Thursday, 10 October 2013

Your Bronze Age Marvel Horror Fave?

Marvel Spotlight #12, the Son of Satan, Herb Trimpe, horsies
As I prowl the graveyards of Sheffield, people often say to me, "Steve, you really do have a Lovecraftian capacity for bringing fear, terror and horror into our lives."

And I say, "Blimey, I didn't know anyone had even noticed my attempts at busking. And there was me thinking my version of In A Broken Dream brings a dimension to the song that Rod Stewart could only ever dream of."

"No, you silly sausage," they declare. "We mean your legendary tales of terror and horror what have made your name in this town and are readily available from Amazon and all other reputable book sellers."

And that brings us to my latest post. With Halloween a mere few weeks away, it's time to ask the question that refuses to remain unasked. Who was your favourite Marvel horror character of the 1970s?

With the Bronze Age easing of the Comics Code's restrictions, Marvel were free to bring us terrors that left our nerves in tatters and tingled our spines to the point of snapping.

Well, not really. The truth is their 1970s horror mags would have struggled to frighten the most timid of kittens but that doesn't mean I didn't love them. We had the werewolf by night, Dracula, the monster of Frankenstein, Ghost Rider, Morbius, Man-Wolf, Satana and a whole bunch more. But who was your favourite?

For me, there's no doubt Tomb of Dracula was Marvel's best horror comic of the 1970s but, in terms of characters, I have to go for the Son of Satan. He had a trident, he had fangs. He had pointy ears and his dad was Satan. If you couldn't love all that, then what could you love? Not only that but his first two adventures were drawn by Happy Herb Trimpe at the peak of his powers. Tortured and strained did his work on the strip look, proving SOS was the character he was born to draw.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the matter. What are yours?

7 comments:

Doug said...

I think I find Herb's pencils in that first SoS issue scary. I'll have to revisit it. Thanks for the excuse!

Doug

Colin Jones said...

I didn't really think much of any of them and preferred reading about real-life ghost stories like Borley Rectory which scared the living daylights out of me. If I had to choose it would be Dracula simply out of fond memories of the Marvel UK weekly, but I really liked the Mike Ploog art on Frankenstein. The Marvel horror characters always seemed like pseudo superheroes to me, that's all Ghost Rider and Son of Satan were. Steve, I see you too are now using the dreaded phrase "bronze age",until recently the only Bronze Age I'd heard of was the one in antiquity.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

For me, Adventure into Fear #12, 1972, starring Man-thing, is easily one of the best horror/mystery stories ever. In a mere 15 pages, Steve Gerber, Jim Starlin and Rich Buckler told a story (No Choice of Colors!) that was reaming with psychological horror. That simple story left quite an impression on my 12 year-old mind and sold me completely on Man-Thing. For me, this was simply one of the best stories ever of Man-thing. They sure don't write them like that anymore!

Michael Trani (Montreal)

themiddlespaces said...

I'd have to say Son of Satan. Does Son o Satan count?

As a kid, the idea that there'd be a comic about the Son of Satan and that he'd be a hero(!) filled me with delight and dread.

I just didn't know what to think about it. It felt wrong, but I couldn't resist - which is just what I think Marvel was banking on. I still hope to get my hands on those issues one day.

Anonymous said...

Has to be Tomb of Dracula for me as well, an excellent series with amazing art by Gene Colan - whilst I don't think Marvel (or DC) really got it right with their colour horror lines in the 70s , probably because of the restrictions in the comic code (I think they were even unable to call Zombies "Zombies" in the colour books etc) there were some lovely little one off stories in particular a couple of Man-Thing stories that ran in "Astonishing Tales" (issue 13 I think) with Ka-Zar as the main strip of all things. I recall a lovely Neal Adams B&W and "yellow" (unless that is my copy)Man-Thing tale that appeared here that was, well... astonishing, Russ Health did a similar Man-Thing tale. John Romita snr did a really nice little b&w Satanna piece that appeared in Vampire Tales mag that was reprinted in Marvel Premiere 27(featuring Satanna)all worth looking out. But as noted previously Marvel tried to make their characters super-heroes anyone remember the Legion of Monsters??? despite all that I did have a soft spot for some of these character like Golem, Brother Voodoo & Morbius then again there was Gabriel Devil-Hunter and Modred the Mystic!!!! McScotty

Dougie said...

I'd have to go with the Romita Satana vignette and Gil Kane's origin for Morbius.
I also have a fondness for Chris Claremont's Dracula story, drawn by Don Heck. It was a part of his N'Garai mythos which appeared in X-Men too.

R. W. Watkins said...

Other than the reprint titles (i.e., Vault of Evil, Monsters on the Prowl), I thought that Marvel's horror mags too much resembled the superhero mags. This is yet another pitfall of the 'Marvel Universe'. I'd have to say that Tomb of Dracula wins out overall, though. I have only a couple of issues, but I liked the atmosphere and the artwork. Still, I much preferred DC's and Charlton's attempts at creeping me out in the '70s. ER Cruz and Steve Ditko had a lot to do with that.

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