17 issues + 1 issue from 1947

Note: Every issue has been indexed on the Grand Comics Database – the link will show you all available data, including cover shots and story descriptions. Just click the underlined issue and number…

Eerie Comics #1

January 1947


Yeah, you’re looking at expert pulp sleaze. Classic motif by unknown sleaze master.
And you’re looking at the very first horror comic book ever published!

The first book ever dedicated to horror from cover to cover. There were ghostly features or the occasional werewolf story in anthology books before, but EERIE COMICS #1 (planned as a quarterly title) supplied its readers with 52 pages chockfull of weirdness.

This book even got its own Wikipedia entry!

And weird it is. Let’s have a look inside, shall we?

Cover: (Bound woman cringing before onrushing madman with knife) – ???

“The Eyes of the Tiger” (???)

“Dead Man’s Tale” (Jon Small + George Roussos)

“The Man-Eating Lizards” (Joe Kubert, signed)

“Mystery of Murder Manor” (???)

“The Strange Case of Henpecked Harry” (Fred Kida, signed)

Wait, hold it, I will transfer you instead to the trusty hands and brains of comics researcher Adrian Wymann – who posted the whole issue with insightful commentaries on his wonderful website “Read up on Comics / The Thought Balloon”.

There’s nothing to add for me. Only that Joe Kubert, Fred Kida and George Roussos kept illustrating horror stories, although Kida stopped working for Avon (except for one “Jesse James” western story) and made it into the bullpen at Atlas/Marvel.

Well, it’s 1947 and the newsstand hadn’t seen anything like this book before. The timing probably wasn’t right, as the hot trends of the time were romance and western (Avon brought out a western book named COW PUNCHER that year which they continued for seven issues).
EERIE COMICS was too wild a blend of stories and not entirely pure horror. “The Man-Eating Lizards” is pure adventure stuff and “Mystery of Murder Manor” a crime mystery featuring teenage investigators (compare Wymann’s remarks at the end of his review).

They were trying out things, as “The Strange Case of Henpecked Harry” might demonstrate, probably horror history’s first “husband-disposes-of-nagging-wife” plot. Kida’s artwork oscillates between slapstick grotesque (pages 2 and 3), suspenseful crime (pages 4 and 5), a whiff of pin-up on page 6 (the upridden skirt!), gore on page 7 and even a touch of psychedelia on page 8.


This domestic disturbance is enough to drive any husband to… MURDER!

EERIE COMICS was canceled after this debut issue – and reappeared as EERIE over four years later (when companies like Atlas, ACG and EC had broken ground for the new genre).

So fast forward to the magical year 1951 … here we go again!

Eerie #1

May 1951ECover1

Cover: (Scantily clad woman in giant beaker pleading with ghoulish madman at controls) – ???

„The Werewolf of Warsham Manor“ (Moe Marcus + Rocco Mastroserio)

„King of the Living Dead” (Marty Rose ?)

“The Subway Horror” (Fred Kida)  – REPRINTED from EERIE COMICS #1

“The Monster from the Pit” (???)

An Avon specialty is the contents page on the inner front cover, often beautifully rendered (not so much here) in black and white. Furthermore AVON HORROR is not lettered by hand, but done with Leroy stencils. EC Comics were the most prominent company to use Leroy lettering, but just because Bill Gaines “inherited” the WONDER WOMAN lettering team (Jim and Margaret Wroten) from his father – as legend has it.
We don’t know if other companies tried to emulate that EC look and feel, but fact is that Avon as well as Story/Master employed Leroy lettering for their horror books.

„The Werewolf of Warsham Manor“ proves to be a very run-of-the-mill curse story involving a real werewolf, though.
Robert Warsham, last of the Warsham clan, hurries to his uncle’s death bed and learns about a family curse. In an experiment gone wrong decades ago, the scientist partner of Vincent Warsham was turned into a were-beast and killed. When the members of the Warsham family turn 45 years of age, the wolfman stalks and kills them in revenge.
The script sways back and forth between moody narrative and ridiculous descriptive prose.


In „King of the Living Dead” the city of Budapest is the setting of a bizarre zombie cult. Adrina Rollande, bride of Walter Austen, is kidnapped by a zombie and brought to an underground cavern. Austen manages to follow unnoticed through the sewer system. They meet a madman who is recruiting an undead army and plans to conquer the surface world. The courageous American, however, can dispose of the master and his servants by collapsing the cavern.

It struck me as funny that the author is writing at quite a length about sewer systems – having forgotten about his horror plot.


(Don’t get carried away in the darkness of the sewers, the stinking labyrinths of slime, the neck-high pools of indescribable filth, the meshes of dirty ooze… ahh, too late!)
Jesus, what’s with some people? Jump to the next page – and it goes on!


(Bowels of the earth writhing in plopping gurgles… uurgh, time to visit my water closet cliff overlooking unbelievable depths…)

„King of the Living Dead” is almost annoying in its plump adventure mode. Austen defeating the (overly talkative) ghoul master with fisticuffs and a torch on page 6. Ah, well! It’s the first issue! Give them some time!
See the whole story posted on the delightful “Destination Nightmare” blog (click there to read it).

“The Subway Horror” is nothing else than “The Strange Case of Henpecked Harry” from the 1947 EERIE COMICS. Exact same story, they just changed the title to make it sound more horrific.

“The Monster from the Pit” is not rising from the sewers, although the setting again involves Balkan folklore. Two cops of Transylvanian descent recognize a killer’s spree as the work of the Grahku, a supernatural were-wolf like fiend. They read up on the legend and find a means to destroy the monster. By putting a charm on a certain corpse in the cemetery the Grahku will be stopped forever. But one of the cops is digging his own grave!

Aaaah, uuu-ooooh! But, again, text and pictures are no match made in heaven – as this action sequence may demonstrate:


Next page has one of the coppers first brooding in monologue, and then yapping away to his ignorant colleagues.


You can’t usually go wrong with a showdown at a nightly cemetery. Hmmph. Well, it IS awkward, innit?


(You’re wearing protection? Good for you. I guarantee you won’t get pregnant)

EERIE #1 was reprinted three years later as EERIE #15.  The last three issues (#15-17) start the series again from the beginning. All the stories from the debut issue have been posted on Karswell’s fabulous blog “The Horrors of it all”. But since he used the reprints from #15 – please scroll down there to find the links.

Yeah, they might differ. Coloring was often different. Yeah. Not the same… Aw, for those who can’t wait, here’s the link: CLICK ME.


Eerie #2

August 1951ECover2

Cover: (Skeletal ghoul with impish man-bat on shoulder leads woman in chains through bone-strewn sewers) – Wally Wood (signed)

“The Thing from the Sea!” (Wally Wood)

“A Honeymoon of Horror!” (Louis Ravielli, signed)

“The Stranger in Studio X!” (Rocco Mastroserio + ?)

“Do You Know?” (Henry C. Kiefer, signed) – one-page filler

“Nightmare!” (Manny Stallman, signed)

Issue starts out All-Wood: great cover by him, gorgeous contents page and his horror classic “The Thing from the Sea!”. Although there might be Joe Orlando and/or Sid Check involved in these pages. Joe and Woody worked closely together in theses months (cf. their contributions to the first two issues of DARK MYSTERIES). Story has been reprinted quite often, to be found online at our friend Karswell’s, but I’ll route you to another blog called “The Warrior’s Comic Book Den”.

The murder victim’s atmospheric descent to the bottom of the sea seemed familiar.
I daresay these panels inspired a young Steve Ditko to send his murder victim in “The Evil Eye!” (THE THING #14, June 1954, posted HERE on our CHARLTON HORROR special website) to its voyage into Davy Jones’s locker.


First column of three panels: Wood / the four panels to the right: Ditko

Story’s quickly told: 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. Eddie finally arrives in New York and drags Johnny into the water, to have some company in death.

Banally simple plot, but effectively illustrated and gripping. Indeed probably THE Wood horror classic (because he didn’t draw many horror stories, but soon found his calling in war, suspense and science fiction).

“A Honeymoon of Horror!” is run-of-the-mill stuff:
Neil Richards loses his wife Sally in a car accident. Overcome with grief he signs a contract to forfeit his soul to the devil (in form of “Mr. Prim” who lingers in the cemetery). When Richards realizes he has to become a ghost first, he runs away and seeks psychiatric help with Dr. Kubnor. They return to the graveside to fight the widower’s alleged hallucinations, but Prim lies in wait. His undead hordes carry Richards into the afterworld.


The following text story (“The Chamber of Death!”) is unusual insofar as they claim it to be “The Story behind the Cover”! A first time I see a title page handled like this. It’s elegant. It’s pure logic. It’s clever. No one else ever did it like this! More proof that Avon cared for its contents.
It’s the first-person account of a cop on the beat at the cemetery. He follows a procession of three people down into the bowels of the earth and a sewer system. They walk right up to the gates of hell. The cop recognizes the chained woman as an executed murderess. He flees in terror.


“The Stranger in Studio X!” features a triple art credit on Grand Comics Database (Mastroserio, Wood, Orlando). All question-marked, by the way. I am positive of Mastroserio here, no Wood, Orlando maybe. Story’s rather bland. A fate-like figure walks into a radio station and confuses the Deejay with announcements of casualties which actually start to happen shortly afterwards.

Gnnaaaahh. Never liked that kind of plot. Has been done with more oomph at other companies. “Catastrophe, Inc.” springs to mind, from THE BEYOND #27.  “Mark of Evil”, from ADVENTURES INTO DARKNESS #8. “Wanted: Ghost Writer”, from THE BEYOND #18. None of these have ever been posted on the internet! See?
But scroll down on this radio-themed blog (“WFMU’s Beware of the Blog”) to see the story online.

“Nightmare!” is a stray spy story not belonging in this book.
Undercover U.S. agent Andriko Banoff thwarts a plan to ship atom bombs from „totalitarian Eastern ports“ into US harbors. Filler!


Eerie #3

October 1951ECover3

Cover: (Hairy green demon climbing through window and frightening blonde woman in the foreground) – Wally Wood

“The Case of the Painted Beast!” (Maurice Gutwirth + ?)

“Was He Dead?” (Mo Marcus + Rocco Mastroserio, signed)

“The Monster of the Storm” (Edward Goldfarb + Bob Baer, signed)

“The Mirror of Isis!” (Joe Kubert)

I hate the artist of the lead story, Maurice Gutwirth (hate Gutwirth’s guts?). He’s one of the worst hack artists of the 1940s and early 1950s. But publishers gave him a lot of horror stories to illustrate (he’s an unwelcome contributor to ACE + FAWCETT HORROR and popped up once or twice almost everywhere else); all his pages look terrible. Wanna see a sample? Click to see “The Frenzy of Sheila Lord” from THE BEYOND #5.

I am sure it’s him on pencils here in “The Case of the Painted Beast!”, but I’ve never seen him being inked! Weird looking stuff. Who did the inking? I haven’t the faintest. Someone speculated on Wood which I refuse to believe. Although there is a ‘Woodish’ touch to it, brrrrr. Creepy!

“The Case of the Painted Beast!” is one of those beloved mad art painter tales. The town of Maple Valley holds an art painting competition. When Ezra Vale’s picture of a gruesome monster doesn’t win, strange things begin to happen. A fiendish beast like that in the picture attacks the prize judges and kidnaps Vale into its nightmare world on canvas.
In spite of the monster the story lacks suspense and depth. Hardly gut-worth a look… (sorry).

“Was He Dead?” scores with lingerie shots of showgirl Marilyn who asks her lover to kill her husband. The murderer, however, is haunted by visions of his victim. He goes to check on the corpse and is imprisoned in the dead man’s tomb. Straighter than straight ‘haunted murderer’ plot. Nothing special, but impresses the reader with some panels showing blood-smeared faces.


Read the story on the wonderful blog “Pappy’s Golden Age Comics”.

“The Monster of the Storm” is the entrée of the creative team of Edward Goldfarb + Bob Baer at Avon. Although no masters of graphic art, their stories have a certain knack. We like Goldfarb and Baer. They make use of the ‘camera’; Gutwirth in contrast has never heard of ‘camera’. They will send in stories for more than a year, but mostly for other titles like PAROLE BREAKERS and MURDEROUS GANGSTERS. So what about their first (of three) horror yarns?

John Unter runs amok in the town of Mossy Glen. Before he can be apprehended by the police, lightning strikes and kills Unter (sez the sheriff:
“Same thing as the chair. Only quicker!”). From now on Mossy Glen is cursed. With every thunderstorm Unter comes alive as a ghoulish monster and strangles someone.
I quite like this tale, although it’s missing a good twist. Still entertaining. Thinking about posting this one… and HERE it is!

“The Mirror of Isis!” marks Joe Kubert’s comeback at AVON HORROR (he was in the 1947 EERIE COMICS #1, remember?). We’ll see some more stories by him, but in 1953 he wanders off to St. John and invents 3-D comics. Ah, different story. Should you be interested in THAT matter, I refer you to the excellent book by Craig Yoe: “Amazing 3-D Comics!”. You can have a look inside on the Amazon website – link is HERE.

But back to “The Mirror of Isis!”, a magic artifact tale. An antique mirror from Egypt channels evil energy into Elyse, fiancée of Brad Stanfield. In a state of trance she stabs a servant in her grandfather’s home. Stanfield and archeologist Redmond soon find out about the connection. A last-minute destruction of the magic mirror prevents Elyse from killing Brad.
Part of the readers’ attention goes to lovely Elyse who stars in the pin-uppy splash and reveals a lot of cleavage in the finale.


Monsters of Cleavage – how did you change your outfit so fast, honey?

The blog “Destination Nightmare” offers you the posted story (which is HANDLETTERED, by the way, not LEROY STENCILED like the rest). This may indicate an outsourced job, entirely done by Kubert.

Writing in this issue seems to be done by new authors. Stories are straighter and blander than in the first issue, the text story isn’t about the cover anymore (and three pages long!), and two of the stories are hosted by narrators: “The Case of the Painted Beast!” by a cop involved in the happenings; “The Monster of the Storm” by a truck driver wondering about that Mossy Glen folklore.


Eerie #4

December 1951Eerie4Cover

Cover: (Brunette in red mini-skirt flees down skull-lined path, pursued by skeletal zombie) – Wally Wood

“Cremation of Evil” (Gene Fawcette)

“The Ship of Death!” (Mo Marcus ? + Rocco Mastroserio ?)

“The Puppet Pulls the Strings” (Jim McLaughlin)

“Phantoms of Reality” (Gene Fawcette)

Well, I have to talk about comics and pin-up style now.
Comic books thrive on pin-up art (“sex sells”). There’s some eye-catching eye-sugar in here (starting with the cover). That IS some SHORT skirt. Making you forget for a moment the dozens of blondes in shoulder-free red dresses usually gracing the title pages.
Inside we find the splash of the first story (it’s just the splash, mind you, no more half-nudity further on) quite open-hearted and some panels from the last story (which is excused, because it’s science fiction and these alien worlds are hot, man).


Glad I’m not fifteen anymore: Pin-up shots from this issue

“Cremation of Evil” is about love turning into horror. Barbara Sinclair dies of a disease and her husband Richard is heartbroken. In fact so heartbroken that he calls upon the powers of evil to bring Barbara back to life.
No devil jumps out of the fire, no demon materializes, but Barb just gets up again. Her erratic behavior (no touching, please) indicates something is wrong. A maid dies and the detective looking in on the case. Then the undead wife goes for Richard. He manages to set her afire, however. The matter-of-fact ending feels kinda hard-boiled.


The story refrains from clichés (no cameos of supernatural agents), but fails to rouse empathy for the characters and generates no atmosphere of terror. Pity. The website “Tales of Wonder” shows you the story in thumbnails (click twice to enlarge)

On first glance I’d have sworn “The Ship of Death!” was drawn by last issue’s team of Mo Marcus + Rocco Mastroserio. I am not sure anymore looking closely at this. This story, too, is boring and of little interest, to me at least. A haunted model ship pulls the heir of a shipping company aboard to settle some old score. So what?

“The Puppet Pulls the Strings” surprises with art by Jim McLaughlin (of ACE HORROR fame). It’s one of only three jobs he did outside Ace in the pre-code horror phase.

Ventriloquist Dorian Grant invents a life-sized mechanical puppet called Bruno. Bruno, however, seems to develop a mind of his own and gets fresh with Grant’s former employer Vale. When Vale visits the duo to hire them, tempers flare and tragedy strikes. Huh. I was hoping to post this story, but the writers again fail to fill these seven pages with impact. The plot trots along not amounting to real suspense. They don’t commit to horror, but serve us vagueness (Who was the killer? The puppet or the player? “There are more things in heaven and earth than”… blablabla).


High point of this story is some name-calling! Tch.

“Phantoms of Reality” proves to be a filler science fiction story: Wall Street clerk Charlie Walton has a night of adventure in the fourth dimension. His friend Derek takes him there to remove a tyrannical king from his throne. Derek stays in the parallel realm to be the new sovereign.

Double Fawcette issue; two stories credited to the amazingly talented Gene Fawcette who contributed to STANDARD HORROR (too little, alas!). Fawcette actually was an avid Avon contributor from 1950 on. In 1953 he began work for Better/Nedor/Standard and created some beautiful short features there; e.g. “Cellini’s Night with the Demons” or “When Death Takes a Hand”. For Avon he mostly drew for SF like OUT OF THIS WORLD, STRANGE WORLDS and SPACE DETECTIVE. How fitting.


Eerie #5

February 1952ECover5

Cover: (Dark-haired woman in red shirt shies away from approaching mummy) – Sid Check

“I Painted only Terror!” (Norman Nodel ? + Vince Alascia)

“Master of the Cats!” (Mike Becker ? + Vince Alascia)

“The Knife of Jack the Ripper!” (Edward Goldfarb + Bob Baer, signed)

“Operation Horror!” (???)

Cover looks like Wood, but is by Sid Check (according to Grand Comics Database): “Roger Hill noted September 08 2009 on the Wood-L Yahoo Group that a stat of the original art has Sid Check’s signature, which was removed prior to printing.“

And we get more new artists inside. Jeez, three of the four stories have that indistinguishable mid-1950s standard art style: edgy, chunky, inky-heavy. We have some good guesses as to who is contributing here, but still frustrating.

“I Painted only Terror!” opens the dance. Straight, fun, trash story with a nice twist. Great.
Paul Beaumont is a success with his paintings of human terror. Feeling exhausted he goes to work on one final masterpiece. He scares a model to death and paints the ultimate terror. The ghost of the woman, however, urges him on to work until he collapses.


This story shares its plot idea with “Art for Death’s Sake” from WITCHES TALES #15, published by Harvey and illustrated by Rudy Palais in October 1952. A painter frightens a woman out of her wits to catch her expression of horror on canvas. He dies as a bronze statue of horror himself. Yeah, yeah, the Harvey boys once again “borrowed” from the competition…

One thing I don’t get, though: I was not around in the 1950s, but were there really such VIPs as horror painters?! I don’t think so… Anyway, see the whole story posted on the delightful “Destination Nightmare” blog.

“Master of the Cats!” is another entertaining story about a couple, John and Alice, getting lost in the countryside. They come to the home of Senor Gato who lives in the company of cats. Or rather cat-beings able to take on human form as well. Alice is transformed into a cat and John… well, I won’t spoil it for you;  see it posted online at Karswell’s fabulous blog “The Horrors of it all”.


Toned-down cat horror with nice psychological repercussions…

“The Knife of Jack the Ripper!” is the second (of three) jobs by Goldfarb & Baer for AVON HORROR. Story is told in first-person by the ripper himself (who then dropped his manuscript off at Avon’s editor). Although the ending is cheesy (“My next victim may be… YOU!”) it’s a great-looking and moody contribution by Goldfarb & Baer.

A young carpenter comes into possession of Jack the Ripper’s knife and is haunted by visions of murder. He goes on a killing spree, unable to stop or get rid of the murderous weapon. See it posted online at Karswell’s fabulous blog “The Horrors of it all”.


The following text story (“Tenant of the Lost Pyramid!”) is again a “Story behind the Cover”.

“Operation Horror!” is a Jekyll-and-Hyde story: Elderly Dr. Gordell drinks a potion which transforms him into strong, primeval cave-man. As such he roams around and murders innocent passers-by. Gordell’s daughter and his assistant Roger can track him down and get him engaged in a death-match with a circus gorilla.
Sounds like fun, but is a weary and inane yarn; the weakest story of an otherwise fine issue! See it posted online at Karswell’s fabulous blog “The Horrors of it all”.



Eerie #6

April 1952logoflame

Cover: (Giant ghoul rising behind gravestone and frightening lantern-holding blonde in red dress and grave-digging man) – ???

“The Flower of Death!” (???)

“The Devil Keeps a Date!” (Mike Becker + Vince Alascia, signed)

“Monster of the Sea!” (Carmine Infantino + Vince Alascia)

“The Strange Indian Curse” (Mo Marcus ? + Vince Alascia)

The EERIE logo on this cover is the most beautiful of the whole run. Because yellow flames inside the letters are licking upward into an orange glowing “sky” – so to speak. See the cover above.
Otherwise the EERIE “letterheads” were done in one simple color – from #8 on. Which looks quite drab, to be frank. The title for #7 is flame-y as well (although in green!). And # 1-5 had an effective core color surrounded by a contrasting one (which was fine). I don’t get why they changed it to those massive, bland one-color letters. Seems utterly uncaring!
Click HERE to see the EERIE cover gallery on Grand Comics Database.

“The Flower of Death!” is not to be confused with a 1951 science fiction yarn from CAPTAIN SCIENCE #5 (Youthful company). Our “Flower of Death!” is about Scott Caldwell’s guilty conscience. The son murders his tyrannical father, but is haunted by his voice and has hallucinations of being watched and followed. Disappointingly run-of-the-mill. Story doesn’t come alive. Mystery artwork with touches of Marcus or Mastroserio.

“The Devil Keeps a Date!” offers a surprise, because it’s a clever, intelligent and inventive story! Not really a horror tale, only in the end the re’s a hint of supernatural workings.
The meek Homer Carmichael is obsessed with punctuality. When his employer thanks him for 22 years of loyal service by throwing an office surprise party, Homer is thrown off his time table and takes this as a hard blow to himself. But he meets a helpful character who offers him to delete that fateful day and restores Homer’s unfailing record of punctuality.
See what happens next in our posting of this story HERE.

Monster of the Sea!” is a family curse story. Genealogist Jonathan Potts researches the past of the wealthy Fortescu family. He comes across a crime baron Fortescu committed and was cursed for it centuries ago. Potts races back to his client – just in time to witness the curse strike.


Impressive display of the curse’s multiple fatalities

Cleverly presented story; I like the way they tell it: the perspective of the genealogist with the nicely timed climax of the curse striking that special moment.

And we find another “Story behind the Cover” with the text segment, followed by “The Strange Indian Curse”. I am pulling the story synopsis for this one from the database: “The Kendalls learn the story of the bear who walks like a man and free his human spirit.” Indian curse indeed. More folklore than horror. Interesting aspect here is that the Kendalls are in the company of a ghost bear for two whole pages. And have to dig up the bones of the warrior he used to be…


Can they get a t-shirt afterwards from the park ranger: “Survived Night Out” or sumpin’?


Eerie #7

June 1952ECover7

Cover: (Winged vampire in tuxedo attacking man and woman about to stake skeleton in coffin before them) – Wally Wood + Joe Orlando

“Blood for the Vampire!” (Norman Nodel + Vince Alascia, signed)

“Haunted Honeymoon” (George Roussos + ?)

“Black Means Death!” (Harry Lazarus)

“The Nightmare” (Joe Kubert + Bob Bean ?)

“The Ghoul Walks!” (???)

“Blood for the Vampire!” is a lackluster run-of-the-mill vampire tale: The small town of Ravennes in the Tyrolian alps is haunted by the vampire Erik Lustveg. When Rod and Dot Blair, descendants of the Lustveg family, come investigating their heritage, they find that the vampire legend is very much alive. They don’t manage to kill the fiend, though, and thus Erik keeps on terrorizing…. YAAWN…


Hmm, since you came along, I believe in miracles, you Thirsting Thing, you!

If you’re interested, read it on Karwell’s bloodthirsty blog.

“Haunted Honeymoon” features probably art by George Roussos and is more of a crime-mystery story: Roy and Dot Evans stay overnight at a weird old man’s place. They find out that he keeps a boy, his warden, prisoner and plans to kill him, but is afraid of his ghost to haunt him after death.
Not that bad. Interesting, however, that the writers added a final panel into which they crammed all the horror: Later, the old man dies in prison and comes back to haunt our couple?! How very laughable.


„Roy, look! Over there by the book case – the missing horror plot!“

“Black Means Death!” offers us the next new artist in AVON HORROR’s line-up.

Harry Lazarus of ACG fame. This quirky artist had tried his gusto for horror first at Atlas/Marvel, then at Avon – while getting more jobs over at the American Comics Group where he bloomed into inventing TRUEVISION!

Ah, TrueVision! A style of drawing which overstepped panel borders and thus mimicked a then popular 3-D effect. Go see a Lazarus TrueVision masterpiece (“Monster in the Fog”) on my website about pre-code horror books in general.

The story here makes very little sense: Harry Walters can’t stand the nagging of his wife Karen anymore. At a bar he meets the lovely Mara, looking like Karen’s twin. Walters falls in love with Mara, kills Karen and then realizes that they were the same person. Huh? So Karen pretended to be Mara just to make Harry unhappy in the end? Even if it means her certain death? That is some weird shit! Why don’t you people just get a divorce? They never do in 1950s comic books! Not a horror story, as well.

The two three-pager shorts “The Nightmare” and “The Ghoul Walks!” are presented on Karswell’s ground-breaking blog “The Horrors of It All”:

“The Nightmare” looks good (Joe Kubert back again!), but is a hurried piece of writing. Same goes for “The Ghoul Walks!”, a snippet of a story; feels copied from somewhere else: Police detective Dan Noren investigates a murder spree, a feeling of foreboding driving him on. The fiend everybody’s been looking for turns out to be himself. That is an ooold hat…


What looks tempting, but is hardly worth the read? Joe Kubert at AVON HORROR.

You can buy the whole issue as digital copy in Apple’s iTunes store, by the way. Just $1.99! Tchh. There you have it: I scanned the book, uploaded it to Digital Comic Museum – and some clown is making money off it now. Modern times!


Eerie #8

August 1952ECover8

Cover: (Green bug-eyed fiend rising from pit ogling two bound women in torn dresses before him) – Harry Lazarus

“The Monster of Zollmort Castle” (Harry Lazarus)

“Song of the Undead!” (Harry Lazarus + Vince Alascia)

“The Phantom Python!” (Everett Raymond Kinstler)

“The Curse of the Bulaga!” (Gene Fawcette + Vince Alascia)

Lazarus’ splash to the title story looks way better than this ridiculous attempt of a horror cover. Cripes! Did I say (in my introduction to AVON HORROR) that this company CARED for its quality? Hmmph. Obviously I lied to you!

“The Monster of Zollmort Castle” is straight monster horror: Novelist Peter Fletcher visits Zollmort castle in Central Europe. By opening a sealed door in the dungeons, he releases the Zollmort monster. He and his wife have to fight for their lives.
It is too straight a monster horror. Monster appears, poses a menace, is killed. Finito. Boring! Although the rise of the monster is kinda fun:


“Song of the Undead!” is a slightly confusing story about a vampire woman who only strikes when a certain song is sung?! John and Dorothy Blaik travel through Mexico looking for folk songs. Native woman Xatl introduces them to the „Song of the Undead“. Any singer will be doomed and fall prey to vampires. The couple does not heed the warnings. Find the story posted online on “WFMU’s Beware of the Blog”.

“The Phantom Python!” features a first inside story by the masterful illustrator Everett Raymond Kinstler (who also draws this issue’s contents page).
British Colonial East Africa: The commissioner’s daughter Tani is seriously ill and seeks help from native witch doctor Loganzi. She dies during the ceremony and Loganzi is hanged. But he and Tani haunt the land in the shape of a giant python snake.
Very stylish! Best contribution in this issue. Whole story to be found on my German website FIFTIES HORROR.

“The Curse of the Bulaga!” is a next pathetic monster horror story, a real baddie.
Explorer Jon Norland travels to Antarctica to hunt the fabled Bulaga beast. He finds it caught in a block of ice. After thawing it, the Bulaga comes alive and chases Norland around the world to his doom.
This might have been fun if the art would’ve been any better. But is comes off as just bland. And the Bulaga ‚monster‘ looks like a overweight groundhog!


O no, it’s groundhog day again!


Eerie #9

October 1952ECover9

Cover: (Ghostly and blue-ish ghoul rises from  grave and strangles man while terrified blonde in red dress looks on in the foreground) – Sid Check

“The Phantom Hitch-Hiker” (Alvin C. Hollingsworth, signed)

“The Hands of Death!” (Normal Nodel & Vince Alascia, signed)

“Death on Skis!” (Joe Kubert, signed)

“The Haunted Melody” (Norman Nodel)

“Princess of the Subway” (Alvin C. Hollingsworth, signed)

We welcome the next newcomer to the pages of EERIE – it’s Alvin C. Hollingsworth, premiering with a double contribution.

“The Phantom Hitch-Hiker” contains so little plot it can hardly be called a story. John Morley has been stealing money from the fortune of his ward, Gail. As she is about to find out, he lets her car crash down a bridge. Morley, however, is haunted by the hitch-hiking phantom of Gail.
Hollingsworth’s crude art is entertaining, though. He creates a great splash page and keeps the tale afloat for five pages. See it posted in our “Stories” section.

“The Hands of Death!” handles a familiar topic: Violinist Erik Dulan can’t use his hands anymore and would give anything to be able to play again. He meets with Dr. Necros who lets him chose a new pair of hands from a group of zombies he commands. Dulan has a terrible price to pay: the new hands have a will of their own and commit criminal acts.
Severed hands are almost a subgenre of horror. Some spring to my mind. Usually the hands get chopped off and are replaced by sewn-on killer hands. The interesting ‘touch’ here is that Dulan can chose freely from dead men’s hands.


Thus the story refrains from any bloodshed. Which makes it kinda bland, the art of Nodel & Alascia not helping. On page 6 the protagonist of the story is visited by his friend – a certain George Evans. Wonder if that is an inside joke hinting at the artist George Evans who illustrated horror stories for Fawcett and EC.

Coming up is a nice three-page Joe Kubert contribution (and sadly his last horror work for Avon): “Death on Skis!” may also have been written by Kubert.
Two things point to that conclusion. First it’s hand-lettered (and not done with the in-house Leroy stencils), second Kubert signed the story with the postscript: “Sonthofen, Germany”. The artist probably was skiing in the Bavarian Alps and may have heard the story of a kid accidentally having been killed by a tourist.
So Kubert made up a short ghost story: American tourist Johnson is on skiing holiday in the Bavarian Alps. A guide warns him to take the Northern slope. The ghost of a suicidal father who lost his son to a careless ski racer is out there for revenge. Johnson does not heed the warning and has to race a skiing skeleton for his life.
Story’s been posted on Karswell’s fabulous blog “The Horrors of it all”.


The big action shot from the story, click it to see all six pages…

“The Haunted Melody” is a four-page ditty about a pianist being the reincarnation of French master Frederic Chopin. Frederic Parker is a promising young pianist haunted by the “raindrop” prelude of his namesake Frederic Chopin. Every time he plays it, the ghost of Chopin’s muse Nona appears. Parker falls in love with Nona, but she’ll be his undoing. All of it is totally run-of-the-mill and in no way interesting.

Princess of the Subway” is a weird story! It deals with terror on a subway train, but is strangely written and not that easy to follow: On a subway train, Dave Bartlet gets into a fight with a mysterious woman and her company. They make the train halt and let fish people in who attack the passengers. Bartlet overpowers the woman and brings the subway back to safety. No one believes him until he unmasks the woman.

Weird! The first two pages are nothing like I’ve ever seen in these books. Hollingsworth’s static drawings make the subway hassle almost feel like a 1970s B-movie. Very unusual! For the next (of six) two page action horror takes over, but you are not sure who’s fighting who and how Bartlet manages to take control. The last two pages look utterly bland, but surprise with a subtle visual final panel – and are missing a caption “The End”. The story stops as abruptly as it started.

Nice gags in third panel on page 2: “Read Cohen’s comic books – on sale now!” reads a sign on the subway ceiling. A nod to editor Sol Cohen. Next to it on the left we read “Try lingerie”. A nod to the prevailing pin-up look of women in comic books. We post “Princess of the Subway” in our “Stories” section.


Eerie #10

December 1952ECover10

Cover: (Naked green imp and bikini-clad woman riding giant black panther who springs at the reader) – Alvin C. Hollingsworth, signed

“Only the Dead Live Here!” (Everett Raymond Kinstler, signed)

“Green Grows the Grass” (Alvin C. Hollingsworth, signed)

“Castle of Terror!” (Charles Nicholas & George Roussos)

“Phantom of the Waxworks!” (Harry Lazarus, signed)

Most beautiful cover of EERIE’s run, in my humble opinion anyway.

“Only the Dead Live Here!”. True story, true story. Young couple gets stranded on a stormy night in a haunted house. They learn of a family tragedy revolving around a hidden treasure and have to fight off the mad ghost of Uncle Ezra.
Story failed to rouse my interest, even Kinstler’s art can’t save this lackluster affair; anyhow, see it posted on the delightful “Destination Nightmare” blog:

The WHOLE issue is to be found on Karswell’s fabulous blog “The Horrors of it all”, by the way.

“Green Grows the Grass” is a fun story, somehow badly executed, however. Felix Halt, assistant to renowned scientist Sarbo, kills his employer by making him suffocate in an overheated hothouse. Halt wants to get his hand on a new super-seed which takes root anywhere and is worth a fortune. Before his death Sarbo managed to plant the seed in Halt’s body – who is now overgrown by wild plant life.
Artist Hollingsworth fails to come up with a gripping visualization – we just get a person covered under grass, basically.


Blogger Karswell links “Green Grows the Grass” to the first segment of the 1982 movie “Creepshow” (featuring author Stephen King as a farmer who is overgrown by alien vegetation spreading from a fallen meteor)! Nice catch!


“Castle of Terror!” is an utterly fantastic tale of horror and adventure, a bizarre mix if you ever saw one. Scientist Emil Zarko and his colleagues Vincent and George set out to look for a place in the African jungle from where pure evil emanates. They find a medieval castle, complete with a strange housekeeper and a cellar full of gold and diamonds. Zarko wants to explore the place; his friends plan to rob it. While Zarko is stabbed to death, the other two learn the gruesome secret of the castle.
I won’t go into the details, because I would spoil it for you. Please read it on Karswell’s blog – or in our “Stories” section.
There’s a killer octopus in it as well!!!

“Phantom of the Waxworks!” is as flat as my synopsis of this story: In Peter Worley’s wax museum a statue of Jack the Ripper comes alive.
It is, however, the ghost of Worley’s partner Frank Allen who comes for revenge. For Allen had been pushed to his death years ago…
Ouch! My head hit the table, dozed off there for a moment…

Another sad excuse for a horror tale, see it posted on Karswell’s blog here.


Eerie #11

April 1953ECover11

Cover: (Man in bed shooting gun at giant skeleton with chains around its neck coming in through the door) – Alvin C. Hollingsworth, signed

“Anatomical Monster” (Alvin C. Hollingsworth, signed)

“Crimson Death” (Norman Nodel & Vince Alascia, signed)

“The Haunted Murderer!” (Gerald McCann)

„Robot Model L2 – Failure!“ (Norman Nodel & Vince Alascia, signed)

Flipping through this issue, one notices shockingly bad art (Hollingsworth!), the inclusion of a science fiction story (grunt!) and only one good-looking job: Gerald McCann is fresh on board. None of these stories have yet been posted on the internet – let’s find out why not!

A nice full page splash opens the story “Anatomical Monster”, based on a feeble but formerly unused idea: An anatomical chart shows a man with his nerves and muscles laid bare. That would made a helluva monster! That’s what “Anatomical Monster” is about: Medical student Joe Kirk is presented an anatomical chart of the human body in a curio shop. At night, though, the detailed picture of a man cut open comes to life and goes on a killing spree. When Kirk tries to burn the magic chart, he has to face the blood-lusty monster.

“Crimson Death” features a plot I saw before at least four times: The down-and-out dance act of Jack and Daisy jazzes up the performance by including voodoo rituals. The undead do not approve of this and haunt their lives with feeling of paranoia. Jack and Daisy see death behind every corner – until they kill off each other in a mad frenzy.
Not that bad, actually, because the story focuses on the paranoia and a whole final page of spousicide. Do you say “spousicide”? Just made that up, man and wife murdering each other. Story is posted HERE.


Way back when they were HAPPY dancing together …

“The Haunted Murderer!” is probably the most original story in AVON HORROR so far. A cupid-like poltergeist (!) stars in these six pages!
John Dunn has a poltergeist which won’t leave him. Maybe that is Dunn’s form of punishment for murdering and robbing a man some weeks ago. The poltergeist causes embarrassing scenes for Dunn and gets the attention of the police.
Great story (I can’t recall any other poltergeist yarn in pre-code horror lore) with very illustrative, “quiet” artwork by McCann. Find it posted HERE.


The poltergeist also delivers some comedic scenes in this atypical horror story.

An interesting issue of EERIE is filled up with a slightly laughable science fiction tale: „Robot Model L2 – Failure!“. Professor Darrow builds a robotic bodyguard (Eltoo or L2) to protect the life of General Blair against Martian invaders. The general’s right hand, major Garond, however, is in for foul play. When he steals plans and kills professor Darrow, L2 is being suspected of having had a malfunction.

Grand Comics Database tells us, however, that the three horror stories saw print as reprints in the Skywald Magazines PSYCHO and NIGHTMARE (in 1971); respectively were presented in the pre-code horror reprint issues of FIFTIES TERROR (1988) and THE COMICS THAT ATE MY BRAIN (1991).  Tchh!


Eerie #12 (Dracula issue)ECover12

August 1953

Cover: (Giant head of Dracula looming over windswept castle atop mountain ridge) – Gene Fawcett ? + Vince Alascia ?

“Dracula” (Gene Fawcette + Vince Alascia)

This is a 25-page long account of the original Dracula material. Strange that Avon chose to publish this as EERIE #12. They could’ve made this into a one-shot “Dracula” book (like they made so many one-shots).
Copyright troubles?

Whole issue is posted (in three parts) on a blog called “Seduction of the Innocent”: Start with first part by clicking the underline. Am irritated that I’m not familiar with this blog (founded at the end of the year 2011). Well, there isn’t that much online, though. And they seem to have expired in 2015. But great stuff offered there!

They started by posting “Is This Tomorrow – America under Communism”, a comic book pamphlet of 52 pages published by the Catechetical Guild Educational Society in 1947! What else? Handful of stories from CRAZY magazine, and three dozen assorted precode-horror stories. Go have a look!


Eerie #13

October 1953ECover13

Cover: (Tottering skeletal zombie approaching frightened blonde in red dress in foreground) – Alvin Hollingsworth ?

“The Light that Lured!” (Norman Nodel ?)

“The White Gorilla!” (Harry Lazarus, signed)

“Stamp Murder!” (Harry Lazarus, signed)

“Help Us to Die!” (Norman Nodel ?)

The cover is a rehash of issue #4. Only this time “shot” from a more close-up perspective – and done worse, I might add.

Double feature by Harry Lazarus in this issue. Who worked simultaneously for ACG at that time and would – only weeks later – invent the glorious fake 3-D without glasses “TrueVision” there. Ah, TrueVision! But I am digressing… (I did talk about it above, cf. my notes on EERIE #7).


Typical transformation á la Lazarus. Sample pics from „The White Gorilla!“

No single stories from EERIE #13 ever saw the light of the internet; I uploaded a photographed (!) version of the book in October 2013. Since I could not buy or borrow this issue, I visited a collector and took photos of the pages. You can read the stories just fine, but you notice it’s not scanned. Pages are crumpled, slightly blurred.

I seem to remember these stories were no good, so let’s race through this issue; I’ll give you the story synopses as I punched them into the Grand Comics Database: “The Light that Lured!”: A young couple foils the attempt of dead captain Dorrance to lure a passenger ship upon a reef.
I never liked lighthouse horror stories. I’m not a sea-faring man.

Most interesting story in this issue promises to be “The White Gorilla!”: Big game hunter Frank Blair captures a giant white gorilla. But the spirit of the „sacred Gorbu“ escapes and transforms the hunter into a white gorilla.

There’s the weird art of Harry Lazarus (going ape-shit here, haha), not that bad, but all the stories lack composition. Meaning: They’re all lay-outed very blandly. This issue sorely is lacking an artist to crank up the fun.

“Stamp Murder!” is a crime story: Roger Banning kills his rich uncle and cleans up the murder scene afterwards. But the police get him, because a stamp from the crime scene is clinging to the sole of Banning’s shoe.

“Help Us to Die!” offers some long-missed mummy action: Jim and Marjorie Torrence steal an Egyptian mummy from the museum. Learning the secret of eternal life from the long dead king, they apply the drink to themselves – with fateful consequences.


Listen closely and beware the… curse of the mummy!

Well, that is weird! This last story has actually been posted on another blog I didn’t know about: “Dr. Theda’s Crypt” used my photos, but cleaned them up very nicely (scroll down some to see story posted).

“Dr. Theda’s Crypt” is a horridly active blog with THOUSANDS of posts since 2011. Mostly photos of horror merchandise and cover scans. Hard to find stories here, almost impossible to find stories here. The blogger didn’t tag anything for categories. Wait! At the page end, there’s “Labels”, but hundreds of them – which does not help much. Tried for some minutes, can’t find any more stories. But it’s a lovely “curio shop” of a blog!


Eerie #14

January 1954ECover14

Cover: (Couple in canoe paddling towards zombie rising out of water) – Normal Nodel ?

“Master of the Dead!” (Norman Nodel + Vince Alascia, signed)

“Thou Shalt not Dream!” (Norman Nodel + Vince Alascia, signed)

“Snake-Eyes of Doom!” (Norman Nodel + Vince Alascia, signed)

“Satan’s Woman Prize!” (Norman Nodel + Vince Alascia, signed)

I’m having a guess at the cover artist: Norman Nodel is a possible suspect. Cause he’s doing the complete issue! On the cover without the heavy inks of his partner in art: Vince Alascia. Indeed a first and a last time for EERIE: Whole book done by the team of Nodel & Alascia.

Flipping through the pages the stories DO look interesting! See if we find some goodies in here…

“Master of the Dead!” is about the next attempt to raise an army of zombies. Mad French mystic and scientist Pierre Jarnac is thrown into the madhouse for experimenting on corpses. He pretends to be sane again, only to become caretaker of the Marne military cemetery. There he plans to raise the fallen soldiers of the First World War to conquer Europe with his own zombie army.

Story’s remarkable insofar as Nodel & Alascia cram more panels into these pages than usual. The conventional three-tier grid with a minimum of six pages (as seen in EERIE #10-13, for example) is now mostly four tiers – using panoramic long squeezed panels. Pretty uncommon for a comic book! See it in our “Stories” section, follow the link HERE.


“Thou Shalt not Dream!” is a journey into the psychological depths of man. Bob and Anna are happily married. But Bob suffers from wild nightmares of jealousy. He sees himself stabbing his wife. Bob learns that he is the reincarnation of an Italian painter dead for a hundred years, and has to relive his crime out of jealousy. Will history repeat itself or can Bob overcome his urge to kill Anna?
Yah, that is mildly entertaining, but nothing to knock your socks off. Story ends on a happy note – with a hint that the last word may not have been spoken yet…

“Snake-Eyes of Doom!” sounds weird, wild and promising. So what’s the deal here?
Whitey Manson is a gambler and stupid enough to owe money to the mob. A stranger presents him magic dice which roll whatever number he wishes. The mobsters suspect him of foul play and Manson has to run. Hopping a freight train, he meets the stranger again – and his fate.

Simple but fun story. Comes up with two very nice visual ideas – which I will tell you about on my website FIFTIES HORROR, where I posted this story. Well, the comments there are in German, but hit the translate button for English, you’ll probably understand what I’m talking about.


“Satan’s Woman Prize!” is sadly disappointing. Satan himself anoints country girl Tanya Lorenz to be his tool on earth. The rebellious child grows up and enjoys letting boys fight over her love. When twin brothers claim her heart, a fatal showdown takes place high up in the mountains.

The promising premise (devil’s child) leads to nothing more than two rather harmless fight scenes. This woman is possessed by the devil – and all that happens are boys fighting over her?! Poppycock! Knick-knack. Falderal. Wanna see a real evil woman? Go read “Cavern of the Doomed” by Bob Powell on FIFTIES HORROR.

And one more recommended read: A similar story appeared at the same time in Toby’s TALES OF HORROR #9 (February 1954). A righteous country family unsuspectingly raises the devil’s son. The twist here is (watch it: spoiler!) a doppelganger-plot. Should you be interested, the gorgeously illustrated tale “The Son of Satan” is posted HERE.

“Satan’s Woman Prize!”, by the way, is posted on the blog “The Time Bullet”, a website worth browsing. At the page end a tag cloud offers you links to publishers and some artists. You have to go searching for horror stories, though.


Eerie #15

April 1954ECover15

Cover: (Procession of three women down a flight of stairs into catacombs) – ???

„The Werewolf of Warsham Manor“ (Moe Marcus + Rocco Mastroserio)

King of the Living Dead” (Marty Rose ?)

The Subway Horror” (Fred Kida)  – REPRINTED from EERIE COMICS #1

“The Monster from the Pit” (???)

EERIE #15 is the first all-reprint issue. You can see ALL the reprint versions on Karswell’s fabulous blog “The Horrors of it all”.

Only thing new here is the hastily drawn cover. Again a rehashed motif – I am thinking of the 1952 DIARY OF HORROR! which showed us ghouls and zombies dragging away two captive women.

Or – more closely even – a rehash of EERIE #2. Just two fiends leading a chained woman in their midst through lantern-lit sewers.


Eerie #16

June 1954ECover16

Cover: (Mummy peeking out of sarcophagus, ready to frighten catalogue reading woman in foreground) – ???

“The Thing from the Sea!” (Wally Wood)

“A Honeymoon of Horror!” (Louis Ravielli, signed)

“The Stranger in Studio X!” (Rocco Mastroserio + ?)

“Nightmare!” (Manny Stallman, signed)

Complete reprint of EERIE #2.

This version of Wood’s “The Thing from the Sea!” has been posted on Karswell’s superblog “The Horrors of It All”.


Eerie #17

August 1954ECover17

Cover: (Skeletal ghost with red cape rising fog-wise from crystal ball and frightening woman in violet dress) – ???

“The Case of the Painted Beast!” (Maurice Gutwirth + ?)

“Was He Dead?” (Mo Marcus + Rocco Mastroserio, signed)

“The Monster of the Storm” (Edward Goldfarb + Bob Baer, signed)

“The Mirror of Isis!” (Joe Kubert)

Could this (until now) uncredited cover have been drawn by Everett Raymond Kinstler?! That man at the table has a Kinstlerish look about him…

Else it’s a complete reprint of EERIE #3.


Ten months after releasing the AVON HORROR line with EERIE, the editors added a second title: WITCHCRAFT. Click next section on this website to learn all about these books (and Avon’s famous one-shot horror books as well).