It’s that time again, boys and girls! That’s right ACB’s Comic Book Monsters has returned! This year, I’ll be looking at a slice of some of the creepiest comic book series of all time! I’ll be covering a series a day in reverse chronological order. So, check under your beds and lock the doors and windows. It’s time to take a look at today’s featured series…
Comic Book Monsters – October 23rd: The Witching Hour
DC Comics sure did love their anthology series. They certainly loved their horror series. House of Mystery and House of Secrets had been around since the 50s. With the growing disdain for horror comics, DC had pulled back a little bit in having the truly classic horror in these books and each book took on a lead character (House of Mystery put the Martian Manhunter in the lead role while House of Secrets decided to go with Eclipso and Prince Ra-Man). By the time the late sixties came along, horror was back en vogue. The Comics Code Authority was relaxing their policies on monsters and scarier tales. With that, DC brought back their classic horror hosts and added to their line with The Witching Hour.
The series was hosted by three very different witches. Two, Mordred and Mildred, are older and a little more square. The third, Cynthia, is hipper and constantly causing the other two reason for frustration. They hosted segmented stories that ranged from more comedic to the spooky and scary. The witches were based on Shakespeare’s Weird Sisters from Macbeth.
Much like other DC anthologies of the time, The Witching Hour proved to be a hotbed of major talent working together and cranking out shorter stories with more original characters and situations. Creators like Alex Toth, Neal Adams, Bernie Wrightson, and Jack Sparling worked on many of the stories. Dick Girodano, originally an editor on the book, also contributed his inking talents on several issues. Even Denny O’Neil provided a story later in the run. One of the more consistent contributors was Nick Cardy who provided 25 covers during the series 85 issue run.
The series came to a close in 1978 as part of DC Comics’ “implosion” that brought several series to an end when series were not selling as well as hoped. The Witching Hour didn’t exactly go away though. The series folded into still-running DC book The Unexpected. Mildred, Mordred, and Cynthia continued to appear here and there. Neil Gaiman would use each of the three witches and the other hosts of DC’s horror books in his Sandman series. The three witches would make a couple more appearances, but have not been seen since 1999 when Jeph Loeb and Chris Bachalo did a brief three issue run for Vertigo. If I had to guess, the New 52 will likely find their way back to the three witches with their new lines featuring edgier characters. Until then, you should be able to find trades from DC’s Showcase series and even some individual issues in good condition for not too much of a hit on your wallet. It’s good 1970s fun, so I recommend seeing if you can pick up a couple issues.
That does it for today… Tomorrow I will be taking a trip to Charlton Comics and check out some ghostly manors and haunts!