Saturday, November 7, 2015

THE FIRST MYRON FASS HORROR COMIC MAGAZINE (PART 1)


WEIRD
Volume 1, Number 10
January 1966
Eerie Publications
Robert W. Farrell, Publisher
Carl Burgos, Editor
Roger Elwood, Associate Editor
Myron Fass, Art Director
Cover art: Carl Burgos

Stories: 
Carl Burgos, inside front cover 
Frankenstein (Carl Burgos, Roger Elwood original story) 
Coward's Curse (Iger Shop)
Reprinted from Haunted Thrills #8 (Ajax, April 1953) 
Deadly Pickup (Iger Shop)
Reprinted from Voodoo #16 (Ajax, July-Aug 1954) 
Doomed (Iger Shop/additions by Carl Burgos)
Reprinted from Voodoo #15 (Ajax, May-June 1954) 
Devil's Bride (Iger Shop)
Reprinted from Haunted Thrills #16 (Ajax, July-Aug 1954) 
Creatures From the Deep (Iger Shop)
Reprint of "Beasts of the Bog" from Voodoo #4 (Ajax, Nov 1952) 
The Terror of Akbar (Iger Shop)
Reprinted from Strange Fantasy #10 (Ajax, Feb-Mar 1954) 
Trumpet of Doom (Robert Hayward Webb)
Reprinted from Haunted Thrills #14 (Ajax, Mar-Apr 1954)


Jim Warren beat out his competitor in the race to re-introduce horror comics in the Monster Kid era of the 1960's. In 1964, Warren published CREEPY, and, satisfied with its surprising success, made plans for another title called EERIE. Publishers Myron Fass and Robert Farrell were hot on Warren's heels to release their own title, also intended to be called EERIE. Warren beat Fass to the punch when he assembled an "ashcan" edition of EERIE in less than a day, printed up about 200 copies, and had it couriered to a handful of neighboring states to make it "officially" published and distributed. Fass and Farrell had to settle for calling their new line of horror comic 'zines, EERIE PUBLICATIONS, and naming their first entry WEIRD, a riff on the venerable WEIRD TALES.

Warren's CREEPY and EERIE were unmitigated hits on the newsstands. Eschewing the comic-book sized print format, he used the full-size magazine format to ensure that he got around the restrictions of "horror" material in comics imposed by the Comics Code Authority, and to also legitimize his projects by presenting them in a size appealing to readers of all ages. In other words, they were horror comics "all grow'd up". Warren's strategy was pretty simple: emulate the huge success of William Gaines' EC line of horror comics from a decade earlier, copy the spooky (and usually hideous) surprise ending story lines, and hire a bullpen of artists that drew for EC, such as Jack Davis, Joe Orlando, and Johnny Craig. Add to the mix a horror host for each title, Uncle Creepy and Cousin Eerie, and the recipe for success was assured.

Fass and Farrell's formula was different, and, as a result not as popular as their competitor. Instead of hiring (and paying for) a lineup of artists, they instead used the duo of Carl Burgos and Chic stone to "re-imagine" the old Ajax/Farrell lineup of horror comics. Updating the covers and the title page of the reprinted material had the overall effect of a brand new bunch of stories. While not immediate, the covers shortly became a blood-spattered gore fest of odd and perverse settings that often depicted amputations, unholy medical experiments, and a bit of sex to round things out. Title pages were re-worked to make sure that plenty of freaky looking monsters and blood spray were shown.

The intent of this horrid brew of depravity was to draw readers in with their inherent curiosity of sex and death. Instead, the plan backfired and EERIE PUBLICATIONS were spurned, even years after they ceased being published, and relegated to the back rooms of comic hack work.



Times change, and the Myron Fass empire of horror comic magazines that were hidden for 20 years in the shadows of the Warren titles were suddenly thrust into the spotlight by a few die hard fans, who re-introduced the line by reprinting them as "classic".

Presented here is the first Fass/Farrell horror comic magazine WEIRD. It is numbered Volume 1, Number 10 and dated January 1966. The high first number was a publisher's trick to help boost placement on the magazine rack by indicating it had some longevity. Newer publications and "No. 1 Collector's Editions" were not as coveted by news agents as a magazine that had proven itself to last beyond the first couple of issues. WEIRD had its own horror host, Morris The Caretaker. The associate editor was Roger Elwood, who maintained a genre presence by writing science fiction stories and editing a number of fantasy, science fiction, and horror anthologies.

This issue is not representative of the later, gorier and bloodier covers and splash pages that were to come, but it did feature a truly "weird" and garish cover and a re-mastered page by Carl Burgos. The Frankenstein story is considered to be an EERIE PUBLICATIONS original.























2 comments:

Dr. Theda said...

Great post good Sir,....
We enjoyed the "Inquisition" story.... and do still have a great fondness for old horror comics.... we have collected since childhood...
... hope your Halloween went well...

John said...

Thank you, a most enjoyable Halloween was had here at the Mysterious Mansion.

I still have my copy of CREEPY #1 bought off the newsstand in 1964. It circulated around us Monster Kids, but I ended up with it again. A little "loose around the edges", but still readable!

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