Pocket Chiller Library: Issues 1 – 50

Pocket Chiller Library Montage

Thorpe & Porter and Top Sellers were both imprints of publisher Williams. Between 1971 and 1977, Top Sellers published Pocket Chiller Library, 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?

Some issues included second stories and we have included these, too. Special thanks to Adrian Griffiths for a huge amount of extra information!

Read our main feature about Pocket Chiller Library here to find out more

• Checklists: Issues 1 – 49 | Issues 50 – 100 | Issues 101 – 137

Please note: From Issue 86, onwards, the entire remaining run of issues were reprints, so all issues after that are duplicates, some with different covers, and different titles, but the same internal stories. Some of these are even reprints of comics from the two earlier series, Nightmare Suspense Library and Tales of Terror Picture Library – which leads to the situation of one story (“Waxworks/ Terror in Wax) actually being published three times. Again, the story titles were often changed.

Checklist Issues 1 – 50

Additional information welcome!

1 – The Body

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.”

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

A story about a man bringing his wife back from the dead.

Second Story: The Curse

2 – The Jewels

Pocket Chiller Library No. 2 - The Jewels

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

A story about grave robbing

Second Story: The Corpse

The cover of "The Jewels" depicts an actual scene in "The Body", the first issue of Pocket Chiller Library...
The cover of “The Jewels” depicts an actual scene in “The Body”, the first issue of Pocket Chiller Library…

Notes: The cover illustrations for Issues One and Two of Pocket Chiller Library seem to have got mixed up in the production process. Issue One, “The Body”, is a story about a man bringing his wife back from the dead. Whereas, Issue Two, “The Jewels”, is about grave robbing. Had the illustrations been the other way around, they would have correctly matched the stories – especially as the cover of “The Jewels” depicts an actual scene in “The Body”!

3 – The Monster of Rillington Place

Pocket Chiller Library 3 - The Monster of Rillington Place

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

The true story of the murderer, John Reginald Christie

4 – Killer Doll

Pocket Chiller Library 4 - Killer Doll

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second Story – The Body Snatchers

5 – The Vampire of Dusseldorf

Pocket Chiller Library 5 - The Vampire of Dusseldorf

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

The true story of serial killer Peter Kurten. Very unpleasant for a comic book…

6 – The Evil Eye

Pocket Chiller Library No. 6 - The Evil Eye

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second Story – The Cats

7 – Hell on Earth

Pocket Chiller Library 7 - Hell on Earth

Cover: Fernando Fernandez (Signed on cover)
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second story – Diagnosis

8 – The Pirate Brothers

Pocket Chiller Library No. 8 - The Pirate Brothers

Cover: Fernando Fernandez (Signed on cover)
Interior Art: Information Welcome

9 – The Ghost

Pocket Chiller Library No. 9 - The Ghost

Cover: Fernando Fernandez (Signed on cover)
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second Story – The Brain

10 – Space Virus

Pocket Chiller Library No. 10 - Space Virus

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second story – The Visitor

11 – To Kill for Kicks

Pocket Chiller Library 11 - To Kill for Kicks

Cover: Fernando Fernandez (Signed on cover)
Interior Art: Information Welcome

This story is told in the same way as the other true stories in the early issues, but so far, we can’t find any online reference to the murderers featured, Stills and Koles.

Later reprinted as No. 136, “To Kill for Kicks”

12 – The Beast

Pocket Chiller Library 12 - The Beast

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second story – Corpse Without a Head

13 – The Nightmare

Pocket Chiller Library 13 - The Nightmare

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second story – The Medium.

“The Medium” is actually the first story in the comic, and “The Nightmare” is second

14 – Doctor Satan

Pocket Chiller Library 14 - Doctor Satan

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

The true story of French serial Killer Marcel Petiot

Later reprinted as No. 137, “Doctor Satan”

15 – The Potholers

Pocket Chiller Library No. 15 - The Potholers

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second Story – The Cameo

16 – Public Enemy Number One

Pocket Chiller Library 16 - Public Enemy Number One

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

The true story of US gangster John Dillinger. (Which hardly qualifies as “chiller” material!)

17 – The Mummy

Pocket Chiller Library 17 - The Mummy

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second story: The Doctor

18 – The Butcher from Hanover

Pocket Chiller Library 18 - The Butcher from Hanover

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

The true story of German serial killer, Fritz Haarmann

19 – Billy the Kid

Pocket Chiller Library 19 - 19 - Billy the Kid

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

True story of Billy the Kid. Not really chiller material – and really boring!

20 – The Statue

Pocket Chiller Library No. 20 - The Statue

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second story – The Vampire

21 – Images of Death

Pocket Chiller Library 21 - Images of Death

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Pocket Chiller Library 21 reprints Tales of Terror Picture Library No. 13 “The Waxworks” – and uses the same cover illustration.

Later reprinted as Pocket Chiller Library No. 83, Terror in Wax

Tales of Terror 13 - The Waxworks

22 – Body Snatcher

Pocket Chiller Library No. 22 - The Body Snatchers

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

This is a reprint of Nightmare Suspense Picture Library no. 11, “Possession”, but with a different cover. In turn, the cover illustration is repurposed from Nightmare Suspense Picture Library No. 12, “The Summer House”, which is a story about a woman haunted by bloody hand prints. So this illustration would have been made for that story, and it makes no sense as the cover of  “The Body Snatcher”. What a mess!

Nightmare Suspense 11 - Possession
Nightmare Suspense 12 - The Summer House

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

Another mess. The story is a reprint of Nightmare Suspense Picture Library No. 9,  “The Medium”, but with a different cover. The cover illustration is repurposed from a Tales of Suspense Picture Library issue – No. 7, “The Black Death”, which is a story about a radioactive monster that melts people.

So this illustration fits that story, but it makes no sense as the cover of “Hands of Evil​”!

Nightmare Suspense 9 - The Medium
Tales of Suspense Picture Library issue - No. 7, "The Black Death"

25 – The Bloody Flowers

Pocket Chiller library 25 - The bloody flowers

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Second story: The Hanged Man

26 – Hypnosis / The Spider’s Web

  • Pocket Chiller Library 26 - Hypnosis (aka) "The Spider's Web"
  • Pocket Chiller Library 26 - Hypnosis (aka) "The Spider's Web" - Interior
  • Pocket Chiller Library 26 - Hypnosis (aka) "The Spider's Web" - Back Cover

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Two different versions of this edition have been spotted. The confusion may have been caused by the use of “The Spider’s Web” on the interior strip, but “Hypnosis” on the cover.

Second story: The Spider’s Web, which features a giant spider. The cover illustration is about this story, rather than “Hypnosis”.

This seems the last issue to have two separate stories, and from the next issue, a new series logo was used.

With thanks to downthetubes reader “Gary” for the cover and images

27 – The Secret in the Cellar

Pocket Chiller library 27 - The Secret in the Cellar

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 86, as “Harridan of Doom”

28 – The Hunchback

Pocket Chiller Library 28 - The Hunchback

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Reprinted in No. 87 as “Gibbet of the Damned”

29 – Obsession

Pocket Chiller Library 29 - Obsession

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted in No. 88 as “Blade of Death”

30 – Werewolf

Pocket Chiller Library No. 30 - Werewolf

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 89, “Creature of the Night”

31 – The Vampire of Loban

Pocket Chiller Library No. 33 - The Vampire of Loban

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 90, “Blood of Venom”

32 – The Monster Maker / Cry of the Wolfman

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 91, “Reign of the Beast Men”

33 – The Lake

Pocket Chiller Library No. 33 - The Lake

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. reprinted as No. 92, “Evil Waters”

34 -Brides of Death

Pocket Chiller Library No. 34 - The Brides of Death

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 93, “The Brides of Death”

35 – The Mutant

Pocket Chiller library 35 - The Mutant

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 94, “Half Human”

36 – The Dead Don’t Always Sleep

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

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 95, “Decayed Dead”

37 – The Cry of the Wolfman

Pocket Chiller Library 37 - The Cry of the Wolfman

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 96, “Man Beast”

38 – The Children of the Damned

Pocket Chiller Library 38 - The Children of the Damned

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 97, “Insane With Terror”

39 – Daughter of Darkness

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 98, “Condemned Woman”

40 – Fear Has a Thousand Eyes

Pocket Chiller Library 40 - Fear Has a Thousand Eyes

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 99, “The Curse of Zilhaus”

41 – Nightmare Curse

Pocket Chiller Library Issue 41 - Nightmare Curse

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 100, “Powers of Darkness”

42 – The Dark Fiend

Pocket Chiller Library 42 - The Dark Fiend

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 101, “Brink of the Grave”

43 – The Dead are Awake and Walking

Pocket Chiller Library 43 - The Dead are Awake and Walking

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Dave Gibbons

Later 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

Later reprinted as 44 No. 103, “Pit of Hell”

45 – Fury

Pocket Chiller Library 45 - Fury

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 104, “Fear…”

46 – The Mummies

Pocket Chiller Library No. 46 - The Mummies

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 105, “Beyond Death”

47 – The Cupboard

Pocket Chiller Library No. 47 - The Cupboard

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Some interior pages here

Later reprinted as No. 106, “Left to Die”

48 – Dark Heritage

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 107, “Indescribable Terror”

49 – The Finger

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

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as No. 108, “Never Again”

50 -The Snake Woman

Pocket Chiller Library 50 -The Snake Woman

Cover: Information Welcome
Interior Art: Information Welcome

Later reprinted as reprinted as No. 109, “Evil Fangs”

Pocket Chiller Library – Main Feature

Checklists: Issues 1 – 49 | Issues 50 – 100 | Issues 101 – 137

Note that from Issue 86 onwards, the title went reprint

Additional information welcome! This feature and listing last updated 17th December 2021

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!

Grand Comics Database – Pocket Chiller Library Listing and Covers

Nightmare Suspense Picture Library – Listing and Covers

With thanks to Dave Gibbons, Adrian Griffiths, Steve Holland, Rik Hoskin, 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: British Comics, Comics, Creating Comics

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4 replies

  1. Some of the early covers were signed by Fernando Fernandez as his signature is clearly seen, e.g. #7 and #9.

  2. I never bought these but I remember seeing them on spinner racks in newsagents. If it wasn’t Marvel horror or House of Hammer I wasn’t interested but I wish I’d bought some now.

  3. Some of the earlier issues must have been pre-1966, as Australia began using decimal currency (Dollars and Cents) from 14 February of that year, and the first few issues show 1/6 for Australian buyers….

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