Monday, March 30, 2015

ADVENTURES IN HORROR NO. 1 (PART 1)


 “The Stanley mags are just too over-the-top for my tastes. The covers look like the deviant wet-dreams of a sexually frustrated and psychotic teenager.” – From an online comics Forum

ADVENTURES IN HORROR
Volume 1, Number 1
October, 1970
Stanley Publications
Editor: Theodore S. Hecht
 
After Jim Warrren broke the choke hold of comic book industry moral watchdogs in 1964 with his landmark magazine-sized horror comic title, CREEPY, the floodgates would soon burst. It seemed like everyone was poised to put out their own black and white horror comics magazine, but it was Warren who took an axe to the moldering coffin lid and, after an ash-can edition test run, success was all but assured.

A decade earlier, the Comics Code Authority had summarily shut down horror and crime comics, citing them to be a bad influence on the youth of America. Much has been said about psycho, er, psychiatrist, Fredric Wertham, whose best-selling Seduction of the Innocent set the controls for the heart of darkness aimed at companies such as EC. William Gaines, publisher of EC comics testified on behalf of the doomed industry, but his articulate plea landed on the deaf ears of regulation-minded social engineers.


In 1966, Eerie Publication began publishing WEIRD, a gorier, bloodier version of CREEPY. The artwork was rough and garish and did not compare with the sophisticated look that was offered by Warren through his deft harvesting of ex-EC artists. Nevertheless, Eerie went on to publish still more titles, like TALES FROM THE CRYPT (!), TERROR TALES, HORROR TALES, and the grammatically weird, WITCHES' TALES.

“Magazine racks were definitely becoming more interesting in 1969” – Mike Howlett, The Weird World of Eerie Publications 

A few years later, in 1969, Eerie unleashed more titles in its horror comics magazine line, TALES FROM THE TOMB, in addition to the aforementioned. Publisher Stanley Morse threw his pointy hat into the ring with his own titles, SHOCK and CHILLING TALES OF HORROR. Filled with reprints of his pre-code comic title stories from WEIRD MYSTERIES and MISTER MYSTERY. Morse's line of black and white horror is generally regarded by fans as more anemic than the grislier Eerie line.

In October 1970, Stanley Publications released a new, non-comics title, ADVENTURES IN HORROR. Clearly patterned after popular crime and confessional magazines of the day like FRONT PAGE DETECTIVE and DETECTIVE CASEBOOK, it added monsters, sex and the occult to the mix. With story titles like Love is the Color of Blood and The Naked Slaves of the Master of Hell, one is also reminded of some of the outre and reality-bending stories offered by STAG and other "men's sweat" publications.

While I cannot yet find any definitive citation, some (or all) of the stories are said to be written by Ed Wood, Jr. That a couple of photos from the Wood opus, ORGY OF THE DEAD are included, seems to bear this out -- or it is the basis for the assumption that because of these photos, Wood must have contributed the story as well.

Here, now, in all its hoary glory, is the first issue of ADVENTURES IN HORROR.

NOTE: Because of this post, I am duty-bound to once more put up the adult gateway filter on MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD. After Google's recent unrealized threat to shut down all blogs with "explicit" content, one can't be too careful.









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