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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Horror Key Issue Comics to Invest In Part 5

Welcome to horror! Just kidding! This is part 5 to this horror key issue comics to invest in series, and just like in Part 4, we'll be detailing some of the early Pre-Code horror comics from the Golden Age that are now considered classics for better or worse.

We've already established that EC Comics was the model for many other comic publishers during the time and it still continues during the time era presented in this part. It is a fascinating part of comics history, as well as American history concerning censorship in the arts.

What's forgotten or just plain ignored today are the great works of art by many of the artists during this era, and that many of the legends like Kirby and Ditko did produce classic horror comic artwork. Even more so are the great horror comic artists like Grahamn Ingel and Johnny Craig during the time as well.

If you missed the previous part to this key issues horror list, click this Part 4 link to mysteriously go back. It's a supernatural link, after all. If you need not go back, then dare to venture a little further into the Golden Age world of chilling terror and supernatural occultism that would freak out the U.S. in more ways than just the obvious. Enjoy!

First issue to horror comic series

Right now DC Comics owns Fawcett's properties such as Captain Marvel and including this one. However, when this all-horror comic was published, it was published by those at Fawcett Publications who were also attempting to mine the horror genre during the New Trend's big boom.

Beware! Terror Tales was not an overly successful horror mag. It only went to issue #8, but it did have a particularly controversial cover late in it's run. That issue will be brought up in a future part to this horror key issue comics list series. May, 1952 was when this comic was published.

eBay - Wow, ten copies of this Golden Age horror key and all first prints. There is a CGC copy, but only one. It's a 6.5 FN+. The rest are raw copies and the highest raw copy claims to be VF.

ComicConnect - Four raw copies at the moment here at ComicLink. Highest is low VF and 2nd highest is a FN+.

ComicLink - CGC 6.5 FN+ copy here at the moment. Also a raw VG copy as well for now.

First issue to all horror titled series

Another of Harvey Publications all horror titles Pre-Code, and probably one of the better horror titles during the Golden Age of horror comics. The stories in this title did follow a bit of EC Comics brazen gore and were filled with bondage, atomic disasters, and even had a heart being ripped out in one story.

This title did also cater to the science fiction genre also, especially during the last four issues of the comics 16 issue run. The title did escape the wrath of the Seduction of the Innocent book, however. Tomb of Terror #1 was published June,1952 and changed to Thrills of Tomorrow with issue #17.

eBay - Limited selection for first prints of this issue on the mighty eBay. All are raw copies so far.

ComicConnect - Three raw copies and all are unslabbed. Highest is a mid-grade FN.

First issue to Fawcett Comics all horror series

This titled series was an attempt by Fawcett Comics to enter the horror market. They did not want this title to be associated with their flagship character Captain Marvel, Fawcett elected not to put their name on the cover.

The Strange Suspense Stories property would later be sold to Charlton Comics and would undergo several revivals and reprints. Publishing date is June, 1952

eBay - Seems to be quite a few raw copies on eBay at the moment. Also, there's two slabbed copies as well. One is a CGC and it's a 4.0 VG. The other is a PGX at a 5.0 VF/FN.

ComicConnect - Two raw copies. First option is a 5.0 VG/FN and the second options is a a low grade GD/VG.

First issue to Journey Into Mystery

This titled series would be a landmark comic series for introducing a certain superhero and Avenger, but before this would happen, Journey Into Mystery was another Atlas Comics' title that tried to emulate the gory yet moral stylistics that permeated EC Comics'  horror titles.

Journey Into Mystery started out as a weird, fantasy-horror comic and the first issue held such stories as One Foot in the Grave, which told the story of a man who resells flowers stolen from graves until the dead return to reclaim them.
It Can't Be Missed is another story in Journey Into Mystery #1 about an accomplice of an escaped convict who kills a man who looks just like the accomplice and escaped con. While the police think the escaped con is dead, the main character takes over the identity of the dead man, only to find out the shocking horror that the identity he assumed is that of a mental patient and is locked away permanently in an insane asylum.

It's clear that these stories were indeed knock offs of the formula from Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and the Haunt of Fear. Although EC's tales were gruesome or gory or graphic, there was a deep sense of morals behind them and irony. Although a wrong was never really made right in these gory morality tales, the one who committed the wrong often met a grisly and ironic fate. Stan Lee knew this formula and duplicated it during the time.

Journey Into Mystery would ironically be later more known for its superhero tales instead of its horror tales. The first issue to Journey Into Mystery was published June, 1952.

eBay - No luck on eBay at the moment concerning this scarce key issue for raw or slabbed copies. May change in the future though.

ComicConnect - Finally, only one copy of issue #1 from the first series located here. It's going up for auction 11/10/2014, and it's a VG+ CGC 4.5 copy!

Origin of Old Witch
Classic Ingels cover

Among the three extremely popular horror comic hosts by EC Comics, the Old Witch was one of the two to get an origin story. This issue also has a classic cover done by legendary horror comic artist Graham Ingels, who takes over as the primary artist for the Old Witch in this issue also.

The Old Witch was inspired by the character of Old Nancy, a witch from Salem who was the host of the radio series The Witch's Tale. The story A Little Stranger in Haunt of Fear #14 tells the origin of the Old Witch's birth. This horror key issue was published August, 1952.

eBay - Four copies that are first prints and not reprints. Two are CGC copies and the highest so far is a 9.4 NM. Other copy is a 7.0 FN/VF. Raw copies are in the low grades.

ComicConnect - Highgrade CGC 9.4 NM copy located here. 2nd copy is a raw GD+!

Origin of Crypt Keeper

Featured in the Tales from the Crypt key issues list done a few months ago, Tales from the Crypt #33 is a highly sought out classic and details the origin of the Crypt Keeper's birth told by the classic horror host himself. Definitely no easy find and one of the more valuable Tales from the Crypt issues in the series.

The origin of the Crypt Keeper was published December, 1952.

eBay - Only a handful of copies and all are raw at the moment. The highest are two VFs and the second highest are two low VFs on the mighty eBay.

mycomcishop - Only one raw GD copy here as of this writing.

ComicConnect - One raw copy at ComicLink and it's a 7.5 low VF.

First issue to horror series

Another notable title in the genre during the time was Fantastic Fears, and this is largely because the series published some of the early artwork done by Steve Ditko in the comic industry. Not to say that the title wasn't gruesome enough. It sure was, and quite a few graphic depictions were featured in the later issues of this comic series.

Fantastic Fears was published by Farrell Publications, and although they published other genres such as Westerns and Romance, they are remembered more for their Pre-Code horror titles than anything else they produced. This comic was published May, 1953, and was formerly known as Captain Jet.

The first issue to Fantastic Fears starts with #7. The numbering was reset after #8, becoming Fantastic Fears #3 for the 3rd issue.

eBay - Only one copy to the first issue of this series starting with issue #7. It's a CGC copy at an 8.5 VF+. Don't be confused with the other #7 since there are two within the series and the other #7 is actually #7.

ComicConnect - One CGC 8.5 copy. May be the same one on eBay. Also a raw copy but it's so low it's not even worth mentioning nor looking at.

First professional Steve Ditko comic artwork
That key issue not says it all, and it's why this particular issue is so valuable and sought after. Despite this fact, not that many in the collector's world knows about this issue. You think it would be common knowledge but nope, it's not.

Fantastic Fears has the first professional Steve Ditko work, or the first drawn story professionally in his career as a comic artist. His first published comic artwork was in the first issue of a Romance comic called Daring Love. This is a classic key issue and definitely one to feature on this list and one of the best horror comics to invest in the Golden Age. Fantastic Fears #5 has the publishing date of January, 1954.

eBay - Only the later reprints here. None of the first print issues on eBay so far. May change in the future though.

As you can see, some definite comic investments worth considering in this Part 5. Especially if we're talking about Steve Ditko fans. His first professional comic artwork in Fantastic Fears #5 should be in the cross hairs of Spidey fans.

Part 6 will mix it up a little bit to break the monotony. In part 6, this series will enter a special section dedicated in featuring some of the classic controversial stories and graphic covers of the era.

If you missed Part 4, just click the PREVIOUS link below. Otherwise, continue onward as Part 6 is ready! Just click the blue PART 6 link to read on!

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