Friday, October 31, 2008

The Haunt of Horror: Marvel's Horror Prose Digest

Back in 1973, when the horror/supernatural craze was really booming, Marvel Comics attempted to enter a whole new arena: prose digests. You know, mags like you still see today: Alfred Hitchcock Magazine, Ellery Queen, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Analog. Back then, there were lots of prose digests (sort of survivors of the pulp era), so I suppose Stan and the gang looked at it like it was another world to conquer. Of all the bullpen members at that time, Gerry Conway had the most experience in the prose field, having written a couple of mildly successful sci-fi novels, so it was Conway, rather than Stan's editorial successor, Roy Thomas, who was made editor of The Haunt of Horror.

The Haunt of Horror was, in all honesty, a very well done mag. 160 pages filled with all kinds of sensational spookiness. It sported really nice spot illustrations by a great mix of Marvel mainstays and newcomers like John Romita, Gene Colan, Frank Brunner, Walt Simonson, Mike Ploog, Dan Green, John Buscema, Billy Graham, and even the legendary Kelly Freas. Stories were a mix of Marvel folks and respected prose authors like Harlan Ellison (whose story was poorly edited in the first issue and was reprinted in the second), R.A. Lafferty, David R. Bunch, Ramsey Campbell, Dennis O'Neil, Arthur Byron cover, Anne McCaffrey, Ron Goulart, Howard Waldrop, and reprints by Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber.

Sadly, it only lasted two issues. The title was revived the next year as a black and white comic mag that lasted five issues.

Still more Halloween goodies to come, Groovesters! See ya in a little while!

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