A wonderfully lurid cover by L.B. Cole paired with a supernaturally weird interior story by Jay Disbrow is a match made in Pre-Code Horror heaven (or hell, as the case may be). Cole covers of this era are unfailingly a treat that pokes you right in the eyeballs, and since he made a point during this era to be particularly inspired by the interior story he was cover featuring, and Disbrow’s strange horror tales brought out the best in him. Disbrow horror stories for Star Publications have become legend for his unique take on often Lovecraftian themes, while Pre-Code L.B. Cole covers are always in demand. The cover feature Love from a Gorgon in Startling Terror Tales #13 provides us with a look at the best of both artists. This is a package that only Cole and Disbrow could have created, and there’s a Startling Terror Tales #13 (Star Publications, 1952) CGC FN 6.0 Off-white pages up for auction in the 2022 October 27 – 28 Halloween Pre-Code Horror and Crime Comics Showcase Auction #40207 at Heritage Auctions.
With the heat turning up on the comic book industry in 1948, Curtis Publishing, who published comics via their Novelty Press imprint, had found themselves getting caught up in the controversy over the industry during that period. Best known as the publisher of the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal, Curtis decided to throw in the towel on comic books by 1949, selling their titles and inventory to Star Publications, a company formed by Cole and lawyer Gerhard Kramer. The company leveraged this inventory, along with other reprint material from Fox Feature Syndicate titles, to create a noteworthy line of comics, adding Cole’s legendarily eye-catching covers and new material from the likes of Disbrow.
Jay Disbrow contributed to around 45 comic books for Star Publications 1950-1954, across the range of titles the company published, focused on horror and romance. Love from a Gorgon tells the tale of a creature from another dimension whose race was dying out. The creature has traversed time and space seeking out a mate with which to repopulate its species, and it has found one on Earth. This spectacularly disturbing tale is available in Startling Terror Tales #13 (Star Publications, 1952) CGC FN 6.0 Off-white pages up for auction in the 2022 October 27 – 28 Halloween Pre-Code Horror and Crime Comics Showcase Auction #40207 at Heritage Auctions. If you’ve never bid at Heritage Auctions before, you can get further information, you can check out their FAQ on the bidding process and related matters.
Startling Terror Tales #13 (Star Publications, 1952) CGC FN 6.0 Off-white pages. Classic skull cover by L. B. Cole. Story art by Jay Disbrow. Overstreet 2022 FN 6.0 value = $165. CGC census 10/22: 3 in 6.0, 19 higher.
CGC Grader Notes:
wear all edges cover breaks color
multiple tear cover
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