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Monday, October 12, 2015

Horror Key Issues Part 12

 Alright horror comic fans, we've got yet another episode of horror key issues, and this is Part 12. Time to get into the spirit of Halloween where things get creepy and go bump in the night.

Well, that and it's an excuse to dress up and party. Not a huge fan of the dressing up part, but I am a fan of comics.

So we got some more key issues from the horror genre, and most of these will be from the Marvel side since they did take classic monsters, put them in their own series, and expanded on their mythologies the Marvel way. 

This Part 11 link will bring you back in case you missed. If not, here's the next key horror issue comics. Enjoy!

1st appearance of new Swamp Thing
1st issue to 1st headlining series

The original Swamp Thing basically had one appearance before he was revamped into the more familiar version of Alec Holland. Holland would not be the only version of the character though.

In the early years of the Swamp Thing, the character was perceived or depicted as some kind of muck vegetable-type creature. When legendary Alan Moore got hold of the character, he made Swamp Thing an elemental entity that had absorbed Alec Holland's memory and personality after his death.

Holland's version compared to the original would possess the ability of speech. Classic DC Comics' horror-related character in the Bronze Age, this series would also introduce a certain John Constantine as well.

November, 1972 is the cover date to Swamp Thing #1.

1st issue to on-going comic series

Titled The Monster of Frankenstein but simply known as Frankenstein, this series started off adapting the classic horror story by Mary Shelley in the first four issues. After that the character was featured in this series with original stories furthering the adventures of the character.

The series would change the title to Frankenstein Monster after issue #5. The comic was short-lived though and only ran 18 issues. January, 1973 is the cover date for this comic.

1st issue
1st appearance of Lianda

To get around the Comics Code, Marvel begin publishing magazine format comics. This particular format did not fall under the purview of the CCA for some reason.

Thus, more chilling tales, moderate profanity and partial nudity were allowed or written into the magazine format of horror comics. Some of the stories featured in Dracula Lives overlapped with Tomb of Dracula, and some were stand alone tales.

In the case Lianda, she is the old gypsy healer that turned Dracula into a vampire. Mortally wounded by Turac, Dracula was taken to the healer to be saved. Instead, Lianda was a vampire and gave Dracula the curse in revenge of Dracula's persecution of the gypsies.

The one who made Dracula the living dead has her first appearance in this issue right here. Not very well-known to most horror comic fans. Dracula Lives! #1 has the cover date of June, 1973.

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1st issue to series
1st appearance of Mambo Layla 

Marvel did do these magazine horror comics in an attempt to compete with Warren Publishing, who were the kings of the horror magazine format in black and white at the time. After Dracula Lives! Marvel put out the Tales of the Zombie black and white comic magazine.

This comic series dug up an old Golden Age character named Simon Garth who was created by Stan Lee and Bill Everret. His first appearance is in Menace #5 back in 1953.

It's in this series that Simon Garth became more well-known to comic fans. Steve Gerber and Chris Claremont also wrote for the series.

Mambo Layla is the voodoo priestess who turns Simon Garth into a zombie. Garth was born in Birmingham, Alabama and became a work-obsessed executive of Garth Manor Coffee. After firing his former gardener, Garth was kidnapped by the man and delivered to a voodoo cult to be sacrificed.

Layla was in love with Garth and tried to help him escape, but that failed. Forced to turn him into a zombie with a clouded mind, Layla did try to help the character finally be put to rest.

Garth could be controlled by a magic amulet, and when those who possessed it and forced Garth to hurt or even murder those he has come to care for, Simon Garth often enacts terrible vengeance upon them. The last remnants of his soul would further shine for the character until he was able to obtain free-will of the amulet in later tales.

Tales of the Zomibe #1 is cover dated July, 1973.

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1st appearance of Blade 

On the more mainstream side of Marvel Comics, the Tomb of Dracula series introduced a cult favorite comic character that bordered on both the superhero and horror genres. His name is Blade, and in true Marvel fashion, this character is a major foil to the lord of vampires in the comics.

Half-human and half-vampire, Blade was born a daywalker. He actually looked kinda goofy in his early appearances, but the concept was brilliant.

With a penchant of hunting down and destroying his other kind, Blade became one of the most lethal of vampire hunters. In this comic series, Blade was downplayed by co-creator Marv Wolfman. He knew the character would steal the show so decided to pull him back to let the other supporting characters of Frank, Rachel and Quincy hold the spotlight.

Despite this attempt, the character of Blade became a fan-favorite and would continue to prove to be so in Marvel's horror/supernatural comics. I could talk all day about this issue being one of the Bronze Age comics to invest in, but I've done so a few times.

I think you all get it by now, but in a fan sense, there is no discussion. Whether Blade hits the big screen or the small screen again, I'm down with Tomb of Dracula #10.

In fact, I just recently purchased one from Ed this year, and that's one I'm keeping for the long-haul. Tomb of Dracula #10 has the cover date of July, 1973.

1st issue to comic series
1st appearance of Solomon Kane in comics

Robert E. Howard, the creator of Conan, also created the pulp fiction character of Solomon Kane. Though this character first appeared in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in the late 1920s, his first comic book appearance is surprisingly in this horror magazine.

This late 16th century, early 17th century Puritan wanders the earth with the single-minded goal of destroying evil. The story in Monsters Unleashed #1 is actually an adaptation of Howard's "Skulls in the Stars" story.

Solomon Kane would eventually meet Dracula in Dracula Lives! #3. Not typically a horror character, Solomon Kane's travels does have him cross paths with various horror characters like vampires, ghosts, and the occult.

However the titled series was dedicated to the horror genre in which stories of Frankenstein and werewolves, and even the Man-Thing had stories in this series. August, 1973 is the cover date for Monsters Unleashed #1.

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1st Werewolf by Night crossover
1st Werewolf by Night & Spider-Man meeting

Spider-Man and Werewolf by Night? Apparently so. Although there was a horror resurgence during the Bronze Age, superheroes obviously still dominated the market.

So it makes sense that Werewolf by Night was integrated into the superhero world quite early. Actually, this was three issues before Ghost Rider would come across the Web Head as well.

This issue sees Werewolf by Night and Spidey duke it out before they eventually team up. Marvel Team Up #12 has the cover date of August, 1973.

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While there was a horror resurgence during the Bronze Age, it's still apparent that the superhero genre of comics was still the dominant force in the comic market. Unlike the genre during its height in the Golden Age, horror comics never surpassed the superhero genre.

While Marvel did launch specific and more traditional horror characters like Dracula and Werewolf by Night, they were not immune to the larger Marvel Universe. Werewolf by Night did cross over into the superhero world, and so would Dracula.

Marvel did capitalize on specific and classic horror monsters like werewolves, vampires, and Frankenstein's monster and made them stars of their own comic series. DC Comics neglected to do so even though they did put out anthology horror comics that often featured classic monsters.

For some strange reason, they did not go the magazine route like Marvel did to put out more adult content in the horror genre. DC Comics also didn't really expand all that much on newer horror titles.

They basically concentrated most of their efforts on sustaining their older horror titles. Anyways, Part 13 is ready so click the link below.

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