The Perplexing Origins of “Pocket Chiller Library” – and a series checklist

Pocket Chiller Library Montage

Thorpe & Porter and Top Sellers were imprints of publisher Williams and Top Seller published Pocket Chiller Library between 1971 and 1977, running to 137 issues, but there are plenty of questions circulating online about the title’s origins and exactly what it featured – reprint European strips or commissioned material from British creators?

I decided to ask several of those noted as working on the title and it was Dez Skinn, who worked on the series, as he outlines here on his official web site, who many downthetubes will know as the man who re-shaped Marvel UK and the editor of WARRIOR kindly provided some background.

“There was a charming rogue named Lee Moncho,” he recalls. “Spain seems to have produced quite a few of such in the comics biz. Already having several print connections, he acquired multiple sets of artwork for picture libraries, war, detective, horror, etc.

“Combining these with his print contacts, he offered finished monthly products to several publishers across the 1960s and 1970s. I ended up ‘editing’ one such line, for the aforementioned Top Sellers/Thorpe & Porter/General Books.

“Like Funny Half Hour which was also under my auspices, each was a finished package so I’d nothing to do really, although I did run a set of taglines (an idea nicked from early 1960s Marvels) and a back cover ad, promoting Monster Mag and House of Hammer magazine.”

Dez would have further dealings with Lee Moncho when he set up Quality Periodicals, detailed here.

Photo courtesy Dez Skinn
Dez Skinn's edit to Pocket Chiller Library to promote titles such as Monster Mag and House of Horror. Photo courtesy Dez Skinn
Dez Skinn’s edit to Pocket Chiller Library to promote titles such as Monster Mag and House of Horror. Photo courtesy Dez Skinn

Issues 1 and 2 of Pocket Chiller Library were published by Alex White & Co Ltd, based in James Street, London. From Issue Three, the publisher was Top Sellers, but downthetubes contributor Colin Noble notes that towards the end of the run, the company was either sold or given to Wells Gardner, Darton & Co publishers, in lieu of unpaid debt, as a number of their Pocket War Library were reprinted as Micron Combat Picture Libraries. He also notes that at least three of the stories are based on true crimes.

Pocket Chiller Library appears to have reprinted Italian material in some issues, which would fit with Williams pan-European publishing operation and deal with Lee Moncho, and the title was, according to a past discussion on ComicsUK, initially printed initially in Italy for the first 26 issues, then in Spain.

Collector Jon Smit notes a couple of the Chiller stories were previously published before in the short-lived title Nightmare Suspense Picture Library, published by MV Features between 1966 and 1967, which ran for just 16 issues. Pocket Chiller Library Issue 23 “Followers of Satan” originally debuted as Nightmare Suspense Picture Library Issue 7, “The Devil’s Disciple”, utilising the same cover art.

David Roach notes the artists commissioned to create new work were typically Spanish, “people like Borrell and Nieto wth some covers by Fernando Fernandez.

“While there is definitely some new British material – including covers by Allan Willow, the bulk of the art is Spanish reprints. I’ve never linked any of these numerous reprints to a specific Spanish source, but I’d guess it was likely to be a minor publisher like Toray. The search goes on!”

Steve Holland notes that Badia Romero also drew some issues, and wonders if UK-based art agent Barry Coker was agenting these directly to Top Sellers or to Euredit in Spain.

UK commissioned material includes art by 2000AD “Ballad of Halo Jones” artist Ian Gibson drawing “The Rope” (Issue 56), “The Bat” (Issue 60) and “The Kolby Curse” (issue 72).

Dave Gibbons has confirmed he drew #43, “The Dead Are Awake And Walking” – and that this was his first paid comics commission. “It’s awful,” he cautions!

Art by Ian Gibson from Pocket Chiller Library Issue 60, "The Bat"
Art by Ian Gibson from Pocket Chiller Library Issue 60, “The Bat”

Pocket Chiller Library – Issue Listing

This listing was last updated Wednesday 31st March 2021 – adding covers and other information with thanks to Colin Noble and Richard Sheaf

Additional information welcome!

Pocket Picture Library #1. "The somewhat uninspired typography out of a flat colour background on the covers was because the Spanish packagers were selling different language editions," notes Dez Skinn, who worked on the series, "and wanted easy word changes to the covers for each translation (ditto the often ill-fitting typeset balloons inside). Had the words been reversed out of the cover artwork it would have been far trickier. Horrible compromise though."
Pocket Picture Library #1. “The somewhat uninspired typography out of a flat colour background on the covers was because the Spanish packagers were selling different language editions,” notes Dez Skinn, who worked on the series, “and wanted easy word changes to the covers for each translation (ditto the often ill-fitting typeset balloons inside). Had the words been reversed out of the cover artwork it would have been far trickier. Horrible compromise though.”

1 – The Body

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

2 – The Jewels

Pocket Chiller Library No. 2 - The Jewels

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

3 – The Monster of Rillington Place

Pocket Chiller Library 3 - The Monster of Rillington Place

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

4 – Killer Doll

Pocket Chiller Library 4 - Killer Doll

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

5 – The Vampire of Dusseldorf

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

6 – The Evil Eye

Pocket Chiller Library No. 6 - The Evil Eye

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

7 – Hell on Earth

Pocket Chiller Library 7 - Hell on Earth

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

8 – The Pirate Brothers

Pocket Chiller Library No. 8 - The Pirate Brothers

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

9 – The Ghost

Pocket Chiller Library No. 9 - The Ghost

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

10 – Space Virus

Pocket Chiller Library No. 10 - Space Virus

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

11 – To Kill for Kicks

Pocket Chiller Library 11 - To Kill for Kicks

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

12 – The Beast

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

13 – The Nightmare

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

14 – Doctor Satan

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

15 – The Potholers

Pocket Chiller Library No. 15 - The Potholers

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

16 – Public Enemy Number One

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

17 – The Mummy

Pocket Chiller Library 17 - The Mummy

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

18 – The Butcher from Hanover

Pocket Chiller Library 18 - The Butcher from Hanover

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

19 – Billy the Kid

Pocket Chiller Library 19 - 19 - Billy the Kid

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

20 – The Statue

Pocket Chiller Library No. 20 - The Statue

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

21 – Images of Death

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

22 – Body Snatcher

Pocket Chiller Library No. 22 - The Body Snatchers

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

23 – Followers of Satan

Pocket Chiller Library Issue 23 "Followers of Satan" originally debuted as Nightmare Suspense Picture Library Issue 7, "The Devil's Disciple", utilising the same cover art
Pocket Chiller Library Issue 23 “Followers of Satan” originally debuted as Nightmare Suspense Picture Library Issue 7, published in 1966, “The Devil’s Disciple”, utilising the same cover art
Pocket Chiller Library No. 23 - The Followers of Satan

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

24 – Hands of Evil

Pocket Chiller Library No. 24 - Hands of Evil

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

25 – The Bloody Flowers

Pocket Chiller library 25 - The bloody flowers

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

26 – The Brides of Death / Hypnosis

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Two different versions of this edition have been spotted

27 – The Secret in the Cellar

Pocket Chiller library 27 - The Secret in the Cellar

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

28 – The Hunchback

Pocket Chiller Library 28 - The Hunchback

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprinted in #87 as “Gibbet of the Damned”

29 – Obsession

Pocket Chiller Library 29 - Obsession

30 – Werewolf

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

31 – The Vampire of Loban

Pocket Chiller Library No. 33 - The Vampire of Loban

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

32 – The Monster Maker / Cry of the Wolfman

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Two versions seen

33 – The Lake

Pocket Chiller Library No. 33 - The Lake

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

34 -Brides of Death

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

35 – The Mutant

Pocket Chiller library 35 - The Mutant

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

36 – The Dead Don’t Always Sleep

Pocket Chiller Library 36 - The Dead Don’t Always Sleep

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

37 – The Cry of the Wolfman

Pocket Chiller Library 37 - The Cry of the Wolfman

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

38 – The Children of the Damned

Pocket Chiller Library 38 - The Children of the Damned

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

39 – Daughter of Darkness

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

40 – Fear Has a Thousand Eyes

Pocket Chiller Library 40 - Fear Has a Thousand Eyes

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

41 – Nightmare Curse

Pocket Chiller Library Issue 41 - Nightmare Curse

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

42 – The Dark Fiend

Pocket Chiller Library 42 - The Dark Fiend

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

43 – The Dead are Awake and Walking

Pocket Chiller Library 43 - The Dead are Awake and Walking

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Dave Gibbons (reprinted in No. 102 as “Unholy Fiends”)

Pocket Chiller Library 43 - The Dead are Awake and Walking - art by Dave Gibbons
Pocket Chiller Library 43 - The Dead are Awake and Walking - art by Dave Gibbons
Art by Dave Gibbons

44 – The Unquiet Grave

Pocket Chiller Library 44 - The Unquiet Grave

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

45 – Fury

Pocket Chiller Library 45 - Fury

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

46 – The Mummies

Pocket Chiller Library No. 46 - The Mummies

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

47 – The Cupboard

Pocket Chiller Library No. 47 - The Cupboard

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Some interior pages here

48 – Suffer a Witch to Live

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

49 – The Finger

Pocket Chiller Library 49 - Pocket Chiller Library 45 - The Finger

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

50 -The Snake Woman

Pocket Chiller Library 50 -The Snake Woman

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

51 – Epitaph to a Madman

Pocket Chiller Library 51 - Epitaph to a Madman

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

52 -The Monkey

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

53 – The Devil Worshippers

Pocket Chiller Library 53 - The Devil-Worshippers

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

54 – Shadow on the Mind

Pocket Chiller Library 54 - Shadow on the Mind

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

55 – The Strangler

Pocket Chiller Library 55 - The Strangler

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

56 – The Rope

Pocket Chiller Library 56 - The Rope

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Ian Gibson

57 – The Face in the Mirror

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

58 – Suffer a Witch to Live

Pocket Chiller Library 58 - Suffer a Witch to Live

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

59 – Shadows in the Night

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

60 – The Bat

Pocket Chiller Library 60 - The Bat

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Ian Gibson

61 – The Skull

Pocket Chiller Library 61 - The Skull

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

62 – Face in the Fog

Pocket Chiller Library 62 - Face in the Fog

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

63 – The Hangman

Pocket Chiller Library 63 - The Hangman

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

64 – Night of the Cactus

Pocket Chiller Library 64 - The Night of the Cactus

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

65 – Unseen Master

Pocket Chiller Library 65 - Unseen Master

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

66 – Dark Vengeance

Pocket Chiller Library 66 - Dark Vengeance

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

67 – Trip Fantastic

Pocket Chiller Library 67 - Trip Fantastic

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

68 – The Spider

Pocket Chiller Library 68 - The Spider

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

69 – Born to Be Evil

Pocket Chiller library 69 - Born to be Evil

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

70 – The Hands of Death

Pocket Chiller Library 70 - The Hands of Death

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

71 – Return from the Dead

Pocket Chiller Library 71 - Return from the Dead

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

72 – The Kolby Curse

Pocket Chiller Library 72 - The Kolby Curse
Interior art by Ian Gibson on Pocket Chiller Library 72 - The Kolby Curse
Interior art by Ian Gibson on Pocket Chiller Library 72 – The Kolby Curse

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Ian Gibson

73 – The Evil Comes From Out There

Pocket Chiller Library 73 - The Evil Comes from Out There

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

74 – Fear of Night

Pocket Chiller Library 74 - Fear of Night

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

75 – Exterminate

Pocket Chiller Library 75 - Exterminate

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

76 – Tomb of the Vampire

Pocket Chiller library 76 - Tomb of the Vampire

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

77 – Dead Man’s Eyes

Pocket Chiller library 77 - Dead man's eyes

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

78 – Immortal Armour

Pocket Chiller library 78 - Immortal armour

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

79 – The Woman in the Glass Coffin

Pocket Chiller Library No. 79 - The Woman in the Glass Coffin

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

80 – The Curse of Suicide

Pocket Chiller Library 80 - The Curse of Suicide

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

81 – Execution of Sinners

Pocket Chiller library 81 - Execution of sinners

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

82 – The Devil’s Servant

Pocket Chiller Library 82 - The Devil’s Servant

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

83 – Terror in Wax

Pocket Chiller Library 83 - Terror in Wax

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

84 – Brutes of Hell

Pocket Chiller library 84 - Brutes of Hell

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

85 – When Cats Purr

Pocket Chiller Library 85 - When Cats Purr?

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

86 – Harridan of Doom

Pocket Chiller library 86 - Harridan of Doom

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Previously presented as No. 27 -“The Secret in the Cellar”

87 – Gibbet of the Damned

Pocket Chiller library 87 - Gibbet of the Damned

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Previously presented as No. 28, “The Hunchback”

88 – Blade of Death

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

89 – Creature of the Night

Pocket Chiller library 89 - Creature of the night

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

90 – Blood of Venom

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

91 – Reign of the Beast Men

Pocket Chiller Library  91 - Reign of the Beast Men

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

92 – Evil Waters

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

93 – The Brides of Death

Pocket Chiller Library 93 - The Brides of Death

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

94 – Half Human

Pocket Chiller Library 94 - Half Human

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 35, “The Mutant”

95 – Decayed Dead

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

96 – Man Beast

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

98 – Condemned Woman

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

99 – The Curse of Zilhaus

Pocket Chiller Library 99 - The Curse of Zilhaus

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

100 – Powers of Darkness

Pocket Chiller Library 100 - Powers of Darkness

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 41, “Nightmare Curse”

101 – Brink of the Grave

Pocket Chiller Library No. 101 - Brink of the Grave

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 42, “The Dark Fiend”

102 – Unholy Fiends

Pocket Chiller Library 102 - Unholy Fiends

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Dave Gibbons

Reprint of No. 43, “The Dead are Walking”, with interior art by Dave Gibbons

103 – Pit of Hell

Pocket Chiller Library 103 - Pit of Hell

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of 44, “The Unquiet Grave”

104 – Fear…

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

105 – Beyond Death

Pocket Chiller Library 105 - Beyond Death

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of 46, “The Mummies”

106 – Left to Die

Pocket Chiller Library 106 - Left to Die

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of 47, “The Cupboard”

107 – Indescribable Terror

Pocket Chiller Library 107 - Indescribable Terror

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

108 – Never Again

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

109 – Evil Fangs

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

110 – The Fiend

Pocket Chiller Library 110 - The Fiend

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of 51, “Epitaph to a Madman”

111 – Superhuman

Pocket Chiller Library 111 - Superhuman
`

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Probably a reprint of 52, “The Monkey” – information welcome

112 – Everlasting Night

Pocket Chiller Library 112 - Everlasting Night
`

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of 53, The Devil Worshippers”

113 – Mangled Mind

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

114 – The Strangler

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 55

115 – The Rope

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 56

116 – The Face in the Mirror

Pocket Chiller Library 116 - The Face in the Mirror

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 57

117 – Suffer a Witch to Live

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 48

118 – Shadows of the Night

Pocket Chiller Library 118 - Shadows of the Night

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 59

119 – The Bat

Pocket Chiller Library 119 - The Bat

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Ian Gibson

Reprint of No. 60

120 – The Skull

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 61

121 – Face in the Fog

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 62

122 – The Hangman

Pocket Chiller Library 122 - The Hangman

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 63

123 – The Night of the Cactus

Pocket Chiller Library 123 - The Night of the Cactus

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 64

124 – Unseen Master

Pocket Chiller Library 124 - Unseen Master

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 65

125 – Dark Vengeance

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 66

126 – Trip Fantastic

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 67

127 – The Spider

Pocket Chiller Library 127 - The Spider

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 68

128 – Born to Be Evil

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 69

129 – The Hands of Death

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 70

130 – Return from the Dead

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 71

131 – Exterminate!

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 75

132 – The Evil Comes…

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 73?

133 – Fear of the Night

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

134 – Exterminate

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

135 – Tomb of the Vampire

Pocket Chiller Library 135 - Tomb of the Vampire

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 76

136 – To Kill for Kicks

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 11

137 – Doctor Satan

Pocket Chiller Library 137 - Doctor Satan

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprint of No. 14

Additional information welcome!

For those of you trying to puzzle out the history of the many British pocket library titles and publishers, Steve Holland notes that just to add to the confusion, a lot of pocket libraries were packaged abroad and sold around Europe (France, Germany, Spain, etc.), so there is still a lot of questions about whether some pocket libraries were reprints – or were actually published here in the UK first!

WEB LINKS

Grand Comics Database – Pocket Chiller Library Listing and Covers

Nightmare Suspense Picture Library – Listing and Covers

With thanks to Dave Gibbons, Steve Holland, Chris O’Leary, Douglas Noble, the much-missed Colin Noble, Steve Pini, David Roach, the indispensable Richard Sheaf, Dez Skinn and Jon Smit – and thanks also to the WordPictureWord Group for sending me down this rabbit hole!

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

4 replies

  1. It should also be noted that the same story could appear in different issues under different titles.
    #28: The Hunchback and #87: Gibbet of the Damned for instance are the same story.

  2. I’ve been chatting with Paw Broon over at Comic Book + about the source of some of this art. He sent me several Pocket Chillers and I recognized Enrique Nieto, who drew a lot of stories for Charlton Comics (USA) in the 1970s. Nieto was one of the members of an Argentinian shop, the Union Studio.

    This sent me on a Google journey through Spanish language comic sites looking for background on Union Studio. Oddly it was difficult to find much information. I say “oddly” because the shop supplied tons of art for European and American publishers. Its story demonstrates the convoluted world of international comics of the 60s and 70s.

    Union Studio was established by Julio Cesar “Chiche” Medrano, a respected and prolific artist known for publishing under countless pseudonyms. Medrano drew mostly war stories, and contributed to Fleetway for several years. Union Studio artists I’ve found named are Enrique Nieto, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, Oscar Fraga, Quique Alcatena, Walter Taborda, Pedrazzini, Eduardo Risso, Antonio Reynoso, Walter Casadei, Cirilio Munoz, Oscar Novelle, and Jose Massaroli. The “Martinez” who drew some Charlton stories was apparently Medrano himself.

    The studio seems to have worked for British, German, Italian, and American publishers as well as Argentine magazines. Foreign clients included DC Thomson, Colomba, Record, Charlton, Gold Key, DC comics, and Universo (Italy). One odd sideline was supplying new art for a notorious American line of ultra-violent b&w horror comics published by Myron Fass’ Eerie Publications. These books presented stories pirated from second-banana 1950s horror comics, newly redrawn to maximize the gore. The Studio’s American contact (there may have been more than one) was Argentine artist Arnoldo “Francho” Franchioni. Francho also drew for Fass’ infamous “Captain Marvel” comics.

    Passing into speculation, it seems possible that the studio’s Pocket Chiller Library material might have been commissioned directly by the British publisher. Alternatively they might have been reprints of Italian mags of the “Oltretomba” variety. However the only Italian publisher named in the articles I found was Universo, which published adventure and sport comics but not horror. There were dozens of 1970s Italian horror titles, though. It’s quite possible Union Studio drew stories which later found their way to England.

    Sorry for wandering off and on to topic, but I wanted to get what little I know out there and invite anyone with knowledge of Union Studio to join in. It could help illuminate the Pocket Chiller pedigree.

%d bloggers like this: