The Internet Archive has a marvellous trove of scanned work from Warren Publishing, the maverick house behind such classic magazines as Creepy. The introduction of the Comics Code, following Fredeic Wertham’s scientific fraud purporting to show a link between comics and crime, gutted comics for half a century. But Warren Publishing avoided the Comics Code altogether by changing formats and publishing as a magazine, bringing us such classics as Famous Monsters of Filmland, Eerie, and Help! magazine (which employed Gloria Steinem!). Here’s the Wikipedia summary of Warren’s amazing run:
Warren Publishing was an American magazine company founded by James Warren, who published his first magazines in 1957 and continued in the business for decades. Magazines published by Warren include After Hours, Creepy, Eerie, Famous Monsters of Filmland, Help!, and Vampirella. Initially based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the company relocated by 1965 to New York City, New York.
Begun by James Warren, Warren Publishing’s initial publications were the horror-fantasy-science fiction movie magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland and Monster World, both edited by Forrest J Ackerman. Warren soon published Spacemen magazine and in 1960 Help! magazine, with the first employee of the magazine being Gloria Steinem. After first introducing what he called “Monster Comics” in Monster World, Warren expanded in 1964 with horror-comics stories in the sister magazines Creepy and Eerie — black-and-white publications in a standard magazine format, rather that comic-book size, and selling for 35 cents as opposed to the standard comic-book price of 12 cents. Such a format, Warren explained, averted the restrictions of the Comics Code Authority, the comic-book industry’s self-censorship body:
The Comics Code saved the industry from turmoil, but at the same time, it had a cleansing kind of effect on comics, making them ‘clean, proper and family-oriented’. […] We would overcome this by saying to the Code Authority, the industry, the printers, and the distributors: ‘We are not a comic book; we are a magazine. Creepy is magazine-sized and will be sold on magazine racks, not comic book racks’. Creepy’s manifesto was brief and direct: First, it was to be a magazine format, 8½” × 11″, going to an older audience not subject to the Code Authority.”
By publishing graphic stories in a magazine format to which the Code did not apply, Warren paved the way for such later graphic-story magazines as the American version of Heavy Metal; Marvel Comics’ Epic Illustrated; Psycho and other “horror-mood” series from Skywald Publications; and Warren’s own line of magazines.
By: Boing Boing
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries