WORLDS BEYOND / WORLDS OF FEAR – 10 issues

Editors of these books are Roy Ald (#1-3) and Barbara J. Heyman (#4/5), not Virginia Provisiero (as in THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED). Who, however, replaces the former one and takes over for issues #6 to #10. Yeah, it is confusing.

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.

WorldsBeyond#1

WORLDS BEYOND #1 (one-shot)
November 1951
Cover: (Man flinching from red skinned gnomes in cave) – Sheldon Moldoff

“Doorway To Horror” (Sheldon Moldoff)
“Twice Alive!” (Bob Powell)
“Vengeance Of The Living Dead” (Bernard Baily)

Quite a cheesy cover. Three blurbs screaming “Shocking!”, “Terrifying!” and “Supernatural!”. Compare this please to that gorgeous cover of WORLDS last issue (#10) – the Norman Saunders stroke-of-genius-no-eyes-multi-eyes painting. This will be worlds beyond (sorry for the pun).

Wild kissing scene on page 3 in “Doorway To Horror”! That is fast, even for an evil woman. This dark and moody tale functions more as a study in madness than I-am-the-protagonist-in-a-hellish-reenactment-of-a-bloody-curse plot. Which it is. Not bad, though.

Bob Powell’s “Twice Alive!” is great psychedelia: a journey of a dying man into and all through his own body – meeting his ancestors there! And the angel of death coming to claim his soul for eternity. Try that for a weird story!

wildkisses

The kiss of death?

I like the insanity of Fawcett’s early stories.

The third story, “Vengeance Of The Living Dead”, is strange as well: a pilot who abandoned his doomed plane above the jungle is forced to relive that plane crash.

Like the month before in THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #1 we get a story about a curse, a story of a man travelling through Hades and a story about a demon controlling the fate of a guilt-ridden mortal. A bit far-fetched, maybe, but basically yes.
I suspect the same writer. He (or she) keeps impressing me with well-balanced plots. Fawcett horror seems to emanate a distinctive style from the get-go.

WORLDS BEYOND remained a one-shot; the title was changed after the first issue – probably because Ace is already publishing THE BEYOND. With its second issue WORLDS BEYOND is being converted into the much better sounding (!) WORLDS OF FEAR.

 

WORLDS OF FEAR #2
January 1952
Cover: (Claw-like hands and the shadow of a wolf threaten woman in white dress) – Sheldon Moldoff

“City Of Fearful Night” (Bernard Baily)
“Curse Of The Werewolf” (Sheldon Moldoff ? + Ed Moline ?)
“The Devil’s Prize” (Bob Powell)

devilprice

Detail from splash by Powell – please donate us the book ;-)

Cover corresponds with second story. The upper quarter of the lead story’s splash page is strangely empty. As if the publisher “deleted” that “wholesome entertainment seal” we talked about in HAUNTED #1&2 (see there).

For a third time in a row it’s a Bernard Baily story about a man being chased through limbo – this time called “a midway station between the living and the dead worlds”. Variation #3 –we’ll keep count! In “City Of Fearful Night” Frank Thompson falls asleep and awakens with the feeling of his “tongue like a bowling pin” in his mouth. This strikes me as odd. I’ve never had the feeling MY tongue feels like a bowling pin – you?!

Entering art spotting limbo with the second story: In my eyes “Curse Of The Werewolf” is a quite typical Moldoff, better art spotters see (again) a strong Moline streak at work. “Curse Of The Werewolf” is a well written tale about human drama, ending of course in the killing of the creature. Was there ever a werewolf tale in which the beast gets away, I wonder???

And we have a great classic Powell horror story: “The Devil’s Prize” ranks along with some of his contributions for Harvey (and the indeed weird “Wall Of Flesh” in THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #12) among the ten best he ever did for pre-code horror! You can look up the whole issue on DCM, click HERE. This is sadly a bad scan. That’s why the story is not published on this website. If YOU are willing to offer a replacement scan… (I can’t do everything myself, you know).

 

WORLDS OF FEAR #3
March 1952
Cover: (Giant tribal mask watching over zombie scene) – Sheldon Moldoff

“The Metamorphosis Of The Gkmloooms” (George Evans)
“The Strangler” (???)
“Captain Frost’s Phantom Vessel” (Sheldon Moldoff)

WorldsFear#3Nice and colorful cover – and rather atypical for FAWCETT HORROR. The mask being the center of attention and not the tottering zombie below (as usual).

And we’re off with strange story titles: “The Metamorphosis Of The Gkmloooms” (try not to speak that aloud, will sound more than awkward) seems to hint at comedy. Gkmloooms?! They can’t be serious.But they are.
When underwater escape artist Archer Commanger is pulled into the world of the Gkmloooms, we suspect the obligatory race-under-the-sea tale. It is, but at the end of page 6 we are surprised (and a bit shocked) to find out that we are in Hiroshima, at the scene of the world’s first atomic bomb explosion. The mutant theme takes on a grim subtext and out of the window goes the comedy. Protagonist Commanger is changed into a Gkmlooom and is torn between his human heritage and the understandable cause of the Gkmloooms.
Not a story that easy to dismiss as nonsense. Gives you a “Planet of the Apes” kinda feeling. Once again impressive horror writing by the Fawcett staff (whoever that may have been)…

The next story, however, “The Strangler”, can very easily be dismissed as total nonsense. Highly enjoyable “baddie” about a doctor bringing back to life a maniacal murderer. Everything is fun about “The Strangler”: the doctor looks like a caricature of “The Spirit’s” commissioner Dolan. The strangler himself, by the strange name of Akimo, is a rather passive character, shooting off his mouth more than employing his infamous stranglehold.
The plot is hilarious, the interior designs of buildings as well. On the last page the good doctor does something incredibly stupid, inviting his own doom. See for yourself and have a laugh – it’s posted on the delectable blog “Four Color Shadows”.
The artwork is a mystery; it is again that wild Eisner swipe style we saw three months earlier in “The Devil’s Due” (THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #2). This may be the same unknown artist.

EisnerSwipeAnd it’s a pirate story, wrapping up the issue: “Captain Frost’s Phantom Vessel”. Straight seafaring horror about rival pirate captains, battling each other to the death. It seems to me that pirate stories are the “poor cousin” of the horror genre.
They are just invited along the ride, but never get to sit in front. They are never a main feature, always the fifth wheel, the odd man out. They are being exploited for cheap ghost thrills, an excuse for a horror story.
I can’t recollect a single memorable pirate ghost story – can you? Has there ever been a serious effort to tell an inventive pirate horror yarn, other than dead men popping up and demanding bloody revenge?!

 

WORLDS OF FEAR #4
May 1952
Cover: (Giant pairs of eyes stare from black cover; panel of skeletal zombie positioned in lower middle) – Sheldon Moldoff ?

WorldFear4_ProfAlpha

Prof. Alpha, evil genius

“The Dead Lover Returns!” (Sheldon Moldoff)
“The Man Who Lost His Body” (Bob Powell)
“The Resurrected Head” (Mike Sekowsky ? + Vince Alascia ?)

Terrible makeshift cover; the worst in Fawcett’s horror run. They obviously forgot to produce a cover and in the last minute just took an inside panel and drew some weird eyes around it. (cue to music) : „Shame, shame, shame – shame on you!“

But it’s a great issue inside again. Starting with one of my Fawcett favorites, “The Dead Lover Returns!”. The most endearing and tender zombie love story there ever was! A truly amazing piece of horror writing, steering clear of all the clichés.
A dead man is allowed to spend more time on earth to find his true love. And when he does, there is a price to pay. The man makes a noble sacrifice. Wonderful parable about of how lovers see each other and what they mean to each other. An “anti-horror” horror story like I’ve seldomly come across.
Go read it on “Pappy’s Golden Age Blogzine”:

And we have another baseball horror story with “The Man Who Lost His Body”. I’ve come across five or six by now. There’s not only EC’s infamous “Foul Play”, you know…
Here we get an ambitious rookie who recklessly robs baseball heroes of the past of their trademark traits. That is a bit far-fetched, if you ask me. Rather silly, despite Powell’s attempts to create an eerie atmosphere. There’s a lot of blue specters running around; and they look very bleak and unformed in print.

The Resurrected Head” presents a mad and cruel and inventive tale about the decapitated head of a criminal genius being kept alive (and tortured) for the personal gains of another gangster. The evil scientist making it happen calls himself “Professor Alpha”; he survives and lives to threaten the reader!
To see it on the internet, follow the underlined link and scroll down to second story, first one is “The Green Hands Of Terror” by George Evans from THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED #2.

 

HeartbeatHouse1WORLDS OF FEAR #5
July 1952
Cover: (Skeletal specter emanates from coffin which is being dug out of the ground by three men) – Sheldon Moldoff ?

“Heartbeat House” (Bob Powell)
“The Devil Puppet” (Mike Sekowsky + ?)
“The Conqueror Worm” (Morris “Mo(e)” Marcus + Rocco Mastroserio ?)

A fat doctor, a bony lawyer and a quirky eccentric are the personnel of Powell’s screwball-ish “Heartbeat House”, a quite enjoyable tale about clocks and timepieces – drawn with all the trademark Powell treats: high-angled camera shots, close-ups, towering larger-than-life faces and sound effects filling whole panels.

“The Devil Puppet” is just run of the mill, “The Conqueror Worm” is originally a poem by Edgar Allen Poe – in the words of Wikipedia:

An audience of weeping angels watches a play performed by „mimes, in the form of God on high“, and controlled by vast formless shapes looming behind the scenes. The mimes chase a „Phantom“ which they can never capture, running around in circles. Finally, a monstrous „crawling shape“ emerges, and eats the mimes. The final curtain comes down, „a funeral pall,“ signaling an end to the „tragedy, ‚Man'“ whose only hero is „The Conqueror Worm“.

The last line is actually quoted in the comic story. Here, multitudes of worms attack a Dr. Rypton who stole a body from a grave – and thus “deprived the worms of their dinner”. Now they are coming for him! Straight animal horror; makes me shudder.
Find it posted in our „Stories“ section.
Please note that they have to “fill” the long 10 pages by a giant splash and 4 generous six-panel-pages.

 

DeathForDeath1WORLDS OF FEAR #6
September 1952
Cover: (Giant cave-dwelling monkey creature is caught in flashlight) – Sheldon Moldoff ?

“A Death For A Death” (Sheldon Moldoff)
“The Stage Is Set For Murder” (Bob McCarty)
“The Locked Door” (Ed Waldman ?)

That cover looks not a bit frightening to me. A giant sloth gently coming forth from a cave? Get out the peanuts.

Otherwise: Welcome to a great, bizarre and psychedelic issue. It was a great joy to scan this book from Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. and upload it to the Digital Comic Museum.

Hello, Franz Kafka! In “A Death For A Death” Dr. Jarrat (a naturalist working on insects and killing them in the process) undergoes nightly changes to various insect forms. Is it only the tricks of an overworked mind? Or does a poetic justice condemn him to embody the animals he studies at day? Find out for yourself.
Please note that change in lettering! Whenever being a caterpillar or a cockroach, the capital letters become – wonder o wonder! – miniscules.

Sometimes the length of Fawcett’s horror stories is not justified. “The Stage Is Set For Murder” clearly could have forgone three of its ten pages. Look at those big final panels. A dispensable repetition are all the occurrences of the second night. Still McCarty masterfully sets the scenes for this creepy puppet theatre revenge plot.

The issue’s text story (“The Man Who Was Monday”) depicts a man’s journey into madness as he begins to live backwards in time. I wonder if author John Martin also wrote the maddening lead story about the man-turning-insect.

Wrapping up WOF#6 with the probably maddest mad art painter story of them all: “The Locked Door” is cheesy and hilarious pre-code-horror at its lovable best. Great entertainment, grimly executed by our mystery in-house-artist Ed Waldman. I won’t give away a thing, please read it posted my German website.

 

JourneyToChaos1WORLDS OF FEAR #7
November 1952
Cover: (Violinist flinching from skeletal maestro conducting band of skeletons) – Sheldon Moldoff ?

“Journey To Chaos” (Bob McCarty)
“Ghost Of The Swamp” (Harry Harrison? + ?)
“Satan’s Stradivari!” (Sheldon Moldoff)

Moldoff emerges as trend-setter (for once at least). His horror symphony cover may have been the model for the cover of Standard’s ADVENTURES INTO DARKNESS #13 (March 1954).

This is exceptional artwork by McCarty in “Journey To Chaos”! Very inspired, most of the panels are really expressive. It’s a pact-with-the-devil-story (a first for FAWCETT HORROR, I might add) AND an adventure into the realm of Death himself. Great value. Ends truly unique by the young lovers tricking the devil and be able to live happily ever after.
And I’m not even pissed off at a happy ending (most are lame), this one is actually moving.

I suggest a “double feature” reading with “The Dead Lover Returns!” from WORLDS OF FEAR #4. Two tender love adventures, spiced with zombies, Satan and the legions of hell.

And they have to fill up this issue with a one-time outside contribution: Harry Harrison (probably) delivers the art for “Ghost Of The Swamp”. Please miss it. Boring.

Followed by another run-of-the-mill music mystery called “Satan’s Stradivari!”. Moldoff makes an effort by drawing as best as he can, but then again – it’s just Moldoff!

 

WORLDS OF FEAR #8
January 1953
Cover: (Boxer being knocked down by disembodied boxing gloves, demons watching the match) – Sheldon Moldoff ?

WOF#8AlienMonster

You gotta be kidding!

“… ?” (Sheldon Moldoff)
“The Phantom Gloves” (Bob McCarty)
“The Curse Of Manu” (Ed Waldman ?)

Last book to feature three “long” stories! They’ll change to four with every consecutive issue.
Stupid cover, followed by horror history’s shortest story title – just a question mark.

All suspense drops away as we lay eyes upon the dreadful cave-dwelling monster on page 9 of “… ?”. You gotta be kidding!
“This creature was a thing to unhinge the mind”, murmurs the text. Only thing it unhinged with me was my diaphragm. This is one of the most pathetic horror monsters ever!

I don’t get it, really. A frightening monstrosity of ANY kind would have saved that story.

Fawcett again shows a lot of nerve to feed us “The Phantom Gloves”.
Out of sheer boredom sports reporter Jack Lonergan declares himself a warlock and bewitches a pair of boxing gloves, turning them into match-winning killing tools. And so it happens – to the reporter’s own surprise!
He lands in the loony bin, hiding behind the door (???) – see for yourself.

WOF#8loonybin

Ditto!

Again, the mind boggles. Is that story plot a stroke of genius or is it abysmal cheekiness?!

Curses! I don’t like curse stories.
“The Curse Of Manu” comes as predictable as they always are. This is a bad issue. One of FAWCETT HORROR’S worst. Aaarrggh.

 

WORLDS OF FEAR #9
April 1953
Cover: (Red devil claw forcing man’s head under water and drowning him) – ???
This issue was missing! German horror comics collector “whitewolf61” let me photograph his issue, so here’s the contents:
“The Harvest Of Horror” (Maurice Gutwirth)
“Tailor Of Death!”  (Bob McCarty)
They Are Watching You!” (Sheldon Moldoff + ?)
„Death’s Bride-Groom“ (Leonard Frank)

MelonFace

Join the league of extraordinary melons

I don’t dare put a name to the cover (a drastic drowning scene), but am fairly confident about the other participants.

“The Harvest Of Horror” features industrious Mr. Bradley, who wants to grow the biggest melons for the country fair. For a special fertilizer he uses decomposing human bodies (!), which will backfire in a vengeful way (Jeez, why didn’t he just throw on some guano?).
Reminds me of that never published STANDARD HORROR tale “The Harvest Of Death” wherein human blood is used to make fields fertile. In the end it’s what goes around, comes around – and has the faces of melons!

rodentplans

A prattling rabbit – „Huh?“ indeed

“Tailor Of Death!” is a run-of-the-mill poetic justice tale about a jacket able to crush its wearer to death.
They Are Watching You!” however is a delightful zany tale about a scientist confronting the animal kingdom: In the aftermath of an accident, Philip Watson is able to understand the language of rodents. He learns of their plans to attack mankind and take rulership of the world. Watson develops a deadly poison, but is waylaid by all kinds of forest animals.
Which best laid plans will turn out to be the better ones? Those of men or those of mice?

Story will be posted with the launch of this website on my German website, link will follow… THERE it is.

„Death’s Bride-Groom“ shows us a sculptor carving a statue out of a cursed tree. The likeness of evil Daemona (of course!) possesses his mind and will be his doom. Why didn’t he believe his fiancée and stayed away from temptation?! Tchh, artists! Always getting their hands on forbidden things…
Story’s a nice variation of all those stone-cutter tales and a mildly entertaining five-pager, routinely executed by Leonard Frank.

Postscript September 2013: Whole issue now posted as photographed version on DCM.

 

WorldsOfFear10CoverWORLDS OF FEAR #10
June 1953
Cover: (Man with blank eye-sockets being surrounded by dozens of giant floating eyeballs) – Norman Saunders

“The Fleshless Ones” (Sheldon Moldoff)
“Witchcraft In Old England” (Anthony Cataldo ?) – one-pager
“The Devil’s Side Show” (Bob McCarty)
“The Juju Wishing Doll” (??? – “Facet-o’-Fawcett”)
“How To Become A Werewolf” (Anthony Cataldo ?) – one-pager
“The Eyes In His Hand” (Maurice Gutwirth)

That is one of the greatest comic book covers of all time. Absolutely stunning what Norman Saunders did here. You’ll find it printed in every horror anthology and all the specialist literature. Saunders, by the way, was a commercial artist who never drew a comic story. He just did gorgeous covers for Fawcett and Ziff-Davis.

Gazing at the splash of “The Fleshless Ones” we discover that Moldoff is now swiping from a Harvey horror story by Vic Donahue. That machine to the right looks suspiciously like that out of “Dungeon Of Doom” (CHAMBER OF CHILLS #6, March 1952).

FleshlessOnes1The story though shows only the smallest analogies. The author took the idea of a “disintegrating machine” and built a whole other story about it. It’s a gripping one! We post it here (click miniature splash)…

“The Devil’s Side Show” is one of those flimsy horror stories which rely only on “milking” a bad pun. A man who can’t make up his mind about anything stumbles into a midway – and is kept there by the mysterious barker who transforms him into one of the attractions. And because he is a kind of “split personality” he becomes… the Siamese twins!
Yeah, total hogwash. How would that ever be possible?! Without even a trace of plausibility. Pathetic! I can only sadly shake my head.

Both the one-page fillers in this book come from the same mystery artist (who has a slightly John Celardo-ish feeling about him). The second filler finally (!) answers a question we all were being consumed by: “How To Become A Werewolf”! It’s quite an ordeal and I’m much too idle to go there. Do YOU want to give it a try?
See it posted just below…

dungeondoom

And here’s the model panel from Donahue’s story for HARVEY HORROR

The Eyes In His Hand” are one of those rare stories rotating around “kiddie” protagonists – starring a boy named Corker in conflict with a sadistic landlord. It’s a highly inventive story with haunting scenes (especially when the boy plucks a glass eye out of Mr. Ebber’s face).
A typical off-the-wall pre-code horror tale about children shooting marbles and competing in a 2,500 dollar priced backyard marble tournament (were these events for real in the 50s?). Good for you if your marbles are magic glass eyes – winning by themselves. One wonders.

Really one of the more outrageous plots in which the glass eyes actually lead a life of their own because they belonged to Corker’s daddy – before he got murdered by the mob! Ach, go read it.

More mystery artwork in “The Juju Wishing Doll” (It’s our unidentified artist from BEWARE! TERROR TALES #6, too). The story is hosted by Dr. Death, which may indicate that the editors completed this book with art destined to appear elsewhere (namely TMIH, of which the good doctor was the host).

Thus the axe comes down (a second time, after the premature exitus of the STRANGE titles) for Fawcett’s horror line. WOF #10 is a last issue, and the following month BEWARE! TERROR TALES will share this sad fate. Only the “flagship” THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED will last till the end of the year.

Werewolf

Let’s conclude our findings with the usual Who-did-What and how much listing:

Sheldon Moldoff 9 (with possible assistance by Ed Moline in 1 or 2 cases)
Bob McCarty 5
Bob Powell 4
Ed Waldman 2
Bernard Baily 2
Mike Sekowsky 2 (with possible assistance by Vince Alascia)
Maurice Gutwirth 2

Each 1: George Evans, Leonard Frank, Harry Harrison and Morris “Mo(e)” Marcus + Rocco Mastroserio.

Artwork in 1 story remains unidentified.