The Pre-Code Horror of Myron Fass in Beware, Up for Auction

Trojan Publishing was originally formed by Harry Donenfeld to publish The Lone Ranger Magazine in 1937.  Donenfeld, best remembered for becoming a co-owner of DC Comics, had his hand in a number of other comic book publishers throughout the 1940s and early 1950s.  Youthful Publications was another part of this constellation of publishing companies with loose connections to Donenfeld. One principle of the company, William Friedman, had acted as Donenfeld's lawyer on numerous occasions, while another, Adrian Lopez, had previously co-founded a magazine publisher with Donenfeld.  Comic book titles sometimes shifted between various parts of this constellation, and the Pre-Code Horror title Beware was one of these.  With 18 issues published between Youthful Publications (three issues), Trojan Magazines (14 issues) and a single Comics Code era issue from the unrelated Merit Publications, there's 12 of the 18 issues of the Beware run up for auction in the 2022 June 26-27 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122226 at Heritage Auctions.  The Beware run is notable in part for containing early art from notorious comics industry figure Myron Fass, who would later be involved in his own string of historically interesting newsstand publishing operations.

Beware #11 (Trojan, 1954) featuring Myron Fass drawing himself.
Beware #11 (Trojan, 1954) featuring Myron Fass drawing himself.

A talented and noteworthy artist during this era, Fass is best remembered for a number of other exploits in publishing during later decades.  In 1966, Fass's MF Enterprises published a character using the name Captain Marvel, prompting a legal battle between him and Marvel's Martin Goodman, over the use of the word "Marvel".  Goodman eventually settled the suit.  Fass also used names such as Plastic Man and Dr. Fate, prompting a legal response from DC Comics as well.

Around this same time, Fass leaned into his horror comics history by partnering with Stanley R. Harris to launch horror magazine publisher Eerie Publications.  Fass and Harris would eventually split up after some legendarily pointed disputes, reportedly, with both men going on to develop newsstand magazine empires.  Harris of course launched Harris Publications, while Fass's Countrywide Publications put out a range of classic 1970s/80s newsstand fodder ranging from UFO and wrestling magazines to gun magazines.

Before all that, Myron Fass was a talented artist, and there are several examples of that in 12 of the 18 issues of the Beware run up for auction in the 2022 June 26-27 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122226 at Heritage Auctions.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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