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Friday, August 8, 2014

Tales From The Crypt Key Issues Part 2

And we're here with Part 2 of this Tales From The Crypt key issues list. This is a short and sweet key issues list and series, so Part 2 will conclude this classic Golden Age series. Once again, this is done as a request from Brian, and there are quite a few Golden Age key issues to consider. Let's creep onward with more horror comics, shall we?

First Al Williamson artwork at EC Comics

A legendary and respected comic artist, Al Williamson is best known for his Golden Age work on other EC titles like Weird Science and Weird Fantasy. However, he made his debut or first artwork at EC Comics in this Tales From The Crypt issue, in which at the time he penciled and inked his artwork like most comic artists did of the era. 

During the Silver Age of comics, Al Williamson would be recognized as a fan-favorite artist for the Flash Gordon comic series and an inker in the 80s for such characters as Spider-Man and Daredevil. This issue was published August, 1952.

eBay - A few unslabbed copies, but there's one super high grade CGC copy. It's a 9.8 with the old label but Universal! Yowza!

mycomicshop - A low GD unslabbed copy goes up for auction this month on the 16th if you're interested.

Origin of the Crypt Keeper

Within the pages of Tales From The Crypt #33, we finally get the origin of the creepy little Crypt Keeper that guides readers on the various terrifying and dark adventures featured in the titled comics. The Crypt Keeper's father was a two-headed preserved corpse, his mother a centuries old Egyptian mummy. Being on display at a traveling carnival, the two odd attractions met, fell in love, and spawned the little sadistic freak.

This issue was published December, 1952 and is considered a classic for any Tales From The Crypt fans. Definitely one of the vintage horror key issues to gun for as an investment comic.

eBay - A few unslabbed copies here, just a little over a handful. Some are even pimped as high grade. One CGC copy that is certified high grade and it's an 8.0 Universal.

mycomicshop - One unslabbed GD copy in stock here.

ComicConnect - One unslabbed 7.5 or low VF copy located!

Censored cover

This issue is one of two covers by EC Comics that were censored before they were published. The original cover, deemed too gory for readers, depicted a woman's head and arm inside the trunk. 

This comic was published October, 1953, and it would only be one year later when the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency would launch hearings investigating comics, especially horror comics, and their potential impact on contributing to juvenile delinquency. Much later, the gemstone reprints would publish this comic issue with its original cover.

eBay - Four unslabbed copies with the highest being a VG/FN 5.0 or so. No CGC at the time of this writing.

Used in Senate hearings

On April 21, 22, June 4, 1954 in New York, the hearings of the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency against various comic publishers took place, and none was more attacked than William Gaines and EC Comics. Although this is not the infamous Crime Suspense Stories #22, which depicted a man with an axe holding the severed head of a woman, the stories within Tales From The Crypt #40 was another example used as evidence to prove that comics were a bad influence on America's youth and in bad taste. 

William Gaine's testimony during the hearings proved to be disastrous, and the result of the highly publicized hearings dealt a huge blow to the comics industry, especially for the genre of horror. In order to keep the public at large at bay, publishers established the infamous Comics Code Authority. 

eBay - Only two unslabbed copies on the mighty eBay at the moment.

mycomicshop - One PGX 1.8 going up for auction this month on the 16th.

ComicLink - One unslabbed 3.0 GD/VG copy here.

Last issue to first series
Low distribution

The result of those hearings led to the many revamps or cancellations of various horror comics. Tales From The Crypt was just one of many that saw the end during the Golden Age of comics and issue #46 is the last issue to the first series. Because of that, Tales From The Crypt #46 had a limited print run and low distribution. 

This comic was published in February, 1955, one of the more late Golden Age key issues. A year and a few months later would see the birth of the Silver Age era.

Horror comics during the Golden Age had a huge impact on the comics industry, and while the history and eventual downfall of the genre during that time is mostly negative, the genre would forever be remembered in the history of American comics. Unfortunately or fortunately, the genre would also forever be linked to the birth of the Comics Code Authority and the history of extreme conservatism within America that often leads to censorship.

Whether you like horror comics or not, these comics are now classics that are part of comic book history. They're also quite valuable and solid comic investments in certain grades. Not really great ones in grades GD and lower.

Tales From The Crypt would make a huge comeback in 1989, but in the form a different media. The gory tales would be cast into the homes and television sets across America in the HBO T.V. series, spawning a whole generation of new fans.

If you missed Part 1, just click the PREVIOUS link to go back!

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