Search This Site

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Horror Key Issues Part 9

Yet another haunting season is here, a time of witches, goblins, ghosts, demons, vampires, werewolves, and monsters prowl the night. Halloween is coming, and with it brings Part 9 to this Horror key issues series.

This edition will take up where I left off in Part 5. Part 6 through Part 8 dealt with some of the most classic gruesome covers and stories during the horror heyday of Golden Age comics that got the establishment in an uproar.

Part 9 will bring it back to a more regular format, and will slide out of the Golden Age era and briefly slide into the Silver Age of horror comics.

The Thing! #12
1st Steve Ditko cover

Steve Ditko has already gotten quite a bit of love already. His first professional comic work was already featured in Part 5 of this series, and now here we are with Thing! #12.

So fans of Ditko, this should be a Golden Age key issue to hunt down for sure. You wanna talk about under-valued? This one is only listed at $1900 for low NMs in the current Overstreet, and I seriously doubt there are an over-abundance of copies out there.

CGC Census only has 22 total submissions for this book also. Uh, yup! This lil baby I can definitely call under-valued without a hitch.

Cover date is February, 1954 for this monster of a horror key issue comic.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st Steve Ditko Atlas (Marvel) work

Though the Comics Code Authority was already in effect during this time, Atlas still continued publishing weird tales of mystery, Sci-Fi, and definitely water-down or toned down horror stories in Journey Into Mystery. It was an anthology comic after all.

So issue #33 here, we have Steve Ditko's first work for Atlas Comics, the precursor to Marvel Comics. Most comic fans today know Steve Ditko as the co-creator of Spider-Man, but the man, the myth, and the legend did quite a bit of artwork for horror related titles.

Though the story he drew for in this issue called "There'll Be Some Changes Made" was more science fiction than horror, the titled series still featured stories that had some horror elements in it. These stories, however, weren't straight-up horror though, so I won't be talking much about titles like these.

Another under-valued key issue? Uhmmm...yep! Only $1050 for a low NM?

Not that many slabbed copies out there, and CGC Census only has a total of 9 graded to date! April, 1956 is the cover date for Journey Into Mystery #33.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st Twilight Zone comic

I think most people know of the TV show the Twilight Zone. When the show was popular, Dell bought the license to start publishing comics based off the TV series.

Now, traditionally, I don't really consider the Twilight Zone horror. Sure there were some stories that teetered on the horror element, but to me, it was pretty much a fantasy and science fiction genre.

Still, the show is iconic, and I might as well throw this issue in here. Dell would eventually sell the rights to Goldkey, in which the publisher would make an actual series of the book.

This comic was published May, 1961.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st issue

Because of the Comics Code Authority, DC's horror titles like House of Mystery and House of Secrets reformatted its content to the mystery, science fiction, and suspense genres. Many of the publishers then were distancing themselves from the genre at the time.

Even Marvel somewhat did so during most of the Silver Age. As mentioned before, there were horror elements to some of the issues of Journey Into Mystery, Strange Tales, Tales to Astonish, etc after the code was established, but they weren't anything near the same level of the pre-code horror comics.

While Marvel and DC definitely led the super-hero genre during the Silver Age, some comic companies somewhat preserved the genre. This issue is actually an adaptation of the classic 1931 Dracula movie starring Bela Lugosi.

The next issue would feature original content, but Dracula was somehow transformed into a costume wearing superhero-type character. There would be other companies who would thumb their noses at the Comics Code Authority and publish more traditional horror themed comics during the Silver Age, but during this time, horror comics would not be anywhere near the level that EC Comics produced during the Golden Age.

October - December, 1962 is the cover date for Dracula #1 by Dell Comics.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st issue to horror series
1st appearance of Uncle Creepy

One of the publishing companies that kept the straight-up horror comic alive during the Silver Age was Warren Publishing. Creepy was anthology horror mag strictly devoted to the genre, and Uncle Creepy was the host of this black and white comic.

Because the comics modeled themselves after EC Comics, this title and Eerie were well regarded by fans of the time. Regular artists of this title and Eerie included both Steve Ditko, Neal Adams, Johnny Craig, Alex Toth, and Frank Frazzetta just to name a few.

Creepy #1 has the cover date of January, 1964.

1st issue based on TV show

Do they still have reruns of this show on TV? Use to be part of my programming whenever I was grounded for whole summers as a troublesome lad. Although a comedy, it was horror-themed, but this is featured here to show what came out during the time.

I'd actually throw this comic under the humor genre than the the horror genre, but whatever. Goldkey put out this title along with Ripley's Believe It or Not! during the Silver Age. This comic series lasted 16 issues.

January, 1965 is the cover date for The Munsters #1.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

While many of these during the era aren't straight up horror comics like the Munsters, which is a horror themed comedy, they are featured here just to show the impact that the Comics Code Authority had on the genre. The CCA even banned vampires, ghouls and werewolves from being depicted in comic stories at the time.

Wow, no vampires or werewolves, eh? Gruesome scenes or devices used for torture were also banned. Publishers like Warren and Eerie Publications refused to adhere to the CCA's comic guidelines and kept true horror comics alive during the period.

Click the PART 10 link below to continue with this horror key issues series.


  1. Thank you for picking this back up Mayhem. I love the Munsters gold key! holy awesome! Since you've touched on the Steve Ditko subject I was wondering if you could shine some light on an awesome book i picked up at a yard sale several months back. Found, "Captain 3-D #1, by Harvey", I was immediately drawn to the Kirby pencils. got home and started doing research on it and also found that its Ditkos either first, second, or third published work, ever. just got it back from cbcs not long ago, and it states that its his 3rd published work, (came back a 9.0 by the way!) Anyway i was wondering if you knew which one was accurate on the 1st 2nd or 3rd work? And why this book isn't worth way more?

    Thanx man! Best wishes!!

    1. Ok let's see if I don't mess this up.

      Daring Love #1 has the first published artwork of Steve Dikto but it's his 2nd professionally drawn story. Fantastic Fears #4 is his first professional work and was sold to Stanmore Pub but the story was sold again to Ajax/Farrell and thus published after Daring Love #1.

      Black Magic #27 (Prize) is his 2nd published artwork.

      Captain 3-D #1 is his third published artwork and is tied with Strange Fantasy #9. Wow, awesome yard sale snag! Well, these early Ditko works are under-valued because most of the collecting market doesn't really know all that much about them.

      Most equate Steve Ditko with Spider-Man, but a lot of his Horror related stuff is bypassed unless you're a mega horror fan or Steve Ditko buff. I'm not really a horror fan, but I am a fan of Steve Ditko but I'm not a Steve Ditko buff or guru. So I can see why these gems here are often over-looked. Plus, early Steve Ditko stuff, especially in the horror genre...they are not easy finds at all.

    2. Heck, I might as well be more clear...Fantastic Fears #5 (sorry, typo in above comment) was published after Daring Love #1, Black Magic #27, and Captain 3-D and Strange Fantasy #9 as well.

    3. Thanx for clearing that up mayhem! u rock!