Saturday, October 31, 2015

31 Witches | The Witch of Endor

No, not this one

The other one:

"I saw gods ascending out of the earth." -- 1 Samuel, Chapter 28

Painting by Edward Henry Corbould

Friday, October 30, 2015

31 Witches | Morgan le Fay

"God be praised for these fine words. Be on your way now and rest assured I'll take the first opportunity that comes my way to do you ill." -- Morgan, Lancelot-Grail

Painting by Frederick Sandys.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

While You Wait (for Superman) Classics: Dr. Occult [Guest Post]

By GW Thomas

Next year we will be getting Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange and people are going to say some stupid things. Like, "Wow! I never knew superheroes were into magic!" Or "Gee, Dr. Strange was the first magician-superhero!" Dr. Strange appeared for the first time in July 1963, (on newsstands in June) making him the same age as me, fifty-two. But not by a long stretch is he the first or the oldest "occult doctor" of comics.

In 1935, while waiting to sell Superman to the comic strip syndicates, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created other comics to sell to the fledgling comic books operated by Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson. One of these included the first comic ghost-breaker, "Dr. Occult, Ghost Detective." The credits for the strip were given to Legar and Reuths, Siegel and Shuster's pseudonyms as they had another strip, Henri Duval, appearing in the same comic under their real names. Dr. Occult appeared for the first time in New Fun Comics #6 (October 1935). The story is the opening act of a tale of a vampire who is terrorizing a young couple called the Amsters. Dr. Occult is accompanied by his faithful sidekick Rose Psychic. The strip was one page long in black-and-white at the back of the issue. Siegel and Shuster's Henri Duval got place of pride at the front of the comic.

After this brief appearance, Dr. Occult went to the newly formed company, DC, and its continuation of New Fun under the name More Fun Comics. Dr. Richard Occult would be found in the pages until issue #32 (June 1938). But who were the predecessors to Dr. Occult? In fiction, the occult doctor dates back to at least 1872 and J Sheridan Le Fanu's Doctor Martin Hesselius, though Bram Stoker's Dr. Abraham van Helsing (1897) is far better known. The ghost detective genre was richly populated between 1898 and the pulps of the 1930s. The top occult doc in 1935 was Seabury Quinn's Jules de Grandin, appearing in Weird Tales. In the comic strips, Lee Falk created Mandrake the Magician in 1934. While Mandrake's powers are of hypnotism and not actual magic he was the first true superhero and set the bar for all characters who followed. Certainly Siegel and Shuster were aware of Mandrake's popularity in the newspaper comic strips, a market they themselves wanted for Superman.

The tale of the Amsters and the Vampire Master continued in More Fun Comics #7-9 (January to March-April 1936). The Vampire Master hypnotizes Lois Amster, sending her to kill her husband. Fortunately, Dr. Occult and Rose are there to revive her. The heroes go in pursuit of the villain, but are trapped by the undead fiend in his lair. The Vampire Master uses his strange machinery to create a duplicate of Mrs. Amster that stabs him and tries to kill Lois. The vampire presses a button that saves her and the good guys flee as the lab burns down, with the villains succumbing to the flames. No stakes are driven through any hearts here. Superhero type story elements are more prevalent than Victorian castles.

Issue #10-13 (May-September 1936) grew to two pages with plots seeing Dr. Occult and a Lieutenant Day chasing a mad doctor who calls himself Methusaleh. The name is apt, for he can steal the youth from others. In another storyline, Dr. Occult and a young girl are attacked by a werewolf. The monster proves to be a man named Westly, who asks Occult to cure him of his curse. In the process, Occult discovers an entire boarding house full of werewolves.

Wheeler-Nicholson sold out and left comics, so the Dr. Occult character continued in Centaur's The Comics Magazine #1 (dated May 1936) with a name change to Dr. Mystic and the credits restored to "Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster." In an issue dated May 1936 (though probably later) Dr. Mystic faces off against a new villain, Koth, and with a new feel. The storyline would continue in More Fun Comics #14-17 (October 1936-January 1937) with the villains planning to use a phantom army to take over the world. The look of the strip, with capes and swords, is more Buck Rogers than psychic detectives.

Issue #18 saw the return of the mystery-styled plot with "Ray of Life," where Doctor Occult encounters a dead body in a restaurant. The body - along with others - disappears for a terrible reason. It is with Issue #22-32 (July 1937-June 1938) where we find the final version of the strip in place, now four pages in color. After the "Ray of Life" serial, Dr. Occult would have complete stories in one issue, and these most often at the front of the magazine where the most popular strips appeared. One of these is called "The Henri Duval Murders," a fun poke at their other strip, though not a team-up. What followed were people shrunk to doll size, snake worshippers, spectral killers, a possessed medium, and a corpse controller. Issue #32 (June 1938) was Dr. Occult's final tale for forty-seven years. His next appearance was a guest spot in All-Star Squadron #49 (September 1985) written by Roy Thomas.

Jerry Siegel wasn't quite done with magical characters after Dr. Occult. In January 1940 in More Fun Comics #51 he would create another classic DC character, The Spectre. With the lessons learned from Dr. Occult/Mystic, he blends horror and magic with crime fighting. Gardner F Fox and John Broome would complete the DC supernatural squad with Dr. Fate in More Fun Comics #55 (May 1950) and The Phantom Stranger in 1952. What influence did these DC characters have on future ghost detective comics? The impact is evident by the number of lame imitators in various comics such as Zero in Feature Comics (1940), Dr. Styx in Treasure Comics (1942), and Dr. Drew in Ranger Comics (1949), to name only three. Siegel and Shuster would reinvent the superhero with the release of Action Comics #1 (June 1938), but their contributions to weird characters would live on too, though not until 1963 and Marvel's Doctor Strange and 1967 DC's Deadman would new supernatural detectives be so abundant again.

GW Thomas has appeared in over 400 different books, magazines and ezines including The Writer, Writer's Digest, Black October Magazine and Contact. His website is He is editor of Dark Worlds magazine.

31 Witches | Baba Yaga

"Come out, babies... Grandmother wants to see you." -- Baba Yaga, "The Baba Yaga" by Mike Mignola

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

31 Witches (Bonus) | The Sea Hag

"Fool! Did you think you could trust the Sea Hag?" -- The Sea Hag, Popeye

[Suggested by that terror of the seven seas, Paxton Holley.]

31 Witches | The Old Woman in the Bread House

"Nibble, nibble, little mouse. Who is nibbling at my house?" -- The Old Woman, "Hansel and Gretel"

Illustration by Gustaf Tenggren.

Monday, October 26, 2015

31 Witches | Grimhilde

"Dip the apple in the brew. Let the Sleeping Death seep through. Look! On the skin! The symbol of what lies within. Now, turn red, to tempt Snow White, to make her hunger for a bite." -- The Evil Queen, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

31 Witches | The Wicked Witch of the West

"I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!" -- The Wicked Witch of the West, The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

31 Witches (Bonus) | Lucia, Dusty, and June

During the heyday of pinups, a big theme was to have women dressed in seasonal and holiday costumes, so of course there were lots of witches. I filled my Tumblr up with them last year, so you can see more there, but here's a tiny sample featuring (from top to bottom) Lucia Carroll, Dusty Anderson, and June Knight.

31 Witches | Morticia Addams

"I'm just like any modern woman trying to have it all. Loving husband, a family. It's just... I wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade." -- Morticia, Addams Family Values (1993)

Friday, October 23, 2015

31 Witches (Bonus) | The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

I had a lot more fun than I expected at this. I'd written it off as derivative of the numerous monster-hunter movies that have come before it, but got to go to a press screening with Diane and David and we had a great time.

For those who've seen a bunch of monster-hunter movies, there's not much new in terms of plot, but it has some cool things going for it. I love Vin Diesel and he's doing his tough-tender thing here in the best way. Michael Caine is also a lot of fun as Diesel's younger associate and there's some genuine chemistry between the two of them. Rose Leslie is a unique presence too, which adds some unpredictability. And there's some great world-building with plenty of hints at things left unexplored for either sequels or just the imagination.

But the dialogue is pretty clunky, it does that thing with voiceover exposition to bring the audience up to speed, Elijah Wood's character doesn't deserve to have Elijah Wood play him, and a lot of the CGI is murky and uninspired (though not all of it; there are some cool moments).

For younger viewers - like my 13-year-old son - The Last Witch Hunter is a fine introduction to the genre. But even as someone who's seen a bunch of these, I found it to be enjoyable pulp, too.

31 Witches | Jennifer Wooley

"Ever hear of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire? That was our crowd." -- Jennifer, I Married a Witch (1942)

Thursday, October 22, 2015

31 Witches | The White Witch

"You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to a kill... And so, that human creature is mine. His life is forfeit to me. His blood is my property." -- The White Witch, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Fangs of Tsan-Lo: Man's Best Monster [Guest Post]

By GW Thomas

Jim Kjelgaard always had one theme that was closest to his heart: training dogs. It should be no surprise then that he made the big time with a book about that very theme: Big Red (1945). In the book, Danny Pickett is a poor country boy who gets the job of training Big Red for a wealthy neighbor, Mr. Haggin. The plot follows Danny's struggles with teaching Red to be a bird dog as well as a show winner. Red and Danny face off against a rogue grizzly, mean employees, and even the big city. The story is a tribute to simple living and an affection for animals. The novel did so well that it became part of the Library of Childhood, alongside Black Beauty, Beautiful Joe, and Bambi. Again, no surprise, when the Disney Company made the book into a film in 1962.

Kjelgaard did so well with Big Red that he made a regular business of writing dog books with two sequels, Irish Red (1951) and Outlaw Red (1953), as well as Snow Dog (1948), Kalak of the Ice (1949), Lion Hound (1955), Desert Dog (1956), Trading Jeff and His Dog (1956), Rescue Dog of the High Pass (1958), The Duck-Footed Hound (1960), and Dave and His Dog, Mulligan (1966), all of which look at that special relationship between a dog and his master.

But Kjelgaard didn't start there. Like most writers of the 1940s, he began in the pulps. Writing frontier stories for Argosy, Adventure, and even the occasional comic book story such as "Outpost Peril" in Calling All Boys #s 3 and 4 (April-May 1945), Kjelgaard learned how to write an exciting tale before launching his career as a dog book writer. It should be no surprise that this writer who sold to Western Story and Black Mask, also sold to Weird Tales. And it should be no shock either that he sold WT at least one dog story.

Kjelgaard appeared in 'the Unique Magazine' four times between September 1945 and July 1946. His second appearance was with a tale called "The Fangs of Tsan-Lo" (November 1945) and it begins with a familiar ring. Clint Roberts, a dog trainer, is about to meet his newest charge, the Chesapeake terrier, Tsan-Lo. Clint has a shine for the wealthy Sally Evers, introducing Kjelgaard's second familiar theme: poor versus rich. Tsan-Lo, who has been sent by a strange and mysterious customer, Dr. Ibellius Grut, turns out to be something different. The small dog radiates a feeling of hatred and repulsion. Clint, being a rational person, ignores these sensations. When the beast attacks him, going for his throat, Clint is forced to tame it with a baseball bat.

Sally finds a book by Dr. Grut and Clint learns of the crazy experiments the mad scientist may have performed on the small dog. He knows that dogs were once larger, more ferocious creatures before humans bred them for their own purposes. This becomes directly apparent when Tsan-Lo grows to the size of a Shetland pony and pulls Clint right out of his bed, stripping him of his pajamas. (This is the scene the Canadian artist chose to illustrate in the Toronto based version of the story seen here. I would love to know what Lee Brown Coye did with it for the American edition.)

Tsan-Lo with his meal in tow heads for the woods and then the lake. He only drops Clint when the monster spies Sally, whom he has had an instinctive hatred for. The dog heads for shore. Clint wants to save his love, but he is too beaten up. He only survives drowning because his faithful dog, Buck, pulls him from the lake. When he wakes, he finds Sally nursing him and declaring her love for him. She survived the monster's attack when the gigantic dog tried to cross a dugout filled with quicksand (Kjelgaard mentioned this earlier, a rather clumsy device and you know it will come into the story at some point.) Even the monstrous Tsan-Lo can't escape the sucking mud and its three thousand pound skeleton is dredged up later, fascinating scientists. Clint doesn't care. He has what he wants: dogs to train and the love of Sally Evers, and later a little Sally too.

"The Fangs of Tsan-Lo" is not a high water mark for Kjelgaard. In November 1945, he would have published Big Red already, so he may have seen this story as a way to promote the book. He may have simply written it with money in mind. Or, I like to think, he used it as a way of writing Big Red out of his system. It's classic Kjelgaard with the dog training, the rich-poor conflict, and the happy ending with a positive family in the making. What it is not is great horror fiction. The images are not convincing and the ideas too pulpy. Kjelgaard would write two more stories for Weird Tales, but it was a limited market for him. He was more comfortable with the American frontier or dog kennels and birch forests.

Kjelgaard wasn't quite done with prehistoric dogs though. One of my favorite books of his is called Fire-Hunter (1960). In it, he follows the innovations of a group of cavemen. One of those adaptations is the first raising of wolf pups that would lead to the future breeds we know so well. Kjelgaard really had a love for dogs and their breeding that filtered into most everything he wrote, even the goofy little horror tale that is "The Fangs of Tsan-Lo". It makes for an odd little footnote in a much better saga, the Big Red trilogy.

You can enjoy this story at Wikisource.

GW Thomas has appeared in over 400 different books, magazines and ezines including The Writer, Writer's Digest, Black October Magazine and Contact. His website is He is editor of Dark Worlds magazine.

31 Witches | Witch Hazel (Disney)

"Oh, joy, thou dost believe in witches! Just for that, I'll help thee get thy candy." - Witch Hazel, "Trick or Treat" (1952)

GIF created by Gameraboy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

31 Witches | Wendy the Good Little Witch

"Great White Magic, hear my plea! Make this house as it used to be!" -- Wendy, Wendy the Good Little Witch #49: "The Super Broom"

Monday, October 19, 2015

31 Witches | Witch Hazel (Looney Tunes)

"Rock-a-bye rabbit in the hot oven! Into my mouth for dinner I'll shove him!" -- Witch Hazel, "Bewitched Bunny"

Sunday, October 18, 2015

31 Witches (Bonus) | Gil Holroyd

"Oh, Pye, Pye, Pyewacket. What’s the matter with me?" -- Gillian Holroyd, Bell Book and Candle (1958)

[Suggested by my pal Evan, aka Bizarro Jimmy Olsen]

31 Witches | Sabrina Spellman

"I hope you didn't expect to find me living on some dreary mountain top, wearing some grubby old rags, and making some nasty old brew." -- Sabrina, Archie's Mad House #22

Friday, October 16, 2015

Nerd Lunch's 200th Episode

This past Tuesday, Nerd Lunch celebrated their 200th episode and I was thrilled to get to visit with them (alongside my Fourth Chair buddy Kay, naturally) to congratulate them, wish them many more episodes, and share some of my favorite moments from the show. Check out the episode below or however you like to listen to your podcasts.

You may notice a new badge that reads "Proud Member of the Fourth Chair Army" over on the left-hand sidebar. That couldn't be more true. I love those guys and Kay and always appreciate and enjoy recording with them as often as I can. (Same goes with Dan and Ron and Starmageddon, but I'll tell them that when we reach 200.)

31 Witches | Lucy van Pelt

"A person should always choose a costume which is in direct contrast to her own personality." -- Lucy van Pelt, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Introducing the Kill All Monsters Tumblr

Know what’s really hard to do, apparently? Update the Kill All Monsters site.

Know what’s really easy to do? Run a Tumblr.

So Kill All Monsters now has a Tumblr page. The main site isn’t going away and I’ll try to do better about updating when something important happens, but the KAM Tumblr is going to be a lot of fun and you should totally follow it. It’s part love letter to kaiju and giant robots, part news aggregate for developments in the genre, and part source for everything you need to know about Kill All Monsters. Check it out!

31 Witches | Sylvia

"There are unguarded entrances to any human mind." -- Sylvia, Star Trek: "Catspaw"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Adventures into the Unknown World of Horror Comics [Guest Post]

By GW Thomas

Frank Belknap Long had something his more famous friends never did: a long and varied career. Most famous today as HP Lovecraft's closest friend, Long was a writer of weird stories and science fiction in his own right and not just a footnote to the Cthulhu Mythos. Along with writing pulp science fiction and horror, Long also was one of the first to write horror comics and set in motion the 1950s craze that would include the famous EC brand of the genre.

In 1940, Long followed several other pulpsters such as Otto Binder and Manly Wade Wellman into the comics field. (Later Edmond Hamilton would contribute to the world of Superman, and in a weird reversal, comic artist Harry Harrison would become the science fiction writer of Stainless Steel Rat fame.) After a few superhero scripts Long joined ACG in creating the first, continuous, all-horror comic, Adventures into the Unknown. (There was Avon's Eerie in 1947, but it did not publish another issue for four years!) Frank would write the entire contents of the first two issues before moving onto other projects. His run was short, but in those two issues he set up what would become the standard style for horror comics, based on the feel and topics found in Weird Tales magazine, while  also paying homage to the great-grand-daddy of them all, the first Gothic writer, Horace Walpole.

The first issue is dated Fall 1948 and bears a cover by Edvard Moritz showing two people about to enter a haunted house. The purple color sets the right mood for what is to follow:

"The Werewolf Stalks" was, appropriately enough, the first story in this comic. In the wilds of Canada, a hunter of zoo animals captures a wolf, only it's something else that will terrorize the team that caught it. Many werewolf comics would came after it (and let's be honest, some had preceded it, too). Long was particularly fond of this tale, mentioning it to August Derleth in a letter. And fond he should be, for he puts some twists on what could have been a very ordinary werewolf story. The art was by Edvard Moritz.

"The Living Ghost" is the most famous creation in the first issue of AitU. The green faced monster with one red eye exists only to kill and cause ill. He murders the operator in a train switching station to cause two trains to collide, then laughs over the death and destruction. Gail Leslie, girl reporter, teams up with Tony Brand, the DA's special investigator, in finding the phantom. Gail and Tony capture the ghost with the help of Dr Vandyke but the fiend escapes for more adventures. The art was by Fred Guardineer, who gives it a manic, cartoony feel that I enjoy. A more realistic look might not have worked as well. Guardineer, more than anyone, has the EC feel before EC Comics existed.

After a single pager on voodoo rites, Long writes a text story called "The Painted Grave." Taking a page from Lovecraft's "Pickman's Model," John Drake is an artist who wants to create the most horrific artwork. His masterpiece is a graveyard scene where something rises and leaves the painting, grabbing the artist and hauling him back to that fearsome grave. HPL's shade would nod approvingly. The text was set by Edmond Hamilton of all people!

"It Walked By Night" is a story of a family curse that haunts a seaside hotel. In 1750, a young fiancé is murdered by a jealous member of the Aram family. With his dying breath the victim curses the murderer. In 1950, a newlywed couple, Roger and Sylvia, come to the hotel where the visitors are terrorized by a shambling form from the sea. The curse of Aram arises a hundred years later. Art by Max Elkan.

"The Cursed Pistol", a one-pager, follows a cursed gun that's responsible for many unfortunate deaths. In 1943. the owner wishes it to never kill again, and snaps it in half. Unfortunately he gets blood poison from breaking it and dies.

"The Castle of Otranto" is a worthy adaptation of the original novel by Horace Walpole that, appropriately, is the very work that inspired the Gothic tradition. Long is able to take the frantic and messy book and turn it into a fairly reasonable comic story. The art by Al Ulmer is adequate, but lacks historical accuracy. You'd never get a Hal Foster to do this strip though, so what can you do?

"The Horrible Toys" is the second text story. In this one, two children, Jimmy and Jane, enter an abandoned house that had belonged to the witch, Mrs. Meek. Long does a great job of writing a tale that children would find scary, even though to adults it might seem abrupt.

"True Ghosts of History: The Vengeful Specter of Lord Tyrone" has Lord Tyrone and Lady Beresford making a pact as children to visit the other if they should die. Lord Tyrone dies and goes to the lady, telling her of the future and that she will die on her 47th birthday. This story is based on a famous "true" ghost incident.

"Haunted House" features Benny and Fred of the Eager Beaver Detective Agency. Fred's girlfriend is to get a million dollars if she can spend one night in the haunted house she is to inherit. Ghosts, clanking chains, and a creepy portrait of an old man holding a cane are all props in this tale. To no one's surprise, the ghosts turn out to be the lawyers who have embezzled all of the inheritance. This story has a more humorous feel than the rest of the issue as it is a familiar plot of several movies including Abbott and Costello's Hold That Ghost (1941). The art by King Ward is my favorite of the issue, having a goofy feel that is perfect for a madcap horror tale.

The second issue was December 1948/January 1949 and featured another Edvard Moritz cover, this time with people in a rubber dinghy about to land on an island with a creepy skull like mountain. The dark blue and orange is perfectly lurid.

"Kill, Puppets, Kill" is another tale Long felt was better than the average comic strip. Again borrowing from fiction, Long takes a riff from A Merritt's similarly titled Burn, Witch, Burn, but makes the killer puppets ghosts as well, so they're doubly terrible. Long said of it to Derleth: "'Kill Puppets, Kill' is probably my best comic book story to date, in the weird genre. It’s as mature as the medium permits at the present stage of development.”

"The Mermaid Mole" is a text story about a man who frames his hated rival for murder. Fifteen minutes after the man is hung for the crime he didn't commit, his ghost appears before the liar and strangles him to death. The dead man is found to possess a mermaid shaped mole that had been on the executed man.

"Living Ghost: Out of the Unknown" has Gail Leslie and Tony Brant relaxing after their meeting with the Living Ghost. The villain shows up and kidnaps Gail, sending Tony to Dr. Vandyke for help. In the doctor's office, Tony sees a weird monster that proves to be the Living Ghost's greatest enemy, the Dark Phantom. In the end, Brant has to deal with two monsters. Edvard Moritz does a good job of imitating Fred Guardineer's work from the previous issue.

"The Old Tower's Secret" features an official ghostbreaker, Douglas Drew (not to be confused with Dr. Desmond Drew, created by Will Eisner in 1949). An ancient locked tower is protected by the ghost of the man who locked it forever. Dr. Drew and his companions enter the tower and solve a 100-year-old mystery. Art by Edmond Good.

"The Haunted Hoard" is a text story about Jimmy Severn, a man so desperate for money he is willing to enter a haunted house to look for rumored gold. What he meets is an old man in old-fashioned grab who gives him a bag of gold, and tells him never to return. Some weeks later he sees a picture of the fellow, who was the man who was murdered in the house long ago.

"The Master's Hand" returns to the "Pickman's Model" idea, telling of an art student, Betty Saunders, who has thoroughly studied the great macabre artist Kees van Ruyter. A mysterious man hires her for her artistic abilities, but when Betty arrives in Europe, she finds that her patron is a ghoul who plans on conjuring all the phantoms and monsters from van Ruyter's paintings. And Betty will paint new ones to expand his army. Only the phantom van Ruyter himself can save her. Art by Max Elkan.

"Phantom of the Seas" has Captain Wolfson strangled by his mutinous crew, then his spirit is trapped in a bottle with a model of his ship. In the present day, the Knowles family buys the ship-in-a-bottle and young Stephen uncorks it, releasing the ghost. Only the connection between the ghost and the ship will save them. Art by Paul Reinman.

"True Ghosts of History: The Grim Lady of Raynham Hall" is based on actual events in the life of Fredrick Marryat. The nautical author sought out the spectre in the Norfolk country house in 1836. The author's daughter, Florence, wrote of the incident in 1917. In 1936 reporters from Country Life went to the house and took photographs of the phantom, considered to be fakes today. Long incorporates both Marryat and the reporters' versions in this two-pager. Art by King Ward.

Frank Belknap Long
And here Frank Belknap Long steps aside for others to take up the work he created. Artists like Al Feldstein who came on with issue #3 and later would be key at EC. But Long's participation with AitU didn't stop there. The publisher grew uneasy when the first public alarm arose around horror comics. Only a request from Long to friend and editor August Derleth secured a letter from Arkham House sanctioning horror comics. This letter in turn quelled the nerves and allowed AitU to go on for 174 issues, weathering the "Seduction of the Innocent" crisis of 1954 and only ending in 1967. Without Frank Belknap Long, the entire genre of horror comics might not have existed!

Both issues of Adventures Into the Unknown are in the public domain and available at Digital Comic Museum and Comic Book Plus.

For all the details on Frank's career in comics I recommend Worlds of Weird.

GW Thomas has appeared in over 400 different books, magazines and ezines including The Writer, Writer's Digest, Black October Magazine and Contact. His website is He is editor of Dark Worlds magazine.

31 Witches | The Swamp Witch

"So! You dared enter the swamp in spite of my warning signs!" -- The Witch of Swamp's End, Scooby Doo, Where Are You!: "Which Witch is Which?"

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

If you'd like to financially support the blog

It doesn't take a lot of money to run a blog, but it does take some and it certainly takes time. In the past, I was able to recover some of that through ads and Amazon's Associates program, but Minnesota tax law now prevents me from participating with Amazon Associates and the ads... Well, the ads were cluttering up the place and I couldn't control which ones showed up as closely as I wanted, so I've removed those.

None of this is meant to be read accompanied by the sound of a sad violin. I blog for love, not money, and the Adventureblog will always be free to read. But it occurred to me that there may be some who want to support the blog with a small, monthly financial donation, so I've created a Patreon page to make that possible. No pressure; it's just there if you want it.

31 Witches | Old Witch

"Toil and trouble for Old Witch. I hope they all get wild oak itch." -- Old Witch, Old Witch and the Polka-Dot Ribbon

Monday, October 12, 2015

Fall ComiCon was fantastic

The Midwest Comic Book Association's Fall ComiCon was Saturday and it went great. As always. Those folks put on a wonderful convention and it's always nice to see friends that I don't usually see more than a couple of times a year at MCBA shows.

Kill All Monsters did well, but in a different way than I'd predicted. I sold a little over half of the Dark Horse Presents bundles, which was less than I expected (though Jason Copland will tell you that anthologies are difficult sells and he's right). Because the graphic novel didn't sell super well at MSP ComiCon last spring, I thought that maybe I'd already reached my local market for that book. I figured that people who already had the graphic novel though would be interested in the all-new, color tale.

What actually happened was that I ran into a bunch of people who weren't familiar with KAM and wanted to try it out. They went for the graphic novel, though several of them did the whole shebang and picked up DHP, too. The result is that I'm down to a little over a dozen copies of the graphic novel. If the spring show goes like this one, I'll be sold out.

Because I had a hard time getting my act together, David didn't have a lot to sell at the show. We left a whole box of stuff at the house, so all he had was the comic he'd made for the spring show. He sold a few of those though and spent the day drawing robots and monsters and robots fighting monsters. I'm amazed by the imagination on that kid and love the inventiveness and humor of his drawings. He's got ideas for a new comic, but we're also going to put together a sketch book with the stuff he drew on Saturday.

Diane did great as well. She's made a reputation for herself as a nerd-friendly face-painter who can reproduce anything on your head. If she can look up a reference on her phone, she can put it on you. And she's got a following now of people who come to her first thing so that she can complete their costumes with make-up. She does an awesome Two-Face, for example.

I spent most of the day at my table, but did get around for a little shopping in the afternoon. Found an awesome General Ursus figure for an even more awesome price and also got caught up with Kaijumax, Zander Cannon's inspired mash-up of kaiju and prison stories, signed by the author of course.

It was also cool to talk to people about non-comics things. I got to visit with a reader of this blog and geek out about A Christmas Carol a little, and also had a conversation with a buddy about the Starmageddon podcast. My dad even showed up for a while and I walked around with him and got to hear him interact with a creator about their mutual interest in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. That's what's great about this show and others like it: People finding all sorts of things to connect over and to be nerdy about. It's fun on the Internet, but it's even more fun in person.

31 Witches | Broom Hilda

"I had a date with the Invisible Man last night, Irwin! Dinner, movie, dancing. It was great! Of course, I'm not actually sure he showed up..." -- Broom Hilda


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