Thursday, October 31, 2013

Marvel Comics Horror

   In 1971, the ironclad grip of the Comics Code Authority, a self regulating group formed to make comics safe for the youth of America, loosened slightly, making certain things that had been forbidden in comic books since the late 1950s usable again. This included vampires, ghouls, and werewolves, as long as they were handled tastefully. Oh yeah.
   By the mid seventies Marvel Comics had unleashed the horrors, publishing color titles like Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf by Night, Morbius the Living Vampire, The Ghost Rider, and The Monster of Frankenstein, plus Black and White magazines such as Dracula Lives and tales of the Zombie.
   I started reading Marvel comics about 1974, and the monster movement was just getting up and running. Monsters seemed to be popping up everywhere. Spiderman fought Morbius and Dracula and a werewolf called Manwolf. The Ghost Rider turned up in Marvel Team-Up and even joined a short-lived super group, The Champions.
   This was also around the same time that movies like The Exorcist, The Omen, and other devil centered films were becoming popular. Marvel jumped in with characters like The Son of Satan and Satana: The Devil's Daughter. I can recall the only time my mother ever flipped out over a comic book was when I brought home The Son of Satan. To me it was just another superhero comic. (He wore tights and a cape.) To my mom it was a tool of the devil. I was requested to remove those comics from my collection. I actually just moved them to the bottom of the trunk where I kept the comics. The lesson here, parents, is dig deeper.
   Anyway, here on Halloween I'm thinking about the Marvel Monsters. While I was at the comic book store last night, I picked up the Essential Marvel Horror volume one, a telephone book size collection of an assortment of Marvel horror characters.You get The Ghost Rider, Dracula, Satana, and yes, The Son of Satan. Sorry mom. There's also a second volume which has The Living Zombie and Brother Voodoo. Ah, comic books. There are also Essential collections of Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf by Night and most of the other Marvel Horror titles.
   The bad news is many of these volumes are out of print. The good news is, they are readily available at Amazon, Ebay, or well stocked Comic Book Shops like the one I shop at.


The Wasp said...

When I was a kid in the seventies, the only comics I bought were DC's war and horror comics. I got to reread a bunch of the latter a few years ago and I was happy how well some of them held up.

Paul R. McNamee said...

I did not start on comics until I was an adult, with a few random exceptions. I still have those exceptions; some Gold Key or Whitman horror stuff.

They are anthologies, basically an attempt to be like Tales from the Crypt.

Ah, the wonders of the Internet. Here is one of them;

Grimm's Ghost Stories Jan 1976

Paul R. McNamee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul R. McNamee said...

Here's another one;
Spine-tingling Tales.

Great, Charles.

Now I have another "occult investigator" to explore - Dr. Spektor!

(Dark Horse released collections in 2010!)

Charles R. Rutledge said...

Glad I could send you toward the good Doctor, Paul. There's a nod to Spektor in Blind Shadows, by the way and a more concrete connection in Congregations of the Dead.

Wasp, those were all my brother read too. I was always a super hero guy.

Kelly Robinson said...

I'm mostly familiar with the REALLY old horror comics, so this was enlightening.

Todd Mason said...

While I loved my 1970s horror comics, whether new stuff (if any good) such as DC's WEIRD WAR TALES or Marvel's WEREWOLF-BY-NIGHT (or Gold Key's often interesting TWILIGHT ZONE), and particularly the pre-code stuff, which Marvel packaged in such titles as TOMB OF DARKNESS (DC tended to congregate their pre-code reprints in their fatter issues of THE WITCHING HOUR and such).

Dougie said...

I just bought issue one of Dracula Lives- the US version not the UK weekly of the mid-70s.

I was surprised and tickled by the use of red in the b/w pages.