October 2019 has five weeks this year, so that means five New Comic Book Days! Let’s talk about some great Halloween 2019 comics.
Horror comics have had a long history, almost since the beginning of the genre. Let’s take a macabre jaunt through the years of scary anthology books.
Eerie Comics #1 (1947)
The very first horror/supernatural comic book published! It featured 7 tales (six visual plots and one prose story) of ghosts, murderers, giant lizards, and mad scientists. The cover would become a classic of the genre: a grotesque ghoul (with big knife!) in the glow of moonlight lurches toward a voluptuous damsel in distress. The creative team includes such luminaries as Bob Fujitani, George Roussos, and Joe Kubert. The art is quaint by today’s standards, and the twist endings aren’t so twisty any more, but the historic significance of Eerie Comics #1 cannot be overstated.
Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds #4 (1957)
The 50’s were an odd time for horror comics: at the start of the decade it was an anything-goes mentality full of lurid tales of terror. But by the end of the decade (thanks to the censorship of the Comics Code Authority), horror comics had stopped showing explicit art and stories. Case in point: Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds #4. The main story (with art by Steve Ditko!) is just another take on The Picture of Dorian Gray (but with furnture!); and the rest of the stories are more science/space-based. This book definitely feels more juvenile, compared to horror books of just a few years ago.
Chilling Adventures in Sorcery (as told by Sabrina) #1 (1972)
A scary comic from Archie Comics? Yes! It still has the cute house style, however, so everything looks like it’s happening in Riverdale, but these stories have some edge to them. Sabrina Spellman is a stand-in for the classic narrators of horror comics (like The Crypt-Keeper or Uncle Creepy), as she takes you through some twist-ending-heavy stories. By the ’70s, Archie Comics was a well-established publisher, and it would make sense they’d give different genres a chance to try to get more readers. This book would eventually metamorphose in to Red Circle Sorcery, and then return to obscurity!
Creepy #1 (2009)
The first volume of Creepy was published in 1964 by Warren. It would go on for about twenty years until it lay dormant for nearly twenty more until Dark Horse comics would resurrect it for twenty-four issue and dozens of original stories. The book returned with an amazing assortment of new and classic horror artists and writers, in glorious, glossy black and white. Publishing was quite sporadic, and it just seemed to fade away by the final issue, as of this writing. Which is quite unfortunate because original run of Creepy influenced a generation of creators.
Tales From the Creep #1 (2015)
Speaking of a new generation of creators, this book by Antarctic Press represents the latest in horror anthologies. It has the classic cover, in which a dead thing threatens a sexy lady; it has black and white interior art; it has twist-ending stories; it has a variety of artists and writers contributing. And it has zombies, of course! After the success of The Walking Dead, zombies were everywhere, and everyone was trying to put their own twist on things. This comic only lasted two issues, though: one in February and one in September. I hear-tell AP has released a new horror comic, though…
Well, boils and ghouls, that’s the end of my jaunt through horror comic books of days past. I hope you enjoyed the videos that went along each book. Let me know in the comments which books interested you, and which ones I missed.
Until next time, unpleasant dreams!
Check out my review of Animosity for another type of scary comic book.