This past May the long forgotten and short-run comic horror magazine, ‘Haunt of Horror’ hit the milestone of 45-years, sought primarily by collectors and the series owned by this Horror Historian. Originally published by Curtis Magazines, a subdivision of Marvel Comics, lasting five issues from May 1974 until January 1975, available at the original cost of .75 cents and carried the tagline for the first issue of New and Nefarious! Fear-Filled Premiere Issue! However, stories herein refused to die, even after the last publication found life in Hulk (1979) 2nd issue and in the trade paperback Marvel Horror: The Magazine Collection (2017). Always to keep good horror buried, it finds a way to crawl out of the darkness and cobwebs. Some wonder perhaps why, did I choose to review a comic this old, was it because it’s an anniversary, yes, partially that is true, however, others who have been granted access to my homestead, namely the Chamber and Crypt see, plenty of new horror items, but fascinated over the older items, that fan, collector and Historian possesses. Therefore, that encouragement led me to share from time to time some unique items in the vast collection.
The ‘Haunt of Horror’ #1, actually consisted of one reprint “The Last Man” from a previous entry entitled Adventures Into Terror (1951) #24, Marvel desperately wanted to cash-in on the explosion of popularity for horror thanks in part to The Exorcist (1973). This movie obviously created a buzz for keywords consisting of possession, exorcism, and the Devil, therefore, Marvel recycled The Haunt of Horror title from 1973 and tried to entice the horror fans once more using the same time minus one word “THE”, although the previous incarnation only produced 2-issues. The series from 1974 had famed writer comic book genius Roy Thomas, serving as co-editor for the first issues, with legendary guru Marv Wolfman (best known turning around Tomb of Dracula (1972) comic), who stayed on-board till the 4th issue. However, seeking something even more bizarre about this 1974 series, the actual title on the comic magazine state The Haunt of Horror, while the copyright on the inside page removes word “The” as to which is correct, your guess is as good as mine. Bob Larkin, already experience in drawing horror comics, did the cover art for the premier issue, and return to do the fourth issue.
So, the first issue consists of five comic stories and one full-length novella, it starts with “The Rats!” by Gerry Conway and art by Ralph Resse, a self-explanatory story. Then novella from award-winning author George Alec Effinger, concerns a man entering a town for a visit, but learning his fate, involves him barred from ever leaving; the story find itself broken up through the magazine with continue on various pages notes, Walter ‘Walt’ Simonson, gives some cryptic brief illustrations. Next, follows “The Last Man!” and then “His Own Kind!” which is adaption of a short werewolf story originally published in 1970 by award-winning Thomas M. Disch. Rounding out final stories facing the living dead in Vietnam in “Nightmare Patrol” and “In the Shadows of the City”. A minor footnote, there’s plenty of wonderful horror art from Alfredo P. Alcala throughout the issue, some of it a clear inspiration from E.C. Comics.
Marvel’s love affair with title seems to carryover many, but the one issue May of 1974, featuring detailed horror comics in black and while with everything very clear to understand, each panel driving the story forward, seemingly smooth just what a fan wants. Therefore, if you can find an old copy, it’s worth both your time and money to purchase it.
Baron’s Rating: 4.0/5