie Publications would also follow Warren Publishing into the black and white horror genre during this time. During this time, they were considered the down scale version of Warren, in which the publisher lead the all-horror genre during the Silver Age.

Their titles usually featured reprints from pre-code horror stories as well as some original material also. Weird was the publisher's flagship title of the time.

Obviously, Morris the Caretaker is the host of Weird. Weird #10 is the first issue to this comic series. It had a weird numbering system and has the cover date of January, 1966.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

First appearance of Dr. Graves

Blue Beetle gets pushed aside for Ghostly Tales, and the publication takes up where Blue Beetle from the 1966 series left off in terms of numbering. That Blue Beetle is Dan Garret, and the publisher of Ghostly Tales is of course Charlton.

Dr. Graves is introduced in this comic, but he is not the host of it. Graves became the host of the title The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves.

Steve Dikto worked on this series as well as The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves after a falling out with Marvel Comics. Ghostly Tales #55 has the cover date of May, 1966.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect 

1st issue to series

Warren Publishing would launch a 2nd all-horror title called Eerie. To give the publishing company a nod of respect, many artists did break into the industry via Warren.

Mike Ploog is just one them, and will be mentioned a few times in this horror key issues series. Cousin Eerie is the host of this horror comic series.

The first issue of this series is actually a 200 print run ashcan that was put out when it was feared that Eerie Publications would publish a comic of the same title. Issue #1 of this comic is pretty darn rare.

September, 1966 is the cover date for Eerie #1.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect 

1st appearance of Vampirella 

The sexiest vampire character to ever hit comics is Vampirella. No doubt one of the most famous female vampires in the world of comics, and this sexy blood sucker makes her debut appearance in Vampirella #1 published by Warren Publishing.

Like most horror comics during the time, Vampirella basically started off as the host of this comic series. As we all know, she would become the lead character in this comic series as well.

Vampirella was created by Forrest J Ackerman and costume designer Trina Robbins, and it is an iconic costume that horny male teens have drooled over countless times. Valerie Perez cosplayed the character at the Big Wow this year, but must have done so on a day other than Saturday when I was there.

Still, Valerie was nice enough to share some promo pics as the character on her facebook page. So, there's a pic for all of you who like cosplay!

Anyways, Vampirella is probably the most popular or recognized horror-based character to come out of the Silver Age. One can argue that she's probably the most iconic female comic book vampire or female horror comic character that was created for comics.

Frank Frazetta cover and Vampirella #1 has the cover date of September, 1969.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect 

1st appearance of Man-Thing 

Neil Gaiman has cited the Man-Thing as an influence. Created by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Greg Morrow, Man-Thing debuted in this black and white comic magazine. The character is not directly a horror character, but was rooted in the typical monster aspect of it.

Man-Thing would eventually be featured in the Adventure into Fear titled series, which also reprinted horror and fantasy stories from the 50s, but not before appearing next in Astonishing Tales after his first appearance. The character of Man-Thing's origin is connected to Bobbi Morse also known as Mockingbird

Savage Tales #1 has the cover date of May, 1971.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect 

1st appearance of Swamp Thing

DC Comics would also jump into the horror resurgence during the Bronze Age and the Swamp Thing makes his debut in House of Secrets, which was originally a horror title before the CCA was created. This cult favorite comic character was created by Berni Wrightson and Len Wein. 

The stand alone horror story that first featured the Swamp Thing was set in the Victorian age and the character was Alex Olsen. Olsen would soon be replaced by Alec Holland when success of the first Swamp Thing short story in House of Secrets prompted DC to feature the character in an on-going series with more of a heroic bent.

DC Comics was still not entirely ready to jump back into the horror genre, but House of Secrets #92 has the cover date of July, 1971.

The easiest one to find online out of all these horror key issues in Part 10 is House of Secrets #92. Other ones are just not out there at the moment. A first printing of Eerie #1 by Warren will definitely be a hunt.

There are 2nd prints to that comic, and those may be a tad easier to find. Vampirella is a definite Silver Age horror key issue to add to one's vault, but is definitely getting up there in price for sure.

Yes, there will be a Part 11 for those who enjoy the horror genre of comics, and it will definitely discuss more the Bronze Age horror revival in the medium. So see ya soon!


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Horror Key Issues Part 9

Yet another haunting season is here, a time of witches, goblins, ghosts, demons, vampires, werewolves, and monsters prowl the night. Halloween is coming, and with it brings Part 9 to this Horror key issues series.

This edition will take up where I left off in Part 5. Part 6 through Part 8 dealt with some of the most classic gruesome covers and stories during the horror heyday of Golden Age comics that got the establishment in an uproar.

Part 9 will bring it back to a more regular format, and will slide out of the Golden Age era and briefly slide into the Silver Age of horror comics.

The Thing! #12
1st Steve Ditko cover

Steve Ditko has already gotten quite a bit of love already. His first professional comic work was already featured in Part 5 of this series, and now here we are with Thing! #12.

So fans of Ditko, this should be a Golden Age key issue to hunt down for sure. You wanna talk about under-valued? This one is only listed at $1900 for low NMs in the current Overstreet, and I seriously doubt there are an over-abundance of copies out there.

CGC Census only has 22 total submissions for this book also. Uh, yup! This lil baby I can definitely call under-valued without a hitch.

Cover date is February, 1954 for this monster of a horror key issue comic.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st Steve Ditko Atlas (Marvel) work

Though the Comics Code Authority was already in effect during this time, Atlas still continued publishing weird tales of mystery, Sci-Fi, and definitely water-down or toned down horror stories in Journey Into Mystery. It was an anthology comic after all.

So issue #33 here, we have Steve Ditko's first work for Atlas Comics, the precursor to Marvel Comics. Most comic fans today know Steve Ditko as the co-creator of Spider-Man, but the man, the myth, and the legend did quite a bit of artwork for horror related titles.

Though the story he drew for in this issue called "There'll Be Some Changes Made" was more science fiction than horror, the titled series still featured stories that had some horror elements in it. These stories, however, weren't straight-up horror though, so I won't be talking much about titles like these.

Another under-valued key issue? Uhmmm...yep! Only $1050 for a low NM?

Not that many slabbed copies out there, and CGC Census only has a total of 9 graded to date! April, 1956 is the cover date for Journey Into Mystery #33.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st Twilight Zone comic

I think most people know of the TV show the Twilight Zone. When the show was popular, Dell bought the license to start publishing comics based off the TV series.

Now, traditionally, I don't really consider the Twilight Zone horror. Sure there were some stories that teetered on the horror element, but to me, it was pretty much a fantasy and science fiction genre.

Still, the show is iconic, and I might as well throw this issue in here. Dell would eventually sell the rights to Goldkey, in which the publisher would make an actual series of the book.

This comic was published May, 1961.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st issue

Because of the Comics Code Authority, DC's horror titles like House of Mystery and House of Secrets reformatted its content to the mystery, science fiction, and suspense genres. Many of the publishers then were distancing themselves from the genre at the time.

Even Marvel somewhat did so during most of the Silver Age. As mentioned before, there were horror elements to some of the issues of Journey Into Mystery, Strange Tales, Tales to Astonish, etc after the code was established, but they weren't anything near the same level of the pre-code horror comics.

While Marvel and DC definitely led the super-hero genre during the Silver Age, some comic companies somewhat preserved the genre. This issue is actually an adaptation of the classic 1931 Dracula movie starring Bela Lugosi.

The next issue would feature original content, but Dracula was somehow transformed into a costume wearing superhero-type character. There would be other companies who would thumb their noses at the Comics Code Authority and publish more traditional horror themed comics during the Silver Age, but during this time, horror comics would not be anywhere near the level that EC Comics produced during the Golden Age.

October - December, 1962 is the cover date for Dracula #1 by Dell Comics.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st issue to horror series
1st appearance of Uncle Creepy

One of the publishing companies that kept the straight-up horror comic alive during the Silver Age was Warren Publishing. Creepy was anthology horror mag strictly devoted to the genre, and Uncle Creepy was the host of this black and white comic.

Because the comics modeled themselves after EC Comics, this title and Eerie were well regarded by fans of the time. Regular artists of this title and Eerie included both Steve Ditko, Neal Adams, Johnny Craig, Alex Toth, and Frank Frazzetta just to name a few.

Creepy #1 has the cover date of January, 1964.

1st issue based on TV show

Do they still have reruns of this show on TV? Use to be part of my programming whenever I was grounded for whole summers as a troublesome lad. Although a comedy, it was horror-themed, but this is featured here to show what came out during the time.

I'd actually throw this comic under the humor genre than the the horror genre, but whatever. Goldkey put out this title along with Ripley's Believe It or Not! during the Silver Age. This comic series lasted 16 issues.

January, 1965 is the cover date for The Munsters #1.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

While many of these during the era aren't straight up horror comics like the Munsters, which is a horror themed comedy, they are featured here just to show the impact that the Comics Code Authority had on the genre. The CCA even banned vampires, ghouls and werewolves from being depicted in comic stories at the time.

Wow, no vampires or werewolves, eh? Gruesome scenes or devices used for torture were also banned. Publishers like Warren and Eerie Publications refused to adhere to the CCA's comic guidelines and kept true horror comics alive during the period.

Click the PART 10 link below to continue with this horror key issues series.