War Against Crime #10, E.C. Comics, Dec/49 – Jan/50

Crime Patrol #15, E.C. Comics, Dec/49 – Jan/50

Here’s the thing. I really couldn’t pick one over the other so I’m picking both of these comic books for this week’s Undervalued Spotlight.

In January of 1947 Avon Periodicals published Eerie Comics #1. Eerie #1 is credited as being the first true horror comic. Overstreet guide value for Eerie #1 is a healthy $8,200.00. Though the book is also credited as establishing the horror genre it really did not cause an immediate flood of imitators (like say Action Comics #1 did). American Comics Group (ACG) published Adventures into the Unknown in the Fall of 1948. This title lasted 20 years and is considered the first continuous running horror title. Again, the stories in Adventures into the Unknown stories were mostly adaptations of folklore and were considered tame (a quality that helped the title survive the Comics Code purges of the mid 1950s, but more on that later Stan).  The horror genre only truly reached its potential in 1950 thanks to the publication of the two comic books we’re spotlighting.

War Against Crime turned into Vault of Horror with issue #12 and Crime Patrol eventually became Tales from the Crypt with issue #20. The E.C. horror revolution was on. Companies like Fox, Avon, Harvey, Standard and others all went head to head with E.C. each trying to one up the other with gore, blood, torture and a whole bunch of other mayhem and debauchery, the nastier the better. This “gore war” eventually leads the U.S. Senate to clamp down on comic book content. The resultant introduction of the Comics Code (basically the code restricted content to good clean fun for America’s children) meant the end of these horror comic books.

There is a lot of collecting and investing activity in the horror comics of the very late 1940s and early 1950s. E.C.s lead the way in desirability and value. From non E.C. publishers collectors usually zero in on only the iconic covers like Black Cat Mystery #50 or Witches Tales #25. Only E.C. enjoys a fanatical collector base for all issues of its horror titles. Our two spotlighted issues were the real starting point for the chaos that was horror comics of the 1950s.

The Overstreet Price Guide #40 shows:

$1784/$2842/$3900 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades for War Against Crime #10

$2152/$3426/$4700 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades for Crime Patrol #15

Strengths that make these comic books a good long term investment are:

– Both are considered key E.C. horror issues and many consider these the true start of the horror comics revolution

– Both are pretty scarce, only 15 War Against Crime #10s have been Universally graded (the majority of these are high grade Gaines file copies)

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada