WEIRD MYSTERIES Pre-code Horror and Sci-fi Comics Volume One – PART TWO
The interesting thing about Weird Mysteries number one from 1952 is that all the stories in the issue were reprinted in Weird Tales of the Future number eight in 1953. We’re looking at volume one of Weird Mysteries from PS Artbooks.
The first story called “High Voltage” drawn by Hy Fleischman and “The Planet Eaters” with art by Frank Frollo was also eventually reprinted in the 1953 issue of Weird Tales of the Future number eight. A Stone’s Throw from Eternity with art by Loffredo and The Spirits from Outer Space with art by Walter Palais and Mike Esposito doing the inks.
Nice ad here for Harvey Horrors. You can go to harveyhorrors.com PS art books. I’ve got several of their reprints of the Harvey volumes in soft cover.
This brings us to Weird Mysteries number two with one of my favorite Weird Mysteries covers by the fantastic Bernard Bailey, a phantasmagorical cover for this December of 1952 issue.
Artist Hy Fleischman returns and we also have Basil Wolverton art with the awesome Robot Woman. There is also Turnabout by Charles Stern, First Come First Served by Tony Mortellaro and Ordeal by Wax By Charles Stern.
Hey kids! Get your fifty Combat Action plastic toys for a dollar! And you get a free six inch long die cut shooting Cannon!
Basil Wolverton’s Robot Woman
Robot Woman by Basil Wolverton is such a great story. It’s a classic you’ve probably seen reprinted in various publications. The story revolves around a scientist who is hideous and he Longs for a woman that will be able to tolerate his hideous appearance. He makes a robot woman. “I’ve done it! I’ve created a woman of my own!” But of course some unfortunate drawbacks occur as the robot woman becomes very very enamored with her creator and he starts getting pissed off. He smacks the robot and ends up knocking her into a vat of acid. The next time he sees her she is completely melting and she says “You are the only man I could ever love!” He screams “Don’t come near me, you’re burned, you’re horrible!” Then a thief shows up to rob the place and he goes into the basement and discovers the woman. He says, “Get me the hell out of here!” All the while she’s saying “This is the only man I could ever love, you leave him alone or I kill!” The end. I love this Wolverton art, such a great story by a great artist who did some fantastic pre-code.
More Stories in Volume One Issue Two
There are a few other stories in volume one, issue two worth a read including “Turnabout” about astronauts who encounter giant ants on another planet as well as artist Tony Mortellaro’s “First Come, First Served.”
You can find these Weird Mysteries reprints by PS Artbooks on Amazon, their website, or Ebay.
Thanks for reading. You can watch the original video here.
L.B. Cole’s Ghostly Weird Stories Pre-code Sci-Fi and HORROR Comics Volume One
Today we look at all five issues of the classic L.B. Cole – Star Publications Pre-code HORROR and SCI-FI Comic book “Ghostly Weird Stories Volume One” from PS Artbooks which is available in VG condition. Ghostly Weird Stories features pre-code horror comic book covers by artist extraordinaire L.B. Cole with interior art by Jay Disbrow, Jack Kamen, Lee Loeb, and others. These precode horror comic books were originally published from September, 1953 to Sept. 1954. Watch the original video.
All five issues were published between September of 1953 and September of 1954. Issue number 123 with a great LB Cole cover and a beautiful two-page spread Jay Disbrow who did all of the Interior art of the cover stories the first issue of ghostly weird. Issue number 120 September of 1953 with another fabulous LB Cole cover. These are sought after and always red hot in the comic book market.
Night Monster by Jay Disbrow
Jay Disbrow’s Night Monster splash page that also serves as the two page spread on the front inside cover of the volume. Night Monster also appears in my new book SPLASH OF HORROR on sale now.
I love Disbrow’s style in the pre-code sci-fi and horror comics era. Comic book artists who got into the late 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s underground comic scene were heavily influenced by the pre-code comic book artists including Jay Disbrow.
Here is another classic pre-code story “The Mummy’s Hand.” Keep in mind that some of these artists are simply unknown. If you check out the Comics Database you will see that their identities are few and far between. We do know that Disbrow did interior art, LB Cole drew the covers and Jack Kamen drew stories in some issues.
Here is a one page story called The Vengeful Phantom by Jay Disbrow. The Garden of horror is drawn by Lee Loeb. I love this Splash page. His characters are suitably deranged. Here’s another fabulous LB Cole cover for Ghostly Weird Stories number 121. The Case of the Shrunken Heads has a very underground comics vibe to it.
Death Ship L.B. Cole Cover and Jay Disbrow Art
One of my favorite L.B. Cole covers of all time is called “Death Ship” and naturally Jay disbrow does interior art for it. I love the splash page. It’s about astronauts on the planet of death. “Face of death” is another nice splash page in this issue.
Death Pirate appears in the last issue of Ghostly Weird Stories from September of 1954. You can imagine you’re walking down the street you see this on a comic book rack or newsstand. I’d pick this up in a second and of course Jay Disbrow comes in with the cover story called “Homecoming” with an excellent splash page to begin the story.
Summary of Ghostly Weird Stories
Ghostly Weird Stories volume one reprints from PS Artbooks is highly recommended. The reproductions are generally very good and the presentation is first class. You can buy this volume of Ghostly Weird Stories on sale.
In the mid-1980’s, Eclipse Comics began publishing a series of pre-code horror comic book reprints called Seduction of the Innocent. The title was taken from the infamous book by Dr. Frederick Wertham, a sad old man who led the charge against comic books in the 1950s. The stories in the Eclipse series were taken from standard comics pre-code titles that included Adventures into Darkness, Out of the Shadows, The Unseen, and Fantastic Worlds.
I don’t believe that any of these Standard comics titles were used in the congressional hearings that helped usher in the dreaded 1955 Comics Code Authority but it is an absolute fact that Standard had some top-notch artists of the day.
Six issues of seduction of the innocent are gorgeous full-color reproductions of great stories from the classic pre-code comic books. Two issues are 3-D reproductions wherein original non-3d stories were given the 3d treatment with mixed results.
Jim Vadeboncouer Introductions
In each issue there is a segment called The Horror, the History by Jim Vadeboncouer, a well-known authority in the realm of pre-code comics who sadly left this mortal coil in 2023. His book on the life of Everett Raymond Kinsler who drew comics for avon in the pre-code era is highly recommended.
Seduction of the Innocent Comic Book Covers The covers of the non-3d issues is a mixed bag. Issue number one with cover art by Reed Crandall taken from the interior story is great. Issue number two with the cover taken from fantastic worlds number five art by Murphy Anderson is very tame for a Seduction of the Innocent cover. Issue number three has a cool panel from the story Werewolf by Mort Meskin and George Roussos from Out of the Shadows number 14. Issue number four has an interesting Alex Toth cover and issue number five cover by Alex Toth is a fine classic crime cover. Issue number six rounds out the whole affair with you guessed it, another Alex Toth cover, perhaps my favorite of the bunch called “Look into the Eyes of Death.”
3-D Comic Book Covers
The 3D issues are kind of a toss-up. Eclipse had the excellent idea of getting two stellar artists to do the covers. The spicy Dave “Rocketeer” Stevens cover for number one is fantastic and I wish that was in 3d! Issue two features a great Bernie “Swamp Thing” Wrightson cover. I highly recommend these issues for the covers alone because in reality the covers are better than the 3-D attempts inside. The problem is they took ordinary pre-code horror stories and processed them for 3D using modern 3-d processing techniques. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t.
Joe Kubert 3-D House of Terror
They may have drawn their inspiration from the fantastic 3d pre-code horror comic book titled “3D House of Terror” published by Saint John in 1953 featuring a surprisingly tame cover by Joe Kubert. The 3d stories inside more than make up for the lack of cover “wow.” interior art by kubert and enrico bagnoli the first story drawn by Kubert called “Picture of Evil” has an intense splash page that is amazingly three-dimensional. According to comics.org this is the only story that was done for the issue or should i say not previously published elsewhere.
1950’s 3-D Comics Vs. Modern 3-D Comics
The other stories were originally published in Saint John’s Weird Horrors and Strange Terrors comic books, however, they are still better looking 3D than the Eclipse 3d series. It is possible that the kind of 3d printing technique used in the 1950s was superior after all 3d was very popular during that period in both comics and movies so it is likely that the folks doing it were on top of their game that being said i still recommend the 3d seduction of the innocent comics from Eclipse and I consider the one through six non-3d reprints essential for the pre-code horror fans. Trust me, you’ll be oggling that Dave Stevens cover for more than a few minutes.
The 1980s and 90s saw a resurgence of pre-code horror comic book reprints from a variety of small publishers. Today we look at NEC: New England Comics and Tales too Terrible to Tell. These are some of my favorite reprints for a variety of reasons.
Pre-code Reprint Quality
Tales too terrible to tell published all interior reprints in black and white which can be a turn off for some pre-code comics fans, however, the reprints in the issues i have are clean and sharp making the reading very enjoyable. More importantly, the crew of tales too terrible to tell led by editor George Suarez, art director Bob Polio, assistant editor Larry Boyd and research assistant Billy Devine made this publication much more than just a collection of pre-code horror comic book stories reprinted and thrown into a magazine.
A History of Pre-code Horror Comics
Inside each issue is a wealth of information about the comics artists writers and publishers making Tales too terrible to tell a must have for any pre-code horror comics enthusiast. Beside the reprinted comic book stories each issue has a section called Terrorology that dives into the nuts and bolts of pre-code publishers titles and artists. Suarez also published a companion magazine called Terrorology specifically designed to be an informative guide to pre-code comics. You can get many of these on ebay.
Horror Comic Book Covers
Additionally. Tales to terrible to tell features a gallery of classic horror covers in each issue showing the cover and talking about the artist with cool details about the particular issue. There is also a letters to the tombs section in the back of each issue with correspondence from fans which can be very entertaining.
Pre-code Horror Meets SWAMP THING
I have issues one through eight and while most of the issues of Tales too terrible to tell have color reprints of great pre-code covers on their respective covers, issue number one and three have exclusive covers by the great Steve “swamp thing” Bissette. issue number one with the gloriously ghoulish zombie flesh rip-a-rama cover by Bissette was a specially numbered limited edition you can still get on ebay for around 20 bucks or so. Just make sure it’s the limited edition. A few years later they re-released issue number one without the Bissette cover and in its place the Jack Katz shrunken head cover originally published in issue number eight of Out of the Shadows in 1953.
Ben Edlund’s THE TICK
As a kind of strange extra, many of the issues feature early stories from ben edlund’s the Tick. NEC comics carried the Tick for a while so i imagine it was a kind of cross-promotional idea and apparently Mr. Edlund was a fan and supporter of the Tales too terrible to tell project. In summary if you are a true fan of pre-code horror comics you should get your claws on a set of tales too terrible to tell immediately. Highly recommended.
Watch this original video on the Horror Mike Channel.
This concludes part 3 of the series. As always, please like and subscribe. Thank you.
Most pre-code horror and sci-fi comic books are in the public domain so it is no surprise that there are many reprints starting with Eerie publications in the 1960’s and continuing on today with stellar publishers like Yoe Books and PS Artbooks. There are a few things that constitute a decent pre-code horror comics reprint depending on what you’re looking for.
The better the original source material and care taken to reproduce the most accurate image possible. The higher quality reprint you will have. Color reprints are much trickier thus you have fewer publishing in full color with the majority being simple black and white reprints.
I first discovered reprints of pre-code comics when i was a kid and I happened to find some magazines from Eerie publications in a store one day. At the time I didn’t realize magazines like Weird, Horror tales (pictured), and Tales of Voodoo were simply reprints or redos of all of those pre-code comics from the 1950s.
PUBLISHER MYRON FASS
Myron Fass ran eerie publications and he himself drew comics and did covers for 1950s publishing houses like Toby contributing to titles such as Tales of horror and covers of issues like Beware (pictured) drawn by Fass depicting himself being attacked by monsters. So the fact that Myron Fass figured out a way to milk those pre-code tales for many more years is not surprising. It was many years later that i realized that what Eerie publications had done so I ended up collecting more to get those reprints.
The redrawn pre-code stories in Eerie publications were often quite good as foss employed many talented south american artists to churn out the pages. Overall, one might think of Eerie publications as a kind of click bait operation. The incredibly gory covers of vampires attacking a scantily clad woman while being skewed through the heart by a crazy looking werewolf never showed up as stories in the magazines themselves but if you want to up your gore game I highly recommend getting at least a few magazines from Eerie publications for the decent black and white reprints and the insanely over-the-top violent monster covers. Ebay and a few other sellers have them running anywhere from 10 bucks to perhaps a few hundred dollars for the rarest issues in great shape.
JAMES WARREN VS. MYRON FASS
And now a tasty little anecdote in 1965. Myron Fass (pictured) ended up calling his horror comics publishing company Eerie publications after James Warren publishing beat him to the name. His original idea was to call his first magazine “Eerie” but Warren struck at the midnight hour and released an ash-can version of Eerie magazine beating Fass to the punch and securing the name Eerie for his own title. The ash can version of Eerie number one which is simply a black and white staple-bound quick print can be found on ebay or other collector’s sites and seem to range between 800 and 1500 dollars. This is why the first full-fledged issue of Eerie to hit the stands was issue number two. The good news is that you can get a photocopy of erie number one on Ebay for around 10 to 15 dollars.
It is interesting to note that around this time, early to late 1960’s, a UK publisher called Super Comics also published pre-code reprints in comic book form. For example, they published Eerie tales number 12 which was a reprint of Avon periodicals Erie number one from 1951.
One of the more famous or perhaps infamous pre-code players back in the day with titles like Mister Mystery and Weird Tales of the Future, was Stanley Morse.
Morse jumped into the pre-code reprint game in the late 60s with SHOCK and Chilling Tales of Horror magazine (pictured) in 1968. Stanley publications had other pre-code reprint titles like Ghoul Tales and Stark Terror. In the case of Stanley morris, he literally reprinted the original stories including some of the original covers.
For example, Shock number one has the cover of Weird Chills number one which was originally done by the great Bernard Bailey although many of their covers were done by modern artists. A lot of these are available online, particularly on ebay and are not very expensive, running between 10 to 50 dollars depending on condition.
In the next part of this series, we dive into latter day reprints from the 1990s and on.
Mysteries Weird and Strange Number Six – March 1954 Superior Comics pre-code horror comics. Full video here.
We look at the classic precode horror comic book Mysteries weird and Strange number six published in September 1954 by the Canadian company Superior Publishers limited.
From 1947 to 1956, Superior publishing produced dozens of different comic book titles and a total of 443 issues during that 9-year period. Their pre-code horror titles included strange Mysteries, Mysteries weird and strange, and journey into fear. Most of the art in these titles were done by Jerry iger’s famous Iger shop which consisted of such artists as Jay disbrow, Matt Baker, Ken Batefield, Robert Webb, and writer editor Ruth Roach among others.
Iger shop worked as a factory producing perhaps a dozen comic books a month for various Publishers and other titles such as Haunted Thrills, Voodoo, Mysterious Adventures, Strange Fantasy, Fantastic Fears, and more. Typically, no specific artist is credited with a story because many artists worked on specific things related to a story in a factory like setting. We begin with Mysteries Weird and Strange number six from March 1954. The copy I have is coverless but complete so we can take a good look at all the stories. All of these synopsis are taken from Comic Book Plus, a great website you need to check out for fantastic digital reproduction of these precode horror comics. Howling Horror. Synopsis: on a trip to the mountains writer Adam hunt makes the acquaintance of lonely Vicky barow something is uncanny about her because she keeps dogs with men’s names.
Next up, Swamp Vengeance. Synopsis: trouble in the bayous! Jake karna kills a man for some precious animal pelts but is blackmailed by eyewitness Bell. Karna murders her too by throwing her to the alligators. Belle however returns as a vengeful ghost.
Then we have a text story called The Kill which is two pages long. Synopsis: a sentenced man sneaks back into the courthouse to stab the judge who punished him. The judge’s chair comes to life and crushes the evildoer.
The next tale is Evil Disguise. Synopsis: Sam wants to give his friend Tom a scare. He asks him to come to the cemetery where he’s ordered some actors to appear in costume. The men are confronted with real fiends from the grave! Death Rehearsal. Synopsis: Peter Edison wants to commit the perfect crime with the help of his attorney Tom Ferris. He plans a murder scenario for his philandering wife but does he know that Ferris is the man that his wife is seeing?
And that wraps up Mysteries weird and strange number six. In part two we will look at strange Mysteries number Seven from September 1954. You can see the entire video here.
Today we’re looking at a reprint of Voodoo number 15 from May June of 1954. Pre-code horror comics, all stories, no ads published by classic Comics library. Watch the full video here.
It is just the comics only, there are no ads which is kind of unfortunate because I love the original ads in these comic books. It’s not a facsimile, it’s just reprinting the actual stories themselves and as you can see the quality is mixed to say the least. You find that the contrast has been kicked up so you lose detail and the images look darker. Sometimes they’re a bit fuzzy as you can see with the voodoo cover on the left so it’s just not that sharp unfortunately but this particular issue of voodoo 15 has some great stories in it and I got it on Amazon for three dollars. I had free shipping with a couple of other items so nothing to lose there folks. Keep in mind that the art in Voodoo was primarily by Iger shop, published by Ajax Farrell.
Iger shop was composed of a variety of artists including including Matt Baker, Jay disbrow, Robert web, Ken batefield, and Ruth roach was the editor for Iger shop.
First up we have “Doomed.” “On a sweltering slim covered rock not far from the infamous penal colony of Devil’s Island there is another more horrible Island. Here is washed up the human debris that is too horrible for even the devil. Nobody but murderers are sent to the Rock and it is here that an American reporter is trying to get a story about the Doom knife.” As you can see, the high contrast takes out detail the images are a bit darker in spots. A very average reprint but then folks we have “Nightmare Island” with one of those great Splash Pages featuring the girl stuck in a mouse trap with a giant rat. If you want to see a better reprint of nightmare Island and this fabulous splash page I highly recommend Voodoo volume 3 from IDW and yoe books because you’re going to get a much better reproduction.
“In the end, three humans and a brute who belonged in a nightmare were all caught in the terrible spin snapping snare of the big rat trap nightmare Island.” The woman goes outside and sees a dog house in the backyard. “Why it’s a dog house, how nice. I love dogs and they love me and a nice friendly dog will make this place seem less Grim. Here doggy, nice doggy!” Suddenly from the dogghouse there rushes a slavering ravening horror with long needles sharp teeth and jaws flecked with foam the chain strains to Breaking Point as it tries to get it Lucy. “A big rat!” there you go folks that’s what I’m talking about right there is only Iger shop can give you. The ending- “The man steps back into the trap feels the trigger spring just as he sinks the axe deep into the furry gray skull the big rat which gives a death Screech. The Trap Springs with terrible force and the lamp shatters on the floor. The man screams for a long time before he dies, but fate is merciful he dies before the Flames can reach him the giant rat is dead too. There is only the crackling of the fire and the howling of the other animals as they sense death.”
Next up “Hammer of evil.” “This is a crazy story but let’s pretend that you are there an imaginary jury and it is up to you to decide put yourself in this doomed man’s place and meet Kolla the atavar.” They find this woman encased in a chunk of ice and of course she gets thawed out and it’s Kolla the atavar and she’s a little Savage.
The last story in Voodoo number 15 “Dead Man’s pajamas.” “When is a murder not a murder? a good question so said the police and one they could not answer until John Foster famous private investigator risked his life life to supply the solution. Your skin will creep as you read this mad story of a dead man’s pajamas!”
Voodoo was one of the most daring books featuring not only suspenseful stories and excellent Artistry but the graphic horror that made parents fear for their children’s sanity.
Unfortunately the final printed product is very average and nowhere near the quality for example of PS art books or IDW-Yoe Books. I hope you enjoyed this video and as always please like and subscribe. Watch this video here.
Several years ago I was fortunate enough to get a hold of four prints that were taken off the original art used on Eerie Publications magazines including Tales of Voodoo, Terror Tales, Horror Tales and Weird. There could have been some more but I think those were the prime issues they were using.
Publisher Myron Fass took pre-code horror comic book stories from the 1950’s and either reprinted, re-drew, or added blood and gore to the original artwork to print in these magazines.
The guy that owns the original art did a spectacular job as you can see doing these prints. The reproductions are fantastic. I tried to bring it up so you could really get a good look at it but it does cut off the top but as you can see the top is simply you know was reserved for the title like Terror Tales is gonna go up there so that’s kind of what we’re missing which is not much. This is for Terror Tales April of 1973.
The artist Bill Alexander who would do the mother-lode of art for the these horror magazines from Erie Publications. In this scene a flying vampire woman that’s coming in menacing this poor half-naked girl in a cemetery and you’ve got this Green Ghoul down here pulling her into the ground while another vampire looks on. He’s like “yeah, I’m coming in for some of that action too.” Now I’m going to show you how it turned out with the cover for Terror Tales and you will see…Continue reading “RARE Eerie Publications HORROR Cover Art Prints PLUS The Weird World of Eerie Pubs”
We’ve launched the Haunted Thrills Zazzle store featuring a variety of pre-code horror and sci-fi comics available on t-shirts, playing cards, puzzles, magnets, lunch boxes and more! A few GHOST CLINIC items to boot!
I’ll be adding dozens of other designs in the next few weeks.
Check it out…if you dare!
Dig that Jack Cole “The Man Who Died Twice” lunchbox and the Haunted Thrills playing cards…very ghoul. The “Horror from the Tomb” puzzle is frightfully fun and small enough to assemble during those long road trips!
And remember, Zazzle always has sales going on so you can save $$$ on the creepy collectibles you desire…
London based Rogue Planet Press, an imprint of Horrified Press, has recently released Lovecraftiana Halloween 2021 magazine to delight Lovecraft cosmic horror fans everywhere.
Featuring fiction by JL Royce, Brittany Groves, Lee Clark Zumpe, Danny Nicholas, Chris Sebastian, Greg Fewer, Gavin Chappell, Carlton Herzog, and exclusive art by Mike T. Lyddon, the Lovecraftiana Halloween issue is available in print and on Kindle through Amazon.
The print edition is highly recommend for the amazing job they did on the illustration reproductions including Lyddon’s almost three dimensional cover piece based upon Lovecraft’s “Dreams in the Witch House.” The deep gloss black finish makes Lovecraft’s Brown Jenkin character based upon the Bryan Moore sculpture come to life and jump off the page!
134 pages of cosmic horror madness awaits you with the new edition of Lovecraftiana. Surrender to the madness! Click here for this specially priced issue.