When you think of horror in comics, Marvel may not be the first publisher that comes to mind. Depending on your general knowledge of comic books, you may just automatically think of the old EC Comics titles like The Vault of Horror and Tales From the Crypt. You wouldn’t be wrong to think of such standout titles. After all, this is where the ever-adored Crypt-Keeper was first introduced.
EC, or Entertaining Comics, wasn’t the only giant in the horror game, however. The 1950’s was a huge time for comic book publishers and while Marvel Comics, then known as Atlas Comics, didn’t create horror in comic form, they were set out to stand above and beyond their competitors.
So determined to stand out from the rest, Marvel changed almost all of the existing super hero titles into something horror related. Even favorites of today were subject to the terror as Captain America Comics became Captain America’s Weird Tales. That wasn’t the only horror title hitting the shelves, though… not by a long shot.
Unfortunately, for publishers and fans alike, 1955 saw the end of comics as everyone knew it. A series of Senate subcommittee hearings deemed comic books to be evil and a source of corruption for America’s youth. This lead to drastic changes in the Comics Code Authority, in turn strictly forbidding vampires, werewolves, zombies, and more to be featured in comic books in any form.
Stan Lee, who was already a huge part of comic book history by this time, never gave up his ghastly dreams and was finally able to start re-introducing his horrifying characters into his comics by 1971. This is when, along with fellow writers and artists, Lee created titles like Werewolf by Night, Monster of Frankenstein, Ghost Rider, and more.
Fast forward to 2019. Marvel Comics is celebrating 80 years in the business and to do their rich history great honor, they’ve released a new one-shot (a single, stand-alone issue that does not have any kind of ongoing story arc, series, etc.) entitled, Crypt of Shadows.
The creative team behind the new book is a talented bunch including writer Al Ewing, artists Garry Brown, Stephen Green, and Djibril Morissette-Phan, colorist Chris O’Halloran, letterer Travis Lanham, and cover artists Kyle Hotz and Dan Brown, and John Tyler Christopher, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Gracia depending on which cover variants you pick up.
This amazing group of industry talents have come together to create a worthwhile read for any and all horror fans.
Similar to any anthology film or comic series you may be familiar with, Crypt of Shadows contains three stories, all tied together with one wraparound tale. With a single comic book not being very long, each story is rather short, but that does not hinder any of the story-telling whatsoever.
“Grave Errors!,” “Cynophobia,” and “A Moment of Madness!” are all as creepy and beautiful as a horror fan can ask for and are a perfect fit for a comic book of this nature. The writing and the artwork fit seamlessly together, creating a wonderfully eerie reading experience.
Whether you are a long-time comic reader or if you are a fan of horror and have never checked out comic books of any kind, stop by your local comic shop and give Crypt of Shadows a try. It is out on shelves now with a cover price of $3.99. It is four dollars well worth it, believe me!
Have you already read this spectacular issue of Crypt of Shadows? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. What other horror titles are your favorite? What titles are you currently reading? I want to hear all about it!