Dial "F" for FRANKENSTEIN!
First up is "Journey into Fear" #15 from that fine Canadian publisher Superior. That art in this issue looks like more "Iger shop" assembly line stuff, but the STORIES!!!!
Hoo-hah! Journey into insanity is more like it. Who wrote this stuff? Delirious and illogical, the four stories in here are like bizarre fever dreams from hell, and yet, they have an almost self-deprecating quality, as though the writer and artist were giving you a metaphorical "sly wink"... as if, it didn't need to make TOO MUCH sense, because it's just a STORY... a scary story, but still fiction designed to thrill in its unreality.
Apparently, this book (or panels there-of) is featured in the notorious "Seduction of the Innocent", but i can't tell you which story or page. i looked through this puppy real hard and couldn't find ANYTHING that was really offensive or gory, so i'm at a bit of a loss as to what was so disturbing about this particular book. But i also like Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci movies, so i may be a bit biased. One nice, tasty Pre-code horror comic, comin' up! Hey, i promised you some Halloween style horror, so here 'tis!
And here's another Pre-Code gem... Black Magic #25 with killer Simon & Kirby material! i'm speechless over this amazing book!'Nuff Said!
Moving right along, let's have another look at the seedy side of horror mags from the 70's. Warren was good, some would say Skywald was better, but those guys over at Eerie Publications were doing some VERY INTERESTING stuff. Initially just reprinting Pre-code material, newer material started to appear in the line by the early 70's. Frequent reprints abound and there's no argument from anybody that these guys were just pumping it out by the square yard, with little of no thought for quality. Grinding it out fer sure, but still having a raw power and intensity shared only with the undergrounds. From additional research, i've been able to deduce that a lot of the newer stuff seems to be by a lot of ex-Marvel staffers and free-lancers from the Gold and Silver Ages including Carl Burgos, Ezra Jackson, Dick Ayers and Chic Stone. but sadly, a lot of this stuff is unsigned... Orscar Fraga, "Reynoso" and a few others. Suffice it to say that these guys were not just repackaging and reprinting old Pre-Code horror material, they were re-working it, having it rewritten and redrawn, and i have a KILLER example to prove it! Oh yes, this is gonna be fun!
Witches Tales from August 1970 features all 3 elements for your perusal, an AMAZING gore-fest from "Darling" Dick Ayers (who has stated in print that he enjoyed the work) - "A Corpse for the Coffin", the chilling "Thing in the Cellar" by Chic Stone and a choice Pre-Code reprint "The Tiger's Paw" : ".... it was a Voodoo sign and it meant CERTAIN DOOM!"
The February issue from earlier the same year feature 2 stories by Mr Ayers, in fine form (he was apparently known around the Eerie offices as the "eye-popoing artist"!) plus some other nasty work by unfortunately unknown hands. Grim and gritty, we will never see their like again, and yet they are
too strange to remain buried!
But let's not forget the ubiquitious Chic Stone, who was penciling and inking all over the place in the late 60's and 70's - Marvel, Archie, Tower, DC plus magazine and advertising work, you name it. Plus he did about half a dozen stories for these guys, and Terror Tales from September 1970 features one of his most notorious "The Slimy Mummy".... again - WHO WRITES THIS STUFF? WHAT ARE THEY ON?
This piece of weirdness is backed up with a nice Pre-Code story, "Experiment in Terror".
Bizarre, yet thrilling!
And then there's "Tales of Voodoo" from January 1971 with "The Spider", signed by A.... (Dick Ayers) and "The Witch Doctor" by Chic Stone. Not to mention the unkown art on "Thing in the Parlour" and "Voodoo Witch". And what about that cover? There's no SF inside the book, so what that's got to do with Voodoo i'll NEVER know! Can you say demented?
Weird? Gross?Hey, it's Halloween! Whaddaya gonna do?
"Weird Worlds" from August 1971 features Ayers on "Witches' Revenge", and the rest of
the ish is so-so horror, but the December 1970 issue seems to be all SF, and wotta treat it is.
The uncredited art on the first story "Space Vampires" is a very passable "Joe Orlando" kinda style... very nice! "Atomic Monsters" is cool too! Dick Ayers does "The Corpse" a horror story, which along with a couple of reprints, were out of place with the rest of the issue.
A nice SF themed issue, content wise!
"Weird" from February 1970 - "Sewer Werewolves" and "The Witch's House is Haunted" by Dick Ayers are MASTERPIECES and the rest of the stories ain't too bad either.... grim, unrelenting, nasty get the ink on your fingers kinda horror mag stuff.... i DEFINITELY would have had to hide this as a kid, as i did the Warren and Skywald books....
i've omitted some of the material from these (and other) books for 2 reasons:
a) They're pretty much cr*p. Take my word for it. Really.
b) Saves on my bandwidth costs. i really don't want to be paying for lots of bandwidth for the sake of some misguided sense of complete-ism. As i said, it's not all worthy.
But speaking of WORTHY!!!! WEB OF EVIL #3 by Jack Cole!
Hooboy! i love this book! Now THIS is a horror comic! Did i say that i love this book!? Sharp, crisp art, great stories... lovely lovely stuff.
Definitely CLASSIC Pre-Code Horror!
Also, here's a story from EERIE Publications called
"The Monster"(Weird Vampire Tales is not where it first appeared, i'm sure). If you compare it to the first story in this fine Quality comic book.... well it kinda proves my earlier point about them rehashing old horror comics, don't ya think? Hmmmm?
And here's a whole BUNCH of Charlton monster comics by Steverino and Joe Gill, and they're all top notch reading!
Gorgo #3! A CLASSIC!
AND Konga #5 too!
AND TO CAP IT OFF....TA DA - Fantastic Giants reprinting Konga #1 and Gorgo #1 plus 2 short "weirdies"! 64 wunnerful pages of Steve Ditko & Joe Gill! WOW!
There, that should keep you busy for a while! *phew* Share and enjoy!
PS - i don't really know what to make of these two sets of items either.
....my world seems to be getting weirder, how's yours?