Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Who's the Best... Horror Comic?


Doug:  Bronze Age, or any other age; comic book or B&W magazine...  Let's hear about all of your favorite scary funny books, and if you didn't dabble in them much (like me), then tell us why you stayed on the sidelines.



19 comments:

Fred W. Hill said...

As far as ongoing series go, Tomb of Dracula wins for me, at least for the Bronze Age -- I'll consider Alan Moore's era of Swamp Thing as from the next. However, I also loved those DC horror anthology mags, The Witching Hour being a favorite for creepy fun. BTW, even if it depicts yet another variation of one of the oldest cliches of horror mag art, that's a great cover to the House of Secrets mag.

Edo Bosnar said...

I have to preface this by saying I wasn't the biggest horror mag reader back then, but based on the issues I occasionally picked up, and the sheer volume and diversity of artists and writers involved, I'd have to go with Creepy and Eerie.
I think the various Charlton books also deserve a shout out, if for no other reason than the often beautifully painted covers.

William said...

I'll second Edo's picks. I was never a big horror comic fan, but I picked them once in a while. And it was usually one of the b&w mags like Creepy or Eerie. Coincidentally I just picked up Vol. 1 of the "Creepy" hardcover collection at the library the other day, and I've been reading through it. The stories are pretty simple and predictable, but only because a lot of the themes have been done to death since then. For the time, they were probably pretty edgy.

I never got into any of the Marvel horror comics like Dracula or Werewolf by Night. I was pretty much strictly a superhero guy when I was a kid, and I didn't have time (or money) for any of that movie monster nonsense. :)

Humanbelly said...

Hard to pin down a "Best", really. I think maybe the original material in the early issues of Marvel's TOWER OF SHADOWS and CHAMBER OF DARKNESS may take the ribbon, though. That Steranko story for T.ofShadows #1 is brilliantly creepy, in particular. And for a short time, Marvel was using the A-list guys in their bullpen (Steranko, Romita, J.Buscema, Trimpe, Colan (I think?) all come to mind-- w/ Roy doing several of the scripts, I believe) to fill the pages with some first-rate gems. That pace fell off before the Monster Craze was over, though.

WEIRD WAR was a personal favorite for quite some time as well-- blending two genres that, really, DC always had a better handle on than Marvel (War comics and Supernatural comics). Witching Hour was delightfully "hip" in its way, and the Cain/Abel antagonism in House(s) of Secrets/Mystery elevated those books beyond being just (often quite good) anthology comics.

HB

david_b said...

Like most vintage comics, if the story's not of interest, I'll still grab 'em either 1) if they've got great covers.., or 2) if I saw a 'house ad' since I had the comic as a wee lad and it's peaked my interest..

Awesome cover art, really true artistry. I typically go with Creepy or Eerie as well, but the horror genre really doesn't interest me at all. But some of the 'Werewolf By Night' and TOD covers are pretty iconic these days.

Great Brunner or Kane covers.

More later.

themiddlespaces said...

I loved the issues of Creepy & Eerie I got my hands on as a kid - and also Vampirella (though mostly so I could ogle the salacious drawings of her and her pals, or the model covers they sometimes had).

I had a few Tomb of Dracula issues I loved, but when I got the first volume of Marvel Essentials of it some years ago I was really disappointed. . . I think the start of the run was not very strong - I may have just picked the wrong volume.

Since I see the Bronze Age as reaching to the end of the 80s (or kind of overlapping with whatever we call the 90s), I think Alan Moore's Swamp Thing is the best. I own it all and have probably read it more than any other comic in my adulthood (except for Watchmen).

Garett said...

At the time, Swamp Thing was my favorite, with the great fluid Wrightson art and cool stories--Patchwork Man, the girl accused of being a witch, the clock dude, aliens...plus Batman! He was the best blend of superhero and horror. I liked Moore's Swamp Thing when it came out, but now it seems "bogged down" (yuk yuk) in overwriting.

I also loved the covers--Witching Hour, House of Secrets, and Vampirella look great here. I don't think I've ever been able to get through an entire Vampirella story, but they had some super artists for the covers and interiors.

I read Tomb of Dracula from start to finish several years ago--fantastic series for a dark winter night! Son of Satan intrigued me as he dressed more like a superhero, but the art/stories never really grabbed me. I'm now waiting for the Simon and Kirby Horror book to come out, which reprints their Black Magic series. I picked up their Crime book last year, and it's a hoot...gangster stories from the late '40s, the time of The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep.

Last thing--seems to me I'd keep an eye out for Mike Kaluta covers during the bronze age. He had a cool drawing style.

Pat Henry said...

I know this will sound glib, don't mean it to, but...

I found the old Gold Key Twilight Zone comics chilling as a kid. They handled the "Monkey's Paw" and other classic stories, along with other really weird tales. I think it was the rather stiff art and bland, matter-of-fact delivery that blended to work magic here—Things Kids Were Not Meant To Know.

I also found the brief Englehart and Colan brief run on Dr Strange, around 1976, creepy and unsettling. Good stuff.

Pat Henry said...

PS, I second HB's comment about WEIRD WAR and DC's general superiority in the genres of supernatural and war stories.

The art in WW was wildly uneven, but actually added to the creepy unsettling mood. There were a couple of surprisingly brilliant SF gems in there, too.

Mood is important. I'll take Robert Wise's '63 "The Haunting" over a slahser film any day.

J.A. Morris said...

I'll go with Tomb of Dracula as well. Gene Colan & Tom Palmer are one of the best art teams ever and this is the best depiction of Dracula (with the exception of Bela Lugosi, of course!).

Anonymous said...

When I was really into reading and collecting comics, I was mainly a super-hero fan, and had little interest in other genres. And when I did get into horror and science fiction, it seems I had lost interest in the comics medium in general, and was buying "real" magazines (Famous Monsters of Filmland, Castle of Frankenstein). There was a brief period of overlapping, though, when I had entered my "horror" phase but had not yet outgrown comics. So I read a few Gold Key (Twilight Zone, Ripley's Believe It or Not) fantasy comics, and some of Warren's B&W magazines (Creepy, Eerie). EC and Atlas (1950's Marvel) were before my time, but I do remember some of those Atlas stories from reprints (Where Monsters Dwell, Where Creatures Roam). I also vaguely recall Charlton's "Dr. M.T. Graves" series. For some reason, I never bought DC anthology comics at the time. I remember House of Mystery for superhero series (Robby Reed, Martian Manhunter) rather than for Cain and Abel. Looking back, though, I agree that war and horror were two genres that DC usually handled better than Marvel.

Greg said...

I didn't buy a lot of the horror stuff, was mostly superheroes, but often saw Werewolf by Night and Tomb of Dracula on the racks. Wish now I would have partaken more. :)I did read the occasional Scary Tales or Monster Hunters... and House of Secrets/ Mystery, did like those.

Anonymous said...

I was never much into the horror stuff, but I think I had a few of the Gold Key Twilight Zones that Pat Henry mentioned, plus the odd issue of Weird War.

I guess I should sit down and read Tomb of Dracula and some of those early Creepy/Eeerie issues...not to mention the old EC stuff from the fifties; I think the reprints first started coming out in the Bronze Age.

Mike W.

Humanbelly said...

Let me assure those of you who are curious about- but unfamiliar with- the title: WEREWOLF BY NIGHT is most definitely not, Not, NOT a contendor for the Best Horror Comic title. While it started incredibly strong in Marvel Spotlight and then in its own series, it was almost rivetingly bad for nearly the entire second half of its run-- doomed by truly awful art (Don Perlin/Vince Colletta), and agonizingly slow storytelling. (Although it did indeed have some surprisingly good covers.)

I was the lone fan who staunchly stuck with it to the end. . .

And I guess I'll ask the question: Is Alan Moore's SWAMP THING definitely a horror comic? It almost defies a clear genre', in my mind. It's more like a "metaphysical" comic with both horror and sci-fi overtones. Well-- except so many horrifying things happen in it--- okay, sure, call it a horror comic. . .

HB

Anonymous said...

Horror was never my cup of tea but for me at least I have two favourites - Tomb of Dracula and the Eerie/Creepy/Vampirella Warren mags.

Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan and Tom Palmer really struck paydirt when they did this series. I understand Genial Gene lobbied for this job by sending Stan Lee an art sample (Bill Everett was supposed to be the original artist). I think legions of fans will thank him to their grave for making this choice! Gene's shadowy pencils and Palmer's heavy inks contributed to the moody atmosphere, a totally appropriate choice for such a book.

The Warren mags were just the thing for a boy like me with a curious imagination to read - sometimes I got to see great stuff by writers and artists like Bruce Jones, Doug Moench, Nicola Cuti, Leo Duranona, Richard Corben, Esteban Maroto and Jose Gonzalez. This stuff wasn't your generic sanitized kiddie comic books - free from the restraints of the Comics Code Authority (egads, sounds like something from the novel 1984!), this format allowed writers and artists to cut loose and make up some wild stories; not all were great, but occasionally you found some gems.


- Mike 'I still have a crush on Vampirella after all these years' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Rip Jagger said...

I gotta' go with Charlton's Ghostly Tales and The Many Ghosts of Dr.Graves. Those are the linchpins to Charlton's sometimes large set of horror titles.

The most fun might've been Wayne Howard's Midnight Tales which featured regular work by Nicola Cuit, Don Newton, Joe Staton, and Howard himself.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

HB, I kind of agree with you about Moore's Swamp Thing: it doesn't seem like a horror comic to me either (o.k. there's that truly horrific story in which Abby ended up scrubbing herself with a scouring pad, but that's about it).

Tony L said...

Creepy and eerie for me but Charlton's line were good but did enjoy werewolf by night

redartz said...

Back in the day, I didn't read many horror books; but in recent years they have become more intriguing to me. I like to pick up the DC twins "House of Mystery" and "House of Secrets" at the flea markets. Often you can find them pretty cheaply; and how often did they feature great covers by the likes of Adams and Wrightson?

I do recall looking over the Red Circle Sorcery books when they came out, but didn't bite (sorry...).

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