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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Horror Key Issue Comics to Invest In Part 6

Here we are with Part 6. In this special section of the horror key issue comics to invest in series, we're gonna look at some of the popular key issues that detailed some gory elements in the stories, as well as those covers that seemed to offend the general public as "poor taste". That means those graphic or gruesome covers that were a bit too much for those back in the day.

In terms of key issues and demand for Golden Age horror comics, there are a few factors today that determine those horror comics that are most in demand. One of them, of course, is the more gory or disturbing a cover, the better and more sought out. In conjunction with that, stories with panels showing violent or questionable content too graphic for young eyes, the better and more sought out as well.

Part 6 will outline some of these covers and issues that showed graphic content within it's pages deemed too gory or violent for the time. If you missed Part 5, just click that blue link to go back. If not, continue on with this grisly yet true tale.

Woman melted alive in story
In the 6th issue of Chamber of Chills, a woman was depicted being melted alive in the story Dungeon of Doom. Placed in what the story called a "disintegrating top", the scene shows the woman's face and part of her upper shoulders, clothes and all, melt away until it reveals a skeleton.

Dungeon of Doom page in Chamber of Chills #6
Ironically, this was not used in SOTI, but it's a clear example that Harvey Comics wasn't afraid to depict violent or gruesome images in their comics. Actually, the Chamber of Chills title was more of the brutal comics to follow EC Comics example during the New Trend. March, 1952 was when this comic was published.

eBay - Six copies from the volume one first printing located on eBay for now. All of them are unslabbed and no CGC at the moment.

ComicConnect - Three copies here. One is a CGC 3.5 low VG that goes up for auction 11/11/2014. Other two copies are raw and highest is a VF.

New origin
Horror series begins

Prize Comics is known for having the first comic series (story series since it was an anthology comic) to have a horror "series" in its pages. I mentioned Dick Briefer's Frankenstein earlier and I am not too clear about what's going on with this one.

So I am not sure if the series started off as humor and then went horror or what. That makes no sense since comic historians and Don Markstein consider the "New Adventures of Frankenstein" as "America's first ongoing comic book series to fall squarely within the horror genre".

Whatever. Anyway, this comic sees a new origin for Dick Briefer's Frankenstein and supposedly the comic series dives into the horror genre with this issue. 

Another suggestion by Nate H, this Golden Age horror comic is probably not an easy find at all concerning Frankenstein Comics #18, and it has the cover date of March, 1952.

Beheading cover

Although this doesn't even take a double look nowadays, the implication of beheading someone back in grandpa's generation was quite shocking. Especially for a comic that's geared toward the kiddies. Sure, it doesn't actually show the act, but everyone knows what's going to happen to the poor dude on the cover.

Nowadays, horror comics will actually show a beheading after the fact, with the axe on the chop block and the severed head all bloody and rolling about on the floor. Back then, though, this was pushing the envelope, and it would continue to keep getting pushed until the inevitable happened. This comic was published August, 1952 by EC Comics, and the cover is by Jack Davis.

eBay - Very limited selection as expected for this issue. There are two high grade CGC copies though. One is a whopping 9.8 and is a Gaines file copy. The other is a 9.2 low NM. The rest are raw copies and two are claiming to be VF/NM.

ComicConnect - Three copies here and one is a CGC 9.2 low NM. May be the same one on eBay. Two raw copies here as well.

People being cooked alive cover

It wouldn't be long before comics actually starting showing the act on it's covers, however. Witchcraft #4 showed two people in a boiling hot cauldron being cooked alive. Although not entirely gruesome or gory, the depiction was seen as in bad taste and too violent.

Cover is by A.C. Hollingsworth, and Avon Publishing published this comic and cover in September, 1952.

eBay - Zero copies of this comic on eBay right now, but could change at a sooner or later time.

Severed head cover

In October, 1952, Charlton Comics published issue #5 to The Thing comic series with a cover by Lou Morales depicting a severed head. An executioner in the back ground is still sawing on the thing.

However, the lady on the cover is saying that she is in a wax museum, but this was still considered gruesome at the time. Little did they know then that covers like these were just the beginning for horror comics.

eBay - One raw VG copy found. Only one for now.

ComicConnect - Three copies found here. You'll have to scroll down a bit after clicking the link. There is a CGC copy, but it's only a 4.0 VG. Two raw copies and the highest claims to be a 7.5 or low VF.

ComicLink - Two copies located here at the bottom of the page at ComicLink. One's a CGC 5.0 VG/FN and the other is a raw VG.

Bullet in the head cover

Probably one of the more graphic covers of the era was the cover of Horrific #3 which actually showed a man's head with a bullet hole in it. This would definitely grab the attention of a young boy back then and even today, because let's face it, most of us guys deep down are closet psychos.

I do have to admit it is a pretty cool cover, even for today's standards. January, 1953 was when Harwell published this comic, and the classic cover is by comic artist legend Don Heck.

eBay - Only one copy on the mighty eBay for now. It is a CGC, but it's a lower grade 3.0 GD/VG. Pretty pricey but it does have a Best Offer option.

ComicConnect - Two slabbed copies only. One is a CGC and the other a PGX. The PGX copy is only a 2.0 GD, and the CGC copy is 5.0 VG/FN. CGC copy goes up for auction 11/10/2014.

Nazi death camp story (people being flayed alive)

There's no disputing that the Nazi death camps alone was a place of real life horror and terror. Comics had long depicted Nazis and such, but never in the death camp setting.

Horror comics would do so, and in the Corpses of the Jury story within this comic, people being flayed was depicted. If you don't know what flayed or flaying means, it's the act of peeling, cutting, or removal of the skin off the body.

What made this worse was that the people in the story were still alive, though I'm pretty sure the general adult populace back then still would've gotten their panties twisted in a knot even if the comic showed the flaying of dead corpses. Farrell/Ajax published Voodoo #5 in January of 1953.

eBay - No copies of Voodoo #5 on the mighty eBay at the time of this writing. May or may not change by the time you read this.

ComicConnect - The folks at ComicConnect bring the goodness. Well, at least, the goodness in terms of raw copies. Two unslabbers here with the highest being a 7.0 FN/VF. Other copy is a VG/FN.

Classic Ingels cover
Classic EC horror story

This was suggested by Nate H., who definitely knows more about horror comics than I do. He kindly gave me a list of suggestions to add to this list, and I am extremely grateful.

This is one that I chose to be important. As many have mentioned before, comic covers are most definitely selling points.

I believe each genre has different criteria. For war comics, many collectors of that genre love covers that portray Hitler, Emperor Hirohito, or Mussolini on them or they gun for the comics that have art panels that Roy Lichtenstein ripped off and made millions in them.

Golden Age Wonder Woman bondage covers are popular and them bondage covers are popular in horror comics too. Actually, the more gruesome the better.

Graham Ingels was superstar artist for EC Comics during the horror era. This issue is considered a classic, but it also published the story, Horror We? Hows Bayou? It is considered EC's best horror story by many, so it goes in this list. 

Haunt of Fear #17 has the cover date of January, 1953. Remember, there are two #17s in the titled series as the numbering was taken up from Gunfighter by issue #15 and then the series rebooted after issue #17. Confusing, I know.

eBay - As of this writing, there is only one copy up on eBay. It is a PGX 5.0. As expected, these original printings are not as plentiful in the secondary market.

Severed heads in panels

We got more Voodoo goriness in this next issue. Dismemberment and severed heads within a horror comic's story were pretty popular images of the time. EC Comics had plenty within their pages.

The comic title Voodoo, published by Farrell, had some disturbing images within its pages as well. Voodoo #6 showed severed heads in a few panels in this issue and it was published February, 1953.

eBay - Different story for this issue. There are two copies here for now, both raw. One claims to be a VF and the other a FN/VF.

ComicConnect - Two copies here with one a CGC and the other a raw, unslabber. CGC copy goes up for auction 12/08/2014, and the raw copy is so low it's not worth mentioning.

Gouging eyes cover

Another disturbing cover by Lou Morales, The Thing #7 saw the act of a man's eyes being gouged on its cover. Not overly graphic for today's standards, it was for the time then. Lou Morales did both the inks and pencil for the cover, and it is one of the more sought out issues within The Thing volume one series.

Charlton Comics published this comic way back in March, 1953, and this is a classic Steve Ditko horror comic cover.

eBay - No luck on eBay right now for this issue. May change in the near future though.

ComicConnect - Two raw copies found here. You'll have to scroll down to find them after clicking the link. Highest is a FN+ and the other copy is only a VG.

ComicLink - Two copies located here. You'll have to scroll after clicking the link. Both copies are raw and the highest is a 7.5 low VF. The other option is a VG+.

Some of these covers aren't all that gruesome, especially when you look at some of the horror covers today with cut off heads and veins sticking out, blood spattered all over and whatnot. However, the illustrations and comic art then paved the way for what would be acceptable today. Remember, the covers are small on the post, but you can click the images to see the larger versions.

A few of these Golden Age gory covers are quite comical to look at, and a bit hard to see why so many during the time were so up in arms about them, but then again, Part 7 to this special section will list even more of the great and classic gruesome story moments or covers during the New Trend of horror comics. It does get worse, or, in the case of horror comic fans, the gore gets better. 

Click the blue PREVIOUS link below if you missed Part 5. Otherwise, click the PART 7 link below for more of this horror key issue comics to invest in goodness!

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