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Comic Review: Haunted Horror, Vol. 1
Ryan Midnight   |  

Haunted Horror, Vol. 1 cover by Warren Kremer, IDW PublishingHaunted Horror, Vol. 1
Hardcover | Kindle Edition
Written by Various
Art by Various
Cover Warren Kremer
IDW Publishing
Release Date: November 26, 2013
Cover Price: $24.99

The world of pre-code comics, especially in the late 1940s and into the 1950s, was a wild, wild west of uncontrolled concepts and outlandish stories, and nowhere was this more evident than in the mother-disapproved horror comics. These comics were filled with ghastly tales, gory art, and a never-ending parade of chilling hosts from countless small publishers. The Haunted Horror series from IDW reprints a selection of these stories pulled from comics with such irresistible names as Weird Terror, This Magazine is Haunted, Worlds of Fear, and Web of Evil. Volume 1 here specifically collects the first three issues of Haunted Horror.

For those that may not be familiar this era’s horror comics outside of EC Comics, this is a lovingly put together collection that really showcases the range of macabre unleashed on the masses at the time and that EC in no way held the corner on the market. Featuring ghouls, ghosts, monsters, murder, mysticism, and revenge, there’s a new horror lurking behind the turn of each page.

While the stories are fun, what truly stands out in these books is the artwork. With the turn of each page, you’ll find fantastic artwork that embodies the style at the time, with each panel densely packed with details and horrors to fill night after night’s sleep with nightmares. The eerie coloring is a joy as well. What is notable about this collection is that the beginning of each story includes creators’ credits including Jack Kirby, who provides art for “Slaughter-House” originally published in Black Magic #31.

Haunted Horror Volume 1 features some additional bonus material including a forward from Jerry Only of The Misfits, the original sketches and artwork that became the cover of Chamber of Chills #19 and reused for the cover of this collection, an introduction from the publishers and a bonus comic. You’ll undoubtedly recognize the cover here as the inspiration for The Misfits’ Die Die My Darling EP.

You can tell the love and devotion of these comics from a bygone era put into this collection, and it really is a no-brainer for any horror and comic fan, if only to appreciate the roots and origins that have shaped the minds of many horror writers, artists and musicians.

It would have been nice to have a bit more history overview provided to these stories and the publications involved though. An index would have made finding individual stories easier as well as there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason to the order of the stories. These are minor nitpicks though for an otherwise phenomenal package that accurately labels itself a “chilling archive of horror comics,” many of which have been unavailable outside their original publication for decades.

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