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.
WEB OF MYSTERY / 29 issues
WEB OF MYSTERY #1
Cover: [Woman in bed, giant snake, zombie witch doctor] (0) – Warren Kremer
“The Case Of The Beckoning Mummy” (Mike Sekowsky ? + Vince Alascia ?)
“Venom Of The Vampires” (Martin “Marty” Rose)
“The Lamenting Voice Of The Bell” („Ace Baker“)
“Ghost Ship Of The Caribbean” (Ken Rice)
Looking at WEB1 I made a nice (and surprising) discovery: WEB OF MYSTERY should originally have been named CREEPY STORIES. That’s a fun fact – got proof for it.
The splash of the first story is marked in the lower right corner with “Creepy Stories“, hinting at the series in which the story was planned to appear. You will find this “flag” in other issues.
Another definite pointer is the title of the one-page “fillers” – they are called „True Creepy Tales“ in this issue, and only in this issue. In WEB2 they will be renamed „True Tales Of Unexpected Mystery“.
The term “Creepy” will be very popular ten years later. Ace could have gone through with it and would have been pioneers!
I suspect the editors realized (at the last minute) that their comics just were not CREEPY enough. The term really doesn’t apply to Ace horror books.
WEB OF MYSTERYs covers are bad in such a way that the first one by Warren Kremer will stand out as the best in its four and a half year run. Great composition, distinct statement, no debilitating balloon; they’ll never accomplish that again.
“The Case Of The Beckoning Mummy” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
“Venom Of The Vampires” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #2
Cover: But I’m not dead (3) – Warren Kremer ?
“The Lorelei Of Loon Lake” („Ace Baker“) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #26
“Legacy Of The Accursed” (Maurice Gutwirth)
“The Unseen Host” (Ken Rice)
“Midnight Marauder” (Mike Sekowsky + Vince Alascia)
Ace horror is starting in a mild vein. All stories end happily in this issue, too. Villains are exposed and rendered harmless, crimes are solved, and restless spirits find their eternal peace.
Nothing “creepy” here.
WEB OF MYSTERY #3
Cover: Violent death through my violin (1) – Warren Kremer ?
“Curse Of The Condemned Gypsy” (Jay Scott Pike) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #22
“Strange Potion Of Dr. Lorch” (Mike Sekowsky + Vince Alascia) – reprinted in BEYOND #27
“The Face In The Fog” (Martin “Marty” Rose) – reprinted in BEYOND #29
“The Persevering Mummy” („Ace Baker“ + ?) – reprinted in BEYOND #28
This issue has been in entirety exploited for reprints.
Can’t see a special reason for this. The artwork is not that strong. “The Persevering Mummy” is even the weakest job by “Ace Baker” (who has been disclosed as being the artist Frank Giusto).
It should be noted that ALL „Ace Baker“ stories got reprinted.
WEB OF MYSTERY #4
Cover: Ghost of Sir Reginald (0) – ???
“Stalked By A Nameless Dread” (Jim McLaughlin + ?)
“Vengeance Of The Undead” (???)
“Sign Of The Smiling Spectre” (Jerry Grandenetti)
“The Haunted Horse” (Gene Colan + ?) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #26
The cover artwork is hard to identify, because we see no faces here. I suspect Jim McLaughlin who takes over the reigns from Warren Kremer. Completely handlettered – except for the last story.
Spotlight: LEROY LETTERING
„The Haunted Horse“ is the first Ace horror story to be lettered in Leroy. Leroy is a way of drawing letters with stencils and templates – like rival publisher EC does in its crime and horror books. Ace is going to replace the traditional hand lettering (which looks more fluid and organic) step by step and issue by issue with the Leroy system.
Handlettering is much more suited for visual art; Leroy brings a cold, mechanical feeling to the table. Boosting the stiffness of Ace’s literary touch. The worst are sound effects done with Leroy letters…. Brrrr!
Even though I personally may find it ugly, there are two reasons that speak in favor of Leroy:
First, it gives the comics a certain literary respectability, and second, long blocks of text (as they were the rule with EC and Ace!) are easier to design and execute in Leroy than by hand.
But it’s still the exception in the early 1950s. The Avon company introduces Leroy in spring 1951 (for example with STRANGE WORLDS #2), EC operates since 1947 with stencil technique (as in PICTURE STORIES FROM WORLD HISTORY). Jim Wroten, EC’s Leroy man, reports having used Leroy on WONDER WOMAN in 1945. The publishing houses of Quality, Fox and Hillmann used Leroy from time to time in the late 1940s.
Premiere for Gene Colan at Ace horror. This tearjerking story about a boy and his horse does not do him justice. But he will be illustrating a handful of extremely powerful pages. It is unclear whether he did the inking himself.
First contribution by Jim McLaughlin for Ace’s second horror title. His style is still awkward, but will develop year by year. McLaughlin is going to be one of Ace’s “cornerstones”, present in almost every issue.
Unidentified mystery art in “Vengeance Of The Undead” – a wild guess: Zansky inked by Mastroserio.
For an art sample of Jerry Grandenetti please refer to the following link (we didn’t post one).
“Sign Of The Smiling Spectre” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #5
Cover: Cro-Magnon Man (0) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“Vengeance Weaves A Tapestry” (Lin Streeter)
“Rendezvous With The Phantom Gypsies” (Ken Rice)
“The Menace That Stalked Brooding Cunliffe” (Jim McLaughlin) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #24
“Valley Of The Mayan Goddess” (Martin “Marty” Rose) – reprinted in BAFFLING MYSTERIES #21
Again only one story is Leroy lettered; the handlettering still retains the… uh … upper hand.
Third (and final) job by Martin Rose, who fitted in quite nicely with his clean matter-of-fact style.
This book provides more tales of tameness. An ancient demon is rendered harmless, an orphan boy finds his peace of mind, a fiendish rival leaves the picture and a traitor pays by losing his mind.
The cover seems to refer to a story pubished months ago! „Strange Potion Of Dr. Lorch“ from WEB OF MYSTERY #3. This proves how desperate artists and writer were seeking for inspiration in those haywire times, even sucking it out of already published material.
WEB OF MYSTERY #6
Cover: What are you doing here, young lady? (0) – Ken Rice ?
“The Vampires’ Weird Duel” (Richard Case)
“Gargoyle’s Revenge” (Louis Zansky)
“The Mad Beast Of Monaco” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Tribe Of The Terrible Trees” (Jim McLaughlin)
Like in BEYOND, the Leroy lettering gains land. It’s now fifty-fifty.
“The Vampires’ Weird Duel” blends a vampire tale with lots of fencing and military history. And is set in the small European country of Luxembourg. Ever heard of it?
That’s how exotic Ace was.
“Tribe Of The Terrible Trees” – another early job by Jim McLaughlin and a precious baddie. An exciting basic idea (tree people) is run into the ground by horribly embarrassing balloons.
“Gargoyle’s Revenge” is posted on the blog “Ragged Claws Network“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #7
Cover: What was that noise? (0) – Ken Rice
“Carnival Of Terror” (Charles Nicholas)
“The Statue Of Evil” (Mike Sekowsky + Vince Alascia ?)
“Mark Of The Sinister Cat” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Quest Of The Never-Ending” (Louis Zansky)
Only one story still lettered by hand.
First appearance of an artist who gets to be a steady contributor to Ace horror. Charles Nicholas drops his business card with „Carnival of Terror“. His artwork is not spectacular, but more than just solid. Can be confused with colleagues Bill Molno (who looks more ‘wooden’) and Dick Beck (who looks more expressive). Molno and Beck will also be entering the scene at Ace.
“Carnival Of Terror” and “The Statue Of Evil” are posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
“Quest Of The Never-Ending” is posted on the blog “Ragged Claws Network“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #8
Cover: [Woman trapped in gigantic spider net] (0) – Lou Cameron
“The Haunts Of Devil’s Lake” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Fury Of The Macabre Mannequins” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio, hidden signature on wall)
“Genie Of The Jewel” (Louis Zansky)
“Wraith Of The Battle Vest” (Mike Sekowsky + ?)
Handlettering conquers second story back: again it’s fifty-fifty.
The cover is out of line. Firstly, here is a new artist at work and secondly, it contains no balloon. Rare exception. The cover is not particularly good, but an unsigned Cameron.
“Fury Of The Macabre Mannequins” (posted in „Stories“) shows a hidden signature (wooden beam on wall in splash page). I am really glad to have found this signature. Proves Jim and I are spot-on in our art spotting.
“Genie Of The Jewel” is posted on the blog “Ragged Claws Network“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #9
Cover: Arch of demons (0) – Ken Rice
“Lynx Man’s Nine Lives” (??? + Rocco Mastroserio ?)
“The Phantom Model” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Vampire Bride” (Louis Zansky)
“Pathway To The Great Abyss” (Lou Cameron + Mario Rizzi ?)
Total defeat of handlettering: Only the balloon on the cover and both one-pagers are done manually.
In “Lynx Man’s Nine Lives” some pages look like they have been penciled by Louis Zansky. Anyone share that opinion?
“Vampire Bride” presents vampire horror clad in a romance story.
“Pathway To The Great Abyss” really is horriby drawn (have a look at the cloud there on page 2!), but was done so by Lou Cameron, who will be turning out masterpieces of graphic art in a year from now on.
WEB OF MYSTERY #10
Cover: [Blonde woman looks into Mirror Of Destiny: This is the way you really are…] (3) – Ken Rice ?
“Weird Bells Of Wozzeck” (Bill Molno)
“The Macabre Choice Between Two Doors” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Prophecy Of The Frightful Image” (Mike Sekowsky / Bill Walton ?)
“The High Priestess’ Spell Of Doom” (Chic Stone)
Handlettering on the rise again: both one-pagers AND a full story done by hand.
Ace keeps on shoveling morale: Bad people are justly punished and innocent ones can escape evil. No surprises in this issue.
In “The High Priestess’ Spell Of Doom” Chic Stone is unable to draw jackals. His jackals are a mixture of apes and rats – and therefore only depicted in seven panels (and never in full figure).
Concerning “Prophecy Of The Frightful Image” and other stories: I can hardly tell a Sekowsky from a Walton. That’s why it’s a double credit. Could a Sekowsky expert please take care of this?
“Weird Bells Of Wozzeck” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #11
Cover: Giant Werewolf has awakened (0/2) – Ken Rice ?
“Bride’s Dowry Of Doom” (Louis Zansky)
“Dreaded Duo’s Blood Banquet” (Mike Sekowsky / Bill Walton ?)
“Satan And The Devil-Bull” (Lou Cameron + Rocco Mastroserio)
“The Druid Dirge” (Bill Molno)
The score still stands: both one-pagers AND a full story done by hand.
The cover is based loosely on the second story where werewolves make an appearance.
„The Druid Dirge“ takes us to Stonehenge in England and shows us the place how it guaranteedly is not. An altar in the middle with steps and trees all around? Next to a villa and a small cemetery in front of it? These comic books have never stopped short of the facts.
WEB OF MYSTERY enters a „manic phase“ with this issue. WEB11-13 mark a new quality in Ace horror. We get drastic and brutal stories, which won’t end happy. These are the months of Ace’s aggressive push into the horror market. They are straying from the more tame house-style – either from capacity overload or to zero in on the rough-and-tough of the competition.
“Bride’s Dowry Of Doom” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #12
Cover: You who scoffed at my prophesies (0) – John Chilly
“The Arm Of Tatra Magis” (Ken Rice)
“The Footlight Furies” (Chic Stone)
“The Carpenter’s Cursed Creature” (Bill Molno)
“The Silver Bell Of Doom” (Lou Cameron)
Rear guard battle on handlettering ridge: down to just one story.
Again an out of line cover. Not bad, but crudely done (the man’s face is all wrong). This is a mystery artist responsible for the worst covers in Ace’s horror run – all to appear in the next months.
And it’s another (second) credited cover for John Chilly (see BEYOND #16). A guy who seems to have drawn only these two title pages. Ever. In his whole life. Bizarre!
WEB OF MYSTERY #13
Cover: Partners in greed (0/1/2/3/4) – Lou Cameron ?
“Spell Of The Devil Dancers” („Ace Baker”)
“The Beast Of Skeleton Island” (Lou Cameron)
“Syr-Darya’s Death Song” (Lin Streeter)
“Mastodon Menace” (Bill Molno)
This could be the first issue completely done with Leroy, but the existing scan is missing the two “fillers” – so we can’t be sure. A very clever cover. Relates to all stories, because all stories feature characters from the afterlife or underworld.
Interesting good girl art in “Spell Of The Devil Dancers” – and what a nice surprise: “Ace Baker” (Frank Giusto) is back! He returns to contribute three more stories for Ace horror (the two others appearing in BEY16 and HAND15).
“The Beast Of Skeleton Island” is posted on Pappy’s delightful “Golden Age Comics“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
“Mastodon Menace” is posted on Pappy’s delightful “Golden Age Comics“ blog – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #14
Cover: A horrible transformation takes place (0) – ???
“The Sign Of Doom” (Bill Molno + ?)
“You Dare Not Speak About It!” (Mike Sekowsky / Bill Walton ?)
“The Dead Dance On Halloween” (Charles Nicholas)
“Haunt Of The Iskander Fjord” (Chic Stone)
Strangely one full story again is lettered by hand…
“The Dead Dance On Halloween” is sizzling with sexual stereotypes and metaphors. A well-behaved blonde and a devious dark-haired woman love the same man. The wicked one feeds her victim a love potion. Instantly the guy mutates into a wild ape man, dragging his love interest into the woods.
Wonderful! Hasn’t that happened to all of us one time or another…?
“The Dead Dance On Halloween” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #15
Cover: These footprints are fantastic (0) – Jim McLaughlin
“The Famine Of Chichen-Itza” (Jim McLaughlin)
“The Dreadful Night” (Charles Nicholas ?)
“Death Never Takes A Furlough” (Lin Streeter)
“Mirror Of Mephisto” (Charles Nicholas)
Now finally and completely lettered with Leroy.
With WEB15 Ace returns to unhurried navigable waters. Business as usual with an altruistic Maya princess out of the past, a hobo’s bedevilment, vampires running amuck in a German castle and a harmless devil’s mirror world.
Double feature for Charles Nicholas. In four consecutive issues he will be almost the leading artist. No other Ace series features as much work by Nicholas as WEB OF MYSTERY.
WEB OF MYSTERY #16
Cover: Ulrik the horrible hangman (2) – ???
“Today You Die!” (Bill Molno + Charles Nicholas ?)
“The Curse Of The Horrible Hangman” (Charles Nicholas ?)
“Terror Stalked The Secret City” (Bill Discount, signed)
“It Won’t Come Back Until Midnight” (Charles Nicholas ?)
The cover is possibly Ace’s worst ever – what a lemon!
(see it by clicking underlined issue number above)
„Ulrik the horrible hangman“ ?! Horrible, indeed!
This is, thank God, the last contribution of the „artist“ who did all the crappy covers.
One story is handlettered, but seems to be bought in addition to fill the issue. More clues: “Terror Stalked The Secret City” is a signed work by Bill Discount and his only one for Ace horror. Although he is rumored to have worked on Ace’s few war comic books. Can’t confirm that yet. His art looks quite dashing, because he swiped panels from Alex Toth.
“The Phantom Ship” (from OUT OF THE SHADOWS #6, Oct. 1952) is the name of the story where “Terror Stalked The Secret City” ‘borrowed’ some artwork. Karswell posted the original here. With Ace swipes appended!
WEB16 is an extraordinary book. In three of the four stories we find artwork by Charles Nicholas (got special advice from Charlton expert Ramon Schenk). Never has an artist been so singularily present in an Ace comic book. All three stories feature Nicholas’ standard fiends – big lumberjack like goon type hooded chunks with wrinkled mugs. Okay, in the third story they’re not wearing hoods.
The horror comic book with the most monotonous demons.
“It Won’t Come Back Until Midnight” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #17
Cover: [Green Hag above Tunnel Of Love] (2) – Lou Cameron
“Name From The Nether World” (Sy Grudko ?)
“From The Graves Of The Unholy” (Lou Cameron)
“Blood Potion Of The Black Cult” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
“The Castle Sinister” (swipe artist ???)
Again one story lettered by hand.
Second assignment for Sy Grudko as well as our „swipe artist“. Where have all the regulars gone?
McLaughlin is cramming BEYOND. Zansky and Sekowsky are doing their part.
But Stone, Cameron (who thankfully returns in this issue) and Rice especially seem to have taken a leave of absence. Which might explain the hiring of temps like Mr. Swipe Man.
I was surprised to discover that Grudko (who hasn’t been paid any attention to in comics history before) gets his foot in the door as a hard working Ace regular. From 1953 on he illustrates 15 full stories (besides the notorious one-pagers).
Trying to trace back the beginning of Sy Grudko’s filler work remains a bit of a mystery. It looks like he did both of the very first one-pagers in CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN, in fact. Then he may be on pencils (the year 1951 through) and from winter/spring 1952 on I see him doing solo jobs (again). Grudko will be staying THE filler artist up to the bitter end of the Ace horror titles in 1955.
“From The Graves Of The Unholy” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #18
Cover: All those bullets fired and he’s still standing (3) – Ken Rice
“The Moon Was Red” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Out Of Blackness They Come!” (Dick Beck + ?)
“Corpses On Cue” (Jim McLaughlin + ?)
“Evil Twangs The Devil’s Harp” (Ken Rice)
WEB’s positively second issue complete in Leroy.
Ken Rice back on board after eight months of absence at WEB.
This is the Ace horror issue from whence Cameron will be signing all his jobs. I detected a first Cameron solo signature in the April 1953 CRIME MUST PAY THE PENALTY #31 (story title “Hideout Of No Return”). From here on, everything NOT signed by Cameron IS not Cameron.
All the artists look a bit „off“ in this issue. Cameron is strangely inked, McLaughlin looks like he’s being inked by Rice – or is this a Zansky inked by McLaughlin? Rice has warped his style into Cameron’s compositions – or is this another Cameron, just inked by Rice?
Questions over questions…
Nah, I’m just trying to create mass hysteria here… At least we know why Cameron looks strangely inked:
In a note to Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. Lou Cameron mentions that he is trying new ways of inking during spring/ summer of 1953. Original wording: „Experiment with india ink fountain pen that didn’t work as advertised“ (referring to the story „Double X Marks The Spot“ in CRIME MUST PAY THE PENALTY #34, published in September 1953). Comparing these stories reveals the same mode of inking. The same applies to his contribution in WEB19. In WEB20 Cameron is off the fatal fountain pen again.
“The Moon Was Red” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
“Corpses On Cue” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #19
Cover: I’m to die by the hands of a monster (0) – Jim McLaughlin
“Beware The Phantom Spear” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Black Fury” (Ken Rice)
“The Night The Statues Walked” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Villa Of The Vampire” (Lin Streeter) – reprinted from CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN #6
Completely Leroy lettered, except for the last story – which safely indicates a reprint by now.
WEB19 is the first Ace horror comic book to run a reprint, by the way.
Ken Rice draws a bit sloppy, seems to have been in a hurry. Cameron strangely inked again.
We know, of course, that he’s still fighting with that fountain pen.
“The Night The Statues Walked” is another rare first person narrative, told by a detective solving a murder mystery.
WEB OF MYSTERY #20
Cover: Boil, cauldron of evil (0) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“Out Of The Black Night” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“What Was It?” (Jim McLaughlin)
“The Phantom Puppet” (Lin Streeter) – reprinted from BEYOND #1
“Crimson Hands Against Him” (Sy Grudko)
According to the “Eerie Publications Index” this issue is a full reprint of BEYOND #1 from November 1950. Nice to know, because BEY1 is the only Ace horror book missing at the Digital Comic Museum. Alas, it’s a misinformation. True only to a small part. Let’s have a look:
“Crimson Hands Against Him” is a Grudko, who doesn’t do solo stories before end of 1952. Besides, it’s Leroy lettered, just like McLaughlins “What Was It?”. “Out Of The Black Night” is a signed Cameron and thus a fresh job. So wrong, wrong and wrong again.
Only Streeter’s „Phantom Puppet“ is a hit. It is handlettered, and the story gets announced on BEY1s cover.
Postcript February 2013: We have been able to scan the long missing BEYOND #1 and uploaded it to the DCM, of course.
WEB OF MYSTERY #21
Cover: [Giant Spider] (0) – ???
“Ghoul’s Gold” (Dick Ayers, signed)
“Bondage In Stone” (Ken Rice)
“Meet The Cowled Lady” (Chic Stone)
“No Grave To Hold Him” (Mike Sekowsky + Vince Alascia ?) – reprinted from CHALLENGE OF THE UNKNOWN #6
Completely Leroy lettered, except for the last story – which is a 1950 reprint.
Another poor and puerile cover, featuring no balloon, but a text insert. That’s a first one for Ace horror. And a last one.
Again we find an outsider’s job: Dick Ayers submits a signed work. A one-shot, I might add.
The company seems to be in distress again. Ace has to edit all of six (!) romance titles in these months, not to mention their crime and war books.
WEB OF MYSTERY #22
Cover: Horror masks that hold you (0) – Jim McLaughlin ?
“She Stalks At Sundown” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Halfway To Eternity” (Edward Goldfarb + ?)
“Legion Of The Doomed” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Spectres Of The Jolly Roger” (Ken Rice)
After three issues in a row containing each one reprint, WEB22 is charged with four new stories – of course Leroy lettered.
The cover motif could be linked to the text story in this issue, dealing with African voodoo masks.
And we see a one-time cameo by Edward Goldfarb, an underrated early 1950s horror artist. Worked for Avon, Atlas, St. John, Story, Trojan, Youthful and Ziff-Davis.
Sy Grudko really puts in an effort doing his two one-pagers. Maybe because he wasn’t assigned a whole story?
“She Stalks At Sundown” (click mini-splash above to read the whole story) is not only beautiful to look at, but also a swipe – concerning the subject-matter.
The tamed were-girl turning beast again fits the description of „Shadow Of The Panther“ in ACGs ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN #9 (Feb. 1950).
WEB OF MYSTERY #23
Cover: For centuries I have waited for someone to find my tomb (F) – ???
“How Manuelo Died” (Jim McLaughlin)
“The Oozing Horror” (Charles Nicholas + ?)
“Long Arm Of The Undead” (Ken Rice)
“Woman Of A Thousand Faces” (Louis Zansky)
Completely Leroy lettered; the cover seems to be McLaughlin, but I am not entiryly sure.
Cover motif refers to the first of the one-pagers! That’s a singularity we’ll never see again (otherwise it would not be called a singularity)…
McLaughlin’s style is shifting more into an abstract direction. I guess he’s working even faster than before and has a lot of work on his hands. Sy Grudko stays reduced to doing the fillers – and an old acquaintance is back in terror town: Charles Nicholas (having paused almost a year at Ace).
His “The Oozing Horror” is one of those first-person narratives we love to point out.
WEB OF MYSTERY #24
Cover: The Reptile World needs human specimens (0) – Ken Rice ?
“I Died Laughing” (Jim McLaughlin)
“Realm Of The Lost Faces” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“She Shrieked With Horror” (Ken Rice)
“My Sinister Double” (Chic Stone + ?)
Completely Leroy lettered; Chic Stone returns after a half year’s absence.
“Realm Of The Lost Faces” is yet another psychedelic masterwork of graphic story telling – brought to you by Lou Cameron. Of course, we’ll show it to you: just click the miniature splash coming up in the next issue below!
“She Shrieked With Horror” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #25
Cover: He doesn’t think we exist (0) – Jim McLaughlin
“The Man Who Died Tomorrow” (Ken Rice)
“Lair Of The Silken Doom” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Mine Own Executioner” (Jim McLaughlin ? + Sy Grudko ?)
“The Keeper Of The Flames” („Ace Baker“) – Reprinted from BEYOND #3
Ken Rice’s strokes seem more fleetingly than usual, and the McLaughlin could be a collaborative effort with Sy Grudko.
“The Man Who Died Tomorrow” is a wild time travel story involving a magician from the 21st century checking into the world of 1954. The only time travel story Ace ever did, if I recall correctly. Apart from “The 5 Lives Of Otto Marlin” (see it posted on “Stories”).
We possibly see here a hidden signature by Ken Rice (he only did one other in an early crime story). Here’s giving of evidence. The magician is called “Dallon”, just Dallon, without any first name. On his tomb on page 1 it reads “K. Dallon”, on page 2 however it reads “R. Dallon”. Mistake or hidden signature? „K.R.“ = Kenneth Rice?
This issue’s text story („The Head Of Krishna Sru“) is one of Ace’s best. An eccentric tongue-in-cheek tale employing characters right out of a screwball comedy.
“Lair Of The Silken Doom” is posted on „Pappy’s Golden Age Blogzine (scroll down to second story there).
WEB OF MYSTERY #26
Cover: Doom of the strangling witch (0) – ???
“Spell Of The She-Bat” (Jim McLaughlin ? + Sy Grudko ?)
“The Ghost Who Stole A Body” (Ken Rice) – reprinted from BEYOND #2
“Satan’s Impresario” (Jim McLaughlin + ?)
“Behind The Locked Door” (Jerry Grandenetti) – reprinted from BEYOND #3
Good thing with Ace comic books after 1952 is, you know instantly which stories are the reprints. Because they will be handlettered. Two in this issue.
WEB is fading slowly now. The second to last pre-code issue to feature original art. Done single-handedly by Jim McLaughlin (his third double feature issue out of four).
“Satan’s Impresario” is posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog “The Horrors Of It All“ – to read click on underlined title.
WEB OF MYSTERY #27
Cover: We have returned with your favorite noose… for you! (0) Jim McLaughlin ?
“One Door From Disaster” (Lou Cameron, signed)
“Valley Of The Scaly Monsters” („Ace Baker“) – reprint from BEYOND #2
“Mission Of Lost Souls” (Sy Grudko)
“Enigma Of The Unscheduled Passenger” (Richard Case) – reprint from BEYOND #5
Inside gag in “One Door From Disaster”: the policeman on page 2 is leafing through a comic book – CRIME MUST PAY THE PENALTY, which is Ace’s longest running crime title (also featuring artwork by Cameron).
Long time no see: first solo job by Sy Grudko (since WEB17!) – and it’s a winner! He’s got ‘infected’ by his colleagues’ styles and works with open panel borders and shifted layouts. “Mission Of Lost Souls” is Grudko’s most beautiful splash page – and I dare say: ever!
See a reworked and newly hand-lettered version of the latter story in black and white on Pappy’s delightful blog here: “One Door From Disaster” (reprint from WEIRD ROMANCE #1, Eclipse Comics, 1988).
WEB OF MYSTERY #28
Code-approved Cover: I am RETRIBUTION… (1/2/3) – ???
“The Haunted Three” (Rudy Palais) – reprinted from FOUR FAVORITES #22
“Curse Of The Mummy” (Rudy Palais) – reprinted from FOUR FAVORITES #23
“Boomerang Bullet” (???) – reprinted from FOUR FAVORITES #27 ???
Seven months after WEB27 Ace tries a relaunch under the code. The issue is filled with old 1940s material and (now comes the fun part) has been heavily reworked, censored and doctored to meet approval of the Comics Code Authority. I will spare you the details, but there are guns and bodies removed and what have you.
The cover looks like a collage. The men in the foreground and the face in the background stand in no relation to each other. It’s all handlettered again, because it’s all reprints. This is more a crime than a horror comic book.
The stories feature a hooded character called “Retribution” (who could just as well have been “Fate” from the HAND OF FATE-series), but is in reality – “The Unknown”, another destiny-like character Ace used in its FOUR FAVORITES comic books ( published 1941-1947).
Some balloons have been visibly doctored to fit the word „retribution“ in.
Between the second and the third comic story there are TWO text stories in this issue. Both are reprints (“The Scarlet Curse” from BEYOND #17 and “The Sabre Of Gregory Tamoric” from HAND OF FATE #17). Obviously picked by random.
WEB OF MYSTERY #29
Code-approved Cover: [Man and symbols of superstition] Superstitious? (text) – Louis Zansky
“Deep Into Darkness” (Paul Parker ?) – reprinted from FOUR FAVORITES # 27 ???
“The Doorway To Yesterday” (Mike Sekowsky) – reprint from BEYOND #7
“Conscience In The Witness Chair” (Paul Parker) – reprinted from FOUR FAVORITES #29
And WEB is closing shop with a rare cover by Louis Zansky, Ace’s last man standing. The cover blurb (“Superstitious? Read this illuminating article”) refers to the two-page text story inside, a factual piece about superstition. That’s a first one! How much more off the track can you be designing a title page?!
Ace, Ace, Ace… they never had a fortunate touch with covers (see discussion under section “Artists”).
James Ludwig posted on the DCM a very enjoyable page-to-page comparison of originals and code-approved reprints – click here to link.
You will find there the hilarious reworkings of the second and third story, preceded by a doctored story from an Ace crime book.
For the record: WEB OF MYSTERY – Top Spotted Artists (number of stories)
|Lou Cameron||(16)||5 with Rocco Mastroserio|
Each 2: Rudy Palais, Paul Parker. Their stories are reprints from 1940s crime comic books.
Each 1: Maurice Gutwirth, Richard Case, Dick Beck, Jay Scott Pike, Bill Discount, Dick Ayers, Edward Goldfarb and Gene Colan.