Wednesday, February 21, 2007

This Comic Is Haunted #4: A Classic Gredown Horror Comic

This Comic Is Haunted #4, $0.50 cover price, Gredown Pty. Limited, no cover date

I mentioned in passing in my previous post on a Page Publication horror comic that I’m fond of certain titles and issues put out by Gredown, and this issue of This Comic Is Haunted is close to what I consider to be the perfect Gredown horror comic - - a tacky 1970’s ‘adult horror’ cover; a stash of pre-Code horror stories without any Spanish/Euro filler; and a high proportion of Steve Ditko material.

And, as a bonus, it appears to reprint a complete pre-Code horror comic!

The contents:

Caretaker of the Dead
(This Magazine is Haunted #18, July 1954)
Note: Original title "Custodian of the Dead!", from Beware! Terror Tales #1, Fawcett, May 1952

The Last Earl! (or, The Bottom of the Swamp!)
Joe Shuster/John Belfi
(This Magazine is Haunted #18, July 1954)

The Faceless Ones!
Steve Ditko
(This Magazine is Haunted #12, July 1957)

Menace of the Invisibles
Steve Ditko
(This Magazine is Haunted #13, October 1957)

What the Dream Meant
(Original unidentified, Job Number S981, 5 pages)

Bridegroom, Come Back!
Steve Ditko
(This Magazine is Haunted #18, July 1954)

The Drums
Steve Ditko
(This Magazine is Haunted #13, October 1957)

The Man Who Changed Bodies
Steve Ditko
(This Magazine is Haunted #13, October 1957)

Valley of Shadow!
Stan Moskowitz
(This Magazine is Haunted #18, July 1954)

The Gredown horror catalogue comprised numerous one-shots, and quite a few series which appear to have run for a dozen or so issues. But few of the titles acknowledged their source material as respectfully as This Comic is Haunted. (I doubt there were pre-Code sources for titles such as The Demon is a Hag, Loathsome Ghosts or Ramparts of Evil – but maybe I’m wrong!)

The four stories reprinted from This Magazine is Haunted #18 may constitute a complete reprinting of that issue’s main comics features. I believe they were 36-page comics, so the 28 pages reprinted here should account for the bulk of the comics material, allowing for advertisements and text-only pages, but I note it is TBC.

Some of these Ditko stories were also reprinted in Ghost Manor #54, January 1981, an all-Ditko issue.

Many of these stories are introduced by the horror host, Dr. Haunt, but interesting to note that "Custodian of the Dead!" is introduced by Fawcett's horror host, The Mummy. As George Suarez notes in his review of the Charlton horror comics in Terrology #11, November-December 1993, this is likely evidence of Fawcett ‘inventory’ material being published by Charlton.

Not much more to add for the moment, but I plan on delving further into the history of Gredown - and the horror titles in particular- down the track.

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