pre-code horror Archives

Beware #11 (Trojan, 1954) featuring Myron Fass drawing himself.
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[...]
Adventures Into Darkness #7 (Standard, 1952)
Perhaps best known for titles such as Exciting Comics and Startling Comics, publisher Ned Pines put out 1211 comic book issues across 117 titles from 1939 to 1959, using imprints including Better, Nedor, and Standard.  As those numbers imply, many of those titles were short-lived, and like many comic book publishers, Pines was quick to[...]
Red Seal Comics featuring Paul Gattuso covers (Chesler, 1946).
Along with Gus Ricca, distinctive stylist Paul Gattuso is one of the key artists who gave Harry Chesler's comic books their distinctive look.  Gattuso worked for Chesler beginning around 1944, on titles such as Dynamic Comics, Punch Comics and Scoop Comics among others.  The character Black Dwarf who appeared in Spotlight Comics and Red Seal Comics is perhaps his best-remembered[...]
Eerie #2 (Avon, 1951)
The Pre-Code Horror period of 1950s comics is full of weird and underappreciated gems While we've recently discussed how the ACG series Adventures into the Unknown is considered the first ongoing horror title, the first issue of that series is not considered the first horror comic book.  That distinction belongs to Eerie #1 from publisher[...]
Ghost #2 (Fiction House, 1952)
EC Comics titles like Haunt of Fear, Shock SuspenStories, and Tales from the Crypt; Fawcett title This Magazine is Haunted; and even enduring Marvel Comics titles like Strange Tales have all transcended the politically-motivated witch hunt stigma of the 1950s to be considered well-crafted classics in the modern day.  But a few of those 65[...]
Dark Mysteries #19 (Master Publications, 1954)
Heritage's auction blurb for Dark Mysteries #19 almost reads like a checklist of elements that soon brought Pre-Code Horror comic books to the attention of critics like Fredric Wertham and to the United States Senate:  "classic bondage, skull, water wheel torture cover surrounds an injury-to-eye panel and art."  It almost seems like the publisher or[...]
Adventures Into The Unknown #5 (ACG, 1949)
And most of the debut issue and some other early issue stories were written by horror and science fiction legend Frank Belknap Long.  There's a nice group of the Pre-Code Horror era of Adventures of the Unknown, including an Adventures Into The Unknown #1 (ACG, 1948) up for auction in the 2022 March 31 The Black[...]
Frankenstein Comics #20 (Prize, 1952)
Frankenstein", a very large, very strong dude with a nice sweater and a better haircut.  This version eventually fell under Nazi control, but then snapped out of that control and worked undercover as a Nazi to fight against them.  All the while, Briefer was taking the continuity of the character very seriously, and periodically reminded[...]
Blue Bolt #115 featuring L.B. Cole cover, (Star Publications, 1952).
Cole once said, one of the premiere cover artists of the Golden Age and beyond. "If it's a horror cover and you have a big black background, just put in some squibbly line and the reader will see it as a fang, or a claw, or a staring eye, and will read the most horrible aberrations[...]
Witches Tales #25 (Harvey, 1954)
Witches Tales #25 (Harvey, 1954) is a classic among two different groups of people for two different reasons that involve the same story.  Pre-Code Horror collectors love that classic terrifying yet fascinating cover by Warren Kremer, which purports to represent the interior feature named "What's Happening at… 8:30 PM," while there's been a lot of[...]
Witchcraft #5 cover by Kelly Freas (Avon, 1953)
According to GCD data, they published Kelly Freas' very first work in comics, and it's a doozy.  There's a nice copy of the Pre-Code Horror gem which features that classic Kelly Freas painted good girl cover on Witchcraft #5 (Avon, 1953) CGC VG/FN 5.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction in the 2022 March[...]
Black Cat Mystery #37 (Harvey, 1952)
Why? What could cause a transformation such as this? The ghastly creature of ebony has prepared stories so chilling, so weird, so wild — that it purrs with the satisfaction with a job well done!" Such was the introduction to the letters column of Black Cat Mystery #37, which unusually enough appeared on the first[...]
Voodoo Annual #1 (Farrell, 1952)
Farrell Publication's Voodoo Annual #1 is a comic book that Pre-Code Horror collectors rarely want to part with, and it's easy to see why.  It's a scarce 100-page giant square-bound edition comic book that includes Matt Baker art from the height of the notoriously-difficult Pre-Code era.  The annual is part of publisher Farrell Publications 1952-1955[...]
War Against Crime #10(EC, 1949) featuring the first appearances of the Vault of Horror and the Vault Keeper.
The most famous comic book horror line of all time, EC Comics horror did not start with a jump scare.  Like the Pre-Code Horror genre itself, the line practically snuck up on its readership in late 1949 and early 1950.  The now-infamous Crypt Keeper and Crypt of Terror first appeared in Crime Patrol #15, cover-dated[...]
Amazing Mysteries #32, Promise Collection, Marvel 1949.
Lovecraft's Shadow Over Innsmouth.  Although the Amazing Mysteries series would be short-lived, the series that did pick up where Marvel Mystery leaves off, Marvel Tales, would continue Marvel's fledgling horror line. While Eerie Comics #1 is widely considered the first horror comic book, and ACG's Adventures into the Unknown is considered the first comic book horror series,[...]
Marvel Tales #97 (Atlas, 1950)
Marvel is not the first publisher to come to mind when we think of the Pre-Code Horror era of the late 1940s through the early 1950s, but perhaps it should be.  Not only did the publisher enter the horror genre in earnest before EC Comics, it was also the driving force of the market —[...]
Voodoo Annual #1 (Farrell, 1952)
Farrell Publication's Voodoo Annual #1 is a comic book that Pre-Code Horror collectors rarely want to part with, and it's easy to see why.  It's a scarce 100-page giant squarebound edition comic book that includes Matt Baker art from the height of the notoriously-difficult Pre-Code era.  Although the title is part of publisher Farrell Publications[...]
Mysteries #6 (Superior Comics, 1954)
The incredibly obscure Mysteries Pre-Code Horror series is very tough to get, even by PCH standards.  Its publisher Superior Publications was a Candian company that reprinted a wide range of material from U.S publishers, but also created original material — sometimes for distribution in the U.S., but sometimes for distribution in Canada only.  Like all[...]
Marvel Tales #116 (Atlas, 1953) featuring Werewolf by Night.
"Prototype" probably isn't quite the right name for the concept.  It's often just a name, a visual look, or a super-power that was recycled for later use — perhaps sometimes knowingly, perhaps not.  Still, prototypes do have their appeal.  It's another little hook into understanding comics history.  While Marvel Tales #116 isn't widely considered a[...]
Pre-Code Horror in Haunted Thrills #13.
It's a shame that the cover artist of Haunted Thrills #13 is unknown because the skeletal in-your-face symbol of death on this PCH classic is driving the petrified couple in the backseat of that car straight to Hell.  Throw in some equally creepy interior stories like "Death Do Us Part" featuring a supernatural baboon and[...]
Chilling Tales #16 (Youthful Magazines, 1953)
Chilling Tales #16 is the best of both worlds when it comes to Pre-Code Horror.  It's got a wonderfully creepy cover, and some classic horror interiors to match.  While we don't know who drew that cover, the contents here appear to have been assembled by Adolphe Barreaux's Majestic Studio.  Barreaux was a longtime associate of[...]
Pre-Code Horror in Haunted Thrills #13.
Over a decade ago, Bleeding Cool ran a "Terrible 25" list of great Pre-Code Horror comics on Halloween.  Such lists are fairly common around the end of October every year, but as I said back in 2010, they tend to cover the same unhallowed ground — consisting of lots of EC Comics plus a small[...]
The cover of PS Artbooks Softee Planet Comics.
Books are expected to be in-store October 7, 2020, and will retail for $24.99. #gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ The cover of PS Artbooks Softee Planet Comics. The cover of The Phantom Witch Doctor. Want to read some classic pre-code horror? The[...]
ComicConnect's Event Auction Heats Up With Fight Against Crime #20!
Vividly violent and sometimes disturbing images would no longer grace horror or other mainstream comics for the following decades, making pre-code horror one of the most collected books in the comic world This copy of Fight Against Crime #20 is one such book, and the auction is set to end May 20th. This pre-code crime comic[...]