Out Of The Shadows

Standard’s second horror title.

Chronological listing of all issues – with comments and annotations. We mention date of publication, cover motive and cover artist (if identified). Every issue has been indexed on the Grand Comics Database – the link will show you all available data, including cover shots and story descriptions.

Just click the underlined issue labeling.

 A miniature splash page indicates that you can find this entire story in our “Stories” section. Just click to read it.

OUT OF THE SHADOWS  /  10 issues

July 1952
Cover: (Giant spectre emanating from coffin and scaring graverobbers) – George Roussos, signed

“The Shoremouth Horror” (Alex Toth + ?)
“The Hag Of Red River” (Art Saaf ?) – one-pager
“Deadly Diamond” (George Tuska)
“Curse of Rockwood” (George Roussos)
“The Haunted Bed” (Art Saaf ?) – one-pager
“Tragedy Of Terror” (Ruben Moreira, signed)

Standard goes big-time for dark tones (visually, not regarding to content!).

“The Shoremouth Horror”, Toth’s second horror story, is even better than the first, because now the story is scripted in a better way.
The rest of the stories – alas – is weak and uninspired horror writing. You see the “twists” (hardly to be called such) coming from the second page on.

Dark and moody George Roussos (surely the poorest artist in Standard’s fantastic line-up) fits in nicely though. His cover painting is not bad either. “Curse of Rockwood” can be found on this interesting comics art blog (click to see).
Deadly Diamond” is posted on the opulent „Fabulous Fifties“ blog (click to see).


October 1952
Cover: (Fiend with vultures lurking above human victim) – Rocco Mastroserio ?

The Phantom Ship” (Alex Toth + Mike Peppe)
“Facts On The Fantastic” (Ross Andru) – half-pager after advertising
“The Secret One” (Jack Katz)
“Trapped From The Grave” (???) – one-pager
“Witch’s Wish” (Jack Katz)
“Requiem” (???) – one-pager
“Salesman Of Death” (Rocco Mastroserio)

First story by Mastroserio. He will be contributing massively for the next issue and do most of his work for SHADOWS.

Still run-of-the-mill writing without any edge. Greedy men turn into rats, a demon causes the usual trouble, a witch wants to possess the body of her young cousin; and a cruel boss is haunted by the ghost of an employee (this at least provides for a lot of zombie action scenes).
These stories have (apart from the artwork!) no “personality”, no special touch (like the yarns of many other companies had!). Maybe the name “Standard” is working like a curse here

Strange text story (“Night Of Horror”) in this issue: A man walks unsuspectingly into a Black Mass, held in a church in Nuremberg, Germany. The man is not bothered by this, though. He sold his soul to the devil long ago; his name is Hitler.

January 1953
Cover: (Skeleton surprises man rummaging through treasure chest) – Jack Katz

“Hades Highway” (Jack Katz, signed)
“The Cloak Of A Corpse” (???) – one-pager
“The Devil In Massachusetts” (???) – half-pager after advertising
“The Plant Of Doom” (Rocco Mastroserio, signed “Marcus Rocke”)
“The Fangs Of Fate!” (Rocco Mastroserio, signed “Rocke”)
General Moulton And The Devil” (Ross Andru)
“The Ugliest Man In The World” (Jack Katz, signed)

Big and pleasant surprise: the writing changes for the better! “Hades Highway” is a cool story title and entertaining enough, depicting a killer’s journey into madness. “The Plant Of Doom” is a fast paced revenge plot involving giant killer plants.

The Fangs Of Fate!” is pure and zany monster snake madness. What can go wrong writing about an eerie doctor running a snake farm?!

The Ugliest Man In The World” is a bit of a classic: Illogical, but deeply disturbing story about an actor whose face gets horribly disfigured. See it posted as a „double feature“ on Karswell’s fantastic blog „The Horrors Of It All“.
Katz’s artwork is crude, but most effective – and the two final pages reveling in the man’s sheer despair are unparalleled in horror comics history.

Quite fun stuff now! Will they keep it up?


April 1953
Cover: (Brute boiling human heads in giant cauldron) – Jack Katz

“The Drums Of Cajou” (George Roussos)
“Devil’s Mansion” (Vince Colletta) – half-pager before advertising
“The Mask Of Death” (Jerry Grandenetti)
„The Man In The Mirror“ (Morris Marcus ? + Rocco Mastroserio)
“Celtic Spirits” (Morris Marcus ? + Aldo Rubano) – one-pager
“Masque For A Monster” (Charles Sultan)
“The Philosopher Finds A Ghost” (???) – one-pager

The Drums Of Cajou” (posted on the „Fabulous Fifties“ blog) is not bad, but again standard Standard lore.

The Mask Of Death” is not bad either, but would have been better if they had dared to end this story with the dark twist (EC would have done so). With Standard, they chose to add two more panels for a “happy” ending.
Karswell posted the newly colored reprint version.

„The Man In The Mirror“ lacks impact, because it refrains from depicting blood and guts. Just a cop TELLING us about a man gone to pieces and only DEPICTING some shards of glass does not make the readers’ day, folks.
Oddly, this story would have been fun if there were strewn in at least three panels of gratuitous violence. More oddly, Mastroserio excelled at that in his collaboration with Lou Cameron for the Ace horror books. Was there a “Standard house rule” at work, opposing show of blood and violence?
(should have tried THAT at Harvey…)

Fawcett veteran and ACG horror artist Charles Sultan contributes his second (and last) Standard job. His “Masque For A Monster” wins prize for best story (a journey into madness), but worst artwork of the issue.


July 1953
Cover: (Skeleton in wheelchair enters house and surprises couple) –  ???

“The Corpse That Came To Dinner” (Reed Crandall + Mike Peppe, signed “C&P”)
“The Human Hyena Of Pirra” (???) – half-pager after advertising
The Horror Of Candle Lodge” (Nick Cardy)
“Battle Of Edge Hill” (???) – half-pager after advertising
“Till Death Do Us Part” (Nick Cardy)
Gunnvor The Sorceress” (Ralph Mayo, signed)
“Hanged By The Neck” (Reed Crandall + ?)
“The Spanish Steed” (Mort Meskin + George Roussos ?) – one-pager

The cover could not be identified by the best art spotters of their generation. I wonder if this is Celardo; or Celardo inking Crandall even? The man sure looks like a Crandall pencil drawing. I like a wild guess now and then…

One of Standard’s best known horror books –  because of the Reed Crandall double feature. This is Crandall’s only appearance in Standard horror. Both stories are no solo jobs and coincide with his debut for EC’s SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES #9 (“Carrion Death”). I consider “Carrion Death” a true horror masterpiece – and so is “The Corpse That Came To Dinner”. For the first seven of its eight pages…

A brilliant exposition and splash (no one draws frightened faces better than Crandall!) is followed by a highly original, truly shocking and suspense-filled nightmare of a young couple. Only on the last page they go for a twist which is annoying beyond belief. The corpse is in reality no corpse, but a prankster using make-up to look like one?!
That goes unnoticed – for days? Please. The ending fouls up the story (no pun intended).

Till Death Do Us Part” (the next issue of SHADOWS will present another story with the exact same title, by the way) is unusual in its construction. The first and last page are used for explanations, but the four pages between are pure cinematic action. Unhindered by balloons, Nick Cardy is allowed to wallow in gorgeous pictures. The forced twist is quite unnecessary and sadistic as well.

This issue’s third long story, “Hanged By The Neck”, is satisfactory. Great art illustrating a classical tale of hate and retribution set nicely in Vaudeville milieu.
All in all, SHADOWS #9 presents great value and may count as a pre-code horror milestone.


October 1953
Cover: (Green spider fiend with red cape attacking man in spider web) –  George Roussos

Destroy My Enemy” (Nick Cardy)
“Room Of Terror” (Gene Fawcette) – one-pager
“Weird Watson” (???) – half-pager (funny feature) after advertising
“’Til Death Do Us Part” (Mike Sekowsky + Mike Peppe)
“The Sergeant” (Jack Katz) – two-pager
“Revenge Of The Little People” (John Celardo)
“The Corpse That Lived!” (Alex Toth + Mike Peppe)
“The Fettered Phantom” (Gene Fawcette) – one-pager

This is pathetic. Nick Cardy’s beautiful lead story ends with a killer genie turning on his master – just because they hassle about words and phrasings. Aarrrgghh.

Strangely off balance is the writing again in “’Til Death Do Us Part”: the story about a husband being dominated by his cruel wife gets mixed up with a ghost mystery about two sisters living in seclusion. The plot has its moments, but is brought hastily to an overly violent end. Why is the man burning? Couldn’t he just have gone mad? Can only shake my head here.

It’s another Aarrgghh for “Revenge Of The Little People”. What’s with these midget ghosts? Where do they suddenly come from? Why can ghosts manipulate solid objects? There are enough living “little people” around at that circus who could get involved in some nice retribution, lead on by a ghostly Major Martin for all I care…
Ach, the writing is so often just that fatal bit off the track!

Best piece of the issue is “The Corpse That Lived!”, an allegedly factual three-pager about a seemingly dead woman buried with her precious jewels – and rescued by grave robbers!
Toth’s wonderful artwork saves the day and almost placates me.


January 1954
Cover: (Skeleton rising from trunk and shocking porter) – ???

“Fountain Of Fear” (George Roussos)
“The Black Candle” (Gene Fawcette) – one-pager
“Horror’s Scrapbook” (???) – half-pager after advertising
“The Coin Of Evil” (Nick Cardy)
“The Prophecy” (Jack Katz)
“Aria In Blood” (George Roussos) – two-pager
“The Man They Could Not Hang” (Pete Morisi) – one-pager
“The Wig” (Mike Roy, signed)
“The Mask Of Graffenwehr” (Alex Toth + Mike Peppe) – two-pager
(posted on same page as “Coin Of Evil”, follow link below)

Again a nice cover, but untraceable to a certain artist. Probably a joint effort.
So, let’s brace ourself for the stories:

“Fountain Of Fear” surprises. A brutal escaped murderer, the fountain of youth and a nice twist make for a good and tough lead story. There remains only one question: To what state please does evil Gil Lansing exactly regress?! Not embryonic, as the picture shows. Hmmm. Never mind, it’s a gripping and moving yarn.

The Coin Of Evil” is yet another variation of the horror story classic “The Monkey’s Paw” by William Wymark Jacobs, first published in 1902. Wishes come true, but with terrible consequences. There are some horror comic versions around. “The Coin Of Evil” is the best one I know of. Cardy’s artwork is very Toth-like and shows us moving everyday characters struck by tragedy.
High drama. I’ve seldomly been touched more by a comic book story!

“The Prophecy” is a rather weak piece and not one of Jack Katz’ good jobs (I wonder if he’s inked by Roussos here?). But it’s a straight four-pager and we’ll let it go.

A most nonsensical final panel haunts the two-pager “Aria In Blood”. The voiceless singer going “Croak! Croak!” like a parrot on ecstasy.

Would have been much better without that “sound effect”…
There’s even a pun here, as I just noticed:
One of the singers croaks, the other as well! Hehehe.

And so we come to “The Wig”, a story I’m just crazy about. I love those zany horror stories, where the impossible happens. Here it is a toupee strangling (on its own, don’t know how!) the hairdresser who killed the man to whom the hair belonged.
Hair actively committing murder gets my attention every time. And Standard did another one of these killer hair tales (“The Fatal Strands” in DARKNESS #8, see there).

“The Wig” even exists in two versions. One from Standard (follow the link to read it online) and one from Fawcett, posted on my German website, see it HERE.
One clever writer cashed in twice there. Feel free to compare!

Conclusion: SHADOWS #11 is a strange issue. The writing is enormously diverse, ranging from touching tragedy to whacky comedy. Art-wise not one of the highlights, but wonderfully colorful. There are seven artists (at least) present here.

We pause for a one-page bonus „quickie“ by Gene Fawcette:



March 1954
Cover: (Female vampire rises from coffin and is visited by male vampire) – Mike Roy ?

“Hand Of Death” (Rocco Mastroserio)
“Canterbury Ghosts” (Gene Fawcette) – half-pager after advertising
“The Man Who Was Always On Time” (Alex Toth + Mike Peppe, signed)
“Gallery Of Horror” (Gene Fawcette) – half-pager after advertising
Images Of Sand” (Alex Toth + Mike Peppe, signed)
(click to see reprinted newly colored version at Karswell’s, click splash below to see the original in our „Stories“ section)                                                    
“When They Die” (Gene Fawcette) – half-pager after advertising
“Kill Happy” (Jack Katz)
“The Monsters” (???) – one-pager

Needless to say this is one of the great issues – because it features two stories by Toth and Peppe. It will be their last contribution to Standard’s horror line as well.
Exit Jack Katz as well, swinging over to Atlas war and horror.

Bit of a mystery why they didn’t chose the gorgeous looking “Images Of Sand” as lead story…
But let us start at the beginning:

“Hand Of Death” is one of those many stories about detached hands. This is a bad one, about a matador’s skills he obtains from a witch. They hassle quite childishly about money, and a hand gets detached, then attached again, then more money problems. Shameful, one-dimensional writing – still at home at Standard.

The Man Who Was Always On Time” (posted on „Fifties Horror!“) is run of the mill, but offers an interesting topic (clock collectors) and nice touches (the punctuality tic, underlying spousal tension). Even the twist is okay – poetic justice at its best.

“Images Of Sand” is one of Toth’s best horror jobs and an all-time classic. Mind you: Even this is standard fare, but just too beautiful to ignore.

And it’s a wrap with “Kill Happy”, a Katz crime contribution. It is indeed a thoroughbred crime story of a long 8 pages. Don’t know how this ended up here. Seems to be no leftover story from a Standard crime comic book. Their tentative excursions into crime were limited to the year 1952. It’s wonderful artwork by Jack Katz, but doesn’t really fit in.


May 1954
Cover: (Giant red hand lowering knife-wielding marionette above victim) – George Roussos

“The Fearful Night” (Mike Sekowsky + Mike Peppe)
“The Recluse” (Rocco Mastroserio + ?)
“The Cannibal!” (???)
“Gallery Of Horror” (Gene Fawcette) – half-pager after advertising
“Man From The Grave” (Gene Fawcette) – half-pager after advertising
“Chilly Chuckles” (???) – half-pager (funny feature) after advertising
“Don’t Look Behind” (Mike Sekowsky + Mike Peppe / Nick Cardy ?)

This is a Sekowsky issue. Two long stories inside.

Incidentally, all of the stories are posted on a blog dedicated to the products of the Standard company (aka Nedor). Thus the blog is called „Nedor-A-Day„. But the blogger just published these four horror tales (and the first one from Toth, to be precise). Follow the links to get there. Have a look around if you’re interested in other genres.

The Fearful Night” stages a drama about a vagabond in the Carpathian mountains falling prey to a band of wicked witches. Stephan has to shed blood to break the spell, but is doomed for eternity anyway. A very literary account of guilt and damnation, but clearly lacks a zest for horror.

The Recluse” is a crudity, adequately drawn by Rocco Mastroserio. The story picks plot elements from different formula stories and tries to piece together a whole new puzzle. They almost succeed, but the twist ends up in smoke.

Mystery artwork in “The Cannibal!”. No one dared put a name to these pages. I won’t do either. It is irritating, indeed. There is this “house style” feeling; instinctively you think of Mastroserio, Saaf or even Cardy – but looking closer, nothing fits. This may be an elaborate swipe job, executed by an uncredited guest artist.
Postcript December 2012: Dutch art spotter Ger Apeldoorn reports: „To me The Cannibal has definite signs of Reed Crandall“. Interesting guess. Bedankt, mijnheer. The style doesn’t strike you as Crandall’s, but if you look at it with Crandall in mind, there it is. Some faces, some postures, the general composition… hmmm.

The story itself is Standard’s second try at cannibalism. After the flawed “Feast Of The Ghouls” in DARKNESS #13 two months earlier, they now go for sheer horror! No monsters, but a refined English gentleman under suspicion to attack his victims at night and picking them clean to the bare bones (in minutes!). Plausibility aside, this is a horror comic trying to entertain. And it is fun! Very atypical concerning company “policy”.
“The Cannibal!” seems to be an outside job, in writing and illustrating.

Over-the-top-morale in „Don’t Look Behind“

Art spotting acuteness in “Don’t Look Behind”: Jim Vadeboncoeur, Jr. thinks the inks here may be not Mike Peppe, but Nick Cardy. I wouldn’t know, I give up.

The story about a brutal killer’s conscience coming after him (literally) is not that bad, but ends on a cheesy moral note:
“Dugan’s conscience finally caught up with him! Have YOU consulted yours lately?!”.
As if any of us would be a murderer or a drunkard, a thief or a gambler! I think it over the top here; or is it appeasement to justify that story in the first place?!

Another run-of-the-mill Standard book, with an outside contribution (probably) standing out.
Tssk. Tssk. Tssk.


August 1954
Cover: (Murdered man lying in front of armored skeletal knight) – ???

“Werewolf” (signature “MR”, Mort Meskin + George Roussos)
“The Storm Ship” (Gene Fawcette) – half-pager after advertising
“Junk-Man’s Treasure” (Rocce Mastroserio + Nick Cardy)
“The Brannock Curse” (Mike Roy)
“Omens Of Death!” (Mort Meskin + George Roussos) – half-pager after advertising
“When Death Takes A Hand” (Gene Fawcette, signed)
“Day Of Reckoning” (Rocco Mastroserio + John Celardo)
“The Ghost Girl” (Gene Fawcette) – two-pager

The cover of SHADOW’s last issue is shockingly lame and seems to be heralding the advent of the Comics Code. What about the stories?

“Werewolf” is an okay horror tale sporting a red herring which comes as no surprise in autumn 1954. And marks the second installment of the short-lived Meskin/Roussos collaboration.

Junk-Man’s Treasure” is a fast and dirty three-page shocker. Fair enough!
See it posted on Karswell’s fantastic blog „The Horrors Of It All“.

Must stories about family curses be always that foreseeable? “The Brannock Curse” is, though I give it credit for choosing a nice ambience for the showdown: a skiing slope.

“When Death Takes A Hand” is another very nice job by Gene Fawcette, see it posted HERE.

The story “Day Of Reckoning” has no connection with “Day Of Reckoning!” by John Celardo in DARKNESS #5. Artwork is a puzzler. Experts believe it to be a joint effort by Mastroserio and Celardo (again). Just who did what is disputable. Both are to be found in our „Stories“ section.

The story itself is one of those partly enjoyable “baddies” bursting with illogical and idiotic incidents. I only missed my favorite horror phrase, shouted by spurned lovers: “If I can’t have you, no one shall!”

So, out of business goes OUT OF THE SHADOWS.

Here’s our “who did how much” – splitted into a neat page count:

44 Rocco Mastroserio
43 Jack Katz
33 George Roussos (7 with Mort Meskin)
32 Alex Toth (with Mike Peppe)
26 Nick Cardy
19 Mike Sekowsky (mostly inked by Mike Peppe)
16 John Celardo
15 Reed Crandall (8 with Mike Peppe)
12 Mike Roy
10 Gene Fawcette

And bits and pieces by George Tuska, Jerry Grandenetti, Ruben Moreira, Charles Sultan and unidentified artists.

Mayo, Andru and Saaf did not contribute to OUT OF THE SHADOWS (just single pages).

Sekowsky not nearly as prominent as in THE UNSEEN, Katz high up now with Mastroserio again, mostly “filler” work by Fawcette, only appearance by Crandall, and Cardy on the map (he was unseen in THE UNSEEN).