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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Horror Key Issue Comics to Invest In Part 7

Continuing with the issues that had particularly gory stories, elements, or covers in this special section to this horror key issues list, many listed here are considered classics in the Golden Age of horror comics and many did push the envelope in terms of acceptable or not so acceptable content. This has been fun writing so far, and possibly the only fun key issues list that I've written in a while. 

I'm not even a horror comic fan either. We definitely have some great Golden Age horror comic goodies in this special gore section, and a lot of these are definitely worth considering as comics to invest in as well. 

So if you missed Part 6, click the link to go back and read that. If not, enjoy Part 7 and see how much more wicked these horror comics progressed during the Pre-Code New Trend.

Forearm dismemberment cover

Here we have a classic Vault of Horror comic cover by Johnny Craig. On this cover to The Vault of Horror #6, a severed forearm hangs from a grip handle on a subway train.

Definitely one of the more sought out Vault of Horror issues from EC Comics. This comic was published May, 1953.

eBay - Only two raw copies found for this eBay at the moment. Both are low grade. Highest is a VG.

ComicLink - Only one unslabbed copy located here. It's a 5.5 or low FN.

Classic decapitated heads cover

Another title that Ajax/Farrel Publications put out during the horror comic boom was Haunted Thrills, and they managed to put out a few note worthy issues during the era. Haunted Chills #9 is definitely one of them and the cover to it is considered a classic.

If cooking corpses or people alive in cauldrons was considered bad taste, well then this one has to rank pretty high there. Not only are there severed heads on the cover, but they are being cooked by some ugly witch and her creepy accomplice.

Though the heads are not overly gory or detailed with blood and veins and tears of flesh hanging out every where, the implication or theme of the cover is still pretty disturbing even for today's standards. This classic comic cover was published May, 1953.

eBay - Nothing so far for this one on eBay. Could change by the time you search for it though. It is one of the more sought out horror comic covers.

Decapitation cover
Foul Play story (The Baseball Game)
Used in SOTI

EC Comics continues to bring the goodness in terms of disturbing and questionable content on the covers and within the pages of their comics. The cover of Haunt of Fear #19 shows another execution style by beheading just seconds before the act is committed. Graham Ingels produced this cover.

The cover, although a classic, was the least offensive part to this key issue. This issue also contained the story Foul Play written by Al Feldstein and drawn by Jack Davis and is legendary. Comic buffs simply refer to the story as The Baseball Game. In this story, a baseball pitcher murders the star hitter on the opposing team. The murdered player’s teammates kill the murderer in revenge and play ball with his severed body. The baseball lines in-between the bases were the pitcher's intestines, and they used his severed arms and legs as bats. The head of the murderous pitcher was used as the ball.

Because this is an amazing classic example of the gore EC Comics was so well-known for, I'm gonna show the page that has become comic lore and legendary in the comic industry.

Haunt of Fear #19 "Foul Play" page
Yes, this comic issue was used in the Seduction of the Innocent book by Dr. Frederic Wertham.  June, 1953 was when this classic EC Comics issue was published.

eBay - Little more than a handful of copies. Most are raw, but there is one CGC 9.8 Gaines file copy, which is the ultimate to have for fans of EC Comics.

ComicConnect - Only one raw copy available here and it's a high grade 9.2 low NM!

Man electrocuted in electrocution chair cover

This cover is notorious for actually showing a man being electrocuted in the electric chair. Cover is done by artist Jack Cole, and although not entirely gruesome with blood or eye balls popping out the socket or anything, it was seen in bad taste during the times.

Web of Evil did have some stories in its comics that tested the boundaries of acceptable content during the Golden Age, like opium or a character having acid thrown in their face. However, how much more gruesome is that compared to Harvey Dent having acid thrown in his face and becoming Two Face?

This comic was published by Quality Comics July, 1953.

eBay - No Web of Evil #5 on eBay at the moment. May change by the time you read this.

ComicConnect - One CGC 4.0 VG copy goes up for auction 11/10/2014.

Origin and 1st appearance of The Zombie

Whole lot of zombie fans out there now. Look at Walking Dead.

Me and Gerry were filming an upcoming video and talking about zombies and the undead and a bit of the history behind pre-code horror comics. For the record, Gerry is more of a horror fan than I am by a big margin.

On that note, another suggestion by Nate H. This has the origin and first appearance of The Zombie. This is Simon William Garth, who was killed by his gardener and came back to be a member of the undead via voodoo.

Who doesn't like misrepresentations of voodoo? Remember that movie Skeleton Key with Kate Hudson in it, the one about voodoo? I thought that was a good movie.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not a big horror fan but I do like certain horror movies.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know! Getting off track here. Let's get back to this Zombie dude.

This character has appeared quite a bit in Marvel books like Tales of the Zombie and also had a Max limited headlining series. Not to neglect his super-hero comic appearances and the character also appeared in Daredevil comics, Spider-Man, and even the Punisher Max series.

Anyway, pretty cool. No easy find for this one online. If you are into Marvel horror and zombies, this is definitely a horror comic you should get. Nate H and I both recommend this one.

Another excellent Bill Everrett cover and both Stan Lee and Bill Everrett created the character and story of Zombie! Russ Heath art in the story Rocket Ship! Menace #5 has the cover date of July, 1953.

Cooking corpse cover

Who is hungry for flesh? Apparently the two witches on the cover of Beware! Terror Tales #8. A dead corpse or skeleton being cooked inside a witch's cauldron doesn't hardly seem like much of a meal, but perhaps they are concocting some secret witchcraft brew.

Whatever they're doing, the graphic nature of this cover wasn't much appreciated by parents back in the Golden Age, and to be honest, you can't really blame them. Not the goriest cover, but still pretty provocative for the times.

The cover art is considered Toth-ish, derived from the comic cartoonist Alex Toth, who is most known for his work at DC Comics and for creating the cartoon character Space Ghost. Toth did not do the cover, but the artist who did emulated his style. Whenever you see the words Toth-ish or Tothish pertaining to comic art, it means that the artwork looks like Alex Toth's style. Beware! Terror Tales #8 was published by Fawcett Publications July, 1953.

eBay - Three copies located here. Two are raw copies and one is a slabbed PGX 5.5 low FN.

Guillotine cover

An extremely cool cover was done for Horrific #7 by Don Heck. Apparently, guillotines were quite popular, but it's the angle of scene to this cover that gives it great tension and works to heighten it. The choice to look up at the victim and the blade puts you right there in the moment.

Showing the blade coming down towards the viewer only a mere second before the beheading brings a sense of dread. It's the moments just before someone or something is inflicted with a brutal blow or act, a dreadful anticipation that may cause the observer to flinch or turn away when the brutality occurs. Probably one of my favorite covers on this list. September, 1953 was when this comic was published.

eBay - Four raw copies available on eBay at the moment. All seem to be in the lower grades.

ComicConnect - Only one CGC located here so far. It's a 4.0 VG and goes up for auction 11/10/2014. No raw copies at the moment.

Nazi death camp story

War is horrific. To me, monsters and all this goblin, ghosts, demons, vampires and werewolves are a nice tickle of the imagination, but when actual people behave like monsters, there is nothing more scarier to me than that.

This did not happen in the far reaches of someone's mind. It's not a fanciful tale. The Nazi death camps happened and no Dracula or werewolf or ghost was behind the massacre of millions. 

Actual people were behind it. I did not grow up during the time it happened, but I learned a lot from it. I like learning from these things to keep myself in check and to remind myself exactly what I am capable of doing.

I never say never, and unfortunately life and circumstances do propel people to do some insidious things. Nothing more horrific than the primal and barbaric part of humanity that we all try push down under the false cover of the illusion of what we comfort ourselves in the notion of "civilized".

Nate H brought this one up in his list of suggestions and I agree that the Nazi death camps must have been truly horrific and a real life nightmare. My respect and heart goes out to the victims and survivors.

Now, if only my own country would stop trying to sweep the horrors of slavery in this country under the rug and downplay the many "death ships" and "death camps" produced in its own history.

Haunted Thrills #11 has the cover date of September, 1953.

eBay - Only three options here on eBay at the moment. One is a CBCS 6.5 copy that is well over guide price. Two raw copies at the time of this writing.

ComicConnect - Only a very low grade copy here of 1.5. Copy is raw as well.

Body burning in furnace cover

Another great cover by Don Heck during the Golden Age horror comics boom. You can clearly see that the cover shows a hand burning inside a furnace, and it's assumed but not known if the entire body is also in there. Must be one huge furnace, so logic would assume that the body has been hacked into pieces, perhaps?

Definitely stirs the imagination, so it's no wonder this cover is considered gruesome back in the day. I know the covers are small, but you can click the image and it will show you a larger version of the comic cover.

Just one of the many comic covers that pushed the boundaries during this era, and it was published September, 1953 by Allen Hardy Assoc.

eBay - Issue #7 not found in the eBay search results for now. You can click the blue eBay link to try for yourself. May have better luck by the time you do or not.

ComicLink - One raw copy here at a 5.0 VG/FN. Only copy there at the time of this writing.

Man split in two cover

Atlas was also not shy in producing some gory covers as well, and this comic cover by legendary Bill Everett shows a man being split or ripping in two after injecting himself with some kind of no-no formula that shouldn't have been created or meddled with. Definitely one of the more gruesome covers that Atlas produced during the New Trend era.

Adventures into Weird Worlds #24 was published December, 1953.

eBay - Only one unslabbed copy and it looks to be in rough shape. Maybe some better copies will sprout up on the mighty eBay by the time you click the blue eBay link that goes directly to this particular comic issues search results there.

We got one more part to this special section of classic gory stories or comic covers during the Pre-Code era of horror comics. Part 8 to this horror key issue comics to invest in list is ready so just click the blue PART 8 link below to continue to the finale of this 3 part special section within this horror key issues list.

If you missed Part 6, just click the PREVIOUS link below to read that. See ya soon!


  1. Where's The Thing #12....? That's a MAJOR omission..... Ditko's first cover.

    1. This is the last time I'll be responding to comments like these. First read the posts. Part 6-8 (8 has yet to be published) have to do with some of the classic gory covers of the era. Another thing...this list isn't done yet...there are several parts left to go and it's an on-going series since there are quite a lot of horror comics.

      FUCKING-A! Give me some time!!! Next ass hat comment like this will just be deleted!

    2. I've been referring this site to anyone would listen since I discovered it over 3 years ago.

      This is my account, but it was my 13yo son who made the post. He didn't mean anything negative by it.

      You could have replied back without the insulting, profane name-calling.

      We have enjoyed the site, but you should have been nicer.

    3. I agree with you, and I apologize for the profanity. It was uncalled for. The profanity used is just emphasizing the sentence after. It's not directed toward your son or anyone as a personal insult. As for the "ass hat comment", it was referring to those specific comments made in general, not the actual person or persons making them.

      But you're right, I should've wrote it in a nicer way, but I'm going to tell you the reason why I'm gonna ignore comments like those in the future. 95% of readers just come here for the On the Hunt section. I never intended Total Comic Mayhem to be Total Comic Key Issue Mayhem, but no problem if that's what most like here, that's what they like.

      I've stated before that key issues lists are probably my least favorite thing to write about. 20% of them are fun, but 80% are not, especially for titles or characters I have no interest in. Key issues lists can get monotonous, tedious, and boring pretty quickly when writing them.

      They don't just take 30 minutes of my time for a single. Often times they can take hours for a single post, especially if I have to research the title or character. And especially when the pain in my hands and wrists become too intense (gifts left over from working at the DELL factory). Often I have to take breaks in the middle of key issue list posts because of it.

      So imagine spending days doing a key issues series, which each post takes up to an hour or three, and when you're done, you get 10 to 20 emails per post with comments like your son's.

      "Oh my God, I can't believe you missed X comic book!"

      "Why didn't you have/put X comic book? That one should definitely be in there! I wouldn't have forgot that one!"

      Nothing positive about the key issues cool, I didn't know that about X issue or whatnot (but I think X comic book should have been listed)...just only what I missed and putting it in a shocked way like I personally offended them by not listing it.

      Then I get these occasional comments on the actual site. In this case, I didn't even get around to that particular issue yet. Yes, I tried to break up the monotony of just having a straight forward key issues list, and decided to mix it up by veering towards gory comic covers of the time and issues with disturbing violence. Most demand for golden age horror comics are for those two reasons or because they appeared in SOTI, POP, or the senate hearings. Artists are a big factor for demand as well, even more so for horror keys than actual superhero titles.

      Now, I give your son kudos for at least putting in why that key issue should be there (most don't), but this list wasn't even finished yet. Reread your son's comment, is there anything positive in there? In fact, the word "omission" itself is not exactly a positive word, then stressed by "MAJOR" before it. Don't tell me it wasn't used in the same context as the various emails I get, and those are just two examples I often get.

      Though I give your son kudos for having good vocabulary. Most 13 year olds would just say "forget" instead of "omission".

      Some out there do consider the time I put into these lists, and I'm shocked to find from most of the emails I get, most aren't. And one can easily tell by how the comment is written.

      I don't mind it when people suggest other keys they think should be in a list, especially when the entire key issues list is done or I've called a hiatus on it. I actually encourage it, cuts down on research time. However, exasperated comments in that fashion, like your son's, will be ignored from now on, as with those types of emails I receive.

  2. I don´t want to be involved in that conversation...just want to say that I´ve learnt so many facts about comics and their key issues when I seriously started collecting these items about 3 years ago... it takes hours and hours doing the research and to watch all the reliable news and rumours, finding keys and chances to snag an item (my girlfriend keeps telling me all the time that I´m spending TOO many hours for this) ... therefore I appreciate your work to help people like me getting a better understanding of key issues and their backgrounds ... all I want to say that I understand your reaction, thank you for providing this website, I really do appreciate your good work! - Sven -