"Ghastly" Graham Ingels (1915 – 1991)
Graham Ingels, the undisputed grand master of horror illustration, began carving his unique style as an independent artist in 1942 with numerous Golden Age comic book publications. He came on board with EC in the late 40's, eventually finding his forte with the New Trend of comics, where his disturbing, atmospheric masterpieces of terror for Tales from the Crypt, The Haunt of Fear, and The Vault of Horror defined the genre and he adopted the nickname "Ghastly". The Ghastly Awards, started in 2011, recognize outstanding achievements in Horror Comics over a range of 15 different categories and pays tribute Ingels by naming this prestigious, annual award after him. Ghastly Graham Ingels is, of course, the first Hall of Fame inductee. (2011 Inductee)
Al Feldstein and his employer William M. Gaines are truly the fathers of the horror comic.
Al Feldstein (b. 1925) hitched up with Gaines and EC comics as a writer/ artist in the late 40s and they hit it off right away, sharing similar ideas and interests. No longer content to follow industry trends, EC started introducing something new; balls to the wall Horror Comics. The genre had previously been touched upon, but in Gaines and Feldstein’s hands, horror became powerful and terrifying, as well as a bona-fide moneymaker.
Feldstein edited all three of EC’s terror titles for a time (as well as many of their other titles) and his brush created iconic horror images, his typewriter created hundreds of stories that still resonate 60 years later, he helped to create what are inarguably the best horror comics of all time, and he later edited Mad magazine for 30 of its most important years. If that’s not enough, he even created the Crypt-Keeper and his GhouLunatic cohorts! (2012 Inductee)
William M. Gaines (1922- 1992) took over the family business in 1947 after the death of his father, comic industry innovator Maxwell Gaines. That business was EC Comics. Hiring Al Feldstein was a stroke of genius and together they inaugurated the first line of real horror comics. Gaines would stay up all night reading pulp horror stories and write down “springboards”, ideas that Feldstein could flesh out into full stories. During the 1954 Senate Subcommittee hearings on Juvenile Delinquency, Gaines alone stood up for the rights of people to enjoy horror comics. Despite his best efforts, the dreaded Comic Code came into existence.
Gaines definitely marched to the beat of his own drummer. He was fiercely loyal to his workers (Graham Ingels, who was inconsistent with his romance and western art, was kept on board and allowed to blossom into the definitive horror artist), a generous boss and had the satiric wit that suited him well as the publisher of Mad magazine, a post he kept until his death. (2012 Inductee)
His work at DC in the early 70s, followed by his incredible stint at Warren cemented him as a horror fan's dream come true. The story "Swamp Thing" in DC's House of Secrets #92 (July, 1971, by Wrightson and Len Wein) made him a superstar, as well as the story's main character, who became an industry icon that is still in demand 40 years later. Wrightson's adaptation of Mary Shelly's Frankenstein in 1983 brought horror artwork to new heights, with drama and detail never before seen in the genre. He is still going strong, still inking rings around everybody else and still showing that horror can be both beautiful and terrifying. Berni Wrightson is a true living legend. (2012 Inductee)
Archie Goodwin (1937-1998)
Archie Goodwin has won a number of awards for his work in comics and has deserved every one of them. He was a prolific writer for Marvel and DC, finding success writing superhero, war and many other genres of comics. But it is his work in the horror field with Warren Publishing that makes him a shoe-in for inclusion into the Ghastly Hall of Fame.
His writing appeared in the very first issue of warren's Creepy and within 2 issues he was that title's editor. He also handled the editing chores for its sister title Eerie from the beginning. He was responsible for the look and content of the Warren horror mags during their heyday, influencing many imitators but also influencing generations of horror fans and creators. Goodwin's horror writing echoed his favorite childhood comics, the EC line. He left the company in 1967 to work for the big boys but he still found the time to contribute stories to Warren. One of his more horrific forays into the post-Warren comic world was with the editorship of Epic Illustrated, Marvel's answer to Heavy Metal, which featured some pretty good terror tales at times.
Goodwin, who passed away in 1998, was well-liked by his peers and left behind a body of work in all genres for fans to discover and rediscover forever. But that Warren horror stuff... damn, that's some kick-ass horror! (2013 Inductee)
Gene Colan (1926 - 2011)
Gene "The Dean" Colan was born in 1926, in the Bronx, New York. He was heavily influenced by the comic strips in newspapers in his youth, and that lead him to go to art school at the Art Students League of New York. His early work was for Fiction House, in the mid 1940's. He then enlisted in the Army Air Corps, and headed off to the Philippines, where he drew for a local newspaper. Upon returning to New York, he went to work for Timely Comics (a precursor to Marvel). At first, he drew war and crime comics, but then got a break on Captain America (and later Daredevil), but his true calling was realized when he penciled some stories for Strange Tales. These macabre stories really brought out the best in Gene's work, but he also had credits in Tower of Shadows, Weird Thrillers, World of Mystery, Web of Mystery, Spellbound, and others. It wouldn't be until 1972 though, that he would be recognized as a horror comic master. In that year, he began working on Tomb of Dracula, on went on to pencil every single issue in the seventy issue run. His work really jumped off the page when he collaborated with Marv Wolfman, starting on issue number seven. He continued to work in comics until he passed away in June, 2011. He's an Eisner Award winner (2010) and a two time Eagle Award winner (1977,1979), and his presence will be felt for a long time in this industry. Godspeed, Gentleman Gene! (2013 Inductee)(Bio provided by William Dunleavy)
Jack Davis (b. 1924)
Jack Davis is arguably the most prolific, successful and recognizable illustrator to ever set brush to paper. But, we have not inducted this multi-award-winning maestro into these hallowed halls for his countless movie posters, book covers, advertising and magazine work or even his bubblegum card art or his decades of satire work for Mad. That’s because Jack Davis is also the man who made the Crypt-Keeper and the EC title Tales from the Crypt the unforgettable horror comic that it remains to this day.
Though The Crypt-Keeper was created by Al Feldstein (2012 Ghastly Awards Hall of Fame inductee), Davis took the character’s look and the look of horror comics in general to the next level. He handled all of the Crypt Keeper’s stories for the EC horror comics during their zenith and his art thrilled and disgusted millions. His grimy, backwoods, swampy horror was unequaled, though his frisky sense of humor was often on display. A total Georgia gentleman, Davis has said he was uncomfortable doing the horror work, but you’d never know it when you see his amazing work. After the Code, Davis was even busier as an illustrator and he often utilized humorous monsters on his various projects. In 1964, Davis drew the iconic first cover for Warren Publishing’s Creepy.
He has been imitated by many, but there was only one Jack Davis. Having retired from illustration in 2014 at the age of 90, it is our honor to welcome him into the Ghastly Awards’ Hall of Fame. (2014 Inductee)
“Archaic” Al Hewetson (1946 - 2004)
Born and initially raised in Scotland, Al migrated to Canada in 1956. Beginning his career as a photographer, he was to become an assistant to Stan Lee at Marvel Comics upon Sol Brodsky’s recommendation. Brodsky left Marvel to co-found Skywald, and brought in Al (who had also been writing for Warren’s horror titles) as his associate editor. Eventually, Brodsky returned to Marvel, leaving Al as the new editor of the Skywald horror magazines. Under Al’s editorship, Psycho and Nightmare were successfully transformed, developing a house style called “The Horror-Mood.” They were later joined by a third title, Scream. Al’s talented stable of artists and writers would give the magazines a look distinct from any other horror magazine on the newsstand. Over the span of short two years, the Archaic One edited over 50 magazines which are still highly sought after and collected, standing as a sort of Dark Necronomicon of black and white illustrated horror, “The Horror-Mood.” (2014 Inductee)(Bio provided by George Warner)
Peter Normanton - 2014 Normanton Award Winner
Peter resides, quite happily, in the north west of England with his wife and three cats. He read his first horror comic at the age of nine and by 13 was hopelessly addicted. For the last forty years he has been trolling the country to amass his collection of horror related comics. After writing articles for Calum MacIver's highly sought after Lovecraft 'zine `Strange Aeons' in 1998, he unleashed his horror comics 'zine `From the Tomb.' It was only planned to last a couple of issues, but defied the odds and made it to issue #28, some ten years later. In 2012 Twomorrows published a `Best of From the Tomb,' which brought together some of the Tomb's finest moments along with a set of articles destined for the unpublished #29. In 2008 he edited `The Mammoth Book of Best Horror Comics’ for Constable and Robinson and four years later went onto write `The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies,’ originally entitled `The Mammoth Book of Slasher and Splatter Movies.’. He has since contributed a series of articles to PS Publishing’s remarkable Harvey Horrors reprint volumes along with their ACG series. Later this year his work will appear in Pete Von Sholly’s ‘Fabulous Fictioneers’, a veritable must have for all fans of horror and science fiction, again published by PS. (2014 Inductee)(Bio provided by George Warner)
|Photo by Joseph Citro|
It is fair to say that because of Stephen R. Bissette, horror comics stayed alive during the 1980s. They certainly stayed interesting and innovative because of him. His work, both as a writer and artist, started appearing in the late 70s in Heavy Metal, underground comix, and DC’s war and horror titles. By the mid-80s, he was becoming a household horror name, due in part to his award-winning run on Saga of the Swamp Thing, penciling Alan Moore’s scripts (to be inked by John Totleben). Meanwhile, he was contributing to the legendary Gore Shriek, a title on which he would eventually take over editorial duties. During these Direct Market comic years, many independent publishers’ horror output benefitted from Bissette’s creativity, as well. In 1988, Bissette formed his own publishing company, SpiderBaby Grafix & Publications, to publish Taboo, a groundbreaking, adult, and confrontational horror anthology created by Totleben and him.
A first year graduate of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Bissette currently teaches at the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont. He also keeps his hands dirty with writing about comic history, films and horror as well as short horror fiction. His talent has inspired and continues to inspire the world of comics and horror. (2015 Inductee)