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.
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 –