Chronological listing of all issues – with comments and annotations. We mention date of publication, cover motive and cover artist (if identified). The number in brackets links cover motive to story inside. Especially for ACE HORROR every issue has been indexed at the Grand Comics Database – the link will show you all available data, including cover shots and story descriptions.
Just click the underlined issue labeling.
A miniature splash page indicates that you can find this entire story in our „Stories“ section. Just click to read it.
Ace’s first horror comic book is CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN #6 (formerly LOVE EXPERIENCES). Because the second issue of CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN was renamed BEYOND #1, we treat CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN #6 like a BEYOND #0.
CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN / 1 issue, formerly LOVE EXPERIENCES
CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN #6
Cover: Dungeon-scene: Reporter finds human head in a box, zombies closing in, girl screaming (0) – Warren Kremer + Al Avison
„High Priestess Of The Snake People“ („Ace Baker“) – reprinted in HAND OF FATE #19
“The Ghost In The Portrait” (Ken Rice) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #18
“Villa Of The Vampire” (Lin Streeter, signed: “Lin”) – reprinted in WEB OF MYSTERY #19
“No Grave To Hold Him” (Mike Sekowsky + Vince Alascia ?) – reprinted in WEB OF MYSTERY #21
Completely handlettered.Two footnotes concerning CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN:
The second issue (#7) is to be published as BEYOND # 1, Ace’s next try at horror magazines. A conflict with the similarly named series ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN (published since the autumn of 1948 by the American Comics Group also known as ACG) is likely to be the reason for the name switch.
Second, it is interesting that in 1947 Ace put out a book (not a comic book!) titled CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN. In it, author Louis K. Anspacher embarks on a search for the „psychic world“. Publisher Wyn may have chosen this title out of nostalgic reasons (or he may have liked the mystic sound of it). He still had much to learn about horror comics …
“Villa Of The Vampire” is posted on Pappy’s delightful “Golden Age Comics“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
THE BEYOND / 30 issues
Cover: The Werewolf strikes (1) – Warren Kremer ?
“The Werewolf Strikes!” („Ace Baker“) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #19
“The Reluctant Ghost” (Ken Rice) – reprinted in BEYOND #30
“The Phantom Puppet” (Lin Streeter) – reprinted in WEB OF MYSTERY #20
“Master Of The Undead” (Al Hartley) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #17
Completely handlettered. The cover motif sends a strong message: the werewolf strikes! In your face. Quite a blast for 1950! Ace’s first horror covers remain their most striking. From then on it goes downhill…
Three of the four stories can be assigned safely (because their titles are mentioned on the cover). The missing fourth could be “The Reluctant Ghost”. In BEYOND #30 (the last issue of this series) there’s a unidentified reprint (noticeable because of its handlettering) of an early Ken Rice ghost tale (more discussion under BEY30). Speculative, but probable.
Postcript December 2012: It is! We got the book now and can confirm our observation.
“The Werewolf Strikes!” bears the marginal note “Challenge Of The Unknown“, meaning this should have been #2 of the series. That is, #7. Confused? You won’t be – once you realize that this is standard procedure among golden age comic books… Last minute they renamed the book into THE BEYOND.
“Master Of The Undead” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: (Vampire rises from casket) (1) – Warren Kremer
“The Mystery Of Lunablanca” (Maurice Gutwirth)
“The Ghost Who Stole A Body” (Ken Rice) – reprinted in WEB OF MYSTERY #26
“Valley Of The Scaly Monsters” („Ace Baker“) – reprinted in WEB OF MYSTERY #27
“The Shrieking Terror” (Mike Sekowsky + Vince Alascia)
Completely handlettered. The first covers for Ace’s horror comic books were executed by the delightful Warren Kremer (who never did a single horror story for Ace!).
He did the odd crime story and used to be an Ace regular in the late forties.
Unusual about this issue (and only occurrence): BEY2 gets by without the two traditional one-page “fillers”.
Two of its stories run over 8 pages (instead of the standardized 7 pages).
Cover: Bargain with death (3) – Warren Kremer
“The Amulet Of Terror” (Mike Sekowsky + ?)
“Behind The Locked Door” (Jerry Grandenetti) – reprinted in WEB OF MYSTERY #26
“The Keeper Of The Flames” („Ace Baker“) – reprinted in WEB OF MYSTERY #25
“Legend Of The Long 3rd Finger” (Louis Zansky + ?)
First Ace horror story from the formidable Louis Zansky!
“The Amulet Of Terror” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: Hands are mine (2) – Warren Kremer
“Trial By Ghost Light” (Ken Rice) – reprinted in HAND OF FATE #25a
“The Spell Of The Hypnotic Chord” (Louis Zansky) – reprinted in BEYOND #30
“Cult Of The Undead” (Jim McLaughlin)
“It Happened On Valentine’s Eve” (John Belfi ?) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #23
Completely handlettered. First appearance of Jim McLaughlin for Ace horror with “Cult Of The Undead”.
He’ll be their most used artist, contributing a record 22 stories for BEYOND alone.
Click on underlined story title to see it posted on Karswell’s blog (the man has a soft spot for ACE HORROR, thankfully!).
Unidentified mystery artwork on “It Happened On Valentine’s Eve”. As you can see on the card, Jim suggests a possible collaboration of Charles Nicholas and John Belfi – we can’t be sure, though.
“Trial By Ghost Light” and “The Spell Of The Hypnotic Chord” are posted on Pappy’s delightful “Golden Age Comics“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
“It Happened On Valentine’s Eve” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: Keeper of time (0) – ???
“Big Top Nightmare” (Lin Streeter) – reprinted in HAND OF FATE #25a
“The Frenzy Of Sheila Lord” (Maurice Gutwirth) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #23
“Enigma Of The Unscheduled Passenger” (Richard Case) – reprinted in WEB OF MYSTERY #27
“Demons Of Walpurgis Mountain” (Sekowsky + ?)
Completely handlettered. Doubtful whether this is still Warren Kremer doing the covers.
“Demons Of Walpurgis Mountain” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: Prepare the shrinking potion (0) – Jim McLaughlin
“Scourge Of The Scorpion Cult” („Ace Baker“) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES Nr. 24
“Riddle Of Pete Dunn’s Last Fight” (Jim McLaughlin) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #25
“Black Wings Of The Demon Gondolier” (Maurice Gutwirth)
“Return From The Great Abyss” (Gene Colan)
Completely handlettered – except for the third story. Like a month before in WEB4 a first Leroy-lettered story creeps in. Beginning with this issue it even spreads to the covers!
Ace is working hard to style their title pages as unattractive as possible.
Cover artist is Jim McLaughlin who establishes himself to be the work horse for Ace horror.
Fate, the hooded figure of destiny, has a cameo in “Return From The Great Abyss”. Three months later he will be featuring his own comic book at Ace: HAND OF FATE.
Cover: [Shadow on stairs, black cat] (0) – ???
“The Doorway To Yesterday” (Mike Sekowsky + Vince Alascia) – reprinted in WEB OF MYSTERY #29
“The Dead Guard The Gold” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Gallows In The Sky” (???)
“Creatures Of Fantasy” (Richard Case)
The cover is really shameful. That’s supposed to be horror?! Compare that to the above posted cover of #1, please. And recoil from loathing.
Only one story Leroy-lettered in this issue. It should be noted that the simultaneously published first issue of BAFFLING MYSTERIES (# 5) shows the exact reverse ratio: Only one story therein is handlettered.
Unidentified mystery artwork on “Gallows In The Sky”. The story doesn’t feel like an Ace horror story up to that point. Could this be work from outside to fill the book? Yet both the fillers and “Gallows” as well have a definite touch of Sy Grudko. I think he’s involved in all three jobs, but I’m not sure…
Cover: The castle in that horrible nightmare I had! (0) – Ken Rice
“Daughters Of Doom” (Louis Zansky)
“The Winged Spectres Of Dismal Swamp” (???)
“Valley Of The Macabre” (Chic Stone)
“Ancient Curse Of The Medusa” (Jim McLaughlin)
It’s Ken Rice’s turn on covers now. Leroy lettering is still on the lookout. One story and both fillers now.
“The Winged Spectres Of Dismal Swamp” is a genuine oddity. In the first place, someone credited it to Lou Cameron (which I refuse to believe). I imagine it could be Paul Parker on pencils. Secondly it’s told in first-person narrative. This happened rarely. There’s only a handful of these in the Ace horror oeuvre. And third of all, it’s about butterflies!
The first person narrative and the possible artwork by Parker leads me to believe that this could very well be a reprint. From one of the “detective” features out of FOUR FAVORITES or SUPER-MYSTERY COMICS. Didn’t find it yet. Anyone out there can help?
Postscript October 2012: I correct myself. The suspected Parker reprint is nonsense.
„Dismal Swamp“ is an original story. And it maaaay be early and bad Cameron on pencils. Brutally bludgeoned by someone’s inks (Mario Rizzi springs to mind) – see annotations for next issue.
“Valley Of The Macabre” is Chic Stone’s first assignment. He will play an artful second fiddle in the next years. His style blends perfectly in with the rest of the staff; he will remain faithful to the horror titles, and illustrate some striking stories.
“Daughters Of Doom” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: That’s a frightening costume! (0/1) – Ken Rice
“Horror Blown In Glass” (Ken Rice + ?)
“On The Other Side Of Death’s Door” (Jim McLaughlin + ?)
“The Vampire Of The Opera” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“The Face In The Mirror” (Mario Rizzi)
The cover depicts a scene which would have been suited to the first story. But doesn’t.
It’s one of Ace’s better covers, yet put to death by the dispensable balloon (“Are you enjoying the party?”) – Tchcch…
Leroy lettering on the rise: Only two stories are still lettered by hand.
“On The Other Side Of Death’s Door” again is one of those rare first-person narratives.
A popular filler plot is already chewed for the umpteenth time in this issue. A person makes a promise, but dies before the promise can be redeemed. What happens? The person’s ghost returns to meet the promise… – “Boooring!” (H. Simpson)
This pattern provides the story plot not only for miscellaneous one-pagers, but for the „long“ story „The Haunted Horse“ (August 1951) as well. And this is really a low point in Ace horror: A kid, a horse, an accident…
(Sorry, nodded off there for a moment)
First credit for Mario Rizzi. This guy appeared to be just a phantom for a long while. The Who’s Who Of American Comic Books locates Rizzi as an Ace staffer from 1952 to 1954. There is no proof. Apart from Lou Cameron’s verbal statement that he saw him work at Ace.
At our „spotting meets“ with Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. he conceded that he often thought early work by McLaughlin to BE Mario Rizzi’s. Meaning that McLaughlin’s early work has been confused for the artist Mario Rizzi. Welcome to the pains of art spotting.
Postscript September 2012: Luckily Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. dug out a signed Rizzi story (his only one) from a 1954 romance book; and we believe this is how Rizzi looked in 1952.
Cover: Why must you drag us forth? (2) – Ken Rice
“Leopard Girl’s Dread Domain” (Chic Stone + ?)
“Release From Satan’s Scourge” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Prisoners In A Lost World” (???) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #26
“The Spell Of The Hanging Tree” (Bill Molno + Vince Alascia ?)
Cover is based loosely on the second story, only the scenery is different. Letterer’s score is Leroy : Hand = fifty-fifty.
The fantasy crudity “Prisoners In A Lost World” looks (because of its unrefined artwork) like a reprint from the late 1940s, but is Leroy-lettered. Which means it is up to date. Another 1950s mystery! For further discussion see reprint entry for BAFFLING MYSTERIES #26.
Enter Bill Molno with “The Spell Of The Hanging Tree”, heavily inked on his first horror job (probably Vince Alascia). He will contribute from now on as a regular. I find it hard to acquire a taste for Molno. However, his long faces with the blank expressions are easy to identify.
This issue’s text story („Land Of Dolls“), by the way, is about an editor who experiences difficulties filling his magazine. He wrecks his brain, he has a smoke and as he steps into the elevator, he is transported into the realm of dolls, who seek their master… Awwww, come on!
“Release From Satan’s Scourge” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: Cult of the Moon God (1) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“Moon God’s Death-Dealing Idol” (Jim McLaughlin)
“The Other Side Of The Macabre Mirror” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Recruits For The Legion Of The Undead” (Mike Sekowsky ?)
“In The Time-Trolls’ Sinister Clutches” (Mike Sekowsky / Bill Walton ?)
Letterer’s score remains at Leroy : Hand = fifty-fifty. The cover is not that easy to spot. I spontaneously attributed it to Ken Rice. Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. thinks it’s Lou Cameron, but taking another look, I see Jim McLaughlin (the red-headed woman!). Hmmmpfh.
First BEYOND issue to include two stories by the same artist. That doesn’t happen too often.
Mike Sekowsky is twice involved here.
“Moon God’s Death-Dealing Idol” is posted on Pappy’s delightful “Golden Age Comics“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
“The Other Side Of The Macabre Mirror” is posted on Pappy’s delightful “Golden Age Comics“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
“In The Time-Trolls’ Sinister Clutches” is posted on Pappy’s delightful “Golden Age Comics“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: Living hands coming out of the earth (0) – Ken Rice
“The Witching Well” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Victims Of The Twin Scourges” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Trail Of The Phantom Gypsy” (Jim McLaughlin)
“The Bedeviled Battaillon” (Richard Case)
Oddity in this issue: just the two „fillers“ are handlettered, everything else is done in Leroy.
Like in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #8 (published simultaneously), we live to see a double feature by the team Lou Cameron & Rocco Mastroserio. Cameron’s style is changing noticeably. The following month will bring forth Cameron’s first solo horror story („Mad Matador’s Fiendish Frenzy“, in BAFF9).
„The Witching Well“ is quite embarrassing: confused, implausible, banal and absolutely pointless. The Ace writers are either swamped by extra work and deliver sloppy stuff – or scripts purchased from the outside are affecting the quality in general. From spring 1952 to the beginning of 1953 Ace is putting out more books then ever before.
„Victims Of The Twin Scourges“ is yet another sorry excuse for a horror story. But proves very entertaining in its imbecility.
Addendum: Blogger Karswell is posting the complete issue in February 2014.
Follow underlined links to „enjoy“ those wacky stories! “The Bedeviled Battaillon” is to be seen in our „Stories“ section. Click miniature splash above to read…
Cover: Crazy coachman… taking us to the cemetery (0) – Ken Rice ?
“Lure Of The Sea Hag” (Gene Colan + ?)
“When The Wolf-Man Prowls” (Mario Rizzi)
“Black Prophecy Of The Crystal Ball” (Bill Molno)
“Game For A Mad Huntress” (Jim McLaughlin)
Land gain for handlettering: both fillers AND Colan’s lead story are done by hand (again) – but for the last time, I might add.
“Game For A Mad Huntress” warms up again a popular plot of its time: A person ends up on an isolated private island and is coerced to embark on a manhunt for his own life – staged by the maniacal ruler of the island.
The 1924 short story was called „The Most Dangerous Game“ (filmed in 1932 starring Joel McCrea). Shot on the same locaction as “King Kong”, by the way…
There is (at least) one other comic book adaptation – Harvey Kurtzman’s „Island Of Death“ (VAULT OF HORROR #13, June 1950). Kurtzman borrows massively from the original; the Ace writers invent a female antagonist and throw in Scottish myths as well.
“Lure Of The Sea Hag” and “Game For A Mad Huntress” are posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: No one cheats death (0) – Ken Rice ?
“Fanged Nemesis Of The North” (Mike Sekowsky / Bill Walton + ?)
“The Gong Of Singh Chlam” (Mario Rizzi)
“Wedded To A Witch” (Bill Molno)
“Satana’s Fatal Beauty” (Mario Rizzi)
This issue marks the fall of man: it is completely Leroy lettered from start to finish.
The other magazines can resist this trend for only a few weeks.
Super Rizzi mystery issue. Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. saw in “Satana’s Fatal Beauty” the pencil work of Robert S. Pious. I revoke this verdict and believe that it’s the same artist who did “The Gong Of Singh Chlam”. So we have a double-phantom-feature starring mysterious Mario Rizzi.
“Fanged Nemesis Of The North” is posted on the “M.O.D.M.“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
“The Gong Of Singh Chlam” is posted on the “M.O.D.M.“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
“Satana’s Fatal Beauty” is posted on the “M.O.D.M.“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: See your future (2) – Ken Rice
“Noose For A Magician” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio ?)
“Don’t Wake The Dead!” (Jim McLaughlin)
“The Gold Monster Of Hell’s Canyon” (Bill Molno)
“The Harpy Of Central Park” (Chic Stone)
One story lettered by hand again in this issue. A last exception for BEYOND.
Another ultra-lame cover. Leave it on the rack! For christ’s sakes, get that umpteenth Atlas clone, looks way cooler…
Inside one of the funniest Ace stories ever (“The Gold Monster Of Hell’s Canyon”) and one of the weirdest (“The Harpy Of Central Park”). You can find both in full scan on our “Stories” section. Just click the splash pages.
Cover: Chessboard of humanity (0) – John Chilly
“The Ghost On Television” („Ace Baker“)
“Vault Of The Winged Spectres” (Lin Streeter)
“Curse Of The Midnight Piper” (Lou Cameron)
“They Burned A Witch” (Dick Beck + ?)
The second Ace horror comic book to be completely lettered with Leroy.
Grand Comics Database credits a certain John Chilly with the cover. Another phantom artist of comics history. Allegedly someone saw the original art to this cover, signed with “Chilly”.
I never heard of this guy, but maybe we can hang those gruesome four (worst ever!) title pages of the autumn of 1952 on him: BEY16 / WEB12 / BAFF10 / HAND12.
He may be even responsible for the “Phoenix”-cover of BEY18, which has been credited wrongly to Gene Colan (see discussion there).
Postscript June 2013: Ha! WEB12 has just been credited to John Chilly (got the info from an Ebay auction.
Another artist rumored to have been with Ace in 1952 is Doug Wildey. I did not come across him looking through the stories, but he could be involved in these off-beat covers.
Good reference for Wildey is: Youthful’s BUFFALO BILL #9.
“The Ghost On Television” is one of the few horror stories of the early 50s that make TV viewing a topic.
“They Burned A Witch” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: Lyre of doom (3) – Jim McLaughlin
“The Terror Of Dread Isle” (Louis Zansky)
“I Walked At Midnight” (Al Eadeh)
“The Lyre Of Doom” (Sy Grudko)
“Treasure Of The Dead” (Gene Colan)
The third Ace horror comic book to be completely lettered with Leroy.
Unknown to me or anyone up to that point was the artist of “The Lyre Of Doom”.
On my second tour through these books I could spot him as Sy Grudko. So this is his first “long” story (apart from all those “fillers” he did) – published at the same time as his „Meet Me At The Cemetery“ in HAND14.
He’s finally allowed to contribute “real” stories, the poor devil.
“The Terror Of Dread Isle” and “I Walked At Midnight” are posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Reminder: Miniature splash pages on this site indicate a complete post of that story in our „Stories“ section. Just click them to get there!
That goes for „Curse of the Fire-Bird“ (above) the same as for „The Scourge of the Undead“ (below)…
Cover: Phoenix (1) – Gene Colan ?
“Curse Of The Fire-Bird” (Lin Streeter)
“Wanted: Ghost Writer” (Sy Grudko, signed)
“The Hand Of The Ancient Evil!” (???)
“The Scourge Of The Undead” (Jim McLaughlin)
A rule by now: issue completely lettered with Leroy. The other horror books have now embarked on this course, too.
The trade publication ALTER EGO #97 reproduces this cover, signed by Gene Colan (see it by clicking on issue number). Comics historian Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. swears to all that’s holy and to his reputation as „art identifier“ that this is never Colan’s work.
It is unusual indeed. It is conceivable that Colan has been presented with this drawing – and signed it on the fly.
The hidden signature (on the newspaper) in the splash page of “Wanted: Ghost Writer” reveals Sy Grudko as another Ace regular. He worked for the crime books as well. We see in him the man who contributed almost all one-page “fillers” for all the horror titles.
“Wanted: Ghost Writer” is a variation of a story from HAND13. In „Fate’s Final Scoop“ newspaper reporter Palmer causes calamities to write about.
And “The Hand Of The Ancient Evil!” is an illustrated version of the text story from HAND10. It’s posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title. The story is marked as „mystery artwork“, but meanwhile I believe it to be Myron Fass. Fass has been credited with Ace horror, so this may just be the job earning him that entry into the Who’s Who of American Comic Books…
Postscript January 2013: And I revoke! It’s not Fass, it’s another Grudko! On pencils, probably, and inked by someone. The same guy who did that mysterious cover drawing of the phoenix. I thought of Frank Giusto (alias „Ace Baker“), but he only did solo jobs and sent in his drawings. So the mystery remains!
Cover: Grave robber (3) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“The Haunted Recording” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Blooded Altar On Frykon Tower” (Bill Walton ?)
“The Vampire Of Montmartre” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Black Coffin Of The Voodoo Jinx” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
Completely in Leroy. Both fillers are mislabeled.
BEYOND hosts the series „True Tales of the Supernatural“, but the one-pagers in this issue are labeled „True Tales of Unexplained Mystery“. That is the label of the fillers in the sister magazine WEB OF MYSTERY. The numbering however is consistent. In WEB19, therefore, we see two more one-pagers named „True Tales of Mystery Unexplained” #37 + #38. These are no reprints from BEY19.
Jim McLaughlin double feature. His first (of two) in BEYOND’s run. Ace’s most employed horror artist did 4 double features in total. The others are WEB26 and BAFF24 (here one of the two stories is a reprint).
Cover: [Monster hand rings bell] (0) – Lou Cameron, signed
“Prophecy Of The Black Dream” (Ken Rice)
“Horde Of The Faceless” (Mike Sekowsky/ Bill Walton ? + Mario Rizzi ?)
“Lair Of The Spidery Fiend” (Dick Beck + George Klein ?)
“Calling All Ghouls” (Chic Stone)
Completely Leroy lettered.
BEYOND’s most beautiful cover, one of very few by Cameron – and the only one he signed.
No artwork by Cameron inside, though.
First BEYOND job by Ken Rice since March 1952. Chic Stone returns, too, after a four-month absence from Ace horror.
Cover: I, Serena, choose you to be my consort (0) – ???
“Red Shadow Of Abaddon” (Sy Grudko)
“Werewolf Blood On My Hands” (Dick Beck ?)
“Graveyard Of Ghost Ships” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“If Flesh Could Crawl…” (Jim McLaughlin)
Completely Leroy lettered. Now a shoddy cover page again. Not a bad motif, but crudely drawn (might even be a Cameron sketch).
From the summer of 1953 on Lou Cameron is on a roll.
He found his style, he’s signing his work now, his artistic ego has developed. He’ll be the outstanding artist in all of Ace’s titles, inspiring his colleagues.
Cameron’s layouts and illustrations hit an all time high and are true gems of pre-code horror.
“Werewolf Blood On My Hands” (one of the best and funniest werewolf tales ever!) is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
“Graveyard Of Ghost Ships” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: Run, or you’ll become a cat too (0) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“Swirling Mist Of Doom” (Dick Beck + ?)
“Prey For The Vampire Horde” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Arise, O Undead Druids!” (Lin Streeter)
“Sorcerer’s Flaming Ring” (Jim McLaughlin)
Completely Leroy lettered.
Your routine, run-of-the-mill Ace horror book. Just mildly, very mildly shocking stories executed with just-above-the-average artwork. But don’t miss this one (hilariously funny vampire story!):
“Prey For The Vampire Horde” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
“Arise, O Undead Druids!” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Here’s my story synopsis for „Prey For The Vampire Horde“ on Grand Comics Database:
Eric Barnes, an audio engineer, is captured by sinister count Pramevi (anagram for ‚vampire‘). He is to build a recording machine to preserve the count’s voice for all eternity. But Barnes constructs a supersonic weapon that disturbs the vampire’s flight. Pramevi crashes to the ground.
The exact same story ending (vampires being defeated by „supersonic oscillator“) can be found three years earlier in „The Vampire Swoops“ in ACG’s ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN #13.
Cover: You have stolen from the grave (0/2) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“In The Coils Of The Python Queen” (Jim McLaughlin)
“The Unsleeping Dead” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Talisman Of The Evil Brood” (Sy Grudko ?)
“Minion Of The Bloody Horsemen” (??? – Myron Fass)
Completely Leroy lettered.
The cover bears slight reference to the second story, wherein graves are at least filmed.
It may be the artwork, the coloring or even the scan, but this issue deems me unusually dark for an Ace comic book. Also, all of the stories are dismal, hopeless, and end on a fatal note.
Unidentified mystery artwork in the last one. I’d like to think there’s Myron Fass involved here.
“The Unsleeping Dead” and “Talisman Of The Evil Brood” are posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: Go, my gargoyles! (0/2) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“Step Into My Empty Shroud” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“These, My Hands Of Doom” (Ken Rice)
“Lair Of The Black Widow” (Sy Grudko)
“The Talking Skull” (Jim McLaughlin)
Completely Leroy lettered.
The cover could be connected to the second story which is once again an amalgam of various Ace topics: A gifted, but misshapen sculptor, a pact with the devil, a love ending in tragedy.
McLaughlin’s style keeps blurring. He looks almost like a blend of Ken Rice and Sy Grudko. Nicely to observe in this issue, because all three are in it.
And again that dismal feeling all over. Cameron working with shadows like never before. Rice moving his characters through dark interiors. Grudko can not help it, and McLaughlin remains in his dark place.
The coloring relies on earth tones, darkest blue, mossy greens and a faded yellow. Is this supposed to be BEYOND’s new trademark?
“Lair Of The Black Widow” and “Step Into My Empty Shroud” are posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: Yes, stewardess! We’ll weather the storm! (0) – ???
“From The Graves They Crept” (Jim McLaughlin + ?)
“Vengeance Of The Possessed” (Louis Zansky)
“The Long Journey Outward” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Totem Justice” (Lou Cameron, signed)
Completely Leroy lettered.
Big surprise of the issue: the cover is gorgeous! Even the balloon does not interfere, but enhances the atmosphere with an ironical touch. Very well done. I just can’t decide if it’s Rice or McLaughlin who did it…
It’s hard with single pictures, especially when there are no faces!
The second BEYOND McLaughlin double feature. He’s keeping the tune dark and dismal.
Two flimsy stories are followed by an Ace typical third, drafted from ancient Greek mythology. The saga about Orpeus and Eurydice godfathers a story about a husband retrieving his wife from the realm of the dead.
Number four is your typical revenge from the beyond plot.
Cover: See, what his wild experiments did to us (0/1) – Ken Rice ?
“When Icy Fingers Clutch” (Ken Rice + ?)
“Death Writes The Horoscope” (Louis Zansky)
“The Secret Fear Of Thurman Renaud” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Me – Beast!” (Jim McLaughlin ? + Sy Grudko ?)
Completely Leroy lettered.
Cover motif is loosely based on the first story. The third time in Ace horror history that an issue is divised by the “Big Four” – Cameron, Rice, Zansky and McLaughlin. Happens simultaneously with BAFF20.
Rice as well as McLaughlin look a bit “half-baked” in here. Therefore the question marks. There’s possible a “third man” involved.
“Me – Beast!” astonishes, because it seems to be a collaboration between McLaughlin and Grudko. I thought he had been demoted to drawing “fillers” again, but he’ll be back (see entry for BAFF21).
Looking at the splash there you will see a construction worker wearing a helmet marked „ACE Co.“.
Cover: Oh, Bill! You found the “treasure of death” (0) – ???
“Haunt Of The Howling Head” (Ken Rice)
“Fangs Of The Fiend” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Catastrophe, Inc.” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Strange Potion Of Dr. Lorch” (Mike Sekowsky + Vince Alascia ?) – reprint from WEB OF MYSTERY #3
Completely Leroy lettered, except for the 1951 reprint, which is hand lettered of course.
This cover and the one from HAND23 is by someone I can’t put my finger on…
“Fangs Of The Fiend” is a superbly absurd dentist story!
A cuckolded dentist pulls out all his rival’s teeth and replaces them with dog’s teeth. This procedure turns the rival into a werewolf. He is caught and his dog’s teeth are pulled out again.
The dentist, however, gets bitten during the process and changes himself into a werewolf. Now it’s the dentist’s turn to get his teeth pulled out. Pre-code horror hogwash at it’s finest!
“Catastrophe, Inc.” is the third Ace horror story – if I remember right – dealing with a newspaper reporter able to foresee the future.
Dr. Wertham allegedly mentions BEYOND #27 as an „orgy of brutality“ in his „Seduction Of The Innocent“ (SOTI): „His body was torn to shreds, his face unrecognizable mass of bloody and clawed of flesh“. I checked and double checked again, but could not find that phrase. There are indeed a few people torn to pieces in this issue, that’s true, but it is not worded this way.
Postscript April 2014: I just got mail from SOTI expert Steve O’Day who informs me that this passage does not come from BEYOND #27, but rather from an as-yet-unidentified comic book. However, Mister O’Day explains, there is a passage on page 111 in the Wertham book, reading as follows:
In many comics stories there is nothing but violence. It is violence for violence’s sake. The plot: killing. The motive: to kill. The characterization: killer. The end: killed. In one comic book the scientist („mad,“ of course), Dr. Simon Lorch, after experimenting on himself with an elixir, has the instinct to „kill and kill again.“ He „flails“ to death two young men whom he sees changing a tire on the road. He murders two boys he finds out camping. And so on for a week. Finally he is killed himself.
So, obviously, “Strange Potion Of Dr. Lorch” is the story in BEYOND #27 to which Dr. Wertham was referring. The story itself is not posted on any horror blog on the internet, but you can view or download my scan of the complete isse by accessing THIS site of the Digital Comic Museum.
Well, thank you very much for shedding that much light upon this dire matter. I strongly recommend a visit to Steve’s wonderful website about all things worthy of censorship! : – )
Cover: (Zombie rises from casket) (1/3) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“Nightmare Carnival” (Ken Rice)
“Invitation From A Ghost” (Louis Zansky)
“Waves Of The Creeping Death” (Jim McLaughlin)
“The Persevering Mummy” („Ace Baker“) – reprint from WEB OF MYSTERY #3
Completely Leroy lettered, except again for the 1951 reprint, which is hand lettered of course. The cover could hint to either one of two stories, in which the undead rise from their coffins.
After seven issues in a row the first one without a contribution by Lou Cameron.
He’ll be back for the last issue, BEY30.
Cover: The Master summons the undead (3) – ???
“Doomsmoke” (Ken Rice)
“Legend Of The Long 3rd Finger” (Louis Zansky) – reprint from BEYOND #3
“Candles For The Undead” (Jim McLaughlin)
“The Face In The Fog” (Martin “Marty” Rose, signed) – reprint from WEB OF MYSTERY #3
Two reprints and two originals in this issue.
“Doomsmoke” being the last by Ken Rice for BEYOND – and his second to last for Ace Horror in general.
Typically Ace: In “Candles For The Undead” the underlying nastiness of the plot (corpses being molten down into fat and then fabricated into candles) is annulled by a noble 18th century setting. Ponytailed men in shirts with quillings and a lady in a long robe lend aristocratic flair to a basically cruel ghost story.
“Candles For The Undead” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
Cover: (High priest appears out of smoke in mummy’s tomb) (0) – ???
“Code Of The Shadowmaster” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“The Reluctant Ghost” (Ken Rice) – reprint from BEYOND #1
“Slaves Of The Undead Brain” (Louis Zansky)
“The Spell Of The Hypnotic Chord” (Louis Zansky) – reprint from BEYOND #4
Last issue of Ace’s horror flagship title, and it’s a good one. Out with a bang, not with a whimper.
Interesting cover art, to start with. That’s not Ken Rice or Jim McLaughlin, as so often. There’s a Warren Kremer touch to it (who did the very first Ace horror covers, ironically).
Cameron’s “Shadowmaster” is an addleheaded story about a magic sackcloth and cutting silhouettes, but fun and again most inventive (the absurdly tilted castle on page 2 looks like it’s made out of rubber!). On page 3 Cameron uses open scissors for panel borders!
The commendable Mr. Karswell finally uploaded „Code of the Shadowmaster“ in August 2014.
“The Reluctant Ghost” is clearly a reprint, but where from?
Could this be the missing story from BEYOND #1? Everything points that way. Rice was in the books from the very beginning, it’s an early horror work by him, so it may very well be a last-minute reprint in this last issue.
Postcript December 2012: It is! We got the book now and can confirm our observation.
And so BEYOND returns to its beginnings – and ends.
Closing shop with a Zansky-double feature. Nice to compare a 1951 to a late 1954 Zansky.
“Slaves Of The Undead Brain” is a wonderfully zany Zansky story packed with wild ideas. There’a a touch of “Westworld” and even James-Bond-gadgetry. Shape of things to come.
“Slaves Of The Undead Brain” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
For the record: BEYOND – Top Spotted Artists (number of stories in brackets)
|Lou Cameron||(15)||6 with Rocco Mastroserio|
Each 1: Charles Nicholas, Bill Walton, Al Hartley, Jerry Grandenetti, Al Eadeh and possibly John Belfi.