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Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Speak Your Brain! Part III. Horror Comics.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon
***

What's that? It's time, once more, to plunge into the feature that's tearing the internet apart?

The one where the first person to comment sets the topic for discussion in the comments section below?

Whom could turn down such an offer?

Whom?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about “Horror Comics”?

EC, DC (House of Mystery, Swamp Thing etc), Marvel (Tomb of Dracula, Tower of Shadows, Monsters on the Prowl, Tales of tge Zombie etc), Atlas (Devilina, Bog Beast, Son of Dracula, Tarantula, etc) , Charlton (Ditko, Sutton, Staton, etc), Warren (Vampirella and pals), House of Hammer (and any other UK Horror comics I’m not aware of), etc etc .

Discuss!

b.t.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Before people start on the horror comics, I have to say thanks to everyone that participated in that art survey. My local village paintings seem far more popular than anything else and the one of the local pub in the snow was a runaway favourite. If anyone wants to see the results they're at https://artisticactuary.blogspot.com/2021/06/h1-2001-survey-results.html

Oh, and sorry to break it to you Sean but your favourite, Long Gone, was based on Greg Allman's son in a music video. Now you know how I feel when I say dinner was good and the missus tells me that there was some crap like mustard or ketchup in it.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the topic, Bt.

I'm a big lover of horror and I was a big lover of DC's horror comics. Easily my favourite was Weird War Tales, despite me not liking war comics.

Apart from Tomb of Dracula, Marvel's horror books never did much for me. Probably because they were, for the most part, just super-hero comics in disguise.

I loved Charlton. They had an unassuming charm and quirkiness that appealed to me. My favourite of theirs was Midnight Tales.

I'd say that Atlas' horror comics were on a par with the rest of their output.

You're welcome, Dangermash.

Redartz said...

Good topic, b.t.!
In my younger days horror comics didn't really appeal to me. But in the past several years I've acquired a fascination with them; especially those in the anthology format. Marvel had some nice attempts with "Chamber of Darkness " and "Tower of Shadows ", but they succumbed to the reprint doom. DC ,on the other hand, was quite at home with the genre. Literally, in "House of Mystery " and "House of Secrets ". Love to rifle through these books in search of great artwork, which one often finds. Just this past weekend I nabbed a "HoM" dollar giant comic: gorgeous Neal Adams cover and some good stuff inside as well (particularly a sharp Alex Nino tale).

Aside from the Big Two, there's also some good reading in Archie's "Sorcery" and "Madhouse ".

As a kid I'd look through Gold Key's "True Ghost Stories ". Wondered if they were actually true...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Nice topic bt!

Well, ole Charlie never read a horror comic, unless it was like the only thing laying around at the barber shop or such.

I have distant memories of reading some DC material in the later 60s as a kid.

BUT!

I started getting the newspaper known as The Buyers Guide to Comic Fandom which had a good 40 (?) year run and was quite thick with numerous articles on comics old and new. Often the die hards would write articles or letters on EC comics from the 1950s. Sometime in the mid 1970s an entrepreneur named Russ Cochran started reprinting and selling them for like $1 each new. And I bought a bunch and never regretted it! Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, Shock Suspense Stories, Weird Science...

EC took a back seat to nobody, nowhere when it came to producing horror (and sci fi) material.

As I look back on it know, turning 60 in a few weeks, I realize that reading The Buyers Guide in the mid-1970s was only 20 years after EC shut down. Now it's almost 70 years after EC shutdown and I doubt anyone in my LCBS under the age of 40 - 50 has an idea about EC? That's a pity.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Not to detour, just FWIW:

The Buyers Guide for Comic Fandom was published weekly and had 1699 issues. It was a rather thick newspaper in 3 -4 sections full of articles and sale advertisements. Maybe it was 100 pages?

The front page was a big piece of original art and sometimes famous artists would contribute.

But it was only there, and Steranko's History, that one could really become broadly educated on comics in depth. Hence my learning about EC Horror Comics (and Carl Barks, Redartz!)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comics_Buyer%27s_Guide

McSCOTTY said...

In my early teens I used to like horror mags like Psycho ( and to a lesser extent Nightmare and Scream) which had a short lived cult status at my old school . I also enjoyed Charlton comics, they were always fun especially if they had art by the great Tom Sutton and Ditko.

Of the big two as noted above Marvel tended to have their horror titles focus on superhero type characters like Morbius, although the Vampire tale version of the character had a really horrific tale with Sutton art ( I recall a gruesome illo of a hanged man). DCs House of Mystery/Secrets and similar titles were always a good read though hardly horror.

Steve, I thought for horror the 1970s Atlas weren't that bad. I enjoyed Bog Beast and although only 1 issue and in the Marvel "hero horror" mold their Son of Dracula comic was interesting and Weird Tales of the Macabre had it's good points .

Good call by Redartz I had forgotten about Red Circles / Archie's Sorcery etc were great reads

Anonymous said...

I'd just like to qualify the distinction that's been made between superhero stories and horror stories - although it's true as a generalization, there are exceptions. For a start, in Spider-man, Carrion is possibly one of the most horrific villains in Marvel, notwithstanding the often mentioned fact that he attacked Peter Parker, knowing he was Spider-man. As a kid, I found this story quite disturbing!

Phillip

Steve W. said...

McScotty, I had one issue of Nightmare. Reading it for the first time was certainly a memorable experience.

Charlie, thanks for the link. Having to plough through 100 pages a week seems fairly demanding.

Red, I have always wondered why DC were able to pull off anthology horror comics but Marvel never developed the knack.

I'm fairly certain DC's Ghosts was always marketed as containing true tales of the supernatural, as well. I'm proud to say I eventually saw through their ruse.

Phillip, something DC was always good at was "man of mystery" heroes, like the Spectre, Phantom Stranger and the Shadow who sort of floated around on the fringes of the horror genre.

Anonymous said...

Steve:
When you say that Atlas’ horror comics were “on a par with the rest of their output’, I take that mean that they…

…were hap-hazardly conceived and sketchily executed…

…were often blatantly lifted from other properties (or a mash-up of two or more)…

…were sometimes well-drawn (and ehh, sometimes not)…

…featured lead characters who were at best sort of unlikeable, and at worst utterly appalling and loathsome…

…were, for all of that, deliriously entertaining.

Because, yes, I couldn’t agree more :)

b.t.



Steve W. said...

Bt, I think that pretty much sums it up.

Anonymous said...

Marvel’s horror anthologies TOWER OF SHADOWS and CHAMBER OF DARKNESS both had some terrific art and frankly, some so-so stories — pretty light on the “horror” elements, leaning more toward fantasy/magic and inexplicable phenomena in the “Twilight Zone / Night Gallery” mode. They did feature a few Lovecraft adaptations, and the occasional mad scientist or werewolf. Marvel “Big Guns” Kirby, Steranko, Neal Adams, John Buscema and Gene Colan all did a story or two, as did Tom Sutton and young Barry Smith, and Wally Wood wrote and drew a handful of fun sword and sorcery adventures. But both titles went all-reprint early on and showcased the Giant Monster stuff by Kirby and Ditko. Same thing happened a few years later : CHAMBER OF CHILLS and JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY started out with All-New material but switched over to 50s reprints after just a few issues. This time around, the all-new stories were mostly drawn by Up And Coming hotshots like Frank Brunner, Craig Russell and Howard Chaykin, and there was a distinct emphasis on adaptations of Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch, etc. There’s enough good material from the short-lived runs of all four titles to fill a decent sized trade paperback. I’d buy a copy.

b.t.