Web of Horror was an anthology horror comic published by Long Island-based Major Publications in the United States between 1969 to 1970. It ran for just three issues – but material from an unpublished fourth issue by some top comic artists is out there…
Web of Horror was printed in black and white in magazine format to avoid having to get the Comics Code Authority’s approval. As with most horror anthologies, Web of Horror was hosted by a storyteller – in this case, Webster – a wide-eyed, four legged spider!
The title was the brainchild of Terry Bisson, who was hired by Long Island-based publisher Major Publications, run by Robert Sproul, also publishers of MAD rival Cracked, to create a rival horror magazine to Warren’s Creepy and Eerie.
Working with Clark Diamond, Bisson gained the services of Jeff Jones, Mike Kaluta, Bernie Wrightson and Bruce Jones to work on the title. When the title’s fortunes began to falter, Bisson and Diamond jumped ship to go and live on a commune, and Wrightson and Bruce Jones worked together editing a fourth, unpublished issue, featuring work by Bernie, Michael Kaluta and others.
Before the issue could be published, Sproul disappeared with a lot of art, although Frank Brunner, who also worked on the title, did recover some of it.
Among other gems, the issue was to have included the four-page comic titled “I Can’t See My Face Because My Name Keeps Getting in the Way“￼ by Michael Kaluta.
The original art – created in ink over graphite, with Zipatone shading film, on heavyweight sketchbook paper – turned up in Sproul’s archives, and Heritage Auctions sold this early work by one of the an artist now considered one of the biggest names in fantasy art from the last 50 years back in 2015, for just over £2000.
Over time, other lost art from the lost Issue appeared in other titles, including the cover and a strip by Wrightson and strips written by the likes of Len Wein and Gerry Conway, drawn by Brunner, Kaluta and others.
The content of the unpublished issue offers a tantalising hint of What Might Have Been from a Warren rival, sabotaged by its own publisher.
A story as old as publishing itself, sadly, and still repeated…
Better known for his early work at DC Comics with Denny O’Neil on The Shadow, Michael Kaluta then proceeded to skyrocket his career working on comics, pulp magazines, book illustrations as well as record album covers. His unique style created the buzz that everyone wanted.
In 1976, teaming up with Bernie Wrightson, Jeffrey Jones and Barry Windsor-Smith, they created “The Studio” in Manhattan’s Chelsea district. It was during this time they earned the name in the US comic book industry of “The Fab Four”.
• There’s also background feature on Web of Horror here on artist Peter Richardson’s Cloud 109 blog
With thanks to Ernesto Guevera