This month’s Passionate Geek is Robin! Robin Rivera trained as a professional historian and worked as a museum curator. She writes young adult thrillers and her blog is Write On Sisters. Or you can find her on Twitter at @RobinRWrites.
As a college kid, I stumbled into my local comic book store on a back issue sale day.
While my then boyfriend, now husband, haggled over the issues he wanted, I struggled to find anything that would make me part with my hard-earned cash. After about an hour, my partner had already spent much more than he could afford. His haul included his first 3-D shadowbox comic art created by Todd Reis. Trust me, look this artist up. He is amazing and photos do not do his artwork justice.
I finally found something interesting that day, but not until I’d drifted into the store’s back room.
The back room was a place I normally avoided because it was a crazy jumble of comic book boxes stacked four high. The boxes were wedged side to side across several long tables. Most of these books were out of order, often damaged or by lesser-known publishers. Basically it was a room packed with all the stuff no one wanted to collect.
Within moments of cracking my first box I was enraptured. I had discovered a small cache of early Bronze Age horror comics. These issues were adorned with lurid pulp fiction inspired covers and packed with Gothic tales and other seriously weird stuff.
There were monsters comics.
A few vamps.
But mostly there were ghosts, ghouls and other supernatural stuff.
Best of all, the store wanted to sell them for pennies on the Overstreet recommended prices. I picked up about 20 books that day. Most of them were only twice the original cover prices and since they were in the .15 to .25 cent range I managed an impressive haul without denting my bank account.
That day was my first major dive into collecting DC comics. Originally I built my new horror collection with one of everything, but slowly I started to pick up runs in several series.
I liked Secrets of Sinister House, originally called Sinister House of Secret Love.
Also House of Secrets. Many of these books featured Neal Adams cover art.
And The Phantom Stranger, 2nd series. This series often features Jim Aparo cover art.
Later, I added a number of Marvel series to my collection, picking up an assortment of Where Creatures Roam. Although consisting of reprints from earlier monster tales, these are often packed with Jack Kirby artwork and still one of my favorites.
Issues of Dead of Night, including issue #11, the highly desirable Scarecrow storyline.
And no collection like this would be complete with a batch of Weird Wonder Tales.
Over the last few years, some of these series have gained traction, leading to several Showcase Presents editions from DC and a few Marvel omnibus collections. If you have an interest in reading early horror comics, you might want to start with those books. There is also this amazing and highly detailed analysis of the genre, Superheroes from the Crypt posted at The Thought Bubble: http://www.wymann.info/comics/007-SuperheroesFromTheCrypt.html
The horror comics are still not a BIG thing for most comic collectors; many of these books sell for just a few dollars each, especially in lower grades.
I hope you enjoying seeing a small sampling of the books in my collection.