Sunday, October 4, 2015

Terror Tales - June 1974

"Hello! I'm going to tell you about this dream of mine! It is only a dream, of course, but I have it a lot. Night after night, the same dream. And maybe you'll find it interesting, too! And dreams do come true sometimes, don't they? Now about my dream..."  

Eerie Publications, Vol 6 No 3 June 1974
Cover by O.A. Novelle
Back in the early 70's you couldn't help but see these crazy covers littering the magazine racks in the local supermarket. Usually near the MAD and CRACKED magazines. They sprouted like toadstools in a Florida lawn, a new one seemingly every week. Gruesome, gory, bloody and awesome. I used to wonder what kind of person bought stuff like this. Freaks? Psychos? Murderers? I knew there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that my mom would let me take one of these suckers home.

TERROR TALES, HORROR TALES, TALES of VOODOO, WITCHES TALES. Slobbering ghouls hovering over dismembered bodies, torture, blood-dripping fangs...the worst depravity you could show your friends at in school. Yes, these magazines went there. On the covers, at least. As for the contents, well...

These magazines were put out under the editorship of Myron Fass, who saw an opportunity and jumped on the coattails of the "horror" trends that Warren Publishing was cashing in on with CREEPY and EERIE. The only thing needed was material and a cover that'll grab the kids. The material was filched from the volumes of pre-code horror and crime comics. Covers were courtesy of artists like Bill Alexander, Chic Stone, Vilanova, OA Novelle, to name a few. And these covers have to be seen to be believed! Eerie Publications would pretty much take a story and add some minor touches or changes here and there, and slap that baby out into the stands. Typos and misprints and numbering were an afterthought. What mattered was getting the product out. Titles, stories, art, you name it, was up for grabs with these magazines. And what the hell? it wasn't like a kid my age at the time would know that a story had been ripped off from something twenty years previous. And it's not like the pre-code horror comics didn't "borrow" their stories from other sources as well.

Cheap and fast was the MO with these publications. And thumbing through one now 40 years later you can readily tell it's not the product that Warren Magazines was producing. None of the stories in my issue shown here are credited. Nor is the art, unless you happen to catch a signature on one of the panels.

As for the stories. Well, they're okay. None of them reflect the cover art and likely never did. Nary a single story features a "bigfoot" creature raking its claws into a hot babe in the blue dress. But whose complaining. The kids shelling out 75 cents just wanted the goods, man.

The whole sordid story of Eerie Publications can be found in this terrific book that comes with a high recommendation from me. It's a perfect Halloween gift for that special ghoul in your life.

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