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Fawcett Comics

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Fawcett Comics
Whiz 2
Cover to Whiz Comics #2

Headquarters

New York, NY, United States of America

Founded

1919

Defunct

1953

Parent Company

Fawcett Publications

Company Background

Fawcett Comics, a division of Fawcett Publications, was one of several successful comic book publishers during the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1940s. Its most popular character was Captain Marvel, the alter ego of radio reporter Billy Batson, who transformed into the hero whenever he said the magic word "Shazam!".

Other characters published by Fawcett include Captain Video, Hopalong Cassidy, Ibis the Invincible, Bulletman and Bulletgirl, Spy Smasher, Captain Midnight, Phantom Eagle, Mister Scarlet and Pinky, Minute-Man, Commando Yank and Golden Arrow.

Aside from the better-known superhero books, Fawcett also published a short-lived line of horror comics during the early 1950s, a string of titles which included This Magazine Is Haunted, Beware! Terror Tales, Worlds of Fear, Strange Suspense Stories, and Unknown World. Other genres included teenage humor (Otis and Babs), funny animal (Hoppy the Marvel Bunny), romance (Sweethearts), war (Soldier Comics) and Western (Lash LaRue, Six Gun Heroes). Fawcett also produced comics based on contemporary movie stars (Tom Mix, Monte Hale) and matinee serials (Nyoka the Jungle Girl). The entire line was dropped in 1953, when Fawcett closed down their comics publishing wing (though many titles were picked up by Charlton Comics.

Many Fawcett comics characters are now in the public domain due to lapsed copyright.

Fawcett horror line

Haunted4April

This Magazine is Haunted, flagship of the Fawcett horror line.

The Fawcett Horror Line was a short lived range of horror comics published by Fawcett Comics between 1951 and 1953. Beginning with the flagship title This Magazine is Haunted, the line soon expanded to include Beware! Terror Tales, Worlds of Fear and Strange Suspense Stories, all of which featured paranormal themes in an anthologized format. While organized under a loose continuity, stories contained mainly non-continuous characters in the style of EC's "New Trend", combining crime and horror elements with frequent O. Henry climaxes.

Artwork was provided by a number of industry veterans, including Sheldon Moldoff, Mike Sekowsky, Bernard Bailey and Bob Powell, with occasional input by E.C. regular George Evans. Production was overseen by editors Will Leiberson, Al Jetter, V.A. Proviserio and B.J. Heyman, with Jetter credited as art director. Although the line was terminated in 1953 due to a long-running legal dispute with DC Comics, at least two of the titles were sold to Charlton Comics, with Haunted continuing until 1958 and Strange Suspense Stories running (with intermittent name changes) until 1969.

Origins

In an interview with Alter Ego's Roy Thomas, artist Sheldon Moldoff claims to have approached Fawcett Publications with two supernatural titles in the late 1940s, offering a package of stories illustrated by himself and freelancer Johnny Craig (who would later become a regular contributors to E.C.'s Vault of Horror). At the time, Fawcett was extremely reluctant to publish any horror content due to their family-friendly reputation, leading editor Will Lieberson to pass on the offer.

Following this initial rejection, Moldoff next pitched the concept to William Gaines, signing a contract stipulating that he would be paid a commission if the books were successful. Several months later, when EC's horror comics hit the newsstands, Gaines apparently reneged on the deal, threatening to blacklist Moldoff if he took legal action.

Moldoff eventually returned to Fawcett, selling one of the titles for the sum of $100.00 - "and all the work I wanted." By the early fifties, horror had become too popular to ignore, and the company was willing to test the market with This Magazine is Haunted number one, cover dated October 1951. A sister publication, Worlds Beyond: Stories of Weird Adventure, appeared in November of that year, though a second issue never appeared, due to copyright disputes.

Worlds of Fear (Jan 1952) was launched in May 1952, bringing the talents of Moldoff, Bailey, Sekokwsky and Powell together under Leiberson's creative oversight. The books were successful enough to allow two more "companion" pieces, Beware! Terror Tales (May 1952) and Strange Suspense Stories in June, 1952. Unknown World debuted the same month, renamed Strange Stories from Another World from issue two.

For unexplained reasons, none of these titles carried the company's logo on their covers, although the indicias clearly identify Fawcett as the publisher. Each ran bi-monthly until 1953, with Strange Suspense Stories and Another World discontinued in February. Worlds and Beware! lasted a few months longer, concluding in June and July respectively. Haunted was cancelled in December 1953, with a final issue left unpublished until Charlton relaunched the magazine in February 1954.

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