The first ongoing horror comics anthology, Adventures into the Unknown is finally collected into a series of deluxe hardcovers! The pre-Code delights found in this debut volume include inventive, exciting tales like "The Living Ghost," "Kill, Puppets, Kill," "The Affair of Room 1313," and the ongoing "True Ghosts of History" feature -- with contributions from Golden Age grThe first ongoing horror comics anthology, Adventures into the Unknown is finally collected into a series of deluxe hardcovers! The pre-Code delights found in this debut volume include inventive, exciting tales like "The Living Ghost," "Kill, Puppets, Kill," "The Affair of Room 1313," and the ongoing "True Ghosts of History" feature -- with contributions from Golden Age greats Fred Guardineer, Al Feldstein, Leonard Starr, Edvard Moritz, and others!...
|Title||:||Adventures Into the Unknown Archives Volume 1|
|Number of Pages||:||219 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Adventures Into the Unknown Archives Volume 1 Reviews
Horror Comics: The BeginningThe comics from the late 1940s collected in this volume mark the very beginning of the horror genre in comic-book form. There is still no sign of the irony and sophistication that would in the early 1950s distinguish the horror comics published by EC, as almost every story engages in an earnest discussion of the question whether ghosts and other supernatural phenomena actually exist or not. Moreover, the reader is not yet expected to be familiar with the various horror sub-genres, and is thus provided with basic information on relevant questions such as: how do you kill a vampire?The publication of horror stories in comic-book form was highly controversial at the time, as comic books were still widely perceived as children's fare. The letter column launched in issue #4 was accordingly not only designed to promote the series but also to appease critics. A mother is quoted: "Yesterday, my ten-year-old son, Tony, brought home his first copy of 'Adventures Into the Unknown.' To say that I was pleased and thrilled is an understatement. A far cry from the murder type of book, your magazine inspires imagination and a love for things off the beaten path... Your book is simply tops!" The authenticity of such letters is questionable at the very least, of course.The gore that would soon become a trademark of horror comics, making the medium an easy target for anti-comic-book crusaders, is still completely absent here - as is the social critique that would come to characterize many EC stories. While those sociocritical EC stories tend to cast the post-war period's rise of suburbia as a source of conflict and misery, the ones collected in this volume generally celebrate the new middle-class lifestyle. According to them, the "American Way of Life" is not threatened from within but strictly by strange supernatural forces that originate either from the distant past or from other parts of the world. In short, all signs of trouble in complacent post-war America are blamed on the Other.Ideologically, then, this book leaves much to be desired. Still, its historical significance is undeniable, and even in terms of entertainment value I found the lack of irony and in-jokes quite refreshing and enjoyable. My favorite story by far was issue #1's "The Living Ghost," an outrageously wild ride that must be read to be believed!
I didn't technically read *this* book, but I did download and read the first four issues of this comic a few years ago when I had a big interest in pre-code horror comics. These (and many more) are available free on digitalcomicmuseum.com.Let's just be clear, this isn't EC-quality pre-code horror. Many of these stories fall into what you might call a "ghost fighting" stories. People encounter various supernatural evils and fight them, usually winning out. I found issue #4 pretty bad and didn't read more. Still these are pretty entertaining as examples of really early horror comics -- issue #1 is from 1948, years before EC started their "new trend" horror.Here's the notes I took at the time, for what it's worth...1 - *** I enjoyed this comic, the art is often average, sometimes below, the stories are all OK at least. There is some gore. There's something to be said for sheer quantity, and this comic has that down, plus some pretty good tales toward the first half. This is early horror -- 1948. __John Wilder captures a timber wolf in the Canadian wilderness, but the locals have been in fear of a werewolf loose in the mountains. During the night the wolf turns into a man, escapes from it's cage and steals off with John's wife Barbara. He shoots and injures the man, but he gets back into his cage as a wolf and no one's the wiser -- back in America the wolf escapes from the zoo and a series of brutal murders begin. __A "Living Ghost" goes on the prowl. First he murders a train switch operator and causes mayhem and death on the rails. While investigator Tony Brand is looking over the crash, reporter Gail Leslie shows up too, she smells something odd. Later when the ghost pushes two necking lovers' car over a cliff, there's the same smell -- brimstone! The ghost sees Gail and later captures her at her apartment. The ghosts image is so terrible that it's face is etched into her mirror. Tony arrives at her place for a hot date, but discovers the mirror, and learns from a paranormal investigator that he's up against a demon. __A one-pager on the basics of voodoo. __In 1750 squire Aram loses his girl to Philip and pays some men to tie him up and throw him into the sea. As he sinks he vow revenge on Aram's family through the ages. Aram soon dies horribly, as do his descendents. In 1948 Sylvia and Roger are honeymooning at the Aram estate, now a hotel. The ghost of Philip is seen outside, Roger and his friend Ken go after it, but only Roger returns. Soon the ghost returns, now for Sylvia! __One-pager about a pistol used in a duel that becomes a curse to a family. __A below average re-telling of "The Castle of Otranto." __A grim two-pager about a girl who fears Lord Tyrone even more after he has died than when he was alive. She spurned his love once, now he returns for her, and makes her age rapidly wherever he touches her. __Lorna, her boyfriend Fred and his partner Benny hear the reading of her uncle Horace's will, learning that she will inherit a million dollars if she stays in Horace's creepy old house one night. The trio go there and encounter sliding panels, skeletons, ghosts and some real-life thieves.2 - *** Not as fun as the first comic, but still pretty good. Stories feel a bit rushed, art too, lots of "ghost fighting" feels almost super hero-ish. Little gore, but some eerie moments, lots of corny ones. __Centuries ago Turgot the puppet master creates four puppets that do his bidding and have gone on a killing spree. He has taught Jennie the art of puppetry, but when she rejects his offer of marriage he orders his puppets to attack. Her brother saves her life, Turgot falls on his own sword in the attack and the puppets are burned. But in the present a couple dismantles the old house and has it transported to America the killings resume. __Gail and Tony are vacationing to forget the "Living Ghost," when he emerges from a volcano nearby, kidnaps her and takes her to the mountain. Tony goes to Dr. Vandyke a psychic researcher who gives him the idea of enlisting the help of the Dark Phantom, the mortal enemy of the Living Ghost. A seance summons demons which take Tony to the Dark Phantom who he makes a bargain with to get to Gail. __A century ago Henry discovers his wife Jane is having an affair with Robert, a younger man. He assumes they have run off together, so he has her favorite tower locked up forever and commits suicide. In the present, Andrew, one of the heirs to the property decides to open the tower and is killed instantly. Douglas Drew, Ghost-Breaker is called in to solve the mystery. __Betty Saunders becomes an expert at copying the macabre paintings of Van Ruyter, a painter who cut his own hands off and killed himself many years ago. One night Betty gets an invitation from a man to come to his Belgian castle to retouch some Van Ruyter's. She jumps at the chance and travels there. But quickly learns her host is an evil spirit who forced Van Ruyter to paint devils that came to life -- now he wants her to do the same for him! __Captain Wolfson is so cruel to his men that they murder him, and one of the men on board captures his spirit in his ship in a bottle. In the present Stephen Knowles and his family buy the ship and his son soon opens it, releasing Wolfson. __A two-pager about the "Grim Lady of Raynham Hall who stalks the halls, and convinced Captain Marryat of her reality.3 - *** Nothing superb here, but a solid, early horror comic, more "fighting ghosts" here, pretty basic supernatural stories, hokey endings, no gore really. The art is good, one story by Feldstein is excellent. __During the days of the Salem witch trials Adam Adams leads a group of men to the house of Black Naomi, and before they can burn her alive she creates a familiar in the form of a black cat. There's a series of murders in the village, and in the present a series of accidents occur when repairs begin on Naomi's old house for a young couple who are planning to move in. Once they do, only Adam Adam's ghost can protect them from the witch-cat! __Ruth Morton finds herself the object of an ugly man's obsession, and when she rejects him he swears she will pay. Later that night he crawls into her window and she's saved just in time by her husband Bill and her pursuer falls from their apartment window. Their doctor hears the facts of the case and believes it's a vampire at work, and Ruth isn't safe when she and the vampire are taken to the same hospital. __A one-pager about various Irish spirits. __Many years ago a midget who was tried but acquitted for murder builds a small house in a town. The townsfolk talk of how he desired a full-sized woman in the circus, and caused her death by sabotaging the tightrope. Another man who loved her shows up one day and he and the midget murder each other and the house burns. Years later a new house is built on the same spot, the couple who move in find themselves haunted by the little man who still desires a female companion. __A man tells his story to convince a room of skeptics that ghosts do exist. At the wedding of his parents, the jealous Vardis Nelson busts in and starts shooting people, fortunately he is overpowered. Years later Nelson returns to kill his father, David who is still alive. Nelson cut's David's brake line, causing a fatal accident. After he's dead David returns to warn his son of Nelson's plans to murder him too. __A two-pager about ghost armies reenacting a battle during the English Civil War which foretold the death of King Charles. __Historian Rand and his secretary Debby travel to Whispering Hollow near Creekmore where Rand has purchased an old house. It seems from the years 1720-1770 there were no crimes in Creekmore; only strange accidental deaths. Rand leaves Debby at the house while he goes to town, and soon a bad storm arrives. Wind blows a window open, a large black dog jumps in and runs into the cellar and disappears. Little does Debby know the dog was the ghost of the evil Dr. Gaunt in disguise. It seems there were no crimes during his time because he collected evil and used it to raise two demons which do his bidding, and Gaunt wants Whispering Hollow for himself.4 - ** I might be a little harsh on this one, but I just found it to be a pretty bad issue. The art isn't terrible, but frankly the expressions on faces don't match the action a lot. No gore, and several of the stories are just nonsensical, a couple corny ones are fun. __Giants of the Unknown - After deciphering an ancient Egyptian manuscript Betty tells her partner Tom that she's convinced the document tells how to find an ancient tomb that holds the father of all Egyptian entities. They elicit the help of Edward Clinton, a rich man who wants fame and power to fund their expedition. They do find a tomb, ignore the usual warnings and enter it anyway and discover a giant mummy within who tells them how millions of years ago he was put into suspended animation by the leader of his people for opposing his warlike nature. The giant takes the trio back in time to his civilization in a plea to stop the human race from making the same mistakes his race did so many years ago. __The Affair of Room 1313 - John Abbot, new employee of an insurance company is sent on a fools errand to try and sell insurance to the MacLeish company which went out of business 25 years ago. The elevator operation acts strange when John asks to go to the MacLeish company office, but he finds it, sells Mr. MacLeish insurance and begins to flirt with his secretary when a crazed man named Mr Gregory enters and tries to murder John. He leaves, but when he's told the truth about the MacLeish company by his co-workers he fears for his own sanity and returns to find out the truth. __Back to Yesterday - Roger Lawrence and his family await the reading of his dead relative's will. A Ms. Margaret Blythe arrives and the will leaves her everything. Everyone realizes she looks like Margaret Anders, who it is rumored that the estates original owner, Roger Lawrence married. But as there's no proof of the marriage, Roger's relatives refuse to accept that she has any legal right to the property and try to have her committed. While fleeing from two orderlies Margaret is transported back into the body of Margaret Anders to uncover the truth. __Specialist in Spooks - Supernatural expert Elliot O'Donnell walks through a park with an old friend and tells about when he saw his first ghost as a student, in an attic room he rented. He fails his examination to be a policeman, so he decides to become an expert in ghosts. He tells about a job he took from a man who saw a "shaggy ghost" in his house, and how that ghost later saved him from disaster. __True Ghosts of History - A two-pager about the ghost of a man seen for hundreds of years at a English Naval barracks. __The Women Wore Black! - Jug Nason and his partner are fleeing from a bank robbery when they spot a gypsy family and run them over to steal their car. They manage to kill the two daughters of the family in the process, and the old woman of the family raises their corpses to get revenge. Some ninety miles away the criminals stop at an old, abandoned house, but soon realize they aren't alone, the two gypsy women are there.
This is a collection of arguably the first ever Horror Anthology Comic. I'm a huge fan of these types of comics, so my enthusiasm may have made the stories more enjoyable to me than most. I will say that while these stories arent bad, they aren't on the level of EC Comics, which are considered the greatest of the genre. These stories are more campy and somewhat silly when compared to the more refined EC stories, but this is still not a bad collection. If you're a fan of 50s style horror anthologies, you'll probably enjoy this one.
Adventures into the Unknown was an early and long lasting horror anthology comic book published by American Comics Group. Dark Horse has published the first 12 issues in three hardback volumes. Volume 1 contains issues 1-4, originally published in 1948 and 1949.Several years ago, during some eBay binging I bought 50+ issues of the title, mostly post Comics Code. I thought they were rather bland and didn't really pursue getting more. When I discovered the Dark Horse reprints in late December I decided to see what the comic was like in its early pre-code years and picked up all three volumes.If volume 1 is any indication, they were pretty bland, too. Most of the stories feature ghosts, which aren't really my thing. Issues 1 & 2 were a little better than 3 & 4. I probably won't be reading volumes 2 & 3 anytime soon...
The stories were pretty cheesy to begin with, but they did get better as it went along and were quite good by the fourth issue. The artwork does the job, but it's nowhere near EC or Creepy/Eerie caliber. Of course, this anthology predated those others by a couple years, so you could say the standards for horror comics hadn't been set yet. This is also different in that there are actually a few stories where things turn out all right for the protagonists, whereas EC horror and Creepy/Eerie tended to have dark or "twist" endings.
Fascinating read. Horror stories from the late forties early fifties.