Monday, June 18, 2012

How to do horror magazine covers the right way!

Now that I'm on a 70s horror jag again and because I damaged our imaginations with that Classic Horror Tales monstrosity-- so bad it looks like something I'd do as a joke-- I think it's only fair to share some truly beautiful covers.  I found a neat-o post at Retrospace about Skywald's entries into what soon became a glutted field (thanks to Marvel, who loved to flood markets and squeeze out other publishers).

Skywald never penetrated our market as far as I know because all of these are completely new to me.  Psycho?  I guess if you can have a Creepy or an Eerie, you might as well go whole hog with a Psycho.  It's as though Warren's books promised something slightly off, like that one guy at the comic shop who awkwardly starts a conversation with you but then won't shut up and he's trembling slightly the whole time and won't make eye contact, while Skywald's offerings were more like the guy running around downtown butt-naked who eventually got tazed to death by the cops.  While they're strongly reminiscent of Marvel's B&W line, Skywald's covers have the gothy cheesecake of contemporaneous Warren books along with similar eye-catching gore-- including one called Scream with what appears to be Peter Cushing after having part of his face ripped off in an auto accident.  Because ordinary Peter Cushing just wasn't scary enough.  Behind our disfigured Cushing a woman in a torn negligee looks on in dismay.

"You promised you'd stop fondling skulls after our honeymoon," she seems to be thinking.  It's upset her enough she's about to write Dan Savage who will advise her to "dump the motherfucker already."  She's been GGG enough but Cushing has an obligation to meet her needs, too.

Anyway, that's how you do horror magazine covers.  Your typography can be garish as all get-out, but your illustrations must have strong, uncluttered, well-balanced compositions.  You've got rotten corpses and semi-nude bodies galore, but they're pretty rotten corpses and pretty semi-nude bodies.  I want to read these.  Classic Horror Tales just makes my head hurt.

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