One Step Beyond


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Like every other Golden Age comic-book publisher, Fawcett began publishing horror titles once the genre proved to be so lucrative. Unlike EC and its many imitators, however, Fawcett’s titles – This Magazine Is Haunted, Beware! Terror Tales, Worlds Of Fear, Strange Suspense Stories and Unknown World – tended to emphasize eerie tales of “The Beyond” over the outright four-color gore most publishers splashed onto newsstands nationwide.

Ironically, much of the Fawcett line could well have been published by EC if history – at least as Golden Age comics creator Sheldon Moldoff recalls – worked out a bit differently.

Interviewed by Alter Ego in 2000, Moldoff claimed he reached a deal with EC where the future Batman artist would package two ready-to-print horror titles – This Magazine Is Haunted and Tales Of The Supernatural – for William M. Gaines’ company and receive a stipulated royalty package if the books proved successful.

Several months later,  Moldoff said, EC published Tales From The Crypt and reneged on the original deal. After some legal saber rattling, Moldoff took his ideas to Fawcett where, in his own words, “… they took This Magazine Is Haunted and Worlds of Fear and then Strange Suspense Stories. What they did was pay me $100 for the title, and give me as much work as I wanted.”

Fawcett’s horror titles ran until 1954, when the company cancelled it’s entire line due to decreasing sales and fatigue over the ongoing battle with DC concerning Captain Marvel and Superman. Charlton bought the bulk of Fawcett’s assets – minus the Marvels, sadly  – and the horror comics continued as showcases for  Steve Ditko and other, lesser, talents.

The following atmospheric tale is taken from Fawcett’s flagship title, Haunted, and features the stunning work of EC mainstay George Evans. From This Magazine Is Haunted #5 (1952), here’s “The Slithering Horror Of Skongtong Swamp.”

Great title, huh?

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