Vampires and the Horror Comics Renaissance

Back in the 50s, Horror comics were all the rage. (Like TALES FROM THE CRYPT published by EC Comics, from which the television show took its name and inspiration.) Then along came this educated imbecile named Fredric Wertham who published a piece of propaganda entitled SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT making such ridiculous claims as Batman and Robin being gay lovers and depictions of violence in comicbooks causing kids to go out and recreate those scenes. This never happened, but that didn’t stop stupid people from buying it. The resulting moral panic caused some, like Wertham, to call for censorship. Fearing such government interference, the comicbook industry created the Comics Code Authority to police itself, and Horror disappeared from comicbooks altogether.

Time passed. The moral panic died down, as moral panics tend to do, and it became known that Wertham had faked much of his “evidence”. Still, Horror didn’t return to the pages of comicbooks—not until the 70s. With the success of movies like THE EXORCIST, themes of Satanism and the occult started to appear on the regular, with the Devil appearing as a primary villain in comics like GHOST RIDER. This blending of the superhero with horrific themes paved the way for the return of straight Horror—and among the first such ventures in the medium were books featuring characters like Blade, Dracula, and, preceding them all, the Spider-Man villains Man-Wolf and Morbius.

By TheCheezman

WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless. Denn die totden reiten schnell!

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