January 1, 2013
ACGs “Adventures into the Unknown” is claimed to be the first ever continuing horror comic, beginning in 1948. After the Comic Code was introduced, unlike EC who cancelled most of their comics in disgust, ACG more pragmatically continued publishing by replacing their vampire and werewolf stories with (often quite cleverly written) mysteries and ghost stories.
There were at least 20 (monthly?) issues of the UK version of ACG’s “Adventures into the Unknown” published between 1958 and 1960 by The Arnold Book Company and/or Thorpe and Porter/Strato Publications Ltd depending whether you look on the front cover or the back cover or at the indicia inside. Issue 20 was probably published in 1960. It has an advert on the back cover showing issue No 2 of the UK version of “Mad Magazine” and issue No 1 of “Mad” is documented as having begun in October 1959. As well as containing the entire contents of AITU 107 (April 1959) this magazine also includes the contents of Marvel’s (quite recent!) “Tales to Astonish” No 7 (January 1960) and two stories from “Astonish” No 5. You got value for your shilling in 1960, despite those “big 68 pages” being only in glorious black and white. Now, a mere 52 years later, you get a crumbling, yellowing artifact still only worth a shilling but now also suffering from the dreaded “spine roll”. Although it sort of survives digitally here the comic itself barely survives. It didn’t like being scanned and is now well and truly broken.
September 1, 2011
Being completely underwhelmed by the avalanche of No 1 DC comics I find myself reading a comic from before I was born. Issue 75 of the Arnold Book Company’s Captain Valiant, Ace of the Interplanetary Police Patrol….or is it called “Space Comics” ? From what info I can find, this comic began with issue number 50 (!?!) and after a few weeks as a monthly was published twice a fortnight until the final issue, number 81 in 1954. Other Arnold comics such as Black Magic and Justice Traps the Guilty were more often published monthly, and often consisted of 68 squarebound pages rather than 28. The usual suspects of Mick Anglo and Denis Gifford etc were involved in this issue. The Arnold Book Company was headed by Arnold Miller, son of Len. Mick Anglo would soon be opening his own studio and launching the Marvelman franchise for Len Miller. 57 years later it would be raining.