Got it Grisly if You Want It
(A Tribute to Eerie Publications)
by James Goodridge
Fall 1973, my cousin David and I are down on Westchester Ave in the East Bronx at our favorite candy store/news stand to buy comics. The times they are a changing so is the neighborhood. Chestnut brown and beige tone children and teens, yet the store owner is dedicated to getting our generation our fill of pulp fun and sugary confections. I buy my majority Marvel and minority DC comic titles, a dollar taking you a long way back then and we say these days I was good. But my cousin David being the oddball he tended to back then ( He’s in real estate in D.C. these days) pulls a copy of Terror Tales off the rack. A black and white magazine-sized comic in the tradition of EC, just the cover in vivid color alone would gross most adults and kids out including me. Blood dripping font, ghouls, vampires, headless torsos etc… I start to berate cuz, because of my “Make Mine Marvel” dogma but change my mind since I got my pulp fix, plus his mom Annette will if anything will throw it in the trash, but I can’t help looking at the grotesque cover.
Terror Tales was one of (including a gangster magazine) eleven anthology format titles wonderfully published by Eerie Publications (EP) based in New York from 1966 to 1981 fighting the good fight against Warren publications the industry/genre leader with its Creepy, Warren, Vampirella and Eerie titles. With the concept of out grisly and Warren, Eerie founders Myron Fass, Stanley Harris and the mysterious Mel Lenny used pre-code reprints from the Iger Shop an indie supplier of comic work, a lot of it minus writer and artist credits to Ajax comics in the 1950’s. Mixed in with new artwork by Dick Ayers, Chic Stone, Ezra Jackson, Irving Fass and Myron Fass.The first run price 35 cents that went up to 50 cents. These black and whites had a film noir look to them, which was in contrast to the Warren titles groovy, sexy and puberty provocative 60’s and 70’s gothic swagger. Upscaled gore versus hardcore gore for those not into superheroes, was what separated the two print houses EP being of the latter term. An office rumble between Fass and Harris changed the direction of the horror pulp wars (Archie comics and Marvel tried to gain a foot hold, but failed) with Harris forming Harris Publications and taking over some of the Warren titles such as Vampirella.
In 1981, EP shut down for good, later achieving cult status and rebirth in reprints, I myself had moved on to Heavy Metal magazine by the 80’s. But as you age you look for sparks from the past, especially in the uncharted waters we seem to be in now. Funny how horror can be a comfort sometimes. I ordered Terror Tales issue #7 reprint. Opening the parcel I gave it a zombie salute (moan)Eerie Publications bloody, tendon showing, brain eating grisly if you what it. You got to love it.
Sources: Eerie Publications: Comix from Hell, www. FictionHousePress.com