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Thursday, October 9, 2014

Horror Key Issue Comics to Invest In Part 2

In light of another season of spooky and creepy ghouls, ghosts, demons and monsters, this key issues list will focus on the some of best horror key issues in celebration of Halloween coming up. Although bearing a different title, this list is an expansion and continuation of the Why You Should Invest In Horror Comics Books And Which Ones! list done back in 2011. 

If you missed that, you can click this link to go and check that out. Most of the keys in this key issues series will feature horror comics from the Golden Age and are often over-looked gold mines. So if you're a fan of this genre, you just may want to break out a pencil or pen and those want lists. Let's start this hell ride!

First ongoing horror story feature

While superhero comics dominated the early Golden Age pre-World War II and during World War II, there were a few horror-related stories that were crammed in-between superhero stories in the pages of comics. It was common for a comic to have several stories featuring different characters that didn't connect to each other within a single issue.

Then comes along Prize Comics #7. This issue introduces the first story, an eight page feature "The New Adventures of Frankenstein" by writer-artist Dick Briefer,  that would end up becoming an ongoing feature in the title. The New Adventures of Frankenstein would run through Prize Comics all the way to issue #52.

It's the first real ongoing horror series in the history of comics, and thus one of the most important comics in the genre. No doubt that this is one of the best horror investment comics out there in the market today. December, 1940 was when this comic was published.

ComicLink - Holy moly, a copy located at ComicLink, and it's a high grade CGC slabber too. 9.2 low NM is the grade.

First full-length horror comic issue

In August, 1943, Classic Comics, as it was called before it changed to Classics Illustrated, did a full-length adaptation of the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The entire issue was dedicated to the adaptation of this classic horror story, and many comic historians regard Classic Comics #13 as the first full-length horror comic issue and was published by Gilberton Publications.

So, historically, this is an early dedicated horror comic, and that makes it one of the more solid horror comics to invest in for sure. Definitely no easy find for any of these early horror key issues.

ComicLink - Once again, the fine folks at ComicLink brings the goods. There is only one raw FN+ copy here at the moment.

First fully dedicated horror comic

While other comics printed horror-related stories based off of classics like Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and other horror classics, Avon Publishing printed a full-length, all horror comic titled Eerie Comics #1 that was fully dedicated to the genre. It is regarded as the holy grail of horror comics and a landmark horror comic.

This comic was a one-shot and featured artwork by legendary comic artist Joe Kubert. The Eerie title and the horror genre would be so popular that it was later republished in an ongoing series in 1951.

This land mark comic was published January, 1947, and is no easy find at all in low grade to high grades. Definitely the Golden Age horror key issue comic investment to seek out and own in your vault!

ComicConnect - Finally a copy located for this landmark horror key issue. Not just one, but two. And one of them is a CGC copy graded at a 7.5 low VF! Universal label also and a 1st print. 2nd copy is a raw copy and has moderate restoration. It's a VG+.

1st on-going horror titled series

The popularity of horror stories began to rapidly increase and there was one publishing company who saw the viability of cashing in on it with an ongoing title specifically catering to that market niche. Published by the American Comics Group under the imprint B&I publishing, the first horror ongoing titled series that specifically dealt in the horror genre is Adventures into the Unknown. This comic came out in Fall 1948, and ran for a whopping 147 issues.

Cover art to Adventures into the Unknown #1 is by Edvard Moritz, and this classic horror key issue is one of the top sought out books within the genre from the Golden Age.

eBay - Very limited amount of raw copies for this Golden Age key issue horror comic. Less than a handful actually, but I'm surprised there are even any for sale with this one.There's even a CGC 4.0 copy on the mighty eBay currently. No picture though which is strange.

ComicConnect - Only one raw copy here that's a 3.5 low VG.

First EC Comics horror story

During the horror boom in the Golden Age of comics, EC Comics would become the most prominent horror publisher in the industry. However, they would have to start somewhere in the genre, and this issue is it.

Moon Girl #5 holds the first published horror story by EC Comics, marking the beginning to their future legacy in the Golden Age of horror comics. The story was titled Zombie Terror, and was created by Johnny Craig. This comic was published September, 1948.

First Marvel all horror comic

Okay, the key issue note isn't entirely correct. This issue was published when Marvel was still under the Atlas Comics brand.

While Atlas and it's predecessor Timely Comics did incorporate horror stories or elements in various publications, none of the comics were actually full blown horror comics. Amazing Adventures #32 is the first for Marvel to follow this growing trend during the time.

Amazing Mysteries was actually continued from Submariner Comics #31 when superhero comics fell out of favor during the Golden Age. It was published May, 1949 and only lasted four more issues. The last two issues were not horror though and instead crime based stories.

In this period, all the comic companies basically just followed trends of what was in. The boss of Atlas Comics, Martin Goodman, was notorious for doing so according to Stan Lee.

1st issue to horror series

Maurice Whitman is an artist that isn't talked about much, but his art is actually really superb. Like most comic artists, he drew for a variety of genres.

Another suggestion by Nate H, and although the only real key this comic has going for it is a 1st issue, it is a really early pre-code horror comic and the cover by Whitman is really gorgeous in my opinion. 

Actually, not a cheap issue either, but not outrageously expensive like some EC horror comics. Originals are not easy finds online currently.

This is considered part of the Good Girl Art of the time. January, 1951 is the cover date for Ghost Comics #1.

Classic cover
Horror begins in title

Once again, the funny thing about horror comics is that there are different things that collectors deem as classic? It may have a gruesome element to it in a story like an eye being gouged out or cannibals eating someone or a body part or like Haunt of Fear #19 and the "Foul Play" story.

Sometimes, it's as plain as an iconic super-hero titled comic falling out of favor and trying to capture the horror trend back in the day. Check out Red Skull on the cover trying to appeal to the horror genre more.

Yes, this was an attempt to keep Cap in the comics game but it ultimately failed. By the next issue, there was no Captain America and the title was cancelled. 

During the Korean War, another attempt to revive Captain America Comics happened but failed as well. This comic is deemed as scarce in the secondary market, and it is a great piece of history of how the horror genre or trend was massive during this time.

Captain America Comics #74 was suggested by Nate H to be included in here, but I think I already mentioned it in the Captain America key issues series done a while back. Although the title was changed to Captain America's Weird Tales, the indicia apparently reads Captain America Comics #74.

Definitely an interesting bit of comic history and a really good comic investment for those who can afford Golden Age key comics. Captain America Comics #74 has the cover date of October, 1949.

First DC Comics all horror ongoing series

Finally, we have DC Comics enter the arena of the big horror boom during the Golden Age. House of Mystery is their most well-known horror title and was the first and original horror comic for DC.

Although it started out as a horror anthology comic series, the backlash of crime and horror comics during the 50s and the creation of the Comics Code Authority caused this title to flip from science fiction and mystery/suspense type tales. During the mid 60s and the Silver Age, House of Mystery was even revamped to incorporate superhero stories.

It was a long running series and the title would survive until the early 80s. January, 1951 was when this historic DC horror comic was published.

eBay - Only one copy located on the mighty eBay. It's a raw copy and toted as a FN.

ComicLink - CGC copy located here, but only one. It's a 6.5 FN+.

First issue to on-going horror title

Speak of the devil. In 1951, Avon Publishing would republish the Eerie comic title into an on-going series with even more twisted horror stories that the young minds of the time were fascinated with. The series would only last 17 issues, but these comics are definitely part of the history of comics in the U.S., as the time of their growing popularity post World War II saw the decline of superhero related comics and the crime, horror, and romance genre became the dominant comics of interest.

Although definitely a trend of the times, the horror genre is one of the few genres of comics that still survived well into today. Much like crime comics, and unlike romance comics (WTF? and thank God), horror comics still have a great audience in the world of comics now even though superhero titles have once again reclaimed the throne. Eerie #1 is another one of the best horror investment comics in the market and no easy find either. Eerie #1 was published June, 1951.

2nd issue to on-going series
Wally Wood Bondage cover

Wally Wood is a legend, but before he became well-known for designing Daredevil's classic red costume, he did produce quite a lot of memorable horror cover among many other genres. Bondage covers seem to quite popular among collectors.

Dunno why and don't want to get into why. I'm just saying is all, and, no, I am not into them.

Not sure this is an "entirely" important horror key issue, but as mentioned before, bondage and torture covers seem to be popular in the horror genre. Wally Wood bondage cover? May be worth looking into as they are not easy finds out there.

This was brought to you by Nate H once again as he did suggest it. Eerie #2 is an early horror issue and has the cover date of August-September, 1951.

There's eight highly important horror key issues from the Golden Age. As you can see, some of these bad boys are no easy finds at all, and some are super scarce to track down. All of these listed in Part 2 are great comics to invest in and often quite over-looked as well. Quite a few of them are already quite valuable also. 

The key issue horror comics featured in this part were published before the big scare that the Seduction of the Innocent book caused only a few years later. They are all Pre-Code!

It's an interesting aspect of American comics history, and the horror genre is still alive and kicking with numerous titles today that still capture our imaginations with a sense of dread, foreboding, and fear!

I will be expanding on this post quite soon and be writing up posts on the subject here and there all through October. Part 3 to this horror key issue comics is now ready so continue on and click the PART 3 link below. If you missed the first part to this series, just click the PREVIOUS link to check that out.


  1. Hello TCM,

    It's been a very, very long time since my last comment but I wanted to ask you about the key horror comic book list. You mentioned that Classic Comics #13 was published in 08/1943 but there is another copy printed on 11/1943. This copy was not mentioned during your post and wanted to ask you if the latter issue is worth considering and collecting for investment purposes.


    1. hmmmm... as far as I can is a 2nd edition or called that, but it looks like a reprint to me. the 8/1943 is called the original edition. I usually don't mention reprints as 1st prints are still more desired. I think that issue has several reprints and they're not easy finds nor have much info on them currently.