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                                                                The Best Of The Rest!

                                                Web Of Horror, Atlas/Seaboard & Others


Web Of Horror

Web Of Horror was published by Major Publications (also publishers of Cracked and a host of men’s adventure magazines) and was the first serious rival to the Warren B&W line of the 1960s.  It showcased many young professionals who would soon rise to prominence in the 1970s and, for that alone, should be remembered.  Check out the end of the checklist for an interview with Web Of Horror editor Terry Bisson.


    1. cover: Jeff Jones (Dec. 1969)

1) Webster’s Welcome [Terry Bisson/Berni Wrightson] 1p   [frontis]

2) Growth [Nicola Cuti/Wayne Howard] 6p

3) Blood Thirst! [Terry Bisson/Syd Shores] 7p

4) The Game That Plays You! [Dick Kenson/Berni Wrightson] 6p

5) Web Of Horror Comic Artist Contest [Terry Bisson/Ralph Reese] 2p  

6) Dead Letter [Terry Bisson?/Donald Norman] 6p

7) The Skin-Eaters [Terry Bisson/Ralph Reese] 4p

8) Island Of The Walking Dead [Carl Dimond/Donald Norman] 11p


Notes: Publisher: Robert Sproul.  Editor: Terry Bisson.  $.35 for 64 pages.  The magazine’s host and mascot was a rather cute spider named Webster.  At this point in time, at least half of the contents of Warren’s Creepy & Eerie magazines consisted of reprints.  Web Of Horror had all new stories, many from the ‘young turks’ who would shortly usher in a new level of excitement to both Marvel & DC, creating a treasure trove for collectors.  This all-new stories approach probably prompted Warren to discontinue its own reprints.  The competition threat also caused Jim Warren to issue his “them or us” letter to his free lancers, bluntly stating that you could work for Warren or you could work for other B&W horror comic publishers but you couldn’t work for both.  Of the youngsters appearing here, Berni Wrightson was likely the most notable, having made his professional debut less than a year earlier.  Reese had been an assistant to Wally Wood, but his story here is the earliest I’ve seen him credited with a solo effort so it may well be his professional solo debut.  Cuti had made his professional debut only a couple of months earlier in a Warren magazine.  The old pro here is Syd Shores, who illustrated Captain America back in the 1940s.  Editor Bisson would go on to become a major SF writer, winning many awards.  The comic art contest consisted of an elaborate two page spread with an open space for a budding artist to add their own art & dialogue.  The intended prize was apparently for the winner to get his or her first publication credit but the magazine ended before the first winner could be announced.  The best story here, ‘Island Of The Walking Dead’ reads as though it were intended as a series, although this was the main characters’ only appearance.  It’s somewhat hampered by an uninspired art job.  The script was originally 15 pages in length.  Best art is Reese’s effort.  Throughout the run of this series, the cover art would be reprinted on the back without copy, thus, for all intents & purposes, appearing as a color pin-up.  According to a Berni Wrightson interview that appeared in Infinity #2, Web Of Horror pay rates were $40 a page for pencils & ink with a $5 boost if the artist lettered the page as well.  Stories were $13 a page for scripters while covers went for $250.


    2. cover: Jeff Jones (Feb. 1970)

                1) Webster’s Welcome [Terry Bisson/Ralph Reese] 1p   [frontis]

                2) Mother Toad [Terry Bisson/Berni Wrightson] 5p

                3) Ashes To Ashes! [Ron Barlow/Roger Brand] 6p

                4) Sea Of Graves [Otto Binder/Michael Kaluta] 7p

                5) Web Of Horror Comic Artist Contest [Terry Bisson/Michael Kaluta] 2p

                6) Breathless! [Marv Wolfman/Berni Wrightson] 7p

                7) The Unmasking! [Wilson Shard/Bill Fraccio & Tony Tallarico] 6p   [Fraccio/Tallarico’s art credited to Alfred


                8) Man-Plant From The Tomb [Otto Binder/Ralph Reese] 6p


Notes: The title logo was different for all three Web issues as well as for the unpublished 4th issue, with the best published version appearing on #3.  The letters’ page debuts with an original illo by Berni Wrightson & Jeff Jones.  Sea Of Graves’ was Kaluta’s second published professional appearance, following a war story for Charlton that appeared in Flash Gordon #18, dated Jan. 1970.  The name, Wilson Shard, on  the Fraccio/Tallarico drawn story, sounds like a penname.  Best story & art goes to the Binder/Reese combo on ‘Man-Plant From The Tomb’.


    3. cover: Berni Wrightson (Apr. 1970)

                1) Webster’s Welcome [Terry Bisson/Frank Brunner] 1p   [frontis]

                2) Dead End [Otto Binder/Michael Kaluta] 6p

                3) Curse Of The Yeti [Otto Binder/Ralph Reese] 7p

                4) Santa’s Claws [Frank Brunner] 7p

                5) Web Of Horror Comic Artist Contest [Terry Bisson/Berni Wrightson] 2p

                6) Strangers! [Syd Shores] 7p

                7) Point Of View [Bruce Jones] 6p

                8) Feed It! [Mike Friedrich/Berni Wrightson] 6p


Notes: Final issue.  The comic artist contest featured here was to be the last of the try-out pages.  The winner of the first contest was to be announced in the never published fourth issue.  The second letters’ page appears, with several fans definitely disliking Kaluta’s artwork {don’t know why, it looked quite nice to me}.  For some reason, the letters’ page from the previous issue was reprinted as well.  Best story and art for this issue {and best story and art that appeared in this title, period} belongs to the excellent little chiller ‘Feed It!’ by Friedrich & Wrightson.  Bruce Jones makes his professional debut.  Nowadays better known for his scripts for the likes of the Hulk and Batman, Jones began his career as a writer/artist.  His artwork was quite good too, somewhat in the style of Al Williamson & Roy Krenkel.  This was Frank Brunner’s professional comic debut as well, although he’d had strips appearing in the movie magazine Castle Of Frankenstein.  Following this issue, Bisson quit as editor to join a commune (well, it was the 1970s) and, later, establish a career as an award-winning SF writer.  Berni Wrightson & Bruce Jones convinced Robert Sproul to let them become the new editors.  They had assembled a 4th issue when one weekend they went out to Long Island to meet with Sproul for a conference, only to discover him gone to Florida {or simply across town} along with a large quantity of the art and stories intended for future issues of Web Of Horror.  Not all of the stories disappeared however, as Frank Brunner bluffed his way into the Sproul’s offices towards the end, claiming that he was the new editor and rescuing a goodly amount of stories which ended up in various fanzines of the time.  The following items were intended for the never published Wrightson/Jones edited Web Of Horror.


    4. cover: Berni Wrightson [published in Scream Door #1]

                1) Webster’s Welcome [Michael Kaluta] 1p   [published in Reality #2]

                2) Quasar! [Steve Hickman] 7p   [published in Reality #1]

                3) Death Is The Sailor [Len Wein/Michael Kaluta] 7p   [published in Reality #1 & 2]

                4) Eye Of Newt, Toe Of Frog [Gerry Conway/Frank Brunner] 7p   [published in Vampirella #10]

                5) Outside-In [Bruce Jones] 7p   [published in Reality #2]

                6) Rat! [Tom Sutton] 7p   [credited to Sean Todd {see the reference to Warren’s “them or us” letter above}, published

in Scream Door #1]

                7) Out On A Limb [Berni Wrightson] 6p   [published in I’ll Be Damned #4]

                8) Hey, Buddy, Can You Lend Me A…? [Michael Kaluta] 5p   [published in Scream Door #1]

                9) Sword Of Dragonus [Chuck Robinson & Frank Brunner/Frank Brunner] 8p   [published in Phase #1]


Stories that vanished included the following:

                1) A SF story by Clark Dimond & Ralph Reese  featuring pirates & galleons in outer space!

                2) a Berni Wrightson story entitled ‘The Monster Jar’

                3) Two Michael Kaluta stories


Frank Brunner has long stated that the first Dragonus story, ‘Sword Of Dragonus’ was also intended for a future issue of Web Of Horror.  After Web collapsed, Warren offered to publish it as well, but Brunner wanted to retain the rights to this because he believed Dragonus would make a good continuing series.  Thus, ‘Sword Of Dragonus’ ended up in the only issue of the fanzine Phase.  A second Dragonus story would appear in Star*Reach. {See the Star*Reach page}




                                                                The Atlas/Seaboard Titles


Weird Tales Of The Macabre

    1. cover: Jeff Jones (Jan. 1975)

                1) Macabre Mails [written: Jeff Rovin] 1p   [text article]

                2) The Demon Is Dying! [Pat Boyette] 8p

                3) Tales Of The Sorceress Ad [Ric Estrada] 1p   [Devilina is featured.]

                4) Time Lapse [Augustine Funnell/Leopoldo Duranona] 7p

                5) Atlas Magazines Ad [Ernie Colon] ½p

                6) The Many Horrors Of Dan Curtis [Gary Gerani] 7p   [text article w/photos]

                7) Atlas Comics Ad [Ernie Colon] 1p  

                8) A Second Life [Ramon Torrents] 8p

                9) The Cheese Is For The Rats [Villanova] 8p

                10) Tour de Force [Martin Pasko/Leo Summers] 8p

                11) Speed Demon [Ernie Colon] 8p


Notes: Publishers: Martin & Charles “Chip” Goodman.  Editor: Jeff Rovin.  $.75 for 64 pages.  Rovin dedicated this issue to Warren Publications’ editor Bill DuBay (!) and mentions that DuBay would be doing a comic for them.  The comic was ‘Wonderworld’ but it was never published, reportedly due to James Warren being unhappy that his editor would be working for competitors.  The editorial and an accompanying ad also stated the Weird Tales’ sister magazine would be entitled Tales Of The Sorceress but it actually was published under the title Devilina.  All in all, this is a pretty good issue.  Jones’ cover isn’t one of his best but there is fine interior work from Torrents, Summers, Colon, Boyette and Pasko.  Best story is the Funnell/Duranona ‘Time Lapse’ with best art going to Ramon Torrents’ ‘A Second Life.’  None of the stories are credited but the credits were given in the next issue’s letters’ page.  While the color comics were issued under the company heading of Atlas, all the B&Ws appeared under the company name of Seaboard Periodicals.


    2. cover: Boris Vallejo (Mar. 1975)

1) The Bog Beast [Gabriel Levy/Enrique Badia Romero] 9p

2) Dr. Mercurio’s Diary [Al Moniz/Juez Xirinius] 8p

3) Carrion Of The Gods [Pat Boyette] 8p

4) The Films Of Edgar Allan Poe [Karl Macek] 8p   [text article w/photos]

5) Who Toys With Terror! [George Kashdan/John Severin] 7p

6) The Staff Of Death [Leo Summers] 8p


Notes: Final issue.  If anything, this was better than the premiere issue.  Vallejo’s cover of a witch burning at the stake is striking and one of his best horror covers.  The accompanying story, ‘The Staff Of Death’ by Leo Summers, had a surprising strong sexual content.  It also had the best story & art in the magazine.  Still, there are no weak stories here.  ‘The Bog Beast’ was a preview of the upcoming color comic, with considerably better art than what actually appeared in that color book.  A letters’ page debuted with future Eclipse publisher Dean Mullaney sending in a letter.  A next issue blurb on the letters’ page also revealed the intended contents of the never published third issue, which would have included ‘Man Of Magic’, written by John Albano & illustrated by Dan Adkins, an untitled SF story by Skywald artist Jesus Suso Rego, ‘Monster X’, written by Gabriel Levy & illustrated by Howard Nostrand—intended to be the first segment of a series entitled ‘The Monster Saga’ {another segment, written by Levy & illustrated by Walt Simonson, was also produced}, ‘Night Jury’ written & illoed by Mexican artist Juan Berger and, finally, ‘The Were-Hound’, written by George Kashdan & illustrated by Jack Sparling.  To my knowledge, none of the stories ever appeared.  There were also at least two left over Jeff Jones covers, one of which appeared as a Creepy cover in 1980.  Both covers can be seen in the coffee table artbook ‘The Art Of Jeff Jones’.





    1. cover: Pulojar (Jan. 1975)

                1) The Devil’s Dungeon [Jeff Rovin] 1p   [text article]

                2) Devilina: Satan’s Domain [Ric Estrada] 11p

                3) The Lost Tomb Of Nefertiri [Gabriel Levy/Pablo Marcos] 8p

                4) Atlas Comics Ad [Ernie Colon] 2p   [most of the Atlas/Seaboard color & B&W characters appear.]

                5) Lay Of The Sea [Gabriel Levy/Leopoldo Duranona] 8p

                6) Midnight Muse [Michael Cahlin/Ralph Reese] 2p

                7) Merchants Of Evil! [John Albano/Jack Sparling] 8p

                8) Filmdom’s Vampire Lovers [Gary Gerani] 6p   [text article w/photos]

                9) William Shakespeare’s The Tempest [Martin Pasko/Leo Summers] 10p

                10) Devilina Ad [Ric Estrada] 1p


Notes: Publishers: Martin & Charles ‘Chip’ Goodman.  Editor: Jeff Rovin with Richard Meyers as assistant editor.  $.75 for 64 pages.  Rovin’s editoral is the same one used for Weird Tales Of The Macabre #1.  This is basically a knockoff of Warren Publications’ Vampirella magazine.  And like Vampirella, the weakest segment is the lead character’s.  However, there are some excellent backup stories, including ‘Lay Of The Sea’ and ‘Midnight Muse’.  Pablo Marcos delivers beautiful artwork for ‘The Lost Tomb Of Nefertiri’ and the team of Pasko & Summers render a striking adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Tempest’.  Pulojar’s quite good cover was reprinted in 1982 as the penultimate cover for the Warren run of Vampirella!


    2. cover: George Torjussen (May 1975)

1) Devilina: Curse Of The Ra Scarab [Ric Estrada] 12p

2) Vendetta [John Albano/Frank Thorne] 8p

3) The Devil’s Procuress! [Carl Macek/Jack Sparling] 8p

4) Flesh Gordon: The Perils Of Flesh [Gary Gerani?] 6p   [text article w/photos]

5) The Prophesy [Jesus Suso Rego] 8p

6) Night Creature [Leo Summers] 8p


Notes: Final issue.  Torjussen’s cover is, at best, only fair.  Devilina’s story is downright poor.  However, the remaining stories are very good.  A much stronger sexual content appears in this issue, especially in ‘The Devil’s Procuress!’ {which depicted the letters of the title inhabited by naked women striking poses} and ‘Night Creature’, which featured a fairly explicit rape in a barn.  Even the movie review article discussed the X-rated Flesh Gordon, a 1970s spoof of the more famous Flash Gordon.  If you don’t mind the sex content, this is a pretty good issue.  Best art is by Jesus Suso Rego on his own story ‘The Prophesy’ while the best story is Leo Summers’ ‘Night Creature’.




Thrilling Adventure Stories

    1. cover: Ernie Colon (Feb. 1975)

1) Tigerman And The Flesh Peddlers [John Albano/Ernie Colon] 10p

2) The Sting Of Death [John Albano/Leo Summers] 8p

3) Kromag The Killer [Jack Sparling & Gabriel Levy/Jack Sparling] 9p

4) The Films Of Alistair Maclean [Ric Meyers] 7p   [text article w/photos]

5) Lawrence Of Arabia [Jeff Rovin/Frank Thorne] 8p

6) Atlas Comics Ad [Ernie Colon] 2p

7) Doc Savage [?] 3p   [text article w/photos]

8) Escape From Nine By 1 [Russ Heath] 8p

9) Devilina Ad [Ric Estrada] 1p


Notes: Publisher: Charles ‘Chip’ Goodman.  Editor: Jeff Rovin with Richard aka Ric Meyers as assistant editor.  $.75 for 64 pages.  This comic focused, as the title states, on adventure stories.  Colon’s cover is a rather muddy looking college and not too interesting.  ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ was intended as a series until publisher Martin Goodman became uneasy about a series that promoted a Pan-Arab Union.  The best story here is Russ Heath’s excellent WWII prison escape tale.  Tigerman was a preview of the upcoming color comic and, frankly, much better done than the color book. 


    2. cover: Neal Adams (Aug. 1975)

                1) Robbery! [Bernard Michaelson] 2p   [text article]

                2) The Temple Of The Spider [Archie Goodwin/Walt Simonson] 111p

                3) The Kromag Saga [Gabriel Levy/Jack Sparling] 8p

                4) Tough Cop [John Albano/Russ Heath] 8p

                5) The Towering Inferno [Carl Macek] 6p   [text article w/photos]

                6) Town Tamer [Steve Mitchell/John Severin] 8p

                7) A Job Well Done [Ric Meyers/Alex Toth] 7p


Notes: Final issue.  $1.00 for 64 pages.  One of the best single B&W issues ever published!  Adams’ cover of Kromag is very good, marred only by an inserted segment advertising the ‘Towering Inferno’ movie review.  All of the stories are top notch and are beautifully complemented by art from the likes of Heath, Severin, Toth & Sparling, all at the top of their form.  However, the best story here is the little known samurai classic ‘The Temple Of The Spider’ by Goodwin & Simonson, done just after their excellent run on Manhunter.  Two masters at their best.  Hunt this one down and buy it!





1. cover: Terry Pastor (Nov. 1977)

            1) Editorial [Jeffrey Goodman] 1p   [text article]

            2) Diana [Raoul Vezina] 4p

            3) Baby [Gene Day] 15p

            4) Easily Amused [Buzz Dixon/Judy Hunt] 3p

            5) Gasm [Mark Wheatley] 12p   [color]

            6) Corny And Zorn [Buzz Dixon] 9p

            7) The Hunter [Arvell Jones & Connie Harold] 6p

            8) untitled [Seaton ‘Chuck’ Hancock] 7p

            9) Visit [John Workman] 1p

            10) The Mere Fact Of An Atmosphere [Ben Katchor] 4p


Notes: Publisher: Myron Fass & Irving Fass.  Editor: Jeffrey Goodman.  $1.50 for 64 pages.  Myron Fass was a Golden Age artist who became a publisher in 1956 with the MAD magazine knockoff Lunatickle.  By the 1970s he was publishing about 50 different pulp magazines, generally of the lowest common denominator, including the Eerie & Stanley horror magazines as well as magazines focusing on UFOs, skin pictures, gun collectors, men’s sweat books, movie & TV tie-ins and more.  This magazine was an effort to produce an all-original comic magazine {unlike the Eerie/Stanley product, which featured a lot of retouched 1950s reprints}, and as it appears here, is somewhat of a descendent of Web Of Horror.  Like Web, it used many artists just stepping out of the fanzines and into the professional arena.  Like both Warren & Heavy Metal, it also featured a decently done color section.  The back cover features an ad with Ken Kelly’s artwork for the Kiss album ‘Love Gun’.  Raoul Vezina had worked on Michael Gilbert’s fanzine New Paltz Comics.  Gene Day had done work for Skywald & Star*Reach as well as apparently dozens of Canadian fanzines, some of which he self-published.  John Workman had previously appeared in Star*Reach and had just joined or was about to join the staff at Heavy Metal.  Buzz Dixon {who is not the same guy as writer Chuck Dixon!} makes his professional debut as both a writer and artist.  His artwork looks somewhat similar to Phil Foglio.  The editor, Jeffrey Goodman, had started out writing porn novels and graduated to editing dozens of Fass’ magazines.  Arvell Jones’ story contains no dialogue or captions.  Best art here goes to his story as well as the artwork by Gene Day & John Workman.  Best story is Gene Day’s ‘Baby’ although I rather liked Ben Katchor’s odd little tale as well.  There is an extremely funny ad on the inside back cover for a bong and some ‘perfectly legal’ imitation hashish & opium mixtures made from wild lettuce that was apparently supposed to help your sex drive.  The fake stuff was called Lettucene.  As the ad slogan goes—‘Relax…Smoke Lettucene with your lover and feel your bodies smile at each other.’  What a horrific image!


    2. cover: Terry Pastor (Dec. 1977)

            1) Or… [Jeffrey Goodman] 1p   [text article]

            2) Pin-Up [?] 1p

            3) Rogue World [Gary Winnick] 11p   reprinted from Venture #5 (1976)

            4) Gasm, part 2 [Mark Wheatley] 8p   [color]

            5) Killing Time With Speedy, Flip…And Duke [Buzz Dixon] 12p

            6) War Mind [Matt Howarth] 6p

            7) Nymphs [Fred Bobb] 2p

            8) The Jar [Buzz Dixon/Judy Hunt] 5p

            9) The Arrival Of A Guest From Another Solar System Will Long Go Unnoticed [Ben Katchor] 4p   [color]

                10) Le Valise [Jeff Goodman/Ned Sonntag] 9p   [first four pages in color]

                11) Girl Named Sexx…The Original Belle Baldwin [John Workman] 2p


Notes: A better issue than the first with ‘Rogue World’, ‘The Jar’ ‘War Mind’ and ‘Le Valise’ providing solid entertainment.  ‘Rogue War’ was a reprint from Frank Cirocco & Brent Anderson’s fanzine Venture.  Best art came from John Workman with the best story honors going to Ben Katchor.


    3. cover: Steve Hickman/back cover: Bob Aull (Feb. 1978)

                1) Gasm Comics [Jeffrey Goodman/Ned Sonntag] 1p   [text article]

                2) B. J. Butterfly [John Workman] 1p

                3) The Triad [Horizon Zero Graphiques/Frank Cirocco & Steve Leialoha] 11p   reprinted from Venture #5 (1976)

                4) Terminal Geeks [Jeff Goodman/Ned Sonntag] 10p   [color on pages 1-8]

                5) The Adjutant [Gene Day] 10p

                6) Cyborg 28-H [Don Lomax] 9p

                7) Piece Of Cake [Buzz Dixon] 6p

                8) The Cotillion Borealis [Ben Katchor] 4p

                9) Black Hole [?] 3p   [signature on last page appears to read Lamont]

                10) Gasm, part 3 [Mark Wheatley] 8p


Notes: Like ‘Rogue World’ in the previous issue, ‘The Triad’ was a reprint from Brent Anderson & Frank Cirocco’s fanzine Venture.  The author for that story listed himself {or themselves} as Horizon Zero Graphiques.  The magazine continued to improve, with a much better cover than the previous two issues and decent stories & art throughout the book.  The story ‘Black Hole’ is uncredited and has a strong sexual content.  The titlepage lists Judy Hunt as a contributor but she is not credited for anything on the actual pages.  Perhaps she had a hand in inking ‘Black Hole’.  Best story & art go to Gene Day’s ‘The Adjutant’, despite the fact that the title is so ornately lettered that you can’t read it.  Good issue.


    4. cover: Jim Burns/back cover: Richard Corben (Apr. 1978)

                1) Editorial [Jeffrey Goodman] 1p   [text article]

                2) The Buy [Don Lomax] 10p

                3) Gasm, part 4 [Mark Wheatley] 8p   [color]

                4) Incident On Planetoid 7 [James O’Barr] 9p

                5) Twilight Of The Dogs [Richard Corben] 10p   reprinted from ?

                6) The Long Goodbye To Everything! [Gene Day] 13p

                7) Horrible Harvey’s House! [Richard Corben] 11p   [pgs 4-11 in color]   reprinted from ?

                8) Passions [John Workman] 2p


Notes: $1.95 for 64 pages.  The cover says this is a ‘special super Corben issue’.  Both Corben stories, however, are reprinted from 1970 & 1971.  James O’Barr makes his professional debut here with some very crude artwork.  John Workman’s story is set in SF author Edgar Pangborn’s ‘Davy’s World’ storyline and is dedicated to the (then) recently deceased writer.  The positioning of the color pages forced some odd splits between pages in the B&W stories.  Best art & story goes to Gene Day’s excellent SF tale.  Good work also appeared from Workman, Lomax, the Corben reprints & Mark Wheatley.  Jim Burns’ cover was also quite striking.  The classic Corben artwork for recording artist Meat Loaf’s album ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ appears on the back cover.


    5. cover: Ned Sonntag (June 1978)

                1) Editorial [Jeffrey Goodman] 1p   [text article]

                2) Downed… [Don Lomax] 5p

                3) Gasm, part 4 [Mark Wheatley] 9p   [color, except for page one]

                4) Ah Rilly Ount Nuh! [Marc Hempel] 1p

                5) City Ship [Gene Day] 18p

                6) To Meet The Faces You Meet [Jan Strnad/Richard Corben] 16p   reprinted from Fever Dreams #1 (1972)

                7) Bondlord [Gary Winnick] 8p   [color]

                8) Heads Up In Bugtown [Matt Howarth with Mark Kernes] 4p


Notes: Final issue.  As in the previous issue, Corben’s artwork for recording artist Meat Loaf’s album ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ appears on the back cover.  ‘City Ship’ is printed sideways.  Another good issue with fine artwork.  Mark Wheatley concludes the ‘Gasm’ serial.  Best art & story go to the Strnad/Corben reprint.







    1. cover: Paul Gulacy (Oct. 1978)   [Wraparound cover]

1) Slow Fade Of An Endangered Species [Don McGregor/Paul Gulacy & P. Craig Russell] 40p


Notes: Publisher & editor: Dean Mullaney.  Eclipse’s premiere publication.  A decent enough story, somewhat in the Killraven/War of The Worlds mode. {check out the Warren Interviews page for an interview with Don McGregor which also covers this story} The cover is colored in sepia.  Between 1978 and 1983, Eclipse would publish a number of one-shot efforts and one continuing all-genre magazine in the B&W magazine field.




Night Music 1

1. cover & back cover: P. Craig Russell (Nov. 1979)

            1) Introduction [Jim Steranko] 1p   [text article]

                2) Breakdown On The Starship Remembrance [P. Craig Russell] 23p

                3) Preview of ‘Therimbula And The Sea,’ a work in progress [P. Craig Russell] 1p

                4) La Sonnambula And The City Of Sleep: A Fragment Of A Dream [P. Craig Russell] 10p

                5) About The Artist [P. Craig Russell] 1p   [text article w/photo]


Notes: Publisher: Dean Mullaney.  $4.95 for 40 pages.  Russell’s front cover is a color panel from page 4 of ‘La Sonnambula’.  This was an expensive book back in 1979 but it was certainly impressive with beautiful artwork by Russell.  ‘La Sonnambula’ is a wordless strip.  The preview fragment is of a story I do not believe was ever published.  The book is dedicated to Dan Adkins & contains a panel from an Adkins’ story that appeared in Creepy #11 (Oct. 1966).  Much of this material would be reprinted in color in Eclipse’s Night Music, Vol. 2, circa 1984.




Detectives, Inc: A Remembrance Of Threatening Green

    1. cover: Marshall Rogers & Lynn Varley (May 1980)

                1) A Remembrance Of Threatening Green [Don McGregor/Marshall Rogers] 46p





    1. cover: Paul Gulacy (May 1981)

                1) Editorial [Dean Mullaney/Don Maitz] 1p   [text article]

                2) Slab [Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers] 19p

                3) Amber III [Jim Starlin] 6p

                4) Death [Howard Cruse] 3p

                5) The Chimera [P. Craig Russell] 10p

                6) Cartoon Man [Marc Hempel] 5p

                7) Crystal Sett in Loose Hips Sink Ships! [Chris Browne/Trina Robbins] 1p

                8) Mr. Tree: The Girl In The Red Wedding Dress [Max Allan Collins/Terry Beatty] 8p

                9) Next Issue Ad [Terry Beatty] 1p   [Ms. Tree is featured.]


Notes: Publisher & editor: Dean Mullaney.  $2.95 for 64 pages.  After several years of publishing a number of one-shot single artist books, Eclipse makes the plunge and begins an all new anthology.  It’s a pretty good one too!  Unlike most comic magazine anthologies, this one doesn’t focus on one genre and, in that respect, could be seen as a direct continuation of the Star*Reach/Imagine anthology comics of the 1970s.  The Englehart/Rogers story started out as a Superman/Creeper issue of DC Presents but was pulled back & reworked by the two after editorial differences with DC.  A plug on the last page asked readers to watch for the team’s upcoming ‘Sundancer’ but that strip either never appeared or changed its title when it did.  There were three Amber stories by Starlin.  ‘Amber I’ appeared in Epic Illustrated in 1985, although it had originally been done in 1979 for a never-published independent fanzine by Al Milgrom.  ‘Amber II’ appeared in Heavy Metal in 1979.  Russell’s ‘The Chimera’ is reproduced {rather poorly} from his pencils.  To my knowledge, it’s never been inked.  The “Loose Hips Sink Ships!’ story by Browne & Robbins was probably originally intended for Playboy, which had been running one pagers by Browne in their short-lived comic section.  This was the debut of Collins & Beatty’s excellent private eye series, Ms. Tree.  Best art is probably by Marshall Rogers, although the artwork overall is very good.  Best story would be the beginning chapter of the Ms. Tree murder mystery, which sported an overall series title of ‘I, For An Eye’.  The ads throughout the life time of this magazine focused on independent comics from various publishers and are a good indication {and record} of how fast the independent publishers’ movement of the early 1980s was both growing and changing comics in the process of that growth.  The ads also had great art by the likes of Brian Bolland, Charles Vess, Paul Gulacy, Ken Steacy, and more.


    2. cover: Michael Golden (July 1981)

                1) Editorial [Dean Mullaney/P. Craig Russell] 1p   [text article]

                2) Rick Rabbit [Steve Leialoha] 8p

                3) He Always Wanted To Write For Ernie Kovacs… [Joe Owens & Martin W. Herzog/Ken Steacy] 5p

                4) I Am Coyote [Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers] 11p

                5) What’s The ‘Little Blond-Haired Guy’ Doing Here? [Don McGregor/Billy Graham] 3p

                6) Cover poster pull-out [Michael Golden] 1p

                7) Sax Rohmer’s Dope [Trina Robbins] 4p   from the novel by Sax Rohmer

                8) Role Model [Steve Gerber/Val Mayerik] 8p

                9) Quick Trim [Howard Cruse] 2p

                10) Crime In The City [Rick Geary] 1p

                11) Ms. Tree: One Grave For My Tears [Max Allan Collins/Terry Beatty] 8p


Notes: ‘Coyote’ was the debut of a new Englehart/Rogers serial.  ‘Rick Rabbit’ was originally intended for the never published 7th issue of Quack! and was probably done in 1977.  Mayerik’s art for ‘Role Model’ is reproduced from his pencils and looks much better than the previous issue’s printing attempt with Russell’s pencils.  A very good issue with fine stories & art from all participants.


    3. cover: John Pound (Nov. 1981)

                1) Editorial [Dean Mullaney/Lela Dowling] 1p   [text article]

                2) I Am Coyote, part 2 [Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers] 11p

                3) Vamp Dance [Kaz] 3p

                4) Ragamuffins: Kindergarten Run [Don McGregor/Gene Colan] 10p

                5) Homer’s Idyll: A Bag Full Of Dreams [Charles Vess] 4p

                6) Large Cow Comix [Hunt Emerson] 2p

                7) Dope, part 2: The Fatal Cigarette [Trina Robbins] 4p   from the novel by Sax Rohmer

                8) Role Model, part 2: Caring, Sharing And Helping Others [Steve Gerber/Val Mayerik] 7p

                9) Because [George Pratt/Kent Williams] 1p

                10) Ms. Tree: Death Is A Little Black Book [Max Allan Collins/Terry Beatty] 8p


Notes: Another solid issue with a fine cover by Pound and strong work from Rogers, Englehart, Robbins, Collins, Beatty & Mayerik, but the best story & art goes to the McGregor/Colan debut of Ragamuffins.  Colan’s art is reproduced from his pencils and the repo job is none too good but his artwork still shines, while McGregor’s tale of boyhood discoveries rings true in every respect.  Unlike the first episode, Val Mayerik’s artwork on ‘Role Model’ is a pen & ink job.  Vess’ ‘Homer’s Idyll’ story had an earlier installment that appeared in Heavy Metal.  The only story I didn’t like here was the rather pointless ‘Vamp Dance’ but that may just be a matter of opinion.  The letters’ page debuts.


    4. cover: Carl Potts (Jan. 1982)

                1) Editorial [Dean Mullaney/Joe Desposito] 1p   [text article]

                2) I Am Coyote, part 3 [Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers] 12p

                3) Forgotten Adventures On The Kon-Tiki [Hunt Emerson] 4p

                4) The Demon Chronicles [Alex Simmons/Jim Sherman] 12p

                5) Dirty Pool [Larry Rippee] 2p

                6) A Fistful Of Graveyard Dirt [Don McGregor/Billy Graham] 6p

                7) Dope, part 3: A Star Is Born—And Falls [Trina Robbins] 5p   from the novel by Sax Rohmer

                8) A Victorian Murder [Rick Geary] 4p

                9) Ms. Tree: If A Tree Falls… [Max Allan Collins/Terry Beatty] 8p


Notes: Good cover by Potts and good, solid stories.  Don McGregor’s ‘A Fistful Of Graveyard Dirt’ is the best story here while the best art is from ‘Dirty Pool’ by Larry Rippee {who also provided the amusing script}.  No weak spots at all here, although for some reason, Emerson’s 10 page ‘Kon-Tiki’ story was split in two for no apparent good reason.  The back cover featured a full color ad of Steve Gerber’s Destroyer Duck Lawsuit Benefit Edition #1 with art by Jack Kirby.


    5. cover: Michael Kaluta (Mar. 1982)

                1) Editorial [Dean Mullaney/?] 1p   [text article]

                2) I Am Coyote, part 4 [Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers] 11p

                3) The Hitch-Hiker [Billy Graham] 6p

                4) Forgotten Tales Of The Kon-Tiki, part 2 [Hunt Emerson] 6p

                5) Among The Scarabaeidae [Michael Kaluta] 4p

                6) Down The Drain [Eytan Wronker] 1p

                7) Dope, part 4: Pipe Dreams [Trina Robbins] 6p   from the novel by Sax Rohmer

                8) Ragamuffins: Recess, Bondage And Nuns [Don McGregor/Gene Colan] 9p

                9) Ms. Tree: The Last To Know [Max Allan Collins/Terry Beatty] 8p


Notes: Behind a beautiful Kaluta cover was yet another solid issue.  The previously unpublished ‘Among The Scarabaeidae’ by Kaluta was done in 1970.  Solid segments of ‘Coyote’, ‘Dope’ and ‘Ms. Tree’ appeared, while the excellent ending of Emerson’s ‘Kon-Tiki’ and another fine installment of ‘Ragamuffins’ were all most welcome.  Colan’s pencils were presented with slightly better reproduction than the first installment.


    6. cover: Paul Gulacy (July 1982)

                1) Editorial: Two Girls For Every Boy [Dean Mullaney/Peter Kuper] 1p   [text article]

                2) Ms. Tree: Kiss Tomorrow Hello [Max Allan Collins/Terry Beatty] 16p

                3) Alice Quinn [Harvey Pekar/Sue Cavey] 6p

                4) A Lil’ Monster Making A Phone Call [Larry Rippee] 1p

                5) Luke The Drifter [Lenny Kaye/Paul Gulacy] 2p   [song lyrics]

                6) Dope, part 5: Limehouse Blues [Trina Robbins] 6p   from the novel by Sax Rohmer

                7) A Walk Up Avenue U [Don McGregor/Tom Sutton] 6p

                8) My Transformation [Rick Geary] 2p

                9) I Am Coyote, part 5 [Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers] 11p


Notes: Ms. Tree is cover featured and receives her big finale.  An excellent mystery novelette.  The letters’ page also included letters dealing with Steve Gerber & Jack Kirby’s Destroyer Duck.  ‘Alice Quinn’ was Harvey Pekar’s first appearance in a mainstream or independent comic although he’d been publishing his own American Splendor as an underground comix for several years.  Lenny Kaye, the lyric writer for ‘Luke The Drifter’ was a member of alt-rocker Patti Smith’s band and a friend of Dean Mullaney’s brother Jan.  Best story & art go to the McGregor/Sutton story ‘A Walk Up Avenue U’ but it’s a close call.  Lots of good stuff here.


    7. cover: John Bolton (Nov. 1982)

                1) Editorial [Dean Mullaney/Kent Williams] 1p   [text article]

                2) The Masked Man [B. C. Boyer] 10p

                3) The Fate Of Charity Hope [Sean Carroll] 4p

                4) Dope, part 6: To The Brink [Trina Robbins] 6p   from the novel by Sax Rohmer

                5) The Twin In The Doorway [Don McGregor/Tom Sutton] 10p

                6) The Underground Lighthouse [Hunt Emerson] 11p

                7) An Autobiography [Kevin C. Brown] 2p

                8) I Am Coyote, part 6 [Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers] 9p


Notes: Very nice cover by John Bolton.  ‘I Am Coyote’ was supposed to have its finale here but the story actually wouldn’t end until the next issue.  ‘An Autobiography’ follows the format of Robert Crumb’s classic ‘A Short History Of America’--this time featuring the history of a car & a movie theater over a period of years.  ‘The Masked Man’, one of the better Spirit inspired series, debuts.  B. C. Boyer’s at times awkward art was rather endearing and his storytelling skills were very good.  Best story in this issue.  Hunt Emerson’s amusing effort featured the best art. 


    8. cover: Marshall Rogers (Jan. 1983)

                1) Editorial [Dean Mullaney/George Pratt] 1p   [text article]

                2) The Masked Man: Frankie [B. C. Boyer] 10p

                3) Mr. Walk-Down-The-Street [Larry Rippee] 1p

                4) There’s An Alligator In My Pool! [Jim Bourgeois] 9p

                5) Ragamuffins: The Other Side Of The Street [Don McGregor/Gene Colan] 12p

                6) Dope, part 7: Mollie Gets Amorous [Trina Robbins] 6p   from the novel by Sax Rohmer

                7) I Am Coyote, part 7 [Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers] 11p


Notes: Final issue.  One of the best {and largely overlooked} of the B&W magazines draws to a premature close as Mullaney announces plans to convert to an all-color comic line.  Eclipse Monthly, a 32 page color anthology book, replaced Eclipse Magazine, with ‘The Masked Man’, ‘Dope’ and ‘Ragamuffins’ all continuing their serials there.  Mullaney’s editorial thanking numerous staff members was an inside joke to make it sound like there was actually a staff putting out the magazine.  Madelyn Feinberg was Dean & Jan’s mother, James Shannon & E. Lessly were two pseudonyms of Dean Mullaney’s (Shannon was Buster Keaton’s character in the silent film ‘Seven Chances’ and E. Lessly was Keaton’s cameraman), Alice B. Stockham was the 5th woman doctor in the US and a pseudonym of cat yronwode’s while Gail “Sailor” Duval was the name of the character played by Lauren Bacall in the Bogart-Bacall radio drama “Bold Venture”.  Only the typesetter, Chuck Spanyay, was an actual living, breathing person.   ‘I Am Coyote’ concluded its first adventure, with Johnny Carson appearing!  Another excellent installment of ‘Ragamuffins’ appeared.  The only sour note this issue was Bourgeois’s “Alligator’ story, which featured underground style art and a none too interesting storyline.  Otherwise, a very good issue.





Basically Strange

    1. cover: Richard Corben (Nov. 1982)

                1) T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Ad [? Manna & Rich Buckler] 1p   [frontis]

                2) Movie Review: Bladerunner [Chris Henderson] 1p   [text article w/photo]

                3) The Man Who Tried To Kill Death [Marvin Channing/Alex Toth] 5p    reprinted from Sorcery #8 (Aug. 1974)

                4) Tetragrammaton [Tim Ryan/Rick Bryant] 10p

                5) Book Review: Earth Invader [David M. Singer] 1p   [text article]

                6) Movie Review: Swamp Thing [?] 1p   [text article w/photo]

                7) The Benefactor [T. Casey Brennan/Vicente Alcazar] 4p   reprinted from Sorcery #7 (June 1974)

                8) The Ultimate Power! [Wally Wood] 6p   reprinted from Archie’s Superhero Comics Digest Magazine #2 (1979)

                9) Death Is My Love’s Name [Marvin Channing/Frank Thorne] 6p   reprinted from Sorcery #10 (Dec. 1974)

                10) The Creator [Bruce Jones] 6p

                11) Portfolio [Pepe Moreno, Matthew Staples & Robert Morillo] 3p   [pin-ups]

                12) Portfolio Bios [?] 1p   [text article]

                13) Next Issue Ad [Gray Morrow] ½p   [The Black Hood is featured.]

                14) Red Circle Ad [Rich Buckler] 1p   [The Shield, the Golden Age Shield, the Fly, the Black Hood, Jaguar, Comet &

the Web are featured.]


Notes: Publisher: John Carbonaro for John C. Productions {a sister or subsidiary company of Archie Comics}.  Editor: Chris Adames.  $1.95 for 48 pages.  Corben’s cover originally appeared as a Den poster in 1979.  This was largely a reprint magazine & was clearly intended to make additional use of the stories produced for Archie’s Red Circle mystery & superhero line from 1973-1975.  Regardless of the origins, there were some good stories here, carefully chosen to make the best use of the shading & tones added to the artwork.  The Toth story in particular actually benefited from the B&W printing.  Both Wood’s ‘The Ultimate Power!’ and Jones’ previously unpublished ‘The Creator’ were done in 1975 and were probably intended for either Sorcery or Madhouse.  The lone new story here, Tim Ryan & Rick Bryant’s ‘Tetragrammaton’ was an artist showcase with Bryant trying a different art technique for each page.  The entire story consisted of full page or double page spreads and they’re beautifully done, with striking images.  The portfolio pages are also quite good.  The never published second issue was clearly going to be focused on the Red Circle superhero, the Black Hood.  Legend has it that this first issue had only 2000 copies printed and that most of those were destroyed, making it fairly rare.  However, if you can find a copy of it, it’s usually not priced too high.   Nice little item.




Dragon’s Teeth

1. cover: Frank Cirocco/titlepage: Lela Dowling (Summer 1983)

1) First Impression [Tony Salmons] 8p

2) Inspiration [Lela Dowling] 5p

3) Low Profile [Ken Macklin] 3p

4) Close, But No Encounter [Frank Cirocco] 12p

5) Oolala! [Alex Toth] 12p

6) My Criminal Career [Rick Geary] 5p

7) A Dragon’s Teeth Portolio Profile—Magic On Paper: The Art Of Tony Salmons [Mark Clegg/Tony Salmons] 9p  

[text article]

                8) Dragon’s Teeth: Talk [Charles Boatner & Jim Steranko/Jim Steranko] 5p   [text article, all artwork was from the

story ‘At The Stroke Of Midnight’ that Steranko had done in 1969 for Marvel.]

                9) Before There Was Dragon’s Teeth, There Was Tesserae [Mark Clegg/Ken Macklin] 1p   [text article]

                10) Next Issue Ad [George Barr] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Only issue.  Publisher: Mark Clegg.  Editors: Mark Clegg & Charles Boatner.  $2.95 for 64 pages.  Magazine logo designed by Lela Dowling with imput from Tom Orzechowski.  This late entry into the B&W magazine market died an early death.  Not from lack of talent, however.  Toth, Dowling, Geary and Salmons all contributed fine stories & artwork.  There were also nice early efforts by Frank Cirocco & Ken Macklin.  As noted in the text article on the final page, this magazine rose from the ashes of the independent comic Tesserae {see The Early Independents page}.  An update from publisher & editor Mark Clegg reveals that Charles Boatner, while credited as co-editor, “actually had nothing to do with the magazine.”




                                                                Globe Communications


Monsters Attack!

1. cover: John Severin/back cover: Walter John Brogan (Sept. 1989)

            1) The Boneyard [Michael Delle Femine] 1p   [text article, all of Delle Femine’s stories, artwork & articles were

credited to Mort Todd with one exception, noted in #2.]

                2) The Sex Vampires From Outer Space [Olivo Vincent/Gray Morrow] 6p

                3) George Romero’s Dead: Flower Children Of The Apocalypse [Evan Michelson, Charles Victor & Johnny Zhivago]

3p   [text article w/photos]

                4) A Monster For All Seasons! [Pat Boyette] 7p

                5) Return Of The Golem [Michael Delle Femine/John Severin] 9p

                6) Frankenstein 1990: Resurrection [Jon Loring/Rick Altergott] 6p    [text story]

                7) Pirate’s Plunder Pin-Up [Michael Delle Femine] 1p

                8) In Solid [Steve Ditko] 6p

                9) Weirdbeard [Rurik Tyler] 8p   [all Tyler’s work credited to Madman]


Notes: Publisher: Globe Communications.  Editor: Michael Delle Femine.  $1.95 for 48 pages.  The cover was reprinted in color as a two-page poster on the frontis & inside back cover {the inside color art would remain throughout the series}.  Boyette’s ‘A Monster For All Seasons!’ is a rewritten, redrawn rehash of his 1971 Skywald story ‘The Geek!’.  The text story ‘Frankenstein 1990’ was intended as a serial but never had a second installment.  This was a rather odd effort to apparently put out a somewhat more kid-friendly B&W horror magazine than either the departed Skywald or Warren books but keep to keep the book edgy too.  It never quite made its goal but some interesting work did appear here.  Both Morrow & Boyette’s artwork was quite good while Ditko’s was a pleasing cross between his Charlton & Warren work.  Severin delivered the best art here on his Nazi/Golem story while Rurik Tyler’s odd, gory ‘Weirdbeard’ was the best story.  Walter Brogan’s back cover art owed a clear debt to Jack Davis but was still pretty good.


    2. cover: John Severin/frontis: Pat Boyette/back cover: Walter John Brogan (Oct. 1989)

                1) The Boneyard [Michael Delle Femine] 1p   [text article]

                2) Aquacarnivora [Olivo Vincent/Gray Morrow] 8p

                3) The Mars Attacks Chronicles: The Pulp Paintbrush Of Norman Saunders [Bhob Stewart/Norman Saunders] 5p   [text

article w/photos.  Saunders’ art reprinted from the various sources]

                4) The Cask Of Amontillado! [Charles V. Hall/Walter James Brogan] 7p   from the story by Edgar Allan Poe

                5) It’s All In His Head! [Steve Ditko/Steve Ditko & Michael Delle Femine] 5p   [Delle Femine’s inks credited to E.


6) Radical New Pipe Pin-Up [Michael Delle Femine] 1p

7) The Outsider [Bhob Stewart/Steve Harper] 6p   from the story by H. P. Lovecraft

8) ‘Are You Ready For Freddy, The Man Of Your Dreams?’ [Kevin McMahon] 6p   [text article w/photos]

                9) Abracadaver [Rurik Tyler] 8p   [Tyler’s work credited to Madman]


Notes: $1.49 for 48 pages.  Severin’s cover of Freddy Kruger was reprinted on the inside back cover.  It’s a pretty good rendering too!  Better than the first issue with generally good art & story throughout.  Bhob Stewart’s article on the Mars Attack cards is very interesting as well.  Best story goes again to the odd ‘Abracadaver’ by Tyler, as does best art.  Good issue.


    3. cover: John Severin/frontis: Gray Morrow/back cover: Rurik Tyler [credited as Madman] (July 1990)

1) Pin-Up [Pat Redding] 1p

2) A Boy’s Life [Michael Delle Femine/John Severin] 7p

3) Godzilla Pin-Up [Michael Delle Femine] 1p

4) Face It [Steve Ditko] 5p

5) Jason’s Body Count: Friday The 13th On Video: An Overview [Kevin McMahon] 8p   [text article w/photos.  Last

four pages are a checklist of the victims of Jason and methods used to kill them!]

                6) Cells [Rurik Tyler] 8p   [Tyler’s work credited to Madman]

                7) The Wake Of A Monster! [Pat Boyette] 6p

                8) The Daemon [John Arcudi/Gene Colan] 8p


Notes: $2.25 for 48 pages.  Ten month gap occurs between #2 &3.  Severin’s cover portrait of Jason from the Friday the 13th movies was reprinted on the inside back cover.  Gray Morrow’s frontispiece painting is beautiful.  Ditko’s artwork on his story is a definite step down from the excellent work he did in #1.  Gene Colan’s art is reproduced from his pencils {and very well-presented too} and is the best art appearing here.  Tyler’s ‘Cells’ is the best story.  The letters’ page begins.


    4. cover: John Severin/frontis: Walter James Brogan/inside back cover: Rurik Tyler [Tyler’s work credited to Madman] (Sept.


1) Tag Yer Dead! [Michael Delle Femine/John Severin] 9p

2) Goribis [Pat Boyette] 1p

3) Akira The Movie [Michael Delle Femine]  [Michael Delle Femine] 4p   [text article w/photos]

                4) Monster Attack! Bookwork: The Lonely One/Panorama Of Hell [Michael Delle Femine] 1p   [text article]

                5) Illusion [Steve Ditko] 5p

                6) Godzilla, King Of The Monsters! [Michael Delle Femine] 7p   [text article w/photos]

                7) Circulation: Zero! [Charles E. Hall/Gray Morrow] 8p

                8) Darkman Rising!: An Interview With Sam Raimi [Quelou Parente & Sam Raimi] 4p   [text article w/photos]

                9) Bookworm [Nicola Cuti/Alex Toth] 6p


Notes: Good issue.  Severin’s Godzilla cover was reprinted on the back cover.  Tyler’s inside back cover work would have made a fine cover as well.  ‘Bookworm’ was done in 1975 and originally intended for a Charlton magazine.  For some reason, Toth withheld the artwork and the same story appeared at Charlton with art by Charles Nicholas & Vince Alcasia.  One is tempted to award Toth the best artwork in any comic that he appears in but the best artwork here actually belongs to John Severin.  Pat Boyette’s one pager is quite nicely done as well.


    5. cover: George A. Bush/back cover: Frank Borth (Dec. 1990)

                1) A Job Well Done [Ric Meyers/Alex Toth] 7p   reprinted from Thrilling Adventure Stories #2 (Aug. 1975)

                2) Monster Trucks Pin-Up [Pat Redding] 1p

                3) The Trouble Was [Ron Goulart/Gray Morrow] 7p   from the story by Goulart

                4) The Frankenstein Legend And Karloff [Kevin McMahon/Gene Colan] 7p   [text article]

                5) Freak Show [Mary Silverstone/Walter James Brogan] 9p

                6) Pin-Up [Pat Redding] 1p

                7) The Creator [Steve Ditko] 6p

                8) Cellar Jelly [Rurik Tyler] 8p  


Notes: Final issue.  Editor: Lou Silverstone & Jerry DeFuccio. 




                                                                Bruce Hamilton Publishing


Grave Tales

    1. cover: Joe Staton (Oct. 1991)

                1) Pretender To The Throne [Eric Dinehart/Joe Staton] 8p

                2) Proper Test For A Demon [Link Yarco/Pat Boyette] 8p

                3) Deadly Mistake [Bill Pearson/Gray Morrow] 8p

                4) Grave Mails [Leonard Clark?] 2p   [text article]

                5) Physician Heal Thyself [Russ Miller/John Heebink & Dan Adkins]

                6) Maggots/Dread Of Night Ad [?] 1p

                7) Wanna-Be [Nat Gertler/Batton Lash] 8p


Notes: Publisher & Managing Editor: Bruce Hamilton.  Editor: Leonard “John” Clark.  $3.95 for 48 pages.

Grave Tales had its origins in a Bill Pearson edited/Hamilton published 1974 independent fanzine with the same title. {See he ‘Early Independents’ page!} This version {and its sister magazines, Maggots & Dread Of Night} was clearly an attempt to revive the early style of the Creepy/Eerie/Vampirella horror magazines.  Instead of one host, however, this issue presented five, with short messages from each of them {supposedly} in the text article that would become the letters’ page.  Each of the five hosts introduced one of the five stories here, beginning with the Grave Digger, an Uncle Creepy look-alike who was also cover featured; then Obadiah, a rather ugly gnome-like creature; followed by Echo, a female ghost; then the rather sleazy Ed the Window-Washer who was an ugly Peeping Tom character, and finally, Deadpan, a corpse with maggots crawling out of him who wore, naturally, a battered cooking pan on his head!  The stories were a little on the tame side, although Gray Morrow brought in a very nice art job on his story.  Pat Boyette & Joe Staton also delivered good work. 


    2. cover: Gray Morrow (Dec. 1991)

                1) Deadly Developments [Nat Gertler/Sparky Moore] 6p

                2) The Jolly Corner [Eric Dinehart/Joe Staton] 8p   from the story by Henry James

                3) The Haunting Of Henry James [Geoffrey Blum] 1p   [text article w/photos]

                4) Grave Tales History/Ad [Bruce Hamilton/Mike Roberts & Don Newton] 1p   [Roberts art from the cover of the

original Grave Tales, Newton’s art is from the interior art from the same issue.]

                5) Maggots #2 Preview Art [various] 2p

                6) Black And White And Red All Over [Eric Dinehart/Steve Stiles]

                7) Maggots #2 Preview Art [various] 2p

                8) Simon’s Salvation [Jack C. Harris/John Heebink] 8p

                9) The Springfield Werewolf [Bill Pearson/Russ Miller] 2p   [text story]

                10) The Monster Maker [James Van Hise/Tom Sutton] 8p


Notes: The Grave Tales History page notes that 115,000 copies of #1 were printed.  The stories took an upturn in quality as both the adaptation of ‘The Jolly Corner’ by Eric Dinehart and Van Hise’s original ‘The Monster Maker’ were very good and the remaining stories weren’t bad either.  ‘Black And White And Red All Over’ is a homage to EC artist Graham Ingels, right down to the lettering of Ingram {the Ingelsdoppleganger’s name} in the style of the Ghastly signature that Ingels used on his splash pages.  Tom Sutton’s art is quite striking and is easily the best in this solid issue.  The actual letters’ page debuts.


    3. cover: Joe Staton (Feb. 1992)

1) Dog Gone! [John Cochran/Joe Staton] 8p

2) Grave Tales In Color Ad [Joe Staton & Gray Morrow] 1p

3) The Vigil [Steve Skeates/John Workman] 6p

4) Sredni Vashtar [Geoffrey Blum/Sparky Moore] 8p   from the story by Saki

5) Salina, part 3 [Nicola Cuti] 2p   [text story]

6) Dread Of Night In Color Ad [Joe Staton] 1p

7) Cycle Of The Vampire! [Jack C. Harris/Joe Heebink] 8p

8) Maggots In Color Ad [Joe Staton & Gray Morrow] 1p

9) Bios Of Our Creators: Joe Staton [Leonard Clark?] 1p   [text article w/photo]

10) Role Model [Jeff Bailey & Marty Golia/Joe Staton] 8p


Notes: Final issue.  Pretty darn good issue.  ‘Role Model’ is a spoof/takeoff on Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes and is really quite good.  The text story ‘Salina’ had its first two sections appear in Maggots #2 & Dread Of Night #2.  Joe Staton provides the best artwork here with John Workman coming in close behind.  Best story is the C&H spoof by Bailey & Golia although John Cochran & Steve Skeates’ stories {both of these guys were Warren Publications veterans} were also quite good.  Apparently, the company planned a move to 32 page color comics for all three of their titles, since they ran ads with new covers for all three titles, but those versions were never published. 





1. cover: Gray Morrow (Nov. 1991)

            1) The Big Greasy [Matt Wayne/Steve Stiles] 8p

            2) Scary-Go-Round [Gary Leach/Alfredo Alcala] 8p

            3) Maggots Mail [Leonard Clark] 2p   [text article]

            4) Horror You Today [John Clark & Bruce Hamilton/Joe Staton] 6p

            5) Sore Spot [Jack C. Harris/Joe Staton] 8p

            6) Don’t Touch That Dial [Link Yarco/Russ Miller] 2p   [text story]

            7) Caged In [Link Yarco/Batton Lash] 8p


Notes: Publisher & Managing Editor: Bruce Hamilton.  Editor: Leonard ‘John’ Clark.  $3.95 for 48 pages.  This magazine had possibly the most disgusting title in horror comics!  Like Grave Tales, this magazine had not one, but five new horror hosts beginning with the cover featured sexy bird lady, Madraven Stark, then psychologist Dr. Pocks, talk show host Eval Reising, the alien parasite/human, Prof. Zschiesche {whose origin was told in ‘Horror You Today?’} and finally morgue keeper, Morgan.  ‘Sore Spot’, hosted by Prof. Zschiesche, is an alternate version of ‘Horror You Today?’  This issue is a considerable improvement on the contents of Grave Tales #1, with generally decent stories & art from all involved. 


    2. cover: Gray Morrow (Jan. 1992)

1) A Dinner To Remember! [Al Ryan/John Workman] 6p

2) Dread Of Night #2 Preview Pages [various] 2p

3) Byte Of The Wolf [Robert Borski/Howard Bender & Neil Vokes] 8p

4) Salina, part 1 [Nicola Cuti] 2p   [text story, continued in Dread Of Night.]

5) Under The Rug! [Donald Markstein/Steve Stiles] 8p

6) L. A. Flaw [Link Yarco/Terry Tidwell & Bud La Rosa] 8p

7) Dread Of Night Preview Pages [various] 2p

8) The Puppet Man [Nicola Cuti/Alfredo Alcala] 8p


Notes: The first actual letters’ page debuts.  Nice two-page spread in the Stiles story.


    3. cover: Gray Morrow (Mar. 1992)

                1) Some Kind Of Beautiful [Jack C. Harris/Gray Morrow] 8p

                2) Little Sara’s Dolls [Nicola Cuti/Dan Day & David Day] 6p

                3) Perchance To Dream! [Russ Miller/Steve Stiles] 8p

                4) Prima Facie Evidence [Gary Leach/Tony DeZuniga] 8p 

                5) Chemical Dependents [Janice Lane Miller/Russ Miller] 2p   [text story]

                6) Bios Of Our Creators: Gray Morrow [Leonard Clark] 1p   [text article w/photo]

                7) Identity Crisis [Al Ryan/Joe Staton] 8p


Notes: Final issue.  One of only two painted covers to appear on the Hamilton magazines.  This cover is very good.  DeZuniga’s art looks very rushed and uneven.  More like thumbnails than actual finished art.  Best art & story comes from the Nicola Cuti/Day brothers’ effort, ‘Little Sara’s Dolls’.




Dread Of Night

    1. cover: L. B. Cole (Nov. 1991)

1) The Familiar [Michael Brewer/Ralph Reese & Gray Morrow] 8p

2) He’s A Charmer! [Russ Miller/Batton Lash] 6p

3) Grave Tales #2 Preview Pages [various] 4p

4) Upgrade! [Nat Gertler/Howard Bender & Brian Buniak] 8p

5) Dead Write [Leonard Clark] 2p   [text article & letters’ page]

6) Withdrawal [Charles Marshall/Dan Day & David Day] 8p

7) Hell Well [Nicola Cuti] 2p   [text story]

8) Blood Island [Bill Pearson/Ernie Colon] 8p


Notes: Publisher & Editor In Chief: Bruce Hamilton.  Editor: Leonard ‘John’ Clark.  $3.95 for 48 pages.  Cole’s painted cover is a redo of the original 1974 fanzine Grave Tales’ cover.  It’s very good.  This first issue is decidedly more gory than the debut issues of either Grave Tales or Maggots.  Count Robespierre is the horror host for three of the stories with the other two featuring hosts from Maggots & Grave Tales.  The Reese/Morrow teamup provides the best art while Bill Pearson’s sly vampire tale provided the best story.  ‘Hell Well’ has a great story logo, courtesy of writer/artist Nicola Cuti.  A pretty good issue.


    2. cover: Gray Morrow (Jan. 1992)

                1) The Wolf-Woman Of Roxbury [Link Yarco/John Heebink] 8p

                2) Jelly [Nicola Cuti/Steve Stiles] 6p

                3) Salina, part 2 [Nicola Cuti] 2p   [text story, continued in Grave Tales.]

                4) Grave Tales #3 Preview Pages [various] 2p

                5) A Born Werewolf [James Van Hise/James Dean Pascoe] 8p

                6) Grave Tales #3 Preview Pages [various] 2p

                7) Twisted Channels [Al Ryan/Andrew Paquette & Rick Bryant] 8p

                8) Bios Of Our Creators: Batton Lash [Leonard Clark] 1p   [text article w/photo]

                9) Monsters 101 [Nat Gertler/Batton Lash] 8p


Notes: Final issue.  Best art is the superior job by James Dean Pascoe while the best story is the delightful ‘The Wolf-Woman Of Roxbury’ by Link Yarco.  These books were usually only slightly more graphic than, say, DC’s mystery comics but they were generally good and are usually rather cheap when you can find them.  There’s some good stuff here.




                                                                                                IDW Publishing


Doomed (B&W magazine)

    1. cover, frontis & back cover: Ashley Wood/alternate cover: Jeremy Geddas (Oct. 2005)

                1) Ms. Doomed’s Introduction [Chris Ryall/Ashley Wood] 1p

                2) Bloodson [Chris Ryall/Ashley Wood] 15p   from the story by Richard Matheson

                3) Cuts [F. Paul Wilson/Ted McKeever] 15p   from the story by Wilson

                4) Blood Rape Of The Lust Ghouls [Chris Ryall/Eduardo Barretto] 15p   from the story by David J. Schow

                5) The Final Performance [Chris Ryall/Kristian Donaldson] 15p   from the story by Robert Bloch

                6) Outlawed Legacies: Please Kill Me Now: The Life And Deathwish Of David J. Schow [Joshua Jabcuga & David J.

Schow] 6p   [text article w/photos]

                7) Ms. Doomed’s Farewell [Chris Ryall/Ashley Wood] 1p

                8) Next Issue Ad [Ashley Wood] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: $6.99 for 72 pages.  Publisher: Ted Adams.  Editor: Chris Ryall.  At last we see a return to the full-size B&W horror magazines of the 1960s-1990s!  IDW Publishing makes an admirable start here, adapting stories from four major horror writers.  The best of the bunch is Robert Bloch’s ‘The Final Performance’, adapted by editor Chris Ryall & artist Kristian Donaldson.  The story does a fine job of conveying the feel of a cross-country drive on very limited funds and the seedy, out of the way, diners and motels one might frequent as a result of those low funds.  The artwork is crisp and well laid out and I particularly like the idea of leaving the hero’s eyes in darkness throughout the story, except for one necessary panel.  Best story and art for this premiere issue.  The other adaptations are all worthwhile reading as well, with good work from Eduardo Barretto, Chris Ryall & Ted McKeever & very nice work by Ashley Wood, who doubles as the art director.  The influence of the Warren magazines is clear in the cover layout, which closely resembles the old Warren style, and in the use of a sexy hostess to introduce the magazine.  However, this hostess, Ms. Doomed, is not the pun spouting horror host of old, but a decidedly creepy lady with a major hate for men.  NOT somebody you’d like to ever actually meet.  Her dominatrix-style dialogue is loaded with bitterness.  Both covers were quite good, with Geddas’ art appearing to be somewhat in the style of Phil Hale’s, and greatly resembling a frame from a stop-action animated film.  Ashley Wood’s art work also appears to be somewhat of a cross between David Mazzuchelli & Jeff Jones and is quite good.  One thing I definitely did like was that, following the interview, a one page ad appeared for the interviewed writer’s (in this issue, David J. Schow) books.  Well laid out with informative information on each book, this is something I would really like to see continued.  The ads for IDW’s other books were also generally well done.  While I like the adaptations and certainly want them to continue, original stories would also be nice.  Here’s hoping we can have a good mix of both.  There’s a part of me that cringes at the price but, in reality, Warren was selling their books for $1.50 when regular four-color comics sold for 30 cents.  So in 1973 the cost of a Warren magazine was five times what the average comic cost.  The $7 price tag for this magazine is only double what the average 22 page {I don’t count ads} comic sells for today and you’re getting 60 pages of story & art, plus an interview.  This is a better buy for your dollar than either the Warren books were in the 1970s or new color comics are today.


    2. cover, frontis & back cover: Ashley Wood/alternate cover: Jeremy Geddes (Apr. 2006)

                1) Ms. Doomed Pin-Up [Ashley Wood] 1p

                2) Bagged [Chris Ryall/Ashely Wood] 15p   from the story by David J. Schow

                3) Crickets [Scott Tipton/Mike Hoffman] 15p   from the story by Richard Matheson

                4) Warm Farewell [Dan Taylor/Alex Sanchez] 15p   from the story by Robert Bloch

                5) Slasher [F. Paul Wilson/Tony Salmons] 15p   from the story by Wilson

                6) Outlawed Legacies: F. Paul Wilson Interview [Joshua Jubcuga & F. Paul Wilson] 7p   [text article]

                7) Ms. Doomed’s Farewell [Chris Ryall/Ashley Wood] 1p

                8) Next Issue Ad [Ashley Wood] 1p   [on inside back cover]


Notes: Four more adapted tales from the same four writers presented in #1.  Best artwork was from Mike Hoffman, although his backgrounds {or lack of them} left something to be desired at times.  Best stories were the adapted Matheson & Wilson stories although the Schow tale was decent enough.  Unfortunately the Bloch adaptation seemed a bit obvious although the art was nice.  All in all, a decent issue.


    3. cover & frontis: Ashley Wood/alternate cover: Jeremy Geddes (Sept. 2006)

                1) Ms. Doomed Introduction [Chris Ryall/Ashley Wood] 1p

                2) Fat Chance [Ted Adams/Ashley Wood] 15p   from the story by Robert Bloch

                3) The Book Vault: World War Z/Thunderstruck/Harbringers [Ted Adams] 2p   [text article]

                4) The Children Of Noah [Scott Tipton/Nat Jones] 15p   from the story by Richard Matheson

                5) DVD Late Show: Asylum/Shock-O-Rama/It Waits [Christopher Mills] 1p   [text article]

                6) Pelts [F. Paul Wilson/James A. Owen, Lon Saline, Mary McCray & J. Brundage Owen] 16p   from the story by


                7) Tales Of The Doomed: Circle Seven [Chris Ryall] 2p   [text story, inspired by Jeremy Geddes cover image]

                8) Visitation [Ivan Brandon/Andy MacDonald] 15p   from the story by David J. Schow

                9) Outlawed Legacies: Robert Bloch [Robert Bloch, Jack Ketchum & Joshua Jabcuga] 3p   [text article]

                10) Ms. Doomed’s Farewell [Chris Ryall/Ashley Wood] 1p

                11) Next Issue Ad [Ashley Wood] 1p   [on inside back cover]


    4. cover, frontis & back cover: Ashley Wood/alternate cover: Jeremy Geddes (Nov. 2006)

                1) Ms. Doomed’s Introduction [Chris Ryall/Ashley Wood] 1p

                2) Legion Of Plotters [Ted Adams/Ashley Wood] 15p   from the story by Richard Matheson

                3) The Book Vault: 20th Century Ghosts/Blood Lines/Heart-Shaped Box/Weed Species/Love Hurts & Other Stories

                                [Ted Adams] 2p   [text article]

                4) Faces [F. Paul Wilson/Rufus Dayglo] 16p   from the story by Wilson

                5) DVD Late Show: Frankenhooker/Slither/Silent Hill [Christopher Mills] 1p   [text article]

                6) Coming Soon To A Theater Near You [Kris Oprikso/T. Cypress] 15p   from the story by David J. Schow

                7) Tales Of The Doomed: Twenty Years On [Chris Ryall/Jeremy Geddes] 2p   [text story, Geddes art is reprinted in

                                B&W from the alternate cover]              

                8) Ego Trip [Joshua Jabcuga/Dario Bruzuela] 15p   from the story by Robert Bloch

                9) Outlawed Legacies: Richard Matheson [Stanley Wiater & Matthew R. Bradley] 1½p   [text article]

                10) Intrepid Bibliographier And The Richard Matheson Companion Associate Editor [Paul Stuve] 1½p   [text article]

                11) Ms. Doom’s Farewell [Chris Ryall/Ashley Wood] 1p


Notes: Final issue.  This series closed out much as it began, with decent adaptations and interesting non-fiction reviews & essays.  I liked ‘Legion Of Plotters’ best, both for story & art but all the stories were interesting and most well drawn.  The Wiater/Bradley article is to be the foreword to the upcoming The Richard Matheson Companion. 




                                                              A 2005 Interview With Chris Ryall!



RA: What is your background in comics?


CR: I’ve been around ‘em my entire life—I’m pretty sure the first thing I ever read in my life was Fantastic Four 130. I got taken to a comic con when I was 5 and left there with Joe Shuster’s autograph, not that I knew who he was until years later; I used to work for Dick Clark, and one of the companies we worked with was the now-defunct Stan Lee Media; I wrote about comics for a while for Web sites like Kevin Smith’s Movie Poop, where I’ve served as Editor-in-Chief since June ’02. And I’ve been the Editor-in-Chief at IDW for the past 16 months, adding Publisher to my title as well as of October 1.


RA: As the editor-in-chief of IDW Publishing, what could you tell us about the intent & future plans of the company?


CR: The intent is a humble one—to just produce quality graphic fiction, whether it be stories based on licensed properties or creator-owned projects. Our future plans include doing much more of that.


RA: What other horror books does IDW do? 


CR: All kinds of things—our first big horror title was 30 Days of Night, and in the past four years, we’ve done horror of the creator-owned variety as well as adaptations of things like Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, Land of the Dead, and videogame adaptations like Castlevania. And we’ve been trying to extend beyond just doing horror comics, in the form of running short prose stories in the backs of our comics, or doing little hardcover re-tellings of classic horror novels like Dracula and Frankenstein, and now Doomed.


RA: Where did the inspiration to publish Doomed as a B&W magazine rather than a regular 32 page comic come from?


CR: We intended it all along to be a revival/tribute to the old Warren publications of the past, so it was always designed to be a magazine, not a typical comic.


RA: Clearly, somebody at your company is an old Warren fan.  Is the cover layout and the female hostess a deliberate nod to that company?


CR: Absolutely. I’d say more than “somebody” is a fan, actually—pretty much all of us are, and we all grew up reading these magazines. So many great people got their first real break through these magazines.


RA: What kind of reprint magazine or book were you folks trying to do with the Warren stories?


CR: We’d considered doing some trade paperback collections of the stories, the same way we’ve collected things like Grimjack and Jon Sable, Freelance.


RA: Can you give us some background history on how the magazine moved from inspiration to published fact?


CR: The inspiration started with Ted Adams, our former Publisher (and current VP of Business Development) and artist Ashley Wood. They had been looking into the possibility of collecting some of the best of the old Warren stories, and when that didn’t quite pan out, Ashley Wood had the idea to just take the idea of doing an illustrated horror magazine and do it ourselves, paying homage to what’s come before.


From there, we kicked around various ideas, from soliciting new stories to trying to involve celebrated horror writers. It just made much more sense to adapt some of the great short horror stories by classic writers. It made sense not only from a commercial standpoint, but also because there’s just so much good material out there that many people have never read, and the idea of adapting these stories to comic format was really appealing to all of us.


So we started making a list of guys we really wanted to talk to—people who’ve been legends for years, like Richard Matheson and the late Robert Bloch, and some newer guys like F. Paul Wilson and David J. Schow. There were others we talked to, and the wish list is a long one, but these are the four we decided to go with for the first four issues.


RA: What determined the stories that you wanted to adapt?  What stories will we see in the future?  What's on your wish list?


CR: Like I say, it’s a long list. Beyond the four guys we’re currently working with, there are many others I’d eventually like to involve, if the project takes off. The key determinant in the stories we looked at were, basically, that they live up (or down) to the magazine’s title. There won’t be any happy endings in Doomed.


A particularly pleasing thing to come out of all of this, for me, is my discovery of Robert Bloch’s short fiction. I’ve read a little Bloch in the past, and most people know him as the writer of Psycho, but his short horror prose is stunning, and there’s so much of it. I’ve read a lot of Matheson, and read my share of Wilson and Schow as well, but Bloch was one I’d just never really explored to any great degree before. What a mistake that was! His writing is so strong, so direct, and it feels so timeless. The greatest thing that could come from this magazine would be if it got others to seek out his writings, or Matheson’s, or Wilson’s and Schow’s. The most I can say about Doomed is, if you at all enjoy the stories contained within it, then seek out more work by the original authors—you’re in for quite a treat.


As for others on the list, there are so many—Harlan Ellison, and Jack Ketchum are two I’ve spoken to before, and I’d love to tackle short stories by Stephen King (of course), and even guys like Dean Koontz, people who aren’t really so known for their short stories. So many others—Poppy Z. Brite is great. There’s no way I could list everyone; instead, I’ll just hope again that Doomed can last long enough to give me a chance to work with some of these people. 


RA: Will you begin doing original stories at some point as well as the adaptations?


CR: Right now, I’m much more interested in adapting these great existing stories.


RA: Who created Ms. Doomed?  I'd better be upfront here and let you know that I found her intro & outro anti-men speeches a good deal creepier {and not necessarily in a good way} than some of the stories adapted.


CR: That’d be Ashley Wood, who designed her look, and gave me a few ideas about her backstory. Her words themselves came from me, so if her intro/outro was creepy in a bad way, I’m probably to blame. Although I’d ask that you explain that just a bit more…


RA: Why is Ms. Doomed such a man-hater?  Are you folks planning a full-length story examining her background?


CR: Well, we did that, I think, with her first bit of dialogue.  Explained why she hates men so.  Men have always let her down, and when she lost her eye because of a man, well, that was the proverbial straw that broke this vengeful camel’s back.  We just thought it’d be more fun to have the angry, contemptuous host rather than a jovial, welcoming type.


RA: What info can you give us about your artists?  Whose art will be appearing in future issues?


CR: Ash Wood will adapt a story in every issue, and the second one will also include stories by Mike Hoffman and Tony Salmons, among others. Beyond those names, there are many people I’ve spoken to who’ve expressed interest, it’s just a matter of finding the right material for them. I’d love to involve people who worked on the old Warren publications. You asked about my wish list—tops of my artistic wish list would be Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta (a wish, like I said) and Richard Corben (who I’ve worked with in the past and talked to about this, but his schedule was a bit full).


RA: Are you striving for a more psychological type of story or would the occasional monster story be considered?  Is anything in horror fair game for this title?


CR: I’m staying away from Lovecraftian monster stories in Doomed, for now, but anything else is fair game.


RA: Both Skywald (publisher from 1970-1975) & Warren (publisher from 1965-1983) had distinct publishing approaches.  Skywald had the 'Horror-Mood' which was characterized by a feverish, almost hysterical, type of storytelling, inspired largely by the works of H. P. Lovecraft & Edgar Allan Poe.  Warren started out as a bit of "What EC would have been if they continued into the 1960s" crossed with the Hammer & Universal monster movies, which gradually evolved into a much more general and wide ranging outlook on horror.   Do you have any special approach or intent as to the type or style of horror that you'll be publishing?


CR: Nothing so grandiose, I’m afraid. Like I say, I want stories that have a “doomed” theme, that’s about it.


RA: How frequently do you hope to publish the magazine?


CR: We’d hoped for bi-weekly, then quarterly, and now the second issue is due in April ’06. Which is a couple months past quarterly. But all things willing, we’ll go quarterly in ’06. We could definitely use a boost, though, if the magazine is to continue. It’s a tough marketplace right now, if you’re not doing superhero comics. We definitely want to do different and interesting things like Doomed, and just hope the market will encourage such things.


RA: Any final words?


CR: Just that fans of horror prose, or comic books, or just fun, grim, tales of woe, would all enjoy Doomed. Hope people give it a look. And if not Doomed, like I say, go read the original tales by these great horror writers. Don’t wait as long as I did to discover Robert Bloch!


RA: Thank you, Chris Ryall!







                                                An 2005 Interview With Web Of Horror’s Terry Bisson!


RA: Can you give us a little of your background and how you first encountered comics?


TB: I was born during WWII and grew up in postwar Kentucky.  The suburbs, not the hills.  I first encountered comics through Captain Marvel.  I mourned when the shazam went away, and never had the same affection for Superman.  I remember the old ECs and their demise.  I never cared for Marvel or DC superhero comics. 


RA: How did you come to write stories for Warren? 


TB: I wanted to be a famous writer, a la Jack Kerouac.  Didn’t work out but I got a job in the pulps, and worked for True Experience and other romance mags.  My friend, Clark Dimond, was more into the comics world and turned me onto the Warren line.  He was writing for them, and we collaborated on a few stories which we sold to Creepy and Eerie.  These were in fact my first professional sales.  I think we split ten bucks a page.  Our plot conferences were along the lines of, “Does he turn out to be a vampire or a werewolf?”  I never met any of the staff although Clark was friends with Archie Goodwin.  I met Goodwin years later, briefly.


RA: How did you become the editor of Web Of Horror? 


TB: Web Of Horror was put out by the same company, Candar, that published the humour mag Cracked, although I never worked on Cracked.  They had an office on Long Island.  Cracked was the flagship.  The whole company was about lowball imitations.  The publisher, Robert Sproul, wanted to put out some imitations of western, romance and astrology mags, and I was hired (at about age 27) to put them together because of my romance mag experience.  Nothing to do with comics!  The pseudomags did pretty well (this was a very low end market) and Bob wanted to expand.  I suggested we do a Warren style comic magazine. 


RA: Many of your artists & writers either already were or would become the ‘Young Turks’ that set the comic world on its ear in the early 1970s.  How did you find those contributors? 


TB: Clark Dimond helped me figure out who to contact.  I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t remember how I got in touch with Mike Kaluta, Bernie Wrightson, Ralph Reese and the others.  I do remember being aware that they were, or soon would be, stars.  We also tapped a few old hacks.  The great thing about being an editor, of even a small commercial mag, is that you have money.  You can pay!


RA: What can you tell us about your publisher, Robert Sproul?


TB: I loved Bob Sproul!  He was a very easy-going guy who gave his staff their heads.  A shirt sleeve publisher.  The production and art people really ran the place (about 6 in all).  Come to think of it, I MAY have been listed as editor of Cracked at one point but the mag really put itself together.  A solid stable of hacks.  I knew or cared nothing about it.  I felt bad about leaving Sproul in the lurch, but he contacted me a few years ago.  He’s living on a sailboat in the Caribbean, and he thanked me for inspiring him to get out of the rat race.  So go figure.


RA: Who created your horror host, Webster the Spider?


TB: I thought of the Webster and I think Berni drew it. 


RA: Do you remember who (if anyone) actually would have won the artist tryout contest from issues #1-3?


TB: The contest was never a real thing. 


RA: Why did you leave Web?


TB: Honey, do you have to ask?  It was ’69 and the world was cracking open like an egg.  Clark and I both ran off to join the Southwestern communes.  I gave my notice and walked away.  I left a lot of artists and writers high and dry and I regret that sincerely.


RA: What can you tell us about the magazine’s end?


TB: Nothing at all.


RA: In the comics field, who did you follow?  Do you keep up with the field?


TB: Like I said I never liked the superhero stuff, and I was equally uninterested in the later classier Sandman type stuff.  Wonder Warthog and the Furry Freak Brothers, yes.  I was a hippie through and through (still am).  I still loved writing for comics, but nobody wanted short one-shots.  I took what work I could get.  I adapted Neuromancer for Byron Priess but it never came out.  I also did the first two Zelazny “Amber” novels for DC (six volumes).  That too was a disappointment as it never got much distribution.  I adapted a Joel Rosenberg novel for a HaperCollins ‘illustrated novel’ line that was stillborn.  Did Henry V and Pride And Prejudice for a reanimation of Classics Illustrated, but it never go off the table.  I love adapting for the comics, but may be the kiss of death.


RA: I know you’ve won plenty of awards for writing, particularly in the science fiction field, can you tell us about your post comic career?


TB: After the standard hippie adventures I came back to NY in ’78 or so.  I did a Moorcock imitation fantasy for Pocket Books, and then started writing my own.  I won most of my awards for short stories, all SF.  I do OK but I’m not a major player.


RA: Who are your favorite writers?


TB: Charles Portis, Marie Sandoz and Cecelia Holland.  My major influence in the science fiction field is R. A. Lafferty, America’s still-undiscovered marquez.


RA: Thank you, Mr. Bisson!




                                                                A 2006 Interview with Trina Robbins!


RA: Thanks for agreeing to the interview.  Let’s see, the first work of yours that I noticed was your efforts in the underground comix of the early 1970s.  How did you get started there?


TR: I had read comics as a kid, but stopped when I got into high school, because my mother told me that comics were kid stuff and I was a teenager now.  So being an obedient daughter, I gave away my comics collection (worth thousands today of course!  Thanks, Mom!) to the neighborhood kids.  But I got back into comics with the Marvel renaissance of the mid-60s, when us hippies and college students were reading Doctor Strange and going, “Wow, man, psychedelic!”  Actually, all along I’d been drawing stuff in pencil and ink on plain paper, and suddenly realized that what I’d been drawing was proto-comics.  However, superheroes just weren’t me.  Then one day somebody showed me a copy of the early underground paper coming out of New York, the East Village Other (EVO) and there were comics in it!  But they weren’t traditional superhero comics, they were psychedelic, designy things that didn’t necessarily have storylines, and I realized that this was what I wanted to do.  Shortly after that, I moved back to New York (I’d been living in L.A.) and visited the EVO offices where a friend of mine just happened to be managing editor.  Through him I met the editor and publisher and before I knew it, I was drawing comics for them.


RA: What was the best & the worst of the underground comix experience?


TR: My worst experience in the undergrounds was that the guys (and it was all guys) didn’t accept me and shut me out.  One of my best experiences, early on, was when I met Phil Seuling, and he told me that he hated undergrounds.  But then when he learned that I was the artist behind ‘Panthea’, which was running in Gothic Blimp Works, a comic tabloid published by EVO, he said that Panthea was the only underground that he DID like, and he invited me to be on the underground comix panel at the 2nd Seuling con.  Which was great, because the guy who was putting the panel together had NOT invited me to be on it.  Now he had no choice!  In general, back in those early days when I was getting no help or support from the boys club, all the people who sent me letters telling me how much they liked my comics provided me with a best experience.


RA: When you were starting out, who were your inspirations in comics?


TR: I adored Wally Wood (and still do).  I loved Matt Baker, and had read all the Timely teen comics, which by the time I started out had all ceased publication.


RA: How about outside comics?


TR: I’d been a big science fiction fan since the age of 13—loved Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Ted Sturgeon, Anthony Burgess, etc.


RA: I know you’re probably sick of this question, but could you tell us one more time about how you designed Vampirella’s initial appearance?


TR: Ooooooh Kay.  It was 1969 (I think) and somebody told me that Jim Warren, publisher of Creepy and Eerie, was gonna publish a magazine centering on women.  I met him (he was a very nice guy and still is) and he invited me to try drawing a story.  I was a dismal flop at that, just not good enough at the time, but there I was, sitting at his desk, when he got a phone call from Frank Frazetta, who needed to discuss what Vampirella would wear.  Jim tried to describe it over the phone, and while he was talking, I sketched out the costume on a piece of paper,  showed it to him, and he said to Frank “There’s a young lady here who just drew exactly what I have in mind.”  Then he put me on the phone to Frazetta, and I described the costume to him.  And that’s how it happened!


Ra: You did just one story for Star*Reach—‘Drug Fiends Of The Martian Moons’, which you wrote and penciled and which Steve Leialoha inked.  Artistically you seemed to be a rather charming match of talents but I don’t recall seeing any other comic collaborations by the two of you.  Am I missing something?


TR: No, we didn’t.  Although we did kinda collaborate a little bit on a She-Hulk story by Peter David, back in the 1980s (at least, I THINK it was the 80s).


RA: You did a series of adaptations of some unlikely novels and stories, including Sax Rohmer’s ‘Dope’, Elizabeth A. Lynn’s ‘The Woman Who Loved The Moon’ and a Russian novel entitled ‘Red Love’.  Why did you select those stories, which, on the surface at least, don’t look like regular comic fare?  Do you have plans to do any more?


TR: No plans to do more, because I don’t draw anymore.  I decided to adapt ‘Red Love’ and ‘Dope’ because I’d read both books and they were so interesting and so obscure.  I thought they’d make great comics, and Dean Mullaney and Deni Loubert respectively gave me the opportunity to do them.  As for ‘The Woman Who Loved The Moon’, Lizzie Lynn, bless her heart, asked me if I’d like to adapt something of hers into a comic, and she sent me that story.  I read it immediately, and after I stopped crying, I phoned her and said I’d love to!


RA: You’ve written a number of comic history volumes, mostly dealing comics’ female creators.  Are there any more planned or in the works?


TR: Well, it’s kind of frustrating to me that they’re all out of print.  I’d like to get an academic publisher to reprint my Great Women Cartoonists and keep it in print.  I say an academic publisher, because they usually do keep books in print longer.


RA: You’ve covered an extremely wide range of comic projects, from the adult work that appeared in the underground press to the kid friendly world of the California Girls and Go Girl.  Do you experience any difficulty changing gears when you approach projects like this?


TR: Kid friendly—or really, GIRL friendly, is what I want to do.  There were no gears to change, because by the time I was writing girl friendly comics I didn’t want to do underground anymore.  Since July, I’ve been writing a series of graphic novels for two different publishing branches of the same company—Harcourt Achieve and Capstone/Stone Arch.  All aimed at kids.  Most of them about girls and women, educational comics intended for the classroom, but some of them to be sold in bookstores.  I’ve done biographies of Elizabeth Blackwell, who was the first woman doctor, Sarah Winnemucca, a 19th century Indian activist, Bessie Coleman, the first black woman pilot, Florence Nightingale, Nathan Hale, Simon Bolivar, Hedy Lamarr (!!!!), who was not only an actress but an inventor, plus a story about a Colonial girl who runs away from home and winds up sailing with Anne Bonny and Mary Reade, and a story about a 14 year old slave girl who escapes via the underground railroad.  The last two and the Hedy Lamarr are my favorites.  Some of the art is being done (gorgeously!) by Cynthia Martin and Anne Timmons.  I absolutely love writing them, and can’t wait to see them in print.


RA: I’m looking forward to reading them.  You seemed to have retired from drawing about 10 years ago.  What prompted this?


TR: I hate to bring you down, but the truth is, I was treated too badly for too long by an industry that didn’t want me and shut me out, both mainstream and the underground.  I’m treated much better in the book publishing world, where people are actually nice to me.  I absolutely LOVE the act of writing and I couldn’t be happier than I am now.  I’ve no plans at all to resume drawing.


RA: That’s a damn shame.  I really love your artwork.  I’ve always admired the way, much like Alex Toth, you seemed to know exactly where to put lines on a page to the panel, the page and the story’s best advantage.  It also looks great in color!  ‘The Woman Who Loved The Moon’ looks absolutely fantastic!


TR: Thank you for your kind words.  Too bad you weren’t an editor or publisher in the late 1980s—maybe I’d still be drawing.


RA: What can you tell us about the background history and future plans for Go Girl?


TR: Anne Timmons and I are working on the next issue at this very moment!  It will be thick—184 pages—and it will be out in time for this year’s San Diego Comicon.  I’m very happy with my stories and I think the art is Anne’s best work yet.


RA: Is there anybody in the comic world today that you really enjoy following?


TR: Sorry to tell you, but I don’t read many comics anymore.  I HAVE been reading Fables, and I like it immensely, not just because Steve is inking it, but because Bill Willingham’s writing is clever and innovative, and Bucky’s art (Mark Buckingham) is great.  I’ve also been reading quite a bit of shojo manga, which I really love—no superheroes, just girl heroes, pretty art, cute clothes, no giant boobs.


RA: Any final words?


TR: Can’t think of any?  Thanks for thinking of me.


RA: Well, thank you for sharing.  It’s much appreciated.  Trina Robbins, folks!







                                                A 2005 Interview With Eclipse Publisher Dean Mullaney!


RA: Welcome!  Can you give us a brief look at your background?


DM: Born 6/18/54 in Staten Island, NY.  A nice long-haired, lefty Jewish boy from New York.  My mother was an inveterate, one-book-a-day reader; father a professional musician, arranger and composer.  I studied accordion from age 5, switched to viola in Junior High, used my Bar Mitzvah money to buy a Fender Bassman and hollow-body bass guitar, and finally switched to classical guitar in 1972, studying with the renowned Alexander Bellow.  (Paul Simon had his lessons right before mine).  Double major at N.Y.U.: accounting and filmmaking with a minor in sociology (specifically, influence of mass media on children).  Worked as an accountant on Wall St. for four years, married 1975, divorced 1977.  I started Eclipse in 1977.  My then-wife, Sue Pollina, came up with the name.  Mark Gruenwald designed the initial logo which only appeared on stationery.  Started Alternity Enterprises with Mark around the same time.  I met and moved in with cat yronwode in 1983, married her in 1986, divorced in 1994, and am currently married to Jane Kingsbury, my best friend since Junior High, and own two graphic design businesses in Key West.


My biggest influences include Willie Mays, Lenny Bruce, Jimi Hendrix, FDR, Raymond Chandler, Milton Caniff and Will Eisner.  Favorite comic writers include Caniff, Eisner, Chester Gould, Steve Ditko/Stan Lee, Jack Kirby/Stan Lee, Elzie Segar, Roy Thomas, Don McGregor, Steve Englehart, Doug Moench & Alan Moore, among others.  My favorite comic artists include Caniff, Eisner, Ditko, Kirby, Alex Toth, Gene Colan, John Buscema, Neal Adams and P. Craig Russell, among others.


Nowadays I read whatever comics people send me, plus I buy old strip reprints and Michael Chabon’s The Escapist title.  His novel “Kavalier & Clay” and Gold’s “Carter The Great” are two of my favorite books in recent years.


RA: When and how did you become involved in comics?


DM: I never stopped reading comics from when I was a kid.  My grandparents owned a corner candy store, so comics were easy to come by (FREE!) when I was very young.  My early favorites were Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, JLA, Zorro, the Legion of Superheroes, the pre-superhero Marvels and Dick Tracy.  I got bored with DC (except for GL, Flash & the JLA) before I was ten, and became a Marvel fanatic.  My favorite Marvel comics of all time are Spidey 19 and 33, FF 36-43, Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, Colan’s Daredevil, among MANY others.


RA: You appeared in a number of Marvel letter columns in the mid-1970s.  Did you participate in the fannish community?


DM: I attended the first comicon in 1970.  Met tons of future friends at cons: Mark Gruenwald, Mark Gasper, Peter Sanderson, Peter Gillis, Frank Lovece, Meloney Crawford (Chadwick), et al.  Plus, I was also meeting writers and artists whose work I admired.  I started letterhacking and by the time I stopped, I had more letters in Marvel’s letters pages than anyone ever had at the time.  In the mid-70s, I began writing to those who had the most letters printed, in order to start a fanzine.  Woweekazowie!” was the result, with work by me, Willie Blyberg, Kim Thompson (who was living in France with his parents at the time), Mary Jo Duffy, Jack Frost, Bob (now Rob) Rodi, Jana Hollingsworth, and many others.  I met Mark Gruenwald (who was still living in Oshkosh) at a Seuling Con and we became fast friends.  After he moved to NY, we ended up roommates.  We eventually formed Alternity Enterprises to publish the alternate realitites fanzine “Omniverse.”


RA: What prompted you to make the jump to comic publisher?


DM: I, like many fans, became disgusted with how Marvel was treating its creative talent.  One night in 1977, at Don McGregor’s loft on the Bowery, I noticed a penciled drawing of (what I thought was) Jimi Hendrix on the wall.  Don explained that it was a new character he was working on with Paul Gulacy.  By the time the night was over, Eclipse was conceived with the idea that not only would he and Paul be given creative freedom, but that we would emulate the high-quality paper format of the Ed Aprill strip reprints.  At the time, all comics were printed on crappy newsprint using plastic plates.  Our concept was to use metal plates, print on 100 lb. vellum, and sell it as a book.  We called it a “graphic album,” and it became the first graphic novel published for the comic’s specialty market.


RA: Sabre came out in 1978.  Were you aware that McGregor had previously used the character in a couple of the Killraven strips over at Marvel?  There he was a dark-skinned Hispanic but his name, weaponry and general appearance was basically the same.


DM: I don’t recall the Sabre character in Killraven.  As I said however, Sabre was already conceived when I came aboard.


RA: What can you tell us about starting up Eclipse?


DM: I started Eclipse with whatever minimal publishing knowledge I gained publishing fanzines.  The goals of Eclipse were threefold: allow creators to own their own material, to publish work I liked and thought other fans would like, and to publish in a high-quality format.  My brother Jan and I formed the company.  Jan’s band was touring with Bad Company at the time, so he had a little money and he asked me how much money it would cost to get it started.  I said “$2,000” and that’s what he put up.  Although it wasn’t much money, I thought, using my accounting background, that we could get by.  I had agreed to pay Don, Paul and Annette Kawecki their going Marvel rates.  No one was asked to work on the cheap.  So, as my friend Chuck Dixon likes to say about me, I used guerrilla marketing techniques from the start.  I wrote individual solicitation letters to fans whose names appeared in letters pages, and to individual store owners who advertised in RBCC, The Comic Reader, Alan Light’s The Comic-Buyer’s Guide, etc.  I brazenly asked them all to pay in advance for the orders.  This money helped fund the project.  Today, you need an investment banker; back then all we needed were fans starved for something good, and storeowners willing to pay up front in order to get new comics to sell.  I also published a Sabre poster in December 1977, partially to appease people for the delay in the graphic album, but also to generate more working capital.


Then I went over the bridge to Brooklyn to talk with the Big Man himself—Phil Seuling, the only distributor to the comics market at the time.  Phil put his reaction to my pitch on paper and handed it to me: a cartoon of Phil’s head, hair standing straight up, saying “$5.00 for a comic book!!!!”


Despite his bombastic outward appearance, Phil was one of the nicest people I ever met in comics.  He was also one of the most encouraging to young publishers (I was 23 at the time).  He agreed to take 200 copies and sent a solicitation out to his stores.  A short time later, I got a call from Phil telling me to get over to his office.  I thought he wanted his money back, but as it turned out, the reaction to his solicitation was so good that he wanted to double his order.  Before Sabre saw print, Phil had upped his order several more times, and based on the strength of his continuing orders, we went into a second printing!


Here’s a bit of trivia: Craig Russell inked four pages of the graphic album.  I think I noted which ones in the 10th anniversity edition with the Steranko logo.  Also, when we reprinted the original story as the first two issue of the color comic, some art had to be created to fill in blank spots due to the reformatted size.  The fill-in art was done by a young George Pratt.


RA: You then published a number of graphic novellas, all with page runs of 48 pages or so.  One was from Craig Russell, one from the team of Don McGregor & Marshall Rogers and a third from Jim Starlin.  All of them were quite different in their approach.  Starlin’s was science fantasy.  Russell’s was science fiction and dream images.  The McGregor/Rogers story was a detective tale.  All three were quite fresh approaches at the time.  Was that specific genre approach, even though they were uncommon genres for comics (at least in 1978-1980) intentional or a lucky accident?


DM: Eclipse’s second publication was not any of those listed above, but ‘The Best Of Hembeck’, a collection of Fred’s strips from The Comic-Buyer’s Guide.  While I don’t have a copy anymore, I think it was the first Eclipse publication to carry the Eclipse logo designed by Tom Orzechowski that we used from then on.  It’s a great collection that I urge everyone to scare up if they can.


As far as the genre approach goes, you give me more credit than I deserve.  I wasn’t thinking about genres, although at the time I couldn’t get my hands on enough sf, fantasy and detective books to read.  My approach to Eclipse’s publication list was very simple: call up a writer or artist whose work I admired and ask if they had a pet project.  Craig chose Night Music, Jim and Don theirs, and Steve Gerber had Stewart The Rat.  My other publishing “philosophy”, if you want to call it that, was that the money I made on Sabre went to fund the next project.  Then the combined sales of those two books would fund two additional books, and on and on.  All the money went back into the company (something that didn’t change much at all in the 17 year of Eclipse).


Craig’s Night Music, plus his continuing opuses I published over the years, are among the true highlights of Eclipse.  If Craig called me today to say he had a new story he wanted to publish, I’d mortgage my house just to do it.  I love him and his work that much.


Stewart The Rat was, as has been well documented, Steve’s comment on certain people at Marvel and the way they treated him.  The original artist was Tom Sutton (I still have full-sized photocopies of Tom’s first ten pages), but Steve and I then decided on Gene Colan.  We were fortunate enough to interest Tom Palmer in inking it.  While it’s not Steve’s best work, the art still holds up beautifully, in my opinion.


As the company evolved, I wanted to try out an equation whereby we’d offer a lower cover price to see if the orders would increase sufficiently to keep a good profit margin.  I thought this would be a way to increase our fan base.  I tried this on Jim Starlin’s The Price and it succeeded.


RA: Detectives, Inc., in particular, had an unusually strong sexual approach (for the times), dealing with lesbianism.  Do you know if it was the first mainstream comics treatment of that topic? 


DM: I don’t know if Detectives, Inc. was the first “mainstream” book to deal with lesbianism.  I don’t even know if it was “mainstream”.  I think we called our books “ground level” at the time, to differentiate us from underground and overground comics.  It’s a delineation that thankfully did not catch on (!).  I thought Don’s story was incredibly strong (still do); whether dealing with the young boys at the beginning of the book, or the theme of losing a lover, the story has all the warmth of emotion and pathos that Don does better than anyone else.  The story is not about sex, anymore that Sabre is about sex, although each book contains a sex scene.  Rather, the stories are about love and how it drives each of us to attempt great heights or to desperate measures, depending on the circumstances.


We were also very fortunate to interest Marshall in drawing the book.  I spent countless days and nights with Marshall and can personally attest to the incredible amount of talent and energy he put into the art.  He and Steve Englehart were hot at the time, just having completed their Batman cycle in Detective Comics.  Marshall could have had his pick of anything.


RA: Eclipse Magazine seemed to be a direct descendent of Mike Friedrich’s Star*Reach prozines of the 1970s.  Was that deliberate?  How did the magazine come about?


DM: Eclipse Magazine was not a deliberate descendent of Star*Reach.  I was (and am) a great fan of Star*Reach and believe that everyone in comics today owes Mike a debt.  He was a true pioneer.  While there were other great mags, such as witzend, Mike was the first to start an entire publishing company based on the principles of creator rights and freedoms.  (You can call Star*Reach a “prozine”—I haven’t heard THAT in a while.  It belongs in the same dustbin of other dumb, interim names for what we were all trying to do such as “ground level” mentioned above.)


The only real similarity between Star*Reach and Eclipse Magazine was that both Mike and I have eclectic tastes.  You should see my iPod: songs by Hendrix, Blossom Dearie, Woody Guthrie, Hoagy Carmichael, Adam Clayton Powell, Sarah Vaughan, Al Dexter, Bix Beiderbecke, Mahalia Jackson, Chet Baker, Flaco Jimenez, and Mel Torme, among thousands of others.


In trying to find a printer for Eclipse Magazine, I called Mike Friedrich and Denis Kitchen to get some recommendations on printers.  They both gave me suggestions.  I used Port Publications, where Denis had his work done, but was unhappy with their print job on #2, so called my friend Deni Loubert, who got me in touch with her printer in Windsor, Ontario.  They printed #3-8.  There was such a collegiality among all of us at the time.  We didn’t consider each other competitors. We were all on our own individualistic mission to make good comics.


By the way, if you look at the early issues, you’ll note that my old pal Rich Bruning worked with me as art director.  Rich is an incredible designer and we had a lot of fun putting that first issue together.


RA: Was the Steve Englehart/Marshall Rogers story, ‘Coyote’, originally intended as a stand-alone graphic novella? 


DM: No.  As far as I recall, it was planned as a serial, with the advance knowledge that it would be collected.


RA: Eclipse Magazine launched several good 1980s series, such as Ms. Tree, The Masked Man and Coyote and debuted Don McGregor & Gene Colon’s excellent ‘Ragamuffins’.  Did Max Allan Collins do any comics work before Ms. Tree’s debut in Eclipse Magazine #1?


DM: Max and Terry Beatty did ‘Mike Mist Minute Mist-eries’ which Alan Light ran in The Comic-Buyer’s Guide.  I collected the one-pagers as a B&W comic-book sized collection.  I still keep a copy in the bathroom at my design fire.  It’s GREAT bathroom reading: just enough time to try to figure out who did it!  And, of course, Max was writing the Dick Tracy newspaper strip at the time, with art by Dick Locher.


Ms. Tree is a great series.  Max and Terry put their hearts into that series, and I’m very proud to have published it.


RA: How did ‘Ragamuffins’ come about?


DM: ‘Ragamuffins’ remains my favorite of everything I ever published.  The art from the cover is the only piece of comic book art that I own.  It has hung on my bedroom wall (where I see it every night before going to sleep) since Tom Palmer so graciously gave it to me.  These stories, along with the slice-of-life ones in Eclipse Magazine, are Don at his best.  Gene was also at the height of his artistic maturity.  No one had reproduced pencils like this before.  I was inventing a way to do it, and believe it got better with each installment, culminating in the method I came up with for the color version, which still has not been duplicated.  When Don and Gene did ‘Nathaniel Dusk’ at DC, they asked me to advise on the production.  I gave them a step-by-step of how it was done, but Risk still didn’t print as well as on Ragamuffins.  Maybe DC was too “proud” to take my advice.


BC Boyer came to us with The Masked Man as an unsolicited submission.  His work had an incredible amount of energy, and he’s one of the sweetest and enthusiastic and genuine people I’d ever met.  This is the advantage of an anthology magazine—we could give him a try-out in Eclipse Magazine, whereas we could not afford to risk giving him his own title out of the box.  BC (Bruce) had his own janitorial business and when we asked him where his art talent came from, he told us that his father, Charles Boyer (not the actor), was the head artist at Disneyland, drawing and overseeing most of the art in the park.  His father also drew the famous “self-portrait” of Walt Disney that was a parody of a Norman Rockwell painting.


RA: You published the first mainstream appearance of Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor strips outside of his own underground magazine.  How did that association come about?


DM: I love Harvey’s work.  He was not making any money publishing American Splendor, and just wanted to get some money to keep his artists going.  I was thrilled to publish his stories and I paid his artists the same rate I paid everyone else.  I got great stuff for my magazine, and was able to help support Harvey’s efforts.  You can’t get better than that!


RA: In its short run, Eclipse Magazine ran quite a lot of different stories, from the slice of life tales of Pekar & McGregor, to the quasi-superhero material of Englehart/Rogers to literary adaptations like Trina Robbins’ ‘Dope’ to mysteries to underground material by the likes of Hunt Emerson, Howard Cruse & Larry Rippee.  It was an approach to an anthology that I quite like.  Most comic anthologies focus on a single genre—horror, mostly.  Yet a magazine where you never quite know what the next story’s going to be about seems a much more logical and interesting approach.  Why don’t more comic anthologies take that approach?


DM: Ask anyone in publishing why they don’t take the eclectic approach to anthologies and they’ll all tell you the same thing: bad sales.  Most readers want something predictable, something pigeonholed.  But that shouldn’t be the entire reason for publishing.  Eclipse Magazine sold well; not great, but well enough. 


I still enjoy what appeared in Eclipse by Englehart, Rogers, Starlin, et al, and I wanted to introduce our readers to the work of Larry Rippee, Hunt Emerson (one of the most underappreciated cartoonists of our time), Howard Cruse, and others.  Everyone got paid the same, whether they were big stars or not.  I guess it was the lefty in me, wanting to create a magazine where everyone was equal.  Some of the artists, such as Kaz, came to me from Art Spiegleman.  Whenever Art had an artist whose work he liked but that he couldn’t fit in RAW, he’d give me a call and I’d find a couple of pages.  There were friends like Peter Kuper, who were trying survive while starting their own comics.  I would give them a little work because I liked their art and wanted to get them some money.  And then there were people like Kent Williams and George Pratt.  These two young guys came up to Marshall Rogers and me at a store appearance and showed us some artwork.  We were both impressed with their potential.  This is another advantage of an anthology: it’s a place for new artists, a place they can get exposure and have a published story to show around.  I printed a one-pager by Kent & George, and then gave them some spot art to do later.  Not long thereafter, they each made it big.


Editing Eclipse Magazine was a challenge, but one with great rewards.  I had a very distinct balance of stories I wanted to include: serials, slice-of-life, experimental, artistic…all while delicately managing the pace with longer stories followed by short ones or one-pagers.  It was an incredible amount of work, but well, well worth it.


RA: What was Jan Mullaney’s role in the company?


Jan provided the initial funding, but pretty much stayed out of it until Eclipse got so big that I couldn’t handle the financial end of it any more.  Jan took over running the business so I could concentrate on publishing and editing.


RA: Did cat yronwode have a role in the early days of your company?


DM: Not in the early days, but she was intimately involved starting around 1983.


RA: The Paul Gulacy cover that appeared on #2 also graced a European cover of Creepy.  Do you happen to know which came first?


DM: I didn’t even know it was printed elsewhere.  Paul must have sold it to Europe later.  Again, one of the great advantages of creative ownership.


RA: Why weren’t the Scorpio Rose & Foozle series ever completed? 


DM: Personality conflicts between some of the participants.  I’ll leave it at that.  If Steve or Marshall want to talk about it, you should ask them.


What was Sundancer, a series you announced as come from the Englehart/Rogers team, which never appeared, supposed to be about?


DM: Same as above.


RA: After 8 issues, you transformed Eclipse Magazine into a 32 page color anthology.  At the time, that quite disappointed me, as I suspected that a color book wouldn’t last long and that the diversity of the B&W magazine would vanish without the pages to support it, both of which basically came true.  What prompted your fullscale move to color books in 1982?  Why couldn’t Eclipse Magazine been retained as a flagship/advertising/house organ & preview venue for your color series? 


DM: Unlike in later years when I could publish something I loved and lose $25,000 on it, at this early point in Eclipse’s history, survival and growth were more of a factor.


However the main reason was that the color comics simply sold better.  When we sold 85,000-100,000 copies of Destroyer Duck, it scared the crap out of Marvel and DC.  They had so much influence at World Color Press that they immediately found out what we sold.  The sales figures on Destroyer Duck convinced me that a tiny company can make a big dent in the field.  I recall that when we published the first color issue of Thrilling Detective Adventures with Ms. Tree, World Color Press inadvertently sent me the print order not just for OUR books, but for everything shipping that week.  When I saw that Ms. Tree outsold Detective Comics and Wonder Woman, I knew we were on the right track.


Artistically, there were also series I wanted to try out in color to see if they could make the jump to their own titles.


RA: Unlike many comic companies, Eclipse the company’s initial success seemed to be based more on anthologies than on single hero books.  In fact, most of your single hero books had backup stories that had no relationship to the lead story.  Do you have any theories a to why you succeeded in the early 1980s when many publishers lasted only a year or two.?


DM: I think Eclipse succeeded because we were willing to work 14-18 hours, 7 days a week, and had a realistic understanding of finances.  Most small publishers have no clue as to how to run a business.  I figured out that you could run it as a business and still treat creative people with artistic and financial respect.  Plus, as the company got larger, I think both cat and I each had (and hopefully still have) a great instinct for what’s good and how to sell it.  To give you an example from the trading card “division”: the ‘Saving & Loan Scandal’ trading cards were not (as you can imagine) a big seller in the comics shops.  But, comics shop sales gave us a base print order.  We advertised in the National Mortgage News and other thrift publications, and sold a shitload of sets to bankers, a hundred sets a pop.  We’d get a call from a bank asking if their institution was in the set.  When we said no, they’d say, “Great.  Give me 50.  We want to send them as gifts to our customers so they’ll know we’re not the bad guys.”  Again, it’s a matter of figuring out multiple markets and putting them all together to get decent numbers.


RA: What did cause the collapse of Eclipse in 1994?


DM: I’ve never really told anyone why Eclipse folded.  It had nothing to do with cat and I getting divorced.  First of all, the comics specialty market was in the toilet.  Like every other publisher, we were scrambling to sell enough comics to keep things going.  We didn’t have the luxury of losing $150 million a year like one of competitors did.  We were a small, family-run business.  So things were incredibly tight.  Eclipse didn’t have bankable continuing monthly series.  We often published a wide variety of one-shots, mini-series and graphic novels because we liked them.  Comic shops were closing and the remaining shops, for the most part, drastically cut orders on anything not from Marvel or DC.


We saw the comics specialty market alone was not a receptive place for our company’s survival, let alone expansion.  My dream, from 1978 when I published Sabre, was to get graphic novels in mainstream bookstores.  As the direct market became overcome with greed and milking readers by focusing on comics as investment, multiple covers, etc., I saw the future in the bookstores.  We had great success with Ballantine on The Hobbit (75,000 copies in the first half year, not counting the comics shops where we sold 25,000 copies of the collection and over 100,000 each of the three $4.95 issues), and so when the opportunity arose to have a co-publishing deal with one of the world’s largest publishers, I had to go for it.  We entered into a co-publishing deal with HarperCollins.  Harper published Clive Barker and didn’t want us taking his graphic novels to a competitor.  Harper had also bought Unwyn-Hyman, publishers of Tolkien’s work in every country but the US, and again didn’t want a competitor to have the graphic novel.  They also realized that we could get the graphic novel rights to books published by other houses and bring them to Harper (this was before graphic novel rights were on the mind of mainstream publishers).


It was an exclusive deal both ways.  In the beginning, it was a fantastic relationship.  We did all the production and were invited to give presentations at all their sales meetings in the US and UK.  They made fantastic floor and counter displays for bookstores.  When they released The Hobbit graphic novel, they sold more copies in the UK alone than Ballantine did in all the US!  The problems started when we asked for sales figures on the other books (Miracleman, Clive Barker’s titles, Dragonflight, Dean Koontz’s Trapped, etc.).  We never—EVER—received a single sales statement.  Therefore, no royalty statements.  So there I was, paying advances to creators (bigger than the top rates in the field at the time—hey, we were going to be in bookstores, too!), tying up all my capital.  And then nothing from Harper.  No statements, no money.  Meanwhile, creators were naturally asking for THEIR statements and royalitites.  I explained the situation, but still never got anything from Harper.  It go to the point that I had no cash left to even carry on normal business because we had laid out everything we had for advances.


All that was left to do was sell off every piece of inventory I could get my hands on, pay all the little guys (individual creators and small vendors), and stiff the large ones (printers and freight companies).  And declare bankruptcy.


I still have no idea how many copies of our graphic novels Harper sold, or what they did with the money owed us and creators. 


But my plans for placing graphic novels in bookstores was still a good one.  I just picked the wrong publisher and was about ten years too early.  If Eclipse were around now, there’s no doubt that we would be the leading graphic novel publisher in mainstream bookstores.


RA: What are you up to today? 


DM: Currently, I was just elected to the Board of Directors of The Center for the Study of the Environment, a private not-for-profit organization, providing information, identification, analysis and optimal solutions to environmental problems.  CSE projects are conducted on global, regional and local scales.


RA: Any final thoughts?


DM: I miss being in the field, but I don’t miss how the business and licensing end have completely taken over.  When I started Eclipse and for many years afterwards, there was a freedom, a freewheeling ability to publish a wide variety of material, and to experiment.  There was also an amazing collegiality among professionals.  This was before comics speculation, before greed, and before people started buying comics to look at the art rather than READ the stories.  For me, the story is still paramount.  You can have the best art in the world, but if the story sucks, forget about it.


Although somewhat off the topic, I must say something about the Alex Toth Zorro books I printed in B&W.  I was a Zorro fanatic as a kid, loved the comics (didn’t know who Alex was then), wore the Zorro costume by Marx (later found out the box containing the costume had Toth art on it, too!).  As Alex said when I asked him if he would do halftones for the new collections: “Yes!  The coloring on the original comics was awful!  It ruined my art.”  This was a case in which the reprint was far, far superior than the original, color comics.  And Alex’s tip-in plate for the signed edition is perhaps the greatest piece of minimalist comics art ever drawn.


I think it’s a testament to the talented people I published that so much of Eclipse’s back catalogue has been reprinted in the past several years.  I was looking at the Crossfire collection last week: Mark and Dan’s work on that series is, to me, one of the highlights in modern comics history.


And now I’ve got to let it go.  Seventeen years running a publishing company contains a tremendous amount of memories, which sometimes come flitting back only when triggered by another thought.  I could probably keep answering your questions forever.


RA: Thank you, Mr. Mullaney!





                                                A 2007 Interview With Frank Brunner!


RA: Frank Brunner has worked with Warren, Marvel, First and Star*Reach comics and still does the occasional comic work.  Mr. Brunner, your professional debut appears to have been in Web Of Horror, but before that you did appear in a number of fanzines and in the movie mag Castle Of Frankenstein with comic stories and pin-ups.  How did you manage to break into that market?


FB: I knew Castle Of Frankenstein publisher Calvin Beck.  At that time, in the late 1960s, he wanted to do more comics in his mag.  He didn’t pay much, but it was a chance to get printed!  I met Calvin via our mutual interest in fantasy/sci-fi/horror movies.


RA: Judging from those stories, Roy Krenkel and Frank Frazetta were two of your early influences.  Who else did you follow for inspiration?


FB: Alex Raymond, his successor Al Williamson, and Wally Wood!  Later I met Neal Adams, and my style evolved into something that Marvel Comics (namely editor Roy Thomas) could appreciate.


RA: How did you get involved with Web Of Horror?


FB: As soon as I saw #1, I knew that was where I wanted to be—with all the new talent!  So I wrote to editor Terry Bisson and told him I was a new writer/artist.  He seemed interested, and I wrote “Santa’s Claws”, which he bought and then gave me the art assignment.


RA: Did you actually meet Terry Bisson or Robert Sproul?


FB: I think I met Terry once face to face but I could be wrong…never met Sproul.


RA: Your debut story there, ‘Santa’s Claws”, was the first Christmas-themed horror story to appear since the EC days.  Were you aware of that when you were doing the story?  Did the EC stories have any influence on you?


FB: Well, being a big EC fan, it was probably in the back of my mind.  I wrote that story while I was sitting in a Lower East Side, barely heated apartment in New York.  I wrote it all in one evening, and that was on Christmas Eve!  I did like the surprise twist endings EC did with almost all their stories…but I was also influenced by the work of Rod Serling and Twilight Zone!


RA: Although Web Of Horror only lasted three issues, you did a number of stories for it that appeared elsewhere, including at least one that appeared in Web’s magazine rival Vampirella.  Which stories were originally intended for Web?


FB: There were two “leftover” stories—‘Eye of Newt, Toe of Frog’ and ‘Dragonus’, which were scheduled for Web Of Horror #4 & #5.


RA: The story goes that you were the fellow who rescued much of the contents of Web Of Horror #4 and #5 when you visited the Major Magazines offices.  How did that visit come about and what actually happened?


FB: There has been some dispute over my timeline, but timelines aside, yes I did rescue the art pages.  As it became apparent that Sproul had no intention of publishing Web after the departure of Terry Bisson, I went out to the offices of Cracked magazine.  Told some secretary I was the “new” editor of Web and that I needed to see the art for future issues.  I was led to a small storage type room with metal shelves full of Web art!  I was carrying an art portfolio and proceede to recover as much art as was possible in a few minutes!  I was worried the receptionist/secretary would come in at any moment and the jib would be up!  I didn’t get all the art, for it was just too much to fit into my portfolio.  Naturally I wanted my own art—and any other art that was nearby, I took.  All of which I gave back to theartists!

They never thanked me, by the way.  I guess they just wouldn’t give up hope that Web would be published somehow!  And that I sorta made sure that it wouldn’t?  If that was what they were indeed thinking, it was sheer nonsense or wishful thinking on their parts!  This sort of warped logic and the lack of any sort of appreciation was, I suppose, my first of many realizations that most other comic artists are so unbelieveably self-centered and quite eccentric in their views of reality.  So much so that nowadays I hardly associate with them!


RA: Why did ‘Dragonus’ appear in the expensive Phase fanzine rather in a Warren magazine?


FB: I showed that story to Warren, who immediately wanted it, but I held off.  We were both thinking this story had series potential.  Sword-and-sorcery stories in comics were just beginning to take off, and I didn’t want to turn over all the rights to Jim!  Later Phase magazine actually offered me more money and the ownership of ‘Dragonus’!


RA: Are there any future Dragonus plans?


FB: I wrote and drew a sequel for Star*Reach.  If a publisher made the right offer, I might do another story…


RA: Any anecdotes about those days you’d care to share?


FB: “Those were the best of times and the worst of times…”  I was very young and gullible, full of enthusiasm and energy that made up for my lack of ability at that time.  Things have turned around over the last forty years.  I’ve got the ability and still have a certain enthusiasm, but the energy is fading!


RA: Are there any artists or writers in the comic field (or outside the field, for that matter) that you enjoy today?


FB: Oh, I don’t really keep up with what’s happening in comics any more.  I think the Image comics and Dark Horse sorta killed the concept of good solid writing and visual storytelling in comics!  Though there are a few exceptions here and there!  Writers that I read today are John Varley, Herman Hesse (re-reading the latter) and Kurt Vonnegut, who just passed away.  God bless him!


RA: Any final words?


FB: I’d just like to say this—the Impressionist movement is dead, the Pre-Rafaelites likewise, Cubism and Abstract art are finished.  The so-called “Fine Arts World” needs to wake up to the sobering fact that “Comic Art” is the major art form of the latter 20th Century!  They know it in Europe, but there’s still a long way to go towards world-wide recognition of the facts!





This bibliography is copyright 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2008 Richard J. Arndt.

© 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2008 R. Arndt.


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