5 issues from Fawcett + 7 issues from Charlton
Editor of these books is solely Roy Ald.
By the way: almost all of the books are available to view and/or download at the Digital Comic Museum. I took care of some missing issues. So enjoy. And I’m working on completing the whole run, of course. Every issue has been freshly indexed (with the fabulous help of art spotting wizard Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.) on the Grand Comics Database – the link will show you all available data, including cover shots and story descriptions.
Just click the underlined title…
Stories posted on the internet are linked (also marked with an underline). Miniature splash pages tell you that this story has been posted on our horror websites – click to read the whole stories.
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #1
Cover: (Man being gripped by giant skeletal hand) – Sheldon Moldoff + ?
“The Man Who Warmed The Bones Of The Dead!” (Bob Powell)
“He Bartered His Head!” (Bernard Baily)
“High Wire!” (Mike Sekowsky + ?)
Fawcett launches yet another horror title – using their same roster of artists.
Bob Powells leads off with a mild, but moody ghost story – strangely titled “The Man Who Warmed The Bones Of The Dead!”. But it is just that: Housekeeper and furnace-tender Gisetto looks after the heating in a house of ghosts for ten years!
“He Bartered His Head!” sounds garishly sensational, but is a rather bland run-of-the-mill tale about a native curse and a man trying to run from it.
Interesting artwork in “High Wire!” – Mike Sekowsky looked exactly like this when he was working for Ace’s horror books. This must be the same unidentified inker. It is NOT Vince Alascia, as Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. tells me. The story holds no surprises. You can tell page by page what is going to happen.
Those long ten-page stories seem stretched by now. They have to fill pages with scenes of escape and pursuit. All of this issue’s stories could have been told in seven pages – and without any loss.
Stories are milder as well. This really is more “suspense” than “horror”.
This is the 12th horror magazine, the 12th book in their horror-line-up that Fawcett puts on the stands (see our „Fawcett chronology“) – and the biggest disappointment so far. Mind you, a slight disappointment. And the only one up to that point!
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #2
Cover: (Scientist is attacked by little devils in his laboratory) – Bernard Baily ?
“AIEEEEEE! The Teeth!” (Bernard Baily)
“Death By Inches!” (George Evans)
“The Hunter Who Became The Hunted!” (Lou Cameron)
You can’t but love “AIEEEEEE! The Teeth!” – for the title and that splash alone! Wacky dentist stories are always fun. How many are there? I remember an Ace werewolf yarn in which teeth are pulled…
That’d be „Fangs Of The Fiend!„, posted on my German website.
Anyway, here one dentist maims his colleague by removing all his teeth. The poor man dies by accident; his teeth however haunt the evildoer! Fawcett again scores with off-beat horror plots. I like!
The story pattern reminds me of the “murder hair” story “The Wig” in THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #14. The killer keeping a body part of his victim as trophy – and getting murdered by it in the end. Same author maybe?
Solid contribution by Evans with “Death By Inches!”, a surprisingly gore-free and harmless plot about a corpse draining life from small-time crook Frankie Stoker. Deals more with hiding proof from the police than exploring the horrors of dying slowly. Almost a shame, this could have been much more gripping.
I was very amazed to see the last story, “The Hunter Who Became The Hunted!”, credited to Lou Cameron. Couldn’t believe it at first. Sat down with Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. and pondered over the artwork. We’ll let it stand. This IS Cameron doing one of his very first horror solo jobs. And he’s experimenting with open panels – which he didn’t at ACE Magazines at that time. Cameron is using his one-time cameo at Fawcett to push the envelope to create his artistic freedom.
If you care to c ompare, here’s Cameron’s “The Silver Bell Of Doom” from the same month, published in Ace’s WEB OF MYSTERY #12 and posted on our website ACE HORROR. It has to be noted that Cameron did a variation of that exact Fawcett story (big game hunter brings back tiger boy who can change forms) for Ace’s WEB OF MYSTERY #22 one and a half year later. Only it’s a sexy tiger GIRL now, have a look HERE.
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #3
Cover: (Headless man in pursuit of frightened woman) – George Evans
“Brother Volcano!” (George Evans)
“Port Of Terror!” (Bernard Baily)
“Mirrors Tell Tales!” (Morris “Mo(e)” Marcus + ?)
First of two covers George Evans did for FAWCETT HORROR. Second will grace the next issue.
Fine Evans art as well in “Brother Volcano!”, more social drama than horror story. The (Italian?) village of Arbendino is taken over by ruthless investors and the good people are driven from their homes. But a volcano inhabiting the soul of the village founder’s brother watches over them and drowns the capitalist pigs in molten lava!
(sorry, got a bit carried away at the end there…)
Last contribution for FAWCETT HORROR by Bernard Baily with “Port Of Terror!”. And it’s a nice one. Could have been more gory for my taste (because it features a stalking headless corpse!), but it’s executed straight and simple – although 8 pages instead of 10 would have worked just as good. The way it’s drawn is fairly tame; reflect a moment upon how this would have looked at Story, at Gilmor, at Harvey or Atlas even.
FAWCETT HORROR in general is too mild to be sensational. Are they toning it down? Remember their seal of “Wholesome Entertainment”? Then again these are STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES, not “Bloody Horror Shockers from the Tomb of Evil”.
“Mirrors Tell Tales!” is a feeble formula story about a haunted murderer. Won’t waste any more ink on that.
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #4
Cover: (Grim Reaper in pursuit of athlete) – George Evans
“Curiosity Killed The Ghost” (Bob Powell)
“Beyond The Grave” (???)
“The Man Who Outdistanced Death!” (George Evans)
Yet another “The Man Who…” story title. One of four in FAWCETT HORROR’s run (and one out of 40 in all of Fawcett’s publications!). I love doing the odd count…
We see the second cover by George Evans. An interesting one, advertising an interesting story inside. This penultimate issue of STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES sports the usual three long stories (as does the last one!) – opposed to all other titles which change to FOUR stories from the beginning of 1953 on (just telling you this in advance).
Mystery artwork in “Beyond The Grave”. I had hoped to pin this on William Weltman (who probably contributed once in UNKNOWN WORLD #1), but scrutinizing these pages it’s looking more like Ben Brown & David Gantz (of PURPLE CLAW fame). Then again what would THEY be doing at Fawcett? A whole dozen of artists used that style of drawing. Why not bring up a new name? How about Albert Tyler who is working – “as we speak” – for CHARLTON HORROR on THE THING? He seems to leave Charlton in late autumn of 1952. Is he dropping his business card at the doomed Fawcett stable?
Or is it CHARLTON HORROR’s mainstay Bob Forgione (works there in 1952 AND is moonlighting for ST. JOHN HORROR)? Is he doing a little something on the side?
After more scrrrrutinizing the works of Tyler and Forgione in these months, I have to conclude: This IS most likely Brown & Gantz. But I shy away from “logging in” this theory.
Still like to think it’s Weltman. 😉
I am writing this down to demonstrate how to go about the task of art spotting. Look at the company, look at alternative options, look who did what and when. In the end you might still be clueless. But I’m ranting – what about the contents of this issue?
Interesting lead story: “Curiosity Killed The Ghost” presents us with a restless ghost solving a murder mystery! There’s even comical undertones to marvel at. When the farmer threatens to poke our ghost with a pitchfork, he wails: “Do not rent my ectoplasm!” – nice nuance.
Where would the horror genre be without stories of madmen experimenting with “suspended animation”? In “Beyond The Grave” it’s a magician’s turn to “peer beyond the veil” and letting go of his “bodily shell”. I didn’t get the ending of this story which is strangely off-balance. One of the worst in FAWCETT HORROR.
In “The Man Who Outdistanced Death!” Georgie Kerrik runs away from Death – literally. It’s a crackpot story, hinged upon the phrase “Life is a race against death”. But it’s inventive and nicely drawn by George Evans. See it posted here (click on miniature splash to see).
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #5
Cover: (Witch sticking pin in voodoo doll and thinking about inflicting pain on male victim) – Bernard Baily
“The Presence Of The Unseen” (George Evans)
“Voodoo” (Charles Nicholas)
“The Letters” (Doug Wildey)
Great voodoo cover by Bailey – and it is his last for FAWCETT HORROR!
SSS peters out with a last three-story issue.
Oddly, Fawcett is thinning out its horror line-up by canceling the TWO “Strange Story”-titles: STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES and STRANGE STORIES FROM ANOTHER WORLD. I can only speculate why they do that. They seem to focus on the “genuine” horror, hosted by Dr. Death (THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED) or The Mummy (BEWARE! TERROR TALES).
WORLDS OF FEAR will go next on the block, getting axed four months later.
“The Presence Of The Unseen” is one of the most sterile and stiff horror stories I’ve ever seen. We have a madman on the loose – and all we’re going to see are the worried faces of an old couple and an INVISIBLE young woman saving the day?! Very disappointing.
Last contribution by George Evans for FAWCETT HORROR and obviously a lackluster one.
Artist Charles Nicholas rears his prolific head in “Voodoo”, entertaining story with a nice twist (to see, click miniature splash). Like Mike Sekowsky, Charles Nicholas pops up everywhere. He draws horror stories for Ace, for ACG and I suspect him to be in bed with Jack Cole at QUALITY HORROR. “Voodoo” is a one-time cameo, though.
On a first glance, you might think “The Letters” is Moldoff artwork. I did. And found myself profoundly corrected: Doug Wildey it is. Problem with FAWCETT HORROR is that the strange (e.g. BAD) coloring is quite dominant and buries most of the artists behind that veil of eye-catching garishness.
The story is a study into mild psychological horror with a twist (or two, actually) about a dead man writing letters to his sick aunt. Not that bad.
Let’s conclude our findings with the usual Who-did-What and how much listing:
Each 1: Mike Sekowsky + inker, Lou Cameron, Morris “Mo(e)” Marcus + Rocco Mastroserio, Charles Nicholas and Doug Wildey.
Artwork in 1 story remains unidentified.
Big surprise: No Moldoff, no Waldman and no McCarty in any of the SSS books. This is your series if you’re looking for Baily and Evans.
With the beginning of the year 1954 Charlton picks up the title – but continues it with #16!
They pick up the numbering from their canceled book LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES, which ended with #15 in November 1953. The following STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #16-22 belong to the horror canon. We beg to differ – in some cases. As you’ll see…
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #16
Cover: (Two trapeze artists missing themselves in mid-air) – Dick Giordano, signed
“I Went To My Own Funeral” (Dick Giordano, signed)
“Three Way Vendetta” (Dick Giordano, signed)
“Payment On Time!” (Dick Ayers)
“High Tension” (Dick Giordano, signed)
“Murder On Time!” (Dick Giordano, signed)
“Big Money Man!” (Anthony Tallarico, signed)
Attention, folks. Charlton uses Fawcett’s defunct title (STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES, cancelled with #5 a whole year earlier), but takes the numbering from its own freshly canceled LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES series. They revamp it under a new title.
THIS IS A CRIME COMIC BOOK!
But an entertaining one – without cops and robbers. Well, robbers yes, but not the usual hunt, chase and shoot-out thing, you know… It’s more about evil plots going ridiculously wrong. Quite in the zany Charlton vein.
Have a look at “I Went To My Own Funeral”, posted on Pappy’s delightful Golden Age blog. Or have a smirk at the ending of “Murder On Time!” (posted on „Booksteve’s Four-Color-Shadows” blog). And have a giggle reading “Payment On Time!” which I present on a special website…
This is Dick Giordano’s issue, by the way, and he draws slick and appealing crime stories.
The indicia to this issue changes to “Charlton Comics Group” and says underneath: “Designed by Al Fago Studios”. Aha. Does this mean that editor Al Fago is now in charge of a group of artists working for him? But what’s the difference to being the editor? Just a fancy way of putting things? Answers: Yes, he does – He’s more of a boss, now – Sounds way fancy.
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #17
Cover: (Passer-by discovering murder victim in alley and being stalked by hands holding a strangulation rope) – Dick Giordano & Vince Alascia, signed
“Beautiful Night For Murder!” (Dick Ayers, signed)
“Moment Of Decision” (Dick Giordano, signed)
“Quick Exit” (Art Cappello, signed)
“Surprise Ending” (Dick Giordano, signed)
“Dead Man’s Revenge” (Anthony Tallarico, signed)
“10 Cent’s Worth Of Doom!” (Stan Campbell, signed)
THIS AGAIN IS A CRIME COMIC BOOK!
Shocking crime cover, a very good, dark and moody one, containing a Leroy-lettered speech bubble (which strikes me as odd). Odder than the crime depicted. Leroy-lettering in itself is a crime!
All the stories are very mediocre – with the exception of “Beautiful Night For Murder!”. If you have read some pre-code horror comics you’ll know where this story’s heading.
Anyway, it’s a beaut by Ayers and we post it on our website featuring crime comics (more about that later on)…
… we won’t review it further… and now enters Steve Ditko! He’s just too beautiful to ignore. Let’s take a look.
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #18
Cover: (Frightened woman’s face in close-up, black figure lurking in background) – Steve Ditko, signed
“What Was In Sam Dora’s Box?” (Steve Ditko, signed)
“The Matchless Firebug!” (Dick Ayers)
“Tight Squeeze” (Dick Giordano + Vince Alascia, signed)
“The Jaws Of Death!” (Dick Ayers)
“Face To Face” (Dick Giordano, signed)
“Dead Right!” (Steve Ditko, signed)
Again an expressive and fine cover by Ditko, his first for this series. Inside we find his two first stories for SSS. Two things about “What Was In Sam Dora’s Box?”: It’s a word play on Pandora’s box – and a plot steal from EC’s “The Basket” (HAUNT OF FEAR #7; May 1951).
I won’t tell you what’s it about (in case you still want to read the story), but I found a mistake in the coloring: The mysterious box Sam Dora’s carrying is colored yellow in the first three pages and red on page 4, then yellow again. And with “What Was In Sam Dora’s Box?” we enter the realm of horror in Charlton’s STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES.
So – what’s next? More horror or back to crime?
First it’s pun time again with “The Matchless Firebug!”, story about an arsonist called Sam Match who is an expert at setting fires. Jiminy! So it’s a guy called Match who starts fires (with a match probably?), but he is tops at what he’s doing – so he’s matchless… Christ!
Get on with it, will ya?
That’s more crime than horror, though we get pretty grim scenes of burning people.
“Tight Squeeze” is a dirty western tale about greed, murder and a cunning cover-up going ironically wrong. Is this crime? Is this western? Is this horror? All of it, in a way.
You can find “Firebug!” and “Tight Squeeze!” on Stendek’s blog about classic comics art (please scroll down on the given link).
“The Jaws Of Death!” is a three-page “shortie” (or “quickie” as I like to call them) about a jungle-god-ritual-mumbo-jumbo – with again fine art by Dick Ayers.
And “Face To Face” again proves that Charlton crime books had a special rapport going with their readers. It’s the two-page “solution” to a suspense mystery advertised half a year before in SSS’s predecessor LAWBREAKERS. They encouraged readers to write in endings to open-ended stories – and followed through with it.
This issue is surely a horror-crime hybrid book. As is the last story, another Dikto helping called “Dead Right!”. You’ll find this tale posted on the “Steve Ditko Comics Weblog” as well as in our „Stories“ section. Furthermore – and that is quite special – as a YouTube video! A guy named Matt Dursin broke this story down panel by panel and reads it in different voices! Gotta see it to believe it.
“Dead Right!” is another Steve Ditko horror gem. We get more Charlton brutality (or is it Ditko brutality, and Charlton only printed it ?):
Two newspaper reporters go story hunting and end up with more than they could ever have hoped for. A very satisfactory and inventive collage of horror motifs: a demonic oddball recluse (who’s even got a pet cat called “Mephistopheles”), reckless reporters, a wax museum, fearsome forebodings, a vicious crime, witchcraft, mortal rivalry and the triumph of evil.
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #19
Cover: (Prisoner sitting in electric chair and awaiting execution, dripping sweat and straining muscles) – Steve Ditko, signed
“Give Back My Body” (Joe Shuster, signed)
“All Burnt Up!” (???)
“Surprise Package” (Dick Giordano, signed)
“You Know Too Much!” (Dick Giordano + Vince Alascia, signed)
“A Nice Quiet Place!” (Steve Ditko)
“High Tension” (Dick Giordano, signed)
Another dynamite Ditko cover. A suspense comic classic. The electric chair is (again in comics history) exploited for cheap… thrills, I guess.
That really is “Superman” creator Joe Shuster on “Give Back My Body”, who started working for Charlton in summer 1954 – doing a hand full of crime and horror stories.
THIS AGAIN IS A CRIME COMIC BOOK – with “hybrid tendencies” here and there.
We post “All Burnt Up!” , an interesting tale of confrontation between a killer and a boy (with the boy winning!) – in a very brutal “Charlton” way. Click underlined title to reach our „Stories“ section.
“You Know Too Much!” is indeed a gripping psycho-crime story about a “Mr. Average American” turning murderer and finally seeking the help of a psychiatrist.
The Ditko story “A Nice Quiet Place!” is just that – nice and quiet. An EC-ish poetic justice twist hitting two rivaling gangsters. It’s good, it’s solid, but nothing spectacular.
Whole issue is posted here, on a blog called “The Charlton Comics Reading Library”.
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #20
Cover: (Tribesman throwing pack of dynamite, explorer delving after it trying to defuse it) – Steve Ditko, signed
“The Payoff!” (Steve Ditko, signed)
“Food For Thought” (Bernard Sachs ?/ Bill Molno ?/ Ray Osrin ?)
“The Kill!” (???)
“Deadly Séance” (Anthony Tallarico, signed)
“Von Mohl vs. The Ants!” (Steve Ditko, signed)
“Moment Of Decision!” (Dick Giordano, signed)
Last “Suspense” Ditko treat: two stories plus cover, high point being the ant story.
Book is mostly standard crime fare, though.
Sadistic German plantation owner Hugo von Mohl (“Donnerwetter!”) tortures his slaves into helping him face a killer ant invasion. At first von Mohl seems to succeed; however, we all guessed it and saw it coming: those pesty bugs will find a way to eat your flesh from your body!
So – it’s a last cruel farewell from Steve Ditko:
I present you with yet another blog on the internet: “The Nostalgia League”, where you will find “The Comics Rack”. They will tell you about the literary short story after which “Von Mohl vs. The Ants!” was modeled and invite you in general to browse their articles and galleries.
However you will find the story also posted on Steven Thompson’s famed “Four Color Shadows” art blog.
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #21
Cover: (Woman clinging to edge of crocodile pit, crocodiles snapping) – Joe Shuster & Ray Osrin ? / Steve Kirkel ?
“Who Will He Be?” (Bill Molno)
“The Well Of Fear!” (Joe Shuster + Ray Osrin, signed)
“Surprise Package” (Dick Giordano, signed)
“This Bite Is Sweet!” (Bill Molno + Ray Osrin ?)
“The Mark Of The Ripper!” (Seymour Moskowitz, signed)
“No Questions Asked” (Dick Giordano ?)
Now looking at that strange cover in context (meaning I looked at other issues) I wonder if this could be Steve Kirkel? There’s a certain Jack-Davis-ness which Kirkel used before…
It’s a mad cover, really: Alligators snapping at a scantily clad blonde, holding on to dear life and getting hammered (on the hands, mind you) by some maniac who – in turn – seems to be under attack by a man wearing a hat. Not that bad, but far from good.
“Who Will He Be?” is a grim tale about the practices of torture. Sleep deprivation mainly. The funny looking stereotyped sun-glassed (!) secret policemen in Arabian attire add an unwanted whimsical touch to a story not to be laughed at.
“The Well Of Fear!” features psychological horror: Two bankrobbers are trapped in a well and can’t get out. Their mistrust against each other mounts to paranoia and murder schemes. In the end both men perish miserably at the bottom of the abandoned well. Dirty piece of man-is-a-wolf-to-man. Seems to be influenced by EC’s SUSPENSE titles. See it posted on Karswell’s groundbreaking blog “The Horrors Of It All”.
“This Bite Is Sweet!” is a vampire tale told in first person. I have a “sweet tooth” (hehe…) for first- and second-person narrative. Here Peter North is a vampire. He settles down in a village in the Pyrenees and terrorizes the good people. When he meets the lovely Monique, North is torn between love and blood lust. The end is unusual, melodramatic and moving (a bit, at least). Would have looked way better in an EC mag, though. We post it in our “Stories” section.
“The Mark Of The Ripper!” is the old detective-is-lawbreaker-tune, unknowingly committing his crimes. Hm, hm, hm… psycho-crime-babble. We want to show you a nice Moskowitz panel: unshaved maniac with glowing eyes and knife dripping blood! Charlton certainly knew how to entertain.
“No Questions Asked” is again a write-in contest for readers! Come up with an ending to our story – because we are too dumb!
They ran this feature in all of these SSS issues.
STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #22
Cover: (Man opening red box and staring in horror) – Steve Ditko
“Killer’s Arms” (Leon Winik + Ray Osrin, signed)
“Hands Off!” (Dick Giordano, signed)
“The Kill!” (Dick Giordano + Vince Alascia, signed)
“White Birds Of Death!” (Bob Correa) – reprinted from UNDERWORLD CRIME #1
“The Secret Of The Box!” (Joe Shuster + Ray Osrin, signed)
Whoooa, that’s a shamefully lame cover! Certainly code-oriented; editor Al Fago must have shouted: “Hit the brakes, Steve! Judge Murphy standing in the road! Draw something vaguely suspenseful, willya?”.
That’s a motif we’re gonna see a lot over the next years. Well, I don’t read code-approved books.
Grasping the occasion: May I refer you to a hilarious website called “Stupid Comics”?
Found this some weeks ago – and I’m splitting my sides. Guy named “Mr. Kitty” posted dozens of story abstracts (with sample pictures, of course) from the 1940s to the 1990s. Commenting on the absurdities comic book companies DARED to sell us. Please have a look at this bonanza of bullshit. Pardon my French.
But it’s hair-raising stuff which will leave you crying in your chair – tears of laughter streaming down your wrinkled cheeks. Promise!
Sorry, back to business. I complained about the lame cover. But inside it’s a heartfelt slap in the face of censorship-to-come: “Killer’s Arms” looks like your usual scientists-in-jungle-battle-monster fare, but it’s the scientists-in-jungle-battle-monster fare to end all scientists-in-jungle-battle-monster fare!
Go read it immediately on Pappy’s delightful “Golden Age Comics Blogzine” and relish the end of the story. Sex in the jungle, finally!
“Hands Off!” is a fun four-page agent spy thriller. I’ll post it on my upcoming website „Crimewave“ (hold on for those infos, coming up soon).
“White Birds Of Death!” is a crime story and a first reprint from Fawcett’s UNDERWORLD CRIME #1 from June 1952.
With the advent of the Comics Code, the title changes to THIS IS SUSPENSE – and lives for another four issues. We give you just a quick overview of the following next issue:
THIS IS SUSPENSE #23
Split Cover: (Man mixing chemicals in laboratory at night + Woman in red dress looking on as dwarf stirs brew in cauldron) – Ted Galindo, signed
“The Choice!” (Dick Giordano, signed) – one-pager
“Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde” (Wally Wood) – reprinted from A STAR PRESENTATION #3
“The Repulsive Dwarf” (Wally Wood) – reprinted from A STAR PRESENTATION #3
This book consists of two fillers and a 25-page reprint of Wood’s adaptation of the Stevenson classic (drawn in his early, crude, no-good horror style). Sorry, my opinion.
The next three issues of THIS IS SUSPENSE are even more pathetic, containing mostly reprints of old Fawcett detective stories. They are probably “doctored” to meet censorship approval and may be fun to compare, but I couldn’t bring myself up to it.
I hate crime comic books – just like Dr. Wertham.
Before you ask: I hate ‘em not because they depict crime, but because they’re boring, repetitive and hardly surprise me in any way. Don’t get me started on overrated crap like CRIME DOES NOT PAY.
I only read pre-code horror comic books – because they tried (often enough!) something new or were being creative.
So here’s another drag: Charlton Comics published a crime series called LAWBREAKERS from March 1951 on. It ran up to LAWBREAKERS #9, then changed title and was called LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES. Those ran up to LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES #15. Then changed into STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES #16.
Which we had a look at just now. It remains the following question:
What about LAWBREAKERS & LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES?
Are these straight crime books or will we find “hybrid” stories bordering on horror?
Some people will tell you that LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES (at least) are horror books. Well, I beg to differ – again.
I couldn’t muster myself to read LAWBREAKERS, but I looked through some books and took samples: LAWBREAKERS #9 for example looks like rough and tough action stuff (with bad artwork, though).
If you take an interest in crime comic books, LAWBREAKERS are posted in completion at the Digital Comic Museum:
The LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES are up as well – with the exception of LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES #11. This is a very special issue with a very special SICK cover by Lou Morales. I won’t show it to you, because no decent scan exists (even the cover you’ll find on Grand Comics Database is badly resolved and no fun to post). LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES #11 is the most sought after crime comic book out there.
I say LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES are crime books. You will find the odd story (maybe one per issue) bordering on horror or indeed being a horror story.
Before you think I bit off more than I can chew, I decideded to install my own privat fun website presenting interesting crime comics. I overcame my ambivalence about crime comic books and want to introduce the world to inventive, off-beat and unusually entertaining crime stories.
Website is called WAVE OF CRIME, but needs time to be designed and filled with stories. I was swamped with work and getting FAWCETT & CHARLTON HORROR online – has to wait some days or weeks. You’ll find a link button on my horror pages when it’s up… Postscript October 2013: Done. Active. Online. Go!
Posted there are three entries from LAWBREAKERS SUSPENSE STORIES: “Getting A-Head”, “The Black Closet” and “Grounds For Murder!” – highly entertaining stories. Enjoy!
Let’s briefly summarize what we’ve learned – our artists’ assignment count for the more crime oriented STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES:
|Dick Giordano||16||(3 with inks by Vince Alascia)|
|Unknown artwork||3||(2 probably inked by Vince Alascia)|
|Joe Shuster||3||(inked by Ray Osrin)|
|Bill Molno||3||(inked by Ray Osrin)|
Each 1: Seymour Moskowitz, Art Cappello, Stan Campbell, Leon Winik + Ray Osrin.
Giordano certainly was Charlton’s man for crime; many of these 16 contributions are only “shorties” (two to four pages long).