Artists of Avon – AVON HORROR

Terror calling!

Avon’s longest running book was a funny animal title, PETER RABBIT. It came out in the autumn of 1949 and lasted till the summer of 1956, a total of 34 issues on a mostly quarterly publication schedule. Next came two western comics, WILD BILL HICKOK scored 28 issues, and close on Wild Bill’s heels rode JESSE JAMES – with 24 issues.

After those, horror raised its ugly head. EERIE COMICS resp. EERIE were published 18 times. All of Avon’s other 119 (!) series fell much shorter. Their total number of books published over a time span of eleven years is 384. Do the math! No other company threw so many one-shots on the market. I counted 78 titles which came out just once!


What a fuss! The trouble alone to come up with new names for all these debut issues.

Well, Avon Books was a pulp magazine publisher founded in 1941. The still active company dared a stint into comic books from 1945 to 1955. Learn more about the publishing company on THIS Wikipedia page.

Avon cared for quality. Their pulps MURDER MYSTERY MONTHLY, MODERN SHORT STORY MONTHLY and FANTASY READER had featured texts by the likes of James M. Cain, H. P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard.

They tried to hire graphic talent: Wally Wood, Everett Raymond Kinstler, Joe Kubert, Frank Frazetta, Carmine Infantino, Russ Heath, Mort Meskin, Joe Orlando, Al Williamson and John Romita all appeared in Avon comics. Ingenious illustrator Rafael Astarita found employment in his later years at Avon.

Avon wasn’t squeamish concerning the names of their comic books: Lurid covers exposed lovely women in the foreground – and above them title lines screamed SLAVE GIRL COMICS, BLAZING SIX GUNS, PRISON RIOT, WAR DOGS OF THE U.S. ARMY, MURDEROUS GANGSTERS and DIARY OF HORROR. They could neither deny nor shake their pulp heritage.

As we can witness first-hand with their first horror book published – have a look at this display of pulp sleaze just above  (with an oddly large title logo; looks like the drawing is too small and covers only two-thirds of the page…):

The Artists


Avon artists: Nodel & Alascia

Nodel & Alascia

I name them as a team, because they strictly worked together on AVON HORROR:
Nodel penciled and Alascia inked most of the stories to be printed these books.
Norman Nodel, let’s be frank, was quite a hack. He jobbed for Star, found a home at Avon (they must have paid lousy wages), did almost all of his pre-code work here, went on to do Charlton romance boos after the code (which hack didn’t?) – but also is noted to have illustrated a whole string of CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED. “Moby Dick”, “Ivanhoe”, “Swiss Family Robinson”, “The Invisible Man”, “Black Beauty”, “Faust” and – hold on to your pants – “Les Miserables”. I bet they were! Nodel even did a handful of 60s horror stories for Warren magazines CREEPY and EERIE.

Vince Alascia did pencil work, allegedly in the war years and shortly after. We don’t know who broke it to him, but Vince laid down the graphite pens, picked up a brush became a sought-after inker. And, o boy!, could Vince wield this brush! His super-heavy inks mar a lot of cheap precoders (on the upside, he’s quite easy to spot).
Alascia proved to be one of the most prolific inkers in the business ever: At Charlton he inked what Charles Nicholas threw at him – for 23 frigging years!


Avon artist: Alvin Hollingsworth

Alvin C. Hollingsworth

People generally like Hollingsworth, maybe because he was one of the first African-Americans to work in the business and surely deserves credit. I’d like to point out that he was not that good a comic book artist (and did tons of sloppy and hasty jobs). But I am proud to present some of his finest stories here. For a time at AVON HORROR Hollingsworth actually gave a crap. If you scroll through these pages, we shall reveal to you where the good stuff is to find.
With the advent of the comics code, he went on to help out on newspaper strips (KANDY, SCORCHY SMITH), taught illustration at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan during the sixties – and took up fine painting. Wikipedia tell us, “his subjects included such contemporary social issues as civil rights for women and African Americans, as well as jazz and dance“.

Hollingsworth’s trademark is those weird eyes! Big, almost manga-like staring eyes. And a strange preference to draw his characters in profile.



Avon artist: Harry Lazarus

Harry Lazarus

This artist is more associated with ACG HORROR, where he blossomed and left us his masterpieces.
If you might consider anything done by Lazarus a masterpiece. To me he is a comic book immortal, because he invented “TrueVision”, a mock 3-D technique. His editors at the American Comics Group were so enthused by TrueVision – they remodeled their long-runnig title ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN into a TrueVision book for 8 issues (#51-58).

Lazarus learned the ropes of comic illustration at small outfits like Holyoke, Novelty and Charlton in the late 1940s. He did a stint at Atlas/Marvel in 1951 and started working simultaneously for Avon and ACG in 1952 (and contributed filler pages to Prize’s BLACK MAGIC). The fall of 1953 sees his last jobs for AVON HORROR. Post-code he remained with ACG, filling their mystery books. His traces are lost in 1967 …
Well, go on and read a “TrueVision” story now. They are as gorgeous as they are hilarious.
Here’s one on FIFTIES HORROR: „Monster in the Fog“ or that one, too: „Dry Death„.


There are not that much horror books, so we only mention the three most busy artists, but see below the whole list of assignments:

Norman Nodel & Vince Alascia (18)
Harry Lazarus (10) (1 inked by Alascia)
Alvin C. Hollingsworth (9)
Gene Fawcette (6) (2 inked by Alascia)
Joe Kubert (5)
Ed Goldfarb (4) (3 inked by Bob Baer)
Tex Blaisdell (3)
Everett Raymond Kinstler (3)
Mo Marcus (3) (2 inked by Mastroserio, 1 by Alascia)
Gerald McCann (2)
Mort Meskin (2)
Charles Nicholas (2) (1 inked by Roussos)

A whole flock of artists contributed each 1: Wally Wood, Fred Kida, Mort Lawrence, Rafael Astarita, Sid Check, A. Albert, Jon Small, Bob Fujitani, Leonard Starr, Marty Rose, Mike Becker, Carmine Infantino, George Roussos, Louis Ravielli, Manny Stallman, Maurice Gutwirth, Jim McLaughlin.

An Avon specialty is the contents page on the inner front cover. Presenting a collage of sneak peeks of all the stories to come. No other horror book came up with something like this. The Harvey line had a kind of editorial page with thumbnail depictions of the story titles taken from the splash pages. But the Avon contents page could be quite a looker, as shown below:


Gorgeous contents page illustrated by Everett Raymond Kinstler from EERIE #7


The Covers

The main topic on AVON HORROR’S title pages are frightened women. They seem to be kind of convinced that that should do and suffice:
“Whatcha want, buddy? There’s a babe on the cover, looking for help from a monster. What MORE could you ask for?”

Their covers are mostly really cheap. Stereotypical in a frustrating way. Hastily drawn, without much sense of composition.
Have a look HERE at the EERIE cover gallery on the Grand Comics Database.
And notice how issues #5, 9 and 13 depict the SAME frightened woman in the lower right corner! Sloppy. No other publisher dared serve their readers such careless cover art. Still they radiate pulp cheapness and trash value
More effort went into sister title WITCHCRAFT. These six covers are each completely different – and some of them quite nice! On display HERE.

The Stories

Story Titles are often very much matter-of-fact:
“The White Gorilla!”, “The Monster from the Pit”, “Master of the Dead”, “The Strange Indian Curse”, “The Thing from the Sea”, “The Monster of the Storm”, “The Stranger in Studio X!”, “Nightmare”, “Northern Horror”, “The Vampire Puppet” and so on …

Thematically we have curses, demons, haunted stuff. Avon liked to spice up its stories with a whiff of exotism: Wild beasts, witch doctors, ancient Egypt, black magic. Occasionally, we will encounter zombies, vampires, werewolves and Satan himself.

AVON HORROR is a mixed bag. Although they rather refrained from horrid crime (which probably is the mainstay of EC HORROR).
Only the Wally Wood classic “The Thing from the Sea” springs to mind (from the pages of EERIE #2).


In this story crime indeed does NOT pay. It is punished by being harassed by your zombified victim until dead!



To give you an overview of the company’s output, here’s a listing of all their comic books from the spring of 1951 to the summer of 1954.

Left column: horror books  –  Right column: every other comic book published in these years.

Note: One-shot issues with no publication date other than the year have been placed in the middle of that year (July).

  • Eerie #1
April 1951
  • Famous Gangsters #1
  • Peter Rabbit #6
  • Romantic Love #5
May 1951
  • Boy Detective #1
  • Jesse James# 3
  • Wild Bill Hickok #7
June 1951
  • Strange Worlds #3
July 1951
  • Attack on Planet Mars (one-shot)
  • An Earth Man on Venus (one-shot)
  • Badmen of the West (128-page giant)
  • Black Hawk – Indian Tomahawk War (one-shot)
  • Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch (one-shot)
  • Chief Victorio’s Apache Massacre (one-shot)
  • The Dalton Boys (one-shot)
  • Davy Crockett (one-shot)
  • For a Night of Love (one-shot)
  • Geronimo #2
  • The Hooded Menace (one-shot)
  • Intimate Confessions #1
  • Jesse James#4
  • King Solomon’s Mines (one-shot)
  • Little Jack Frost (one-shot)
  • The Mask of Dr. Fu Manchu (one-shot)
  • Murderous Gangsters #1
  • Peter Rabbit #7
  • Reform School Girl! (one-shot)
  • Rocket to the Moon (one-shot)
  • Romantic Love #6)
  • Space Detective #1
  • U.S Paratroops #1
  • The Unknown Man (one-shot)
  • White Chief of the Pawnee Indians (one-shot)
  • White Princess of the Jungle #1
  • Eerie #2
August 1951
  • Kit Carson #2
  • Police Line-Up #1
  • Realistic Romances #1
  • Wild Bill Hickok #8
September 1951
  • Captain Steve Savage #2
  • Gangsters and Gunmolls #1
  • Intimate Confessions #2
  • Peter Rabbit #8
  • Prison Break! #1
  • Romantic Love #7
  • The Saint #10
  • Strange Worlds #4
  • Eerie #3
October 1951
  • Realistic Romances #2
  • White Princess of the Jungle #2
November 1951
  • Geronimo #3 (last)
  • Boy Detective #2
  • Intimate Confessions #3
  • Jesse James#5
  • Peter Rabbit #9
  • Romantic Love #8
  • Space Detective #2
  • Strange Worlds #5
  • Wild Bill Hickok #9
  • Eerie #4
December 1951
  • Captain Steve Savage #3
  • Famous Gangsters #2
  • Gangsters and Gunmolls #2
  • Kit Carson #3
  • Murderous Gangsters #2
  • Parole Breakers #1
  • Police Line-Up #2
  • Prison Break! #2
  • Realistic Romances #3
  • The Saint #11
January 1952
  • Peter Rabbit #10
  • Romantic Love #9
  • Eerie #5
February 1952
  • Boy Detective #3
  • Famous Gangsters #3 (Lucky Luciano)
  • Intimate Confessions #4
  • Jesse James#6
  • Realistic Romances #4
  • The Savage Raids of Chief Geronimo (one-shot)
  • Space Detective #3
  • Strange Worlds #6
  • Wild Bill Hickok #10
  • Witchcraft #1
March 1952
  • Captain Steve Savage #4
  • Fighting Indians of the Wild West! #1
  • Gangsters and Gunmolls #3
  • Murderous Gangsters #3
  • Peter Rabbit #11
  • Romantic Love #10
  • The Saint #12 (last)
  • U.S. Paratroops #2
  • Eerie #6
Aprl 1952
  • Parole Breakers #2
  • Peter Rabbit’s Easter Parade (132-page giant)
  • Police Line-Up #3
  • Prison Break! #3
  • Realistic Romances #5
  • Witchcraft #2
May 1952
  • Crime on the Waterfront #4
  • (one-shot, numbering cont. from Famous Gangsters)
  • Intimate Confessions #5
  • Jesse James#7
  • Peter Rabbit #12
  • Romantic Love #11
  • Strange Worlds #7
  • U.S. Paratroops #3
  • Undersea Fighting Commandos (one-shot)
  • White Princess of the Jungle #3
  • Wild Bill Hickok #11
  • Eerie #7
June 1952
  • Boy Detective #4 (last)
  • Captain Steve Savage #5
  • Gangsters and Gunmolls #4 (last)
  • Murderous Gangsters #4 (last)
  • Realistic Romances #6
  • U.S. Tank Commandos #1
  • City of the Living Dead (one-shot)
  • The Dead Who Walk (one-shot)
  • Phantom Witch Doctor (one-shot)
  • Witchcraft #3
July 1952
  • All-True Detective Cases (100-page giant)
  • Behind Prison Bars (one-shot)


  • Escape from Devil’s Island (one-shot)
  • Fighting Indians (100-page giant)
  • Flying Saucers (one-shot)
  • Jesse James (100-page giant)
  • The Masked Bandit (one-shot)
  • Outlaws of the Wild West (one-shot)
  • Parole Breakers #3 (last)
  • Police Line-Up #4 (last)
  • Prison Break! #4
  • Prison Riot (one-shot)
  • Robotmen of the Lost Planet (one-shot)
  • Romantic Love #12
  • Sensational Police Cases #1
  • Space Detective #4 (last)
  • U.S. Paratroops #4
  • War Dogs of the U.S. Army (one-shot)
  • Western Bandits (one-shot)
  • Eerie #8
August 1952
  • Captain Steve Savage #6
  • Fighting Undersea Commandos #2
  • Intimate Confessions #6
  • Jesse James#8
  • Peter Rabbit #13
  • Realistic Romances #7
  • Strange Worlds #8
  • U.S. Marines in Action #1
  • U.S. Tank Commandos #2
  • White Princess of the Jungle #4
  • Wild Bill Hickok #12
  • Witchcraft #4
September 1952
  • Eerie #9
October 1952
  • Captain Steve Savage #7
  • Fighting Undersea Commandos #3
  • Peter Rabbit #14
  • Prison Break! #5 (last)
  • Romantic Love #13 (comes back with #20 in March 1954)
  • U.S. Marines in Action #2
  • U.S. Paratroops #5
November 1952
  • Buddies in the U.S. Army #1
  • Fighting Indians of the Wild West! #2 (last)
  • Jesse James#9
  • Realistic Romances #8 (comes back as #15 in April 1954)
  • Strange Worlds #9 (comes back as #18 in October 1954)
  • U.S. Tank Commandos #3
  • White Princess of the Jungle #5 (last)
  • Wild Bill Hickok #13
  • Eerie #10
  • Diary of Horror #1 (one-shot)
  • Witchcraft #5
December 1952
  • Fighting Undersea Commandos #4
  • Intimate Confessions #7
  • Peter Rabbit #15
  • U.S. Marines in Action #3 (last)
  • U.S. Paratroops #6 (last)

January 1953

  • Captain Steve Savage #8 (last)
  • Blazing Six-Guns! #1 (last)

February 1953

Peter Rabbit #16

March 1953

  • Buddies in the U.S. Army #2 (last)
  • Intimate Confessions #8 (last)
  • U.S. Tank Commandos #4 (last)
  • Wild Bill Hickok #14
  • Eerie #11

April 1953

  • Fighting Undersea Commandos #5 (last)
  • Peter Rabbit #17
  • Space Mouse #1

June 1953

  • Merry Mouse #1
  • Night of Mystery (one-shot)
  • Secret Diary of Eerie Adventures (100-page giant)

July 1953

  • Campus Romances (one-shot)
  • Cow Puncher (one-shot)
  • Fighting Daniel Boone (one-shot)
  • Funny Tunes #1
  • Jesse James (one-shot)
  • Kit Carson and the Blackfeet Warriors (one-shot)
  • Last of the Comanches (one-shot)
  • Peter Rabbit #18
  • Sparkling Love (one-shot)
  • Speedy Rabbit (one-shot)
  • Women to Love (one-shot)
  • Eerie #12

August 1953

  • Merry Mouse #2
  • Space Mouse #2

September 1953

  • Funny Tunes #2
  • Peter Rabbit #19
  • Wild Bill Hickok #15
  • Eerie #13

October 1953

  • Jesse James#15
  • (cont. from #9 with a one-shot in-between)
  • Merry Mouse #3
  • Space Mouse #3
  • Spotty the Pup #1

November 1953

  • Peter Rabbit #20
  • Spotty the Pup #2

December 1953

  • Funny Tunes #3 (last)
  • Spotty the Pup #3 (last)
  • Wild Bill Hickok #16
  • Eerie #14

January 1954

  • Jesse James#16
  • Merry Mouse #4 (last)
  • Space Mouse #4

February 1954

  • Peter Rabbit #21

March 1954

  • Romantic Love #20
  • Sensational Police Cases #2
  • Space Comics #4 (cont. Funny Tunes)
  • Super Pup (cont. Spotty the Pup) #4
  • Wild Bill Hickok #17
  • Eerie #15

April 1954

  • All-True Detective Cases #2
  • Jesse James#17
  • Peter Rabbit #22
  • Realistic Romances #15
  • Space Mouse #5 (last)

May 1954

  • Romantic Love #21
  • Sensational Police Cases #3
  • Space Comics #5 (last)
  • Wild Bill Hickok #18
  • Eerie #16

June 1954

  • All-True Detective Cases #3
  • Jesse James#18

July 1954

  • Peter Rabbit #23
  • Peter Rabbit Jumbo Book (100?-page giant)
  • Realistic Romances #16
  • Romantic Love #22
  • Sensational Police Cases #4 (last)
  • Space Thrillers (one-shot)
  • Super Pup #5 (last)
  • Wild Bill Hickok #19
  • Eerie #17

August 1954

  • All-True Detective Cases #4(last)
  • Jesse James#19

September 1954

  • Captain Steve Savage #5
    (first issue of second series, numbering cont. from Sensational Police Cases)
  • Peter Rabbit #24
  • Realistic Romances #17 (last)
  • Romantic Love #23 (last)
  • Wild Bill Hickok #20

That is one seriously erratic publication schedule, folks!

EERIE is the only (alongside JESSE JAMES, WILD BILL HICKOK, STRANGE WORLDS, CAPTAIN STEVE SAVAGE, THE SAINT, ROMANTIC LOVE and the funny book PETER RABBIT) title coming out on a regular basis and more than six times.

Question comes to mind if they had an editor at all – or maybe a succession of different editors trying new stuff all the time!

Note: AVON, DC & QUALITY HORROR is a spin-off of the German website FIFTIES HORROR (presenting pre-code horror in general to an unsuspecting public). AVON, DC & QUALITY HORROR specializes in the products of three specific companies and is therefore drafted in the English language. The sister websites ACE HORROR, FAWCETT & CHARLTON HORROR and FICTION HOUSE & STANDARD HORROR are already online. Look for the links just below…