Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Number 182

Sex and Skeletons Part 5

Ah, the things I do for you guys, looking through all of these skeleton covers so I can give you a few moments of pleasure. Well, it's a chore I enjoy. ::he said, giving his Crypt Keeper cackle:: I've explained how publishers used images of sex and death — like that's a big surprise — to sell their products, and comic books of the '50s were no different.

Eerie was published by Avon, and Eerie Adventures by Ziff-Davis. More than one cover of Eerie used the same girl in the same stance, looking at some horrific sight, like an approaching skeleton. It might have been some sort of inside joke. Why repeat the motif? Another mystery from the horror comics of the 1950s.

Secret Diary Of Eerie would have been one of those one-shot rebound editions of three unsold copies of regular issues squarebound in a new cover. A way of recycling that produced some interesting giant comics.

The cover to Eerie Adventures is painted by illustrator Allen Anderson. The beautiful girl in the foreground, giving much the same pose as the girl on the Eerie covers, is actress Jean Dawyot, who Anderson used for multiple covers, including pulps like Planet Stories. An article on Anderson in the excellent magazine, Illustrator #18, has several of Anderson's covers reproduced, including his Ziff-Davis covers; Dawyot is in most of them. 

Eerie and Eerie Adventures were mentioned in the infamous Seduction Of The Innocent by Fredric Wertham, M.D. It was about Avon suing Ziff-Davis for using the word "Eerie" on their covers. Wertham thought the judge should've throw in his opinions on the contents, but the fact that the judgment was solely on unfair competition and infringement didn't occur to the good doctor. What the judge ruled was that Eerie Adventures had to make the word "Eerie" smaller. I guess Wertham thought the judge should have torn them to pieces or burned the books in front of the court.

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