Splash of HORROR Pre-code Golden Age Horror Comics Splash Pages

splash of horror pre-code horror comic book splash pagesSplash Of HORROR! A New Book on Pre-code Horror Comic Books Splash Pages.

NOTE: I’ve SOLD OUT of my signed copies of SPLASH of HORROR but there are still a FEW COPIES left at GOTHAM CITY COMICS and COLLECTIBLES.  Contact KEVIN to get yours today!

Splash of Horror is a new 64 page full color and black and white book about those gruesome and glorious rare pre-code horror comic book splash pages of the 1940’s and 50’s. Presented in comic book format with the images carefully sized to approximate the original dimensions of the images as published in the golden age horror comic books.

This terrifying tome features dozens of full color splash pages and fantastic black and white selections from Stanley Morse and the infamous Eerie Pubs helmed by Myron Fass.  Fass was also a pre-code horror comics artist in the 1950’s. Edited by Mike Lyddon (Haunted Thrills, First Man on Mars, Witch Tales).

pre-code horror splash pages - splash of horror

Return of the Ghoul

Filmmaker Mike T. Lyddon is a pre-code horror comics fanatic whose documentary HAUNTED THRILLS won six awards for best short doc and was an official entry in 22 film festivals worldwide.  He also shot a feature film based upon pre-code horror comic book stories called WITCH TALES, currently for rent on Amazon.

Splash of Horror presents a wide variety of pre-code comic book titles.  These include Adventures into the Unknown, Voodoo, Journey into Fear, Weird Chills, Web of Evil, and many more.  Artists include Jack Kirby, Lin Streeter, Iger Shop, Bob Powell, Jack Cole, Ross Andru and a host of others.

 

voodoo dolls splash of horror stanley morse

Voodoo Dolls

Get your signed copy of SPLASH of HORROR at GOTHAM CITY Comics!
Click Here to Buy.

SOLD OUT on EBAY.

NEW REVIEWS –
“Splash of Horror is a coffin full of haunting visions from 1950’s Pre-Code Horror Comics. Every page drips with iconic, creepy imagery. The reprinting of the old classic pages is clean and pristine. Bravo, Horror Mike!! Keep these vile volumes coming!!”
Bryan Baugh – creator of Wulf and Batsy

“Just got my copy today and it’s AWESOME! Great concept, executed to perfection. Hope there are more to come!” David A.

“Beautiful book!” Easy Comic Reader

“You did a great job on this new book – and the resolution is impeccable! Looking forward to Volume 2!” Garth H.

“What an amazing book! I’m staggered how good it is. I keep seeing new things each time I go through it. What a great concept: Splash Pages! This is provoking a serious need to collect Stanley Morse comics, you fiend!” Kevin H.

 

First Man On Mars – Witch Tales Blu-Ray Combos SOLD OUT

Dateline: Gatorville Fla.
Indie sci-fi horror filmmaker Mike T. Lyddon’s First Man on Mars / Witch Tales Blu-Ray combos have officially SOLD OUT.  Many thanks to those who bought the combo or solo blu-rays of either movie, it is greatly appreciated and you are a true patron of the indie movie world!
Here’s the good news:  You can still get the brand new 2023 limited signed and numbered blu-ray release of FIRST MAN ON MARS at a special low Halloween price!
first man on mars bluray

Additionally, you can watch WITCH TALES on Amazon.  Witch Tales is the perfect Halloween movie that literally takes place on Halloween night.  A seductive witch hosts tales of terror adapted from pre-code horror comic book stories of the 1950’s, but when a group of trick or treaters comes along, she quickly develops other more sinister plans for All Hallows Eve!
Critics rave about WITCH TALES –
“WITCH TALES is a great anthology horror film that doesn’t hold back on the gore..”
Ciao Handy
“SPOOKY and DISGUSTING” –House of Tortured Souls
“Delightful cartoonishness and plenty of practical gore…WITCH TALES is an enjoyable romp” – RUE MORGUE
“EFFECTIVELY GROSS EFFECTS” – Voices from the Balcony
“Lyddon knows how to tell a FRIGHT-FARE story well” – Ghastly Grinning

So settle back during Halloween season and watch WITCH TALES.
And don’t worry about the rats.  They don’t bite…much!
witch tales halloween horror movie

First Man on Mars Sci-Fi Horror 2023 Blu-Ray Now For Sale!

Reel Progress LLC and Mike T. Lyddon are pleased to announce that the feature film FIRST MAN ON MARS is now available as a limited edition signed and numbered Blu-Ray Released April 28th, 2023!

This special blu-ray comes with an original mini-poster insert signed and numbered along with the blu-ray disc for authenticity.

Click Here for full details including the amazing MOVIE PROP giveaway celebrating the First Man on Mars Blu-Ray release!

Halloween HORROR Anthology Movie WITCH TALES on SALE

This HALLOWEEN…🎃 the pretty girl next door wants to invite you in for a treat… OR A TRICK! 😈
WITCH TALES Halloween Horror anthology Signed and Numbered blu-ray is ON SALE NOW!
Witch Tales takes place on HALLOWEEN NIGHT with tales of terror adapted from pre-code horror comic books in the vein of TALES FROM THE CRYPT hosted by an enchanting witch with her own diabolical plans for All Hallows Eve!
The reviews are in – “Delightful cartoonishness and plenty of practical gore…WITCH TALES is an enjoyable romp” – RUE MORGUE
“SPOOKY and DISGUSTING” – House of Tortured Souls
“EFFECTIVELY GROSS EFFECTS” – Voices from the Balcony
“Lyddon knows how to tell a FRIGHT-FARE story well” – Ghastly Grinning
“WITCH TALES is a great anthology horror film that doesn’t hold back on the gore..” – Ciao Handy Films
“This film would be perfect for you on a chilly night around Halloween time.” GNoH
#horrorfan #halloweenmovies #witches #indiefilm #horrorbluray
Blu-ray on EBAY
RENT on AMAZON!
witch tales halloween horror movie

Metal Hurlant 12 Nueva Frontera Edition 1983 – Moebius and Druillet Cover

Metal Hurlant 12 Nueva Frontera Edition 1983 – Moebius and Druillet Cover

metal hurlant moebius and druillet coverToday we are looking at the Nueva Frontera Spanish Issue of Metal Hurlant #12 (1983) with the only known cover collaboration by Philippe Druillet and Jean Giraud “Moebius.” This cover first appeared in the 1980 edition of the original French Metal Hurlant #57 (special edition).
Other artists in this issue include Voss, the incredible Bihannic, and an episode of THE INCAL by Moebius and Jodorowsky.
Watch the original video here.

History of Metal Hurlant Spanish Edition

Originally published in 1980 in the original French edition Metal Hurlant number 57, this cover by Druillet and Moebius is the only known cover of Metal Hurlant or Heavy Metal by both of these artists.

Issue number 12 of the Spanish edition of Metal Hurlant which would not surface until 1982, two years after the original French edition was published. There was also a publication at this time called Totem which was really the Spanish language precursor to the Nueva Frontera “Metal Hurlant.”

Metal Hurlant Cover and Interior Art

moebius-druillet-metal-hurlant-cover

On the cover you can see Druillet style helmets and so forth while the creatures themselves look like the work of Moebius. I think what Mobius is doing here is finishing Druillet’s work. Inside the magazine we have Jodorowsky and Moebius with another episode of The Incal starring the often hilarious John Difool and his bird. Terror Bajo el Mar or “Terror below the sea” which is interesting although I’m not a big fan of this art.
In the music section of the magazine we see Grace Jones, Albert Collins “Frozen alive” and there’s an Andy Warhol Expo in Madrid at this time.
The next illustrated story is by the amazing Bihannic with his astounding detail in the line art. You can just keep going and going deeper into his drawings and there are things happening on almost a microscopic level.
Margerin does the next story with his great cartooning style. I love the way this guy draws this stuff. It has a classic underground comix look to it.

The Soul of Objects

In another interesting article titled “El Alma de los Avatos” aka “The soul of the objects.” We see various objects from the past like a flattened out pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes from 1942 and a Bell Telephone from 1937. Here is a Zippo lighter from 1937 and a Minox camera from 1937. The last image is of a Vespa Scooter from 1946.

Future issues of Metal Hurlant Spanish Edition

The next story features classic Vos art followed by the continuation of Moebius and Jodorowski’s the Incal.
We will definitely look at more issues of the Spanish version because it is great it is totally Worth of looking at because they do an excellent job of reproduction and of adding certain Spanish and Italian artists to this Metal Hurlant Spanish edition.

Metal Hurlant Artists And the Heavy Metal Animated Movie

Metal Hurlant Artists And the Heavy Metal Animated Movie

The Heavy Metal animated sci-fi fantasy movie (1981) featured stories from Metal Hurlant artists but strangely did not have a Druillet story adaptation and they didn’t have a Moebius story adapted either. They took the essential  concept of Moebius’ Harzack, the character that flies around on his large bird and they created Taarna. The segment is approximately 15 minutes long and I think it’s the longest segment in Heavy Metal. It is also the last segment in the film. They basically took the framework of Moebius’ Harzack they made it into Taarna.

Kevin Eastman Adapts Taarna to Heavy Metal 2000

heavy metal 2000 animated sequelIn my opinion, 1990’s Heavy Metal editor Kevin Eastman took Taarna and made it into Heavy Metal 2000 aka Fakk 2.  This is considered the loose “sequel” to the original 1981 Heavy Metal film. It’s basically the same character and I think Eastman realized how popular the original Taarna was, hence he took the framework and developed it into Heavy Metal 2000.

Richard Corben Conspicuously Absent from Metal Hurlant Book

On the back of the Metal Hurlant 1975-1984 book there is the list of artists showcased but there is one glaring omission in the case of Richard Corben.  Corben’s monumental graphic novel DEN began appearing in Metal Hurlant as of issue three and went on for many issues. It leads me to think that there was a copyright problem preventing Corben from being published in this book. This probably the same story for Corben’s OGRE and ROWLF which also appeared in Metal Hurlant and would have been worthy for inclusion in this tome.

Big Borders

Another gripe I have are the large borders or margins in the Metal Hurlant book. Unlike the original magazine that pushed the borders to the limit in order to show the art as big as possible on the page, they shrunk the images and left an incredibly safe border space.

Future Metal Hurlant Heavy Metal Videos

I’m going to make fifteen or twenty Metal Hurlant and Heavy Metal videos in the future.
NOTE: Please visit my YT channel for all the videos I have published since this article.
You will not want to miss them because I’m going to be showing you some stuff that you probably weren’t aware of.  There are Heavy Metal Spanish versions and the French predecessor PILOTE which predated Metal Hurlant. Pilote was more of a conventional Illustrated magazine. They had a lot of humor and political comic strips but what Moebius, Druillet, Dionnet and Farkas wanted to do was a magazine devoted more to Science Fiction and Fantasy. An illustrated mag that had no real rules to it and that is why they created Metal Hurlant.

Metal Hurlant’s Effect on World Culture

Metal Hurlant changed the world, there’s no doubt about that. The amount of influence that both Metal Hurlant and Heavy Metal have had is immeasurable. From Druillet’s wicked image on the car in Road Warrior to the Long Tomorrow and it’s influence on Blade Runner. Moebius was directly involved with the film ALIEN doing the spacesuit designs and so forth.
Artist Marc Caro who graced the pages of Metal Hurlant for years also made films with Jean Jeunet such as Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, ALIEN 4, and Dante 01.

I hope you enjoyed this look at the book Metal Hurlant 1975-1984. Although it is in French, I think it’s a great book for all fans of Heavy Metal and Metal Hurlant magazines and it is on sale.
Thanks for reading and watching!

Metal Hurlant 1975 to 1983 Part Three: Heavy Metal Sci-Fi Fantasy Artists

Metal Hurlant 1975 to 1983 Part Three: Heavy Metal magazine Sci-Fi Fantasy Artists Enki Bilal, Vaughn Bode, Nicole Claveloux, Jean Claude Gal and Francois Schuiten.
Metal Hurlant Book on Sale Here.

metal hurlant and heavy metal artist nicole clavelouxNicole Claveloux was one of the female sci-fi fantasy artists in the early days of Metal Hurlant magazine. You may recognize her style, it’s unique. See the original video here. The coloring is so good and she did a lot of art for both Metal Hurlant and Heavy Metal in the 1970’s.
Then we have America’s own Vaughn Bode with the science fiction fantasy comic strip Cobalt 60, rendered in glorious black and white from Metal Hurlant number 4, 1975.

Eternity Road by Metal Hurlant Artist Enki Bilal

Enki Bilal drew Crux universalis aka Eternity Road. Bilal reminds me a lot of Moebius. These artists were all together when they put the illustrated science fiction and fantasy magazine out and I think that some influences crossed over to other artists. One of the things you can see in Crux Universalis is the black and white cross hatching that reminds me of Moebius.

Schuiten’s Carapaces for Metal Hurant

metal hurlant schuiten carapacesCarapaces by Francois Schuiten. A Carapace is a shell as in an insect exoskeleton. By Francois Schuiten that first appeared in Metal Hurlant in issue number 13, 1977. This is a basic story with very little dialogue so you don’t need to know French to understand it. It begins in black and white with a scene of insects mating then suddenly this metal foot smashes them and of course it’s our female and male “Androids” walking around through the burned remains of civilization.
They’re walking around having fun and the male decideds to remove the metal shell from his finger. He takes more metal off revealing flesh beneath the carapace. The art suddenly becomes colored, prior to that it was black and white with gray tone. Now the color starts coming in. He takes the eye Shields out and we see his eyes. They remove all their of their metal shells rendering them naked and they start making love. Then the insects attack and slowly devour them and we see two insects humping on the remains of the humanoids. The end.

Rock and Roll Suicide

Marc Caro’s art and story for “Rock and Roll Suicide” is very interesting. As I explained in the previous article, Jean Jeunet and Marc Caro collaborated on films. You can check out Marc Caro’s superb “Dante 01” now playing on TUBI.

Jean Claude Gal Conquers Metal Hurlant

conquering armies by jean claude galThe Conquering Armies is next with incredible art by Jean Claude Gal and excellent writing by Jean-Pierre Dionnet who was one of the founders of Metal Hurlant. The printing of this story in Metal Hurlant is superior to the reprint in Heavy Metal magazine because Metal Hurlant used a kind of matte paper stock with high end printing while Heavy Metal used a glossy paper stock and the contrast is kicked up substantially losing a lot of fine detail in he amazing work by Jean Claude Gal.

Metal Hurlant 1975 to 1983 Book on Sale Here.

Metal Hurlant And Heavy Metal Magazines Part Two: Classic Stories and Art

Metal Hurlant And Heavy Metal Magazines Part Two: Classic Stories and Art
Watch the original video here.

Moebius Art Dan O’Bannon Story

the long tomorrow by dan o'bannon and moebius“The Long Tomorrow” was written by Dan O’Bannon and drawn by Moebius for Métal Hurlant number seven, 1976. O’Bannon wrote the screenplay to Alien he also wrote and directed the great 1985 zombie film The Return of the Living Dead starring James Karen and Linnea Quigley.

During this time, they were trying to get Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” off the ground and Dan O’Bannon came up with a side script for The long Tomorrow and it is really great. An original cyberpunk classic like Blade Runner predating Ridley Scott’s science fiction masterpiece by several years.

The Long Tomorrow did not predate Philip K Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” from which Blade Runner was based but the look and feel of various panels when you think in terms of flying cars and cityscapes is uncanny. The private detective on the case in his flying car and the way that the future looks in The Long Tomorrow is very reminiscent of Blade Runner.

Les Humanoides

There is a long article by Claude Atkin about Les Humanoids Associates Druillet, Dionnet, Moebius, and Farkas. Farkas was the money guy. Dionnet is a writer and Moebius and Druillet are the artists of the quartet. This is the birth of Metal Hurlant, the first issue appeared on newsstands in January of 1975 with a great cover by Moebius.
Metal Hurlant translated is Screaming or Howling Metal
Artist and filmmaker Marc Caro drew stories for Metal Hurlant and made films with Jean Jeunet including City of Lost Children and Delicatessen. They also worked together on Jeunet’s “Alien Resurrection” aka Alien Four.

The Incredible Jean Claude Gal

The Conquering armies by Jean-Claude Gaul and written by Jean-Pierre Dionnet is one of the most striking series in the early issues of Metal Hurlant. The highly detailed line work of Gal must be seen to be believed and it is much better reproduced in the matte pages of Metal Hurlant than in the later printings in Heavy Metal magazine which used more glossy paper producing higher contrast and less detail in the art.

 

You can see the entire original Metal Hurlant video here.

Metal Hurlant and Heavy Metal Magazines Part One- The Revolution Of Illustrated Sci-Fi

Metal Hurlant and Heavy Metal Magazines Part One – The Birth of Métal Hurlant and the revolution of Illustrated Sci-Fi Magazines.
Part one of a long series on both Metal Hurlant and Heavy Metal illustrated science fiction and fantasy magazines. Article taken from the Metal Hurlant Video.

the birth of metal hurlant illustrated sci fi magazine

Métal Hurlant was formed in France in 1974 by Moebius, Druillet, Dionnet, and Farkas aka Les Humanoides Associes. Two years later, National Lampoon would publish Heavy Metal magazine which more or less reprinted the comic book stories from Metal Hurlant. We take a good look at the new 290 page illustrated book “Metal Hurlant 1975 – 1984” the prime early years of the magazine featuring art by Moebius, Druillet, Caza, Claveloux, Bode, and stories by Dan O’Bannon, Dionnet, and more.
Buy the Métal Hurlant book here.

The Birth of Metal Hurlant

1975-1984 part one: Metal Hurlant is born. Originally written by Claude Ecken, translated by Mike T. Lyddon.
Please note: at times this is a rough translation from colloquial French to English.
Metal Hurlant has touched the spirit well beyond french-speaking comic strips. It has had a worldwide influence in all strata of the graphic universe from illustration to cinema to the point of contaminating other fields of popular culture such as science fiction did in its time which escaped pulp to become a major form of expression.

Ray Bradbury Speaks Of Métal Hurlant

ray bradbury authorThe influence of one of the authors present in these Métal Hurlant Pages has not only changed the way of seeing the world, it has imposed a culture. In 1978, the famous science fiction author Ray Bradbury would speak at the microphone with Jean-Pierre Dionnet and Philippe Manovere. He said, “I’m waiting for the images to help me. Artist Vassarly does not inspire me, we need this new generation that I would compare to Hogarth or Goya or the Raphaelites. This is the second time in our century that an artistic revolution has started from the base and Rises to the top reversing the general trend. I think Métal Hurlant fulfills one of our fundamental needs and what was true of Science Fiction in my time: revolutionary.
The word was out. The authors of Métal Hurlant were revolutionaries. These words were said four years after the chaotic beginnings of the magazine. Like all authentic Consciousness modifiers it did not take 10 years to impose their views as designers and script writers. How was this feat achieved? They were launched instinctively without resources or a battle plan with only the chroniclers still armed with the passion and certainty of having reason against the whole world.

The Founders of Métal Hurlant Magazine

Who are the four initiators? Jean-Pierre Dionnet, the soul of the group. Philippe Druillet, the Jack of all Trades on a cosmic scale. Jean Giraud, alias Moebius, the graphic Genie, and Farkas, the captain who steers the helm of finances. Success like that of Tin Tin and Asterix will only be realized when the magazine is set up but friend Nikita Mandrika who without taking part in the adventure makes it possible and offers it the admirable Roar: the title of “Métal Hurlant,” which means “Metal Scream” or “Screaming Metal.”

Métal Hurlant 1975-1984 Book By Les Humanoides

Métal Hurlant 1975-1984 BookThe new face of imagination!  Metal Hurlant 1975-1984 featuring the original artists Druillet, Moebius, Dionnet, Gal, Bilal, Messiers, Schuiten, Vaughn Bode is also in this. I believe Nicollet is in this as well so strangely there is no Richard Corbin, there’s no Den. As far as I can tell, the book is only available in this French Edition. What to remember from the Fantastic adventure of Metal Hurlant between 1975 and 1984. Answering such a question is a challenge that only Jean-Pierre Dionnet, its co-founder and historical editor-in-chief could relate. He made a first selection of 23 stories that to him constitute the essence of Metal Hurlant, so let’s take a look inside.
We have the editorial. Currently, Jerry Frison is the editor-in-chief of Metal Hurlant. They are active and have English publications such as certain Mobius books and so forth. They may put out an English version of Metal Hurlant because if we have the the lineup here of stories and artists and it’s very good. Once again, no Corben is kind of weird considering he was in the very first issues. We’ve got a little introduction here by Jean-Pierre Dionnet who was one of the co-founders of Les Humanoides Associates. More on this in part two.
You can watch the original Metal Hurlant video here.

Ghost Clinic Pre-code Horror Comics Rises from the Grave In 2024

Ghost Clinic Pre-code Horror Comics Rises from the Grave In 2024
This article is taken from an original video you can watch here.

My other website which you may be aware of is the Ghost Clinic at Ghostclinic.com.
I’m going to drop that link in the chat right now. This is a website I created several years ago in order to enhance the haunted Thrills video that that I was doing at the time. I put this website together while I was doing the haunted Thrills documentary on pre-code horror comics, so this is the companion website.

Ghost Clinic website header graphics

The website header will change if you just refresh it. You’ll get like a nice Basil Wolverton header. This one actually from Experiment in Terror which is one of the stories that I adapted for my Anthology film “Witch Tales.” The cover is from Fantastic fears Issue Number Eight Circa 1953. Swamp Terror is from strange Mysteries number two, one of my favorites from Superior Comics. This one is part of a Bernard Bailey cover from Weird Mysteries.

Website layout and content

As we scroll down as you can see it’s a pretty basic layout. This article is the latest one about Mysteries weird and strange number six from March of 1954. I did a video so when you read the article you can click for the actual video itself. It’s a companion article to the original video. There’s Voodoo number 15 featuring the story “Nightmare Island.” We see the giant rat and the poor woman that’s trapped on a mouse trap and here comes the giant rat.
voodoo horror comic book nightmare island
I’ve shown you this comic book before, it’s Mr Mystery number eight and it’s the woman who’s in her cabin on a Cruiser in the ocean and here comes a flying zombie coming right through her Porthole. Yes folks, that’s what I’m talking about. Those flying zombies always come through the porthole!

Ghost Clinic Facebook Page

I also have a Facebook page called Ghost Clinic. I also post when I put up videos including live shows. As you can see, this is the the very live show that you’re currently watching.

Haunted Thrills Pre-code comics merchandise

This is my Zazzle page for Haunted Thrills and Ghost Clinic. I made all of these things which are customized, for example, wrapping paper. Yes, you heard that right folk,s I made customized wrapping paper based upon pre-code horror comic books. It makes for some snazzy freaking wrapping paper. You have playing cards which are totally cool. This one is based upon L.B. Cole’s fantastic Mask cover from issue number two from the mid 1940’s. I love this “The man who died twice” lunchbox! Kids, you’ll be the talk of the schoolyard when you bring your man who died twice lunch box! of course that is Jack Cole’s cover from Web of Evil number five. Here’s the Haunted Thrills playing cards, folks. You know that everybody that buys a Blu-ray gets a Haunted Thrills playing card from yours truly if you want a full deck of Haunted Thrills cards, they’re on sale for $10.42 on my Zazzle store. Dial C for Corpse is a magnet you can get for $4.60. This is the classic splash page with this zombie corpse in the graveyard and he’s saying “It’s me darling, calling from the grave.” “Eeeeeeek!”

So there you go folks, I just thought I I would show you my Haunted Thrills – Ghost Clinic Zazzle page.

HAUNTED THRILLS – American Pre-code HORROR Comics

Haunted Thrills – American Pre-code Horror Comics. Full translation from the 2021 documentary by Mike T. Lyddon and Reel Progress LLC in conjunction with Ghost Clinic Films.  Watch Haunted Thrills on the Horror Mike Channel.

The late 1940’s and early 1950’s saw a new kind of comic book emerge on America’s newsstands. World War Two was over and superheroes had lost their popularity, so the genres of crime, science fiction, western, romance, and most importantly, horror, took their place on the nation’s magazine racks.
Haunted Thrills horror comics documentary

PRE-CODE HORROR COMIC BOOK ORIGINS

In 1947, Avon Books put out one all horror anthology style comic book called EERIE. It was the first of it’s kind, and led to a deluge of horror comics beginning in 1949 with AMERICAN COMICS GROUP’s first title – ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN. Soon dozens of publishers including EC, ATLAS, FAWCETT, STAR PUBLICATIONS AND MANY MORE would flood the shelves with terrifying tales in four colors.

But it would all come to an abrupt end at the end of 1954 when, after public outcry and government intervention, The Comics Code Authority was imposed upon the publishers forcing many out of business and destroying the livelihoods of numerous artists and writers.

This essay is a celebration of the publishers, artists, and writers who made their immortal contributions to the gruesome, horrific and sometimes hilarious 10 cent tales of the pre-code horror comics era.

Part One: The earth trembles!

New York City, 1948. Comic book artist supreme Sheldon Moldoff approached Fawcett Publications with two pre-packaged titles – This Magazine Is Haunted and Tales of the Supernatural. They weren’t interested in horror at the time, so Moldoff signed a deal with William Gaines. A few months later, Gaines emerged with EC Comics, completely reneging on the contract he previously signed with Moldoff. According to Moldoff, Gaines’ attorney threatened to have him blacklisted if he tried to sue Gaines.

Comic Book artist Sheldon Moldoff

Despite being shafted by Gaines, Moldoff returned to Fawcet. They ran with the horror comics, and Shelly Moldoff contributed many great stories to THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED, WORLDS OF FEAR, BEWARE! TERROR TALES, and more.

But even before EC Comics hit the stands, AMERICAN COMICS GROUP started what would be the longest horror comics run in history.  ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN, starting in October of 1948 and spanning two decades to August, 1967 with a whopping 174 issues, the first 61 issues published in the pre-code era.

Another key player in the early pre-code horror days was ATLAS COMICS, with none other than STAN LEE at the helm as editor-in-chief working out of the Empire State Building in New York City. ATLAS would also beat EC to the punch with AMAZING MYSTERIES first issue published in May of 1949.

Soon after American Comics Group, ATLAS and EC began publishing horror comics, dozens of other publishers jumped into the fray.  Many titles hit the newsstands every month, and in some cases the newcomers left their predecessors far behind.

Part two: The Publishers

Avon, Charlton, Fawcett, Stanley Morse, Harvey, DC, Ajax-Farrell, Star Publications, Quality Comics and more. By the end of 1951, dozens of publishers were churning out horror comics at a frightening pace. Newsstands were wall to wall with often gruesome and suggestive crime and horror comics causing outrage across the land.

Stanley Morse was famous, or should I say, infamous, for publishing WEIRD MYSTERIES, MISTER MYSTERY, WEIRD CHILLS and WEIRD TALES OF THE FUTURE among others. He once said that he didn’t give a damn what kind of stories were in the comics as long as they sold.  This gave the artists and writers freedom to create some of the most extreme envelope pushing comics of the pre-code era. Needless to say, these are highly priced, sought after comics with prices reaching well into the thousands of dollars for higher grade copies.

joe sinnnot comic book artist

Joe Sinnott – Atlas pre-code comic book artist

But Morse wasn’t the only one with loose reigns. Over at Atlas Comics, Stan Lee gave plenty of slack to the artists and writers.
One of the most famous Atlas and Marvel artists who worked for Stan Lee is Joltin’ Joe Sinnott, who began his tenure at Atlas in 1951.

Sinnott recalls working for Atlas and Stan Lee. “I’d go down the empire state building with my five or six page story and Stan would be behind his desk on his typewriter and he had a stack of scripts. He would tell you just what he wanted in each panel but you didn’t necessarily have to follow them you if you thought something else would make a better picture, you could do it your way.”

Part three: The Artists

While Avon published what is considered the first horror comic book in 1947, they did not resume publishing Eerie until the early 50’s. With an impressive arsenal of artists including Wally Wood, A.C. Hollingsworth, Moe Marcus, Fred Kida, Sid Check, Carmine Infantino and many others, one of the stand outs in their stable of science fiction and horror was the great Everett Raymond Kinstler, who recalled working for Avon.

Kinstler and Avon Comics

“The editor then was a man named Saul Cohen. I’m talking now about probably getting close to 1950.  He gave me total freedom, and that, I can’t tell you what that meant to me.
I had no guidelines at all or restrictions. They would say to me, Ray, we’re doing Eerie comics and such, here are the stories that are going in there i’d look through them and I take things that i thought would illustrate them and never once did Saul say ‘take this out or put this in or change this’ and of course that’s all most of us were used to were corrections.”
Kinstler drew a great number of War, Romance and Western comics for Avon, but his work in the pages of Eerie, Phantom Stranger, Witchcraft, Strange Worlds and other Avon titles were truly stunning.

precode horror comic book artist everett raymond kinstler

Everett Raymond Kinstler

Kinstler’s Line Art

Some of my personal favorites are the amazing black and white illustrated index pages he did for Eerie.
Kinstler recounts doing those amazing line art pages. “By doing the black and whites i had total freedom and total clarity of first class reproduction whereas with the color comic book pages when i would do the same, let’s say the same technique, it would become a little bit blurred a little bit blotted then the color would go on top of it which would be like taking a gear shift and losing one gear.”
Kinstler also drew a fine adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Pit and the Pendulum” for Ziff Davis in their intriguing but short lived run of Nightmare.
His fine line art serves the mood of Poe’s grim and suspenseful tale very well.
Everett Raymond Kinstler passed away in 2019 at the age of 93.

Joe Sinnott

Joe Sinnott drew many horror and science fiction stories for Atlas titles like Adventures into Terror, Astonishing, Marvel Tales, Menace, Journey into Mystery, Strange Tales, Uncanny Tales and others.
“The first story I drew for Atlas was a western called ‘The Man who wouldn’t Die.’ It was a three page filler for one of the western comics and I’ve been working for Stan ever since.”
Joe drew a lot of great stories for Atlas including “Behind the Door” in Spellbound #16, the tale of A wealthy old man who builds a viewing device so powerful that he can see Death coming for him.

Lovecraftian Stories in Atlas Comics

For Astonishing #11, he contributed a Lovecraftian story called “The Last of Mr. Mordeau” about a man who discovers a devolved family of sorcerers living under his castle.
He drew a particularly nice story for Strange Tales #9 called “Drink Deep, Vampire,” about a business man who tries to swindle a coven of vampires by draining their blood every day and selling it back to them at night.
Sadly, we lost Joe in 2020, but his legacy will remain in the hearts and minds of comic book fans forever.

Victor Carrabotta

Golden Age comics artist Victor Carrabotta drew many pre-code horror and western stories for Atlas and has fond memories of his tenure there and a great story about Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.
“Jack was looking at my work and then he stepped out to the lobby and my wife was sitting there and she stood up. I said this is my wife and as he looked at her he kind of gave her a double look you know up and down he says my gosh she’s pregnant. He said “This poor guy needs a job and he says just wait a minute. Let me go back into my little cubby hole  and i want to write a letter that you could bring to Stan Lee. I never knew what was in it.

Victor carrabotta precode comics artist

Victor Carrabotta in the service mid-1940’s

Stan looked at the letter and I said, Mr. Lee, would you like to see my work? He says no, Jack says you’re a good artist he
says he says, here, I want this back in the week. The first story i ever did was the House on the Hill.”

A.C. Hollingsworth

Alvin Carl Hollingsworth aka A.C. Hollingsworth was one of the first black artists in comic books during the 1940s and 1950s. He is known for his unusual style which found its way onto some of the most sought after pre-code comic titles today.
SHOW IMAGES OF HOLLINGSWORTH COVERS.

Matt Baker

One of the most famous comic book artists of the time who also happened to be black was the great Matt Baker. Baker became famous for his superb renditions of the female form in romance comics and famous heroine titles like the costumed crimefighter Phantom Lady, but his work was also used often in Fawcett’s landmark pre-code horror comic, VOODOO, when he worked for Jerry Iger’s IGER SHOP.

Matt Baker artist

Comic Book artist Matt Baker

While many of his stories were simply reprints from 1940’s comics, the addition of the Baker art made Fawcett’s VOODOO a sought after title that demands big bucks in today’s collectors market.

Bernard Baily

Famously known as the co-creator of DC Comics THE SPECTRE and HOURMAN, Bernard Baily’s pre-code horror covers and interior art for STANLEY MORSE and WEIRD MYSTERIES remain some of the coolest covers in the history of pre-code. Baily had a way of demanding attention from the customer, and I can imagine any comic fan seeing one of his titles in the local comic shop had to have it.

Star Publications

Star Publications came out of left field with a series of stunning covers by the publisher himself, German born L.B. Cole, with strange and cool interior art by the unique talents of Jay Disbrow. Today, these comics sell as fast as just about any other pre-code titles as their value continues to climb through the decades.

Basil Wolverton

Famous for his hilariously insane art in MAD MAGAZINE, Basil Wolverton cut his considerable teeth on pre-code horror comics doing stories for WEIRD TALES FROM THE FUTURE, another remarkable title from Stanley Morse. Wolverton’s wild interior art easily matched his outrageous covers creating memorable issues that are highly sought after today.

Jack Kirby

Of course, Jack Kirby made his name at Marvel in the 1960s, but few know that Kirby did covers and interior work for Prize Publications’ BLACK MAGIC series, and you can see the genius slowly emerging 10 years before he brought us super heroes like the FANTASTIC FOUR.

Steve Ditko

Another famous artist from the Marvel bullpen is Steve Ditko who rose to fame with Spider-Man beginning with Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962. The cover was pencilled by Jack Kirby and inked by Ditko. Ditko began the Amazing Spider-man comic book series with Stan Lee.
Like many other artists who went on to Marvel and DC, Ditko started doing covers and interiors for pre-code comics in the early 1950s, most famously for Charlton Comics featuring titles like The Thing and This Magazine is Haunted. He also did interiors for Farrell Publication’s Strange Fantasy and Fantastic Fears.

Bernard Baily

Much like Bernard Baily with The Spectre during the 1940s, artist Jack Cole was famous for creating the unusual superhero Plastic Man for Quality Comics beginning in 1943. During the horror heyday of the pre-code 50s, Cole did some unforgettable art for Quality Comics’ Web of Evil including the fantastic issue #5 depicting a lauging man in an electric chair, one of the most sought after Jack Cole pre-code covers. It is important to note that Cole’s 1947 story for True Crime Comics called “Murder, Morphine and Me” became a prime example of psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham ‘s anti comic book crusade during the ’50s. Sadly, Jack Cole took his own life in 1958, a few years after the comics code authority took effect. (insert shot of jack cole)

Matt Fox

The unusual and fantastic art of Matt Fox first graced the covers of Weird Tales magazine from 1943 to 1951. His style was at once primitive and unique giving the pulp magazine some of its greatest covers. Right after his run with Weird Tales, Matt Fox turned in some stellar covers and artwork for Youthful Comics’ famous title, Chilling Tales. He also provided art for Atlas comics’ World of Fantasy, Tales of Suspense, and Journey into Mystery.

Lee Elias and Warren Kremer

Ask any pre-code collector and they will tell you that Lee Elias did some of the most iconic covers in horror comic history. That being said, he had a bit of help from his mentor and boss, Warren Kremer. Kremer was editor at Harvey Comics when Lee Elias started out and he quickly took the young artist under his wing. In many cases, Kremer did a rough sketch for a cover and Elias drew the final version. These covers from Harvey’s Black Cat Mystery, Chamber of Chills, and Tomb of Terror represent some of the most sought after comics in pre-code horror today, a few of them fetching many thousands of dollars in excellent condition. But Warren Kremer also did some of the art himself as evidenced by the gorgeous and haunting cover of Black Cat Mystery #37 featuring a woman sleep walking through a cemetery of ghouls.

Jerry Iger’s IGER SHOP

In the world of pre-code horror comics, Jerry Iger’s IGER SHOP was the super-factory, churning out dozens of comics a month for a variety of publishers. Certain artists would do specific things like penciling, inks, colors, and even particular parts of stories like buildings or people, etc., and it was all done at such a rapid pace that the quality would sometimes suffer because of it, but there is no denying that IGER SHOP were the juggernauts of the era.
Artists who worked for Iger Shop include Robert Webb, Maurice Gutwirth, Ken Battefield, Jay Disbrow, and Matt Baker. To this day, who did what on certain comics is hotly contested and seems to change on a yearly basis, but these artists contributed to titles like HAUNTED THRILLS, FANTASTIC FEARS, STRANGE FANTASY, VOODOO, JOURNEY INTO FEAR, MYSTERIOUS ADVENTURES, and more.

Ruth Roche

One thing we do know is that Jerry Iger’s right hand man was in reality a woman, one of the few females who worked in pre-code comics. RUTH ROCHE edited many of the IGER SHOP titles and actually wrote a lot of the stories contained within.

Ruth Roche Iger Shop editor and writer

Ruth Roche Iger Shop editor and writer

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In my feature film WITCH TALES, I adapted one of Ruth Roche’s stories called “Experiment in Terror” about a mad doctor who ponders the question, “Is love greater than hunger?”
Witch Tales features three pre-code horror tales hosted by a seductive witch on Halloween night, and was my own love letter to the awesome pre-code horror comic books of the 1950s.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little terror tour of a bygone era whose current popularity proves that the fans’ love for pre-code comics will never die.

Watch the entire HAUNTED THRILLS documentary here.

Pre-code Horror Comic Book Strange Mysteries Two Nov 1951

Strange Mysteries number two published by Superior comics in November of 1951 plus swamp monsters classic monsters of the precode horror comics from Yoe books.
Watch the full video here.
I thought I’d begin this article on strange Mysteries number two by showing you swamp monsters from Yo books the classic monsters of precode horror comics.  I’ve had this particular book for a little while and I always loved this image this is the cover to strange Mysteries number two so I finally found a copy in good shape that I could afford and I’m going to be showing that to you soon.

The cover and the story which is called swamp Terror. I love Strange Mysteries and Superior comics from Canada.  They also published Journey into Fear and Mysteries weird and strange for example and they used a ton of Iger shop artists. I am 99% sure most of the pencils were done by the artist Robert web as well as the interior story was drawn by Webb.
If you go to comics.org you’ll see either question marks or “Iger shop” for the art credits on this book.  It is true that Robert Webb was part of the Iger shop along with artists like Matt Baker, Jay disbrow and others. Robert webb was one of those guys that belted out a ton of stories for Superior Comics.  He’s got an unmistakable style and I’ll show you a couple of similarities that make me believe that this cover was done by Webb and that he also did the interior art but now, just a quick look at Swamp Monsters by Steve Baines and Craig Yoe.  Introduction by Steven Bisette of course his swamp monster right there on top. A rather lengthy article from Bisette with some really cool illustrations there are a variety of stories in here all related to swamp monsters including Basil wolverton’s classic “Swamp monster” from Weird Mysteries number five June of 1953 published by the famous or infamous Stanley Morse.

So that’s just a little look at Swamp Monsters and now let’s get to the actual comic book strange Mysteries number two from November of 1951 published by Superior Comics.  Look at that cover!  The colors everything about this is just phenomenal it is one of my favorite covers from the superior Comics line now it did have a couple of issues with it but not really that extreme.  There’s a few tears down here, a couple of spine issues but overall a pretty solid copy.  This comic book leads off with the story Swamp Terror and as you can see the artist and I believe it’s also Robert webb.  A couple of trademark things about webb are his faces, his female faces, they just have that look.  Another thing that Robert webb always loved to do with his panels is he would add circular panels like this or semi-circular panels.  You can see a little bit an example here with this circular panel is that they would have object coming out of the panel and dangling into other panels like this woman’s legs are coming down into another panel.  He would always have objects going into other panels including a lot of legs, folks. He loved the ladies and the legs.
Swamp Terror!  This is the tale of a horror beneath a slimy gurgling acre of swamp land and of a dead man who fulfilled and carefully planned a plot to murder his entire family for a very surprising reason.  This is my favorite story in the book and it is what I would call a Classic “weird tale” like something you would probably even find in weird Tales pulp magazine.  As a story you’ve got a rich guy, he dies and they’re at the reading of the Will.  The man says, “You’ve all heard Jeff Jenkins Will before. His fortune is left to you two Kay and Ned as his only remaining niece and nephew.  The niece says, “Yeah, that’s easy to take,” and then the old woman says, “…and nothing for me again!  But we were so close in life.”  So you got got the conniving couple and they’re going to get their comeuppence.
The next tale is called Chamber of Doom.  Once again, Robert webb.  They had him doing a lot I think occasionally he would be the sole interior artist doing pencils.  Of course they had inkers and other people but Robert Webb did a ton of pencils for Iger shop and of for Superior Comics.  His trademark circular panels and the layouts, his faces that is just classic Webb.
Midway through we have a two-page story text story called “Ghost bait” by Kermit Wells.
Another good story in this particular book is called “The Haunted hand.”   Once again it’s Robert web, you just tell look at the faces you go back you have your circular panels.
Our final story “Planet without death.”  You notice some tape I put this archival mending tape tissue on these Pages because they’re were some bad tears.  This character looks like Mrs Jolly Green Giant.
Iger shop was kind of like a factory where they would would have some artists do the pencils, inks, even artists that would for example do the figures and then another artist might do the backgrounds. I think the art is great I love the story swamp Terror and the haunted hand in particular.  I hope you enjoyed this video as always please like And subscribe.  Thank you.

FOUR COLOR FEAR Pre-code HORROR Comics of the 1950s

In the first of three parts, Horror Mike takes a close look at FOUR COLOR FEAR, the remarkable 320 page full color illustrated book on pre-code HORROR COMICS From The 1950s edited by Greg Sadowski and published by Fantagraphics Press in 2010 with a 2nd printing in 2017.  Watch the video companion here.
Part two will finish up the pre-code horror comics reprints and part three will focus on the incredible horror comic cover art gallery, comic book notes, and a comprehensive list of all precode horror comics ever published during the era.
Horror comics gallery with art by L.B. Cole, Bernard Baily, Iger Shop, Warren Kremer, Lee Elias, and many others.
four color fear precode horror comics

We begin with a nice Ajax Farrell house ad “the best in supernatural thrills and chills!
strange fantasy – haunted thrills – voodoo – fantastic fears on sale everywhere!”

Synopsis for the stories supplied by comics.org and presented where available.
Here are the horror comic book reprints from Four Color Fear.
The Strange Case of Henpecked Harry – Eerie #1 Jan 1947 – art by Fred Kida
Synopsis – Harry Horton plots the death of his wife, but the guilt drives him mad.
Pit of the damned – chamber of chills #7, 1952 art by bob powell.
Corpses coast to coast – voodoo #14 1954 iger shop.
Synopsis – a mad undertaker has a dream of zombie world domination.
A pact with the devil – web of evil #9 1953 jack cole.
Synopsis – Suicidal John Masters enters into a pact with the devil and gets ten golden years of wealth and fortune. When his time is up, Masters tries to run. But Satan and his minions follow suit on his heels and drive him to suicide.
The corpse that came to dinner – out of the shadows #9, 1953, art by reed crandall.
Synopsis – A young couple returns from their honeymoon. They learn that a friend has committed suicide, because he had wanted to marry the girl. The friend’s corpse climbs out of his grave and lays siege to the couple’s apartment.
The maze master – baffling mysteries #20 1954 Lou Cameron.
Synopsis – Victor Rarlo is a sadist who loves puzzles and lets people perish in his fiendish mazes. Being challenged by a strange mystic, Rarlo travels into psychedelic mind-mazes and gets irreversibly caught in the maze of his own mind.
Swamp monster – weird mysteries 5, 1953 – art by basil wolverton.
Synopsis – An escaped convict is bitten by a vampiric being in the swamp and turns into a demonic beast man.
What Was the Discovery – black cat mystery 46 – 1953 manny stallman.
Death sentence – tomb of terror 14, 1954 – sid check.
Synopsis – Reporter Adams visits a convicted murderer in his cell, and he is warned by the doomed man that the reporter must warn the world that mankind is about to be wiped out.
Death deals a hand – strange mysteries 18, 1954 iger shop.
Synopsis – Several people join a club in which one person kills another each meeting until only one is left. The remaining person inherits all the others possessions. Finally the last person left is murdered by the ghosts of the other members.
Custodian of the dead – web of evil 1, 1952 jack cole.
Synopsis – Undertaker Horace Vennery is a graverobber at night, stealing valuable possessions off his dead clients. Crawling through coffins, he is caught in a cave-in and eaten by rats.
Servants of the tomb – witches tales 6, 1951, bob powell.
Nightmare – adv into the unknown 51, 1954 harry lazarus.
Synopsis – Harry, a down on his luck writer, goes to a pawn shop where he is shown the creatures that take the people guilty of the seven deadly sins. He uses the experience to write more stories which are bought by his publisher.
Me, ghost – adv into darkness 10, 1953 jack katz.
Synopsis – A guy uses his girlfriend as a human shield against a robber.
Dust unto dust – chamber of chills 23, 1954 howard nostrand.
Drum of doom – out of the night 2, 1952 al williamson.
The body maker – black cat mystery 39, 1952 warren kremer.
Green horror – fantastic fears 8, 1954 iger shop.
Synopsis – Over her husband’s objections, Martha plants a cactus in the yard of their home. George broods over the plant and one night decides to chop it down, but the cactus seizes the axe and kills George instead. Then the plant enters the house and hugs Martha, crushing her to death. (probably written by ruth roche).
Puppet peril – weird adventures 2 – ernie bache, inked by harry harrison.
Synopsis – American impresario brings over puppet player genius “Satana” from Germany to appear on TV. Her puppets are bewitched, shrunken humans, taking revenge on her tormentress.
Mother mongooses nursery crimes – witches tales 25, 1954 Howard nostrand.
Chefs delight – mysterious adventures 20, 1954 dick beck.
Synopsis – A vile famous chef named Francois Nicole, treats everyone in his life like garbage except his rich girlfriend whom he lavishes money on. Meanwhile his wife and two children are left to suffer in squalid conditions. She murders Francois at his restaurant and butchers his corpse. When the other chefs arrive the following morning, they see Francois’ organs all spread out as as a meal in the kitchen.
Colorama – black cat mystery 45, 1953 bob powell.
The thing from the sea – eerie #2, 1951 wally wood.
Synopsis – Eddie Murray is killed by Johnny Smithers and pushed overboard at sea. While the killer courts the girl of the deceased, the dead man trods along the bottom of the ocean home to his honey.
The flapping head – forbidden worlds 6, 1952 al williamson.
Amnesia – chamber of chills 17, 1953, warren kremer.
And last but definitely not least, a beautiful insert page entitled Vision of the gods, nightmare 1, 1952, everett raymond kinstler who I was fortunate enough to interview for my documentary haunted thrills a year before he passed away.

In part 2 we will wrap up the story reprints and check out the gorgeous precode cover art gallery in four color fear!

SPECIAL NOTE: Mike Lyddon’s indie Halloween horror film WITCH TALES adapts pre-code horror tales that are featured in this video! Rent it on Amazon today –