L.B. Cole and Jay Disbrow's Face of Death in Spook #26, Up for Auction
1953 Star Publications Pre-Code Horror release Spook #26 features a lurid cover by L.B. Cole for Jay Disbrow's interior tale "Face of Death".
A wonderfully lurid cover by L.B. Cole paired with a supernaturally weird interior story by Jay Disbrow is a match made in Pre-Code Horror heaven (or hell, as the case may be). Cole covers of this era are unfailingly a treat that pokes you right in the eyeballs. And since he made a point during this era to be particularly inspired by the interior story he was cover featuring, and Disbrow's strange horror tales brought out the best in him. Disbrow horror stories for Star Publications have become legend for his unique take on often Lovecraftian themes, while Pre-Code L.B. Cole covers are always in demand. The cover feature Face of Death in Spook #26 provides us with a look at the best of both artists, on a story that combines both horror and crime. This is a package that only Cole and Disbrow could have created, and there's a Spook #26 (Star Publications, 1953) Condition: VG- up for auction in the 2023 March 5-6 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122310 at Heritage Auctions.
With the heat turning up on the comic book industry in 1948, Curtis Publishing, who published comics via their Novelty Press imprint, had found themselves getting caught up in the controversy over the industry during that period. Best known as the publisher of the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal, Curtis decided to throw in the towel on comic books by 1949, selling their titles and inventory to Star Publications, a company formed by Cole and lawyer Gerhard Kramer. The company leveraged this inventory, along with other reprint material from Fox Feature Syndicate titles, to create a noteworthy line of comics, adding Cole's legendarily eye-catching covers and new material from the likes of Jay Disbrow.
Jay Disbrow contributed to around 45 comic books for Star Publications 1950-1954, across the company's titles, focused on horror and romance. In Face of Death, a former gangster takes revenge on the mob boss who ordered his murder by returning from the beyond to torment the mobster and everyone who gets near him. This spectacularly disturbing tale is available in Spook #26 (Star Publications, 1953) Condition: VG- up for auction in the 2023 March 5-6 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122310 at Heritage Auctions. If you've never bid at Heritage Auctions before, you can get further information, you can check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.