Chamber of Darkness is a horror/fantasy anthology comic book published by the American company Marvel Comics. Under this and a subsequent name, it ran from 1969 to 1974. It featured work by creators such as writer-editor Stan Lee, writers Gerry Conway, Archie Goodwin, and Roy Thomas, and artists John Buscema, Johnny Craig, Jack Kirby, Tom Sutton, Barry Windsor-Smith (as Barry Smith), and Bernie Wrightson. Stories were generally hosted by either of the characters Digger, a gravedigger, or Headstone P. Gravely, in undertaker garb, or by one of the artists or writers.
After the eighth issue, the title changed to Monsters on the Prowl, and the comic became almost exclusively a reprint book.
|Chamber of Darkness|
Chamber of Darkness #7 (Oct. 1970), cover art by Bernie Wrightson.
|Artist(s)||Tom Sutton, Syd Shores, Tom Palmer, Don Heck, Bernie Wrightson|
|Penciller(s)||John Buscema, Marie Severin, Barry Windsor-Smith, Jack Kirby, Sal Buscema|
|Inker(s)||John Verpoorten, Herb Trimpe|
Designed to compete with DC Comics' successful launches House of Mystery and House of Secrets, Chamber of Darkness, like its companion comic Tower of Shadows, sold poorly despite its selected roster of creators. After its first few issues, the title, published bimonthly, began including reprints of "pre-superhero Marvel" monster stories and other SF/fantasy tales from Marvel's 1950s and early 1960s predecessor, Atlas Comics.
The anthology, in addition to running original stories, also included writer Roy Thomas' and penciler Don Heck's loose adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death", as "The Day of the Red Death", in issue #2 (Dec. 1969). Writer Denny O'Neil and Tom Palmer adapted the Poe story "The Tell-Tale Heart" as "The Tell Tale Heart" in issue #3 (Feb. 1970). Thomas and EC Comics veteran Johnny Craig adapted H. P. Lovecraft's "The Music of Erich Zann" as "The Music From Beyond" in #5 (June 1970).
Industry notable Jack Kirby, in a rare instance of scripting for Marvel before leaving for rival DC Comics for a time in 1970, wrote and penciled "The Monster" in #4 (April 1970), and "And Fear Shall Follow" in #5 (June 1970), both inked by John Verpoorten. Kirby, inked by fellow Golden Age great Bill Everett, also drew the latter issue's cover. Everett himself wrote and inked (with penciler Dan Adkins) the story "Believe It...Or Not" in #8 (Dec. 1970).
Marvel published the all-reprint Chamber of Darkness King-Size Special #1 (Jan. 1972).
Retitled Monsters on the Prowl with issue #9 (Feb. 1971), this version ran one new story each issue through #13 (Oct. 1971) with the remaining content consisting of reprints from Atlas Comics, Marvel's 1950s predecessor, and "pre-superhero Marvel", primarily drawn by Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko. It expanded into a double-sized, 25-cent comic for two issues (#13-14, Oct.-Dec. 1971). Some issues of the reprint books featured new covers by John Severin, Marie Severin, Gil Kane, and Herb Trimpe.
A 10-page sword and sorcery story starring King Kull, "The Forbidden Swamp", by writer Thomas and art by the Severin siblings, appeared in issue #16 (April 1972); it continued the story from Kull the Conqueror #2 (Sept. 1971), during a 10-month hiatus before that series resumed with #3.
A flashback adventure pitting superheroes against Marvel monsters appeared in a 2005 one-shot comic with the cover trademark Monsters on the Prowl, and the copyrighted title Marvel Monsters: Monsters on the Prowl, as given in its postal indicia.
Chamber of Darkness stories reprinted in other Marvel comic books or black-and-white horror-comics magazines:
Barry Windsor-Smith (born Barry Smith, 25 May 1949) is a British comic book illustrator and painter whose best known work has been produced in the United States. He is known for his work on Marvel Comics' Conan the Barbarian from 1970 to 1973, and for his work on Wolverine – particularly the original Weapon X story arc.Bernie Wrightson
Bernard Albert Wrightson (October 27, 1948 – March 18, 2017), sometimes credited as Berni Wrightson, was an American artist, known for co-creating the Swamp Thing, his adaptation of the novel Frankenstein illustration work, and for his other horror comics and illustrations, which feature his trademark intricate pen and brushwork.Catacombs of Paris
The Catacombs of Paris (French: Catacombes de Paris, ) are underground ossuaries in Paris, France, which hold the remains of more than six million people in a small part of a tunnel network built to consolidate Paris' ancient stone mines. Extending south from the Barrière d'Enfer ("Gate of Hell") former city gate, this ossuary was created as part of the effort to eliminate the city's overflowing cemeteries. Preparation work began not long after a 1774 series of gruesome Saint Innocents-cemetery-quarter basement wall collapses added a sense of urgency to the cemetery-eliminating measure, and from 1786, nightly processions of covered wagons transferred remains from most of Paris' cemeteries to a mine shaft opened near the Rue de la Tombe-Issoire.
The ossuary remained largely forgotten until it became a novelty-place for concerts and other private events in the early 19th century; after further renovations and the construction of accesses around Place Denfert-Rochereau, it was open to public visitation from 1874. Since January 1, 2013, the Catacombs number among the 14 City of Paris Museums managed by Paris Musées. Although the ossuary comprises only a small section of the underground "carrières de Paris" ("quarries of Paris"), Parisians presently often refer to the entire tunnel network as the catacombs.Chamber of Chills
Chamber of Chills is the name of two anthology horror comic books, one published by Harvey Publications in the early 1950s, the other by Marvel Comics in the 1970s.Conan (comics)
Conan the Barbarian by Robert E. Howard was first adapted into comics in 1952 in Mexico. Marvel Comics began publishing Conan comics with the series Conan the Barbarian in 1970. Dark Horse Comics published Conan from 2003 to 2018, after which the rights were reacquired by Marvel Comics.Digger (comics)
Digger (Roderick Krupp) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared as a story narrator/host in the horror anthology series Tower of Shadows #1 (Sept. 1969), in the story "At the Stroke of Midnight" by writer-artist Jim Steranko.Don Heck
Donald L. "Don" Heck (January 2, 1929 – February 23, 1995) was an American comics artist best known for co-creating the Marvel Comics character Iron Man, and for his long run penciling the Marvel superhero-team series The Avengers during the 1960s Silver Age of comic books.Gerry Conway
Gerard Francis Conway (born September 10, 1952) is an American writer of comic books and television shows. He is known for co-creating the Marvel Comics' vigilante the Punisher and scripting the death of the character Gwen Stacy during his long run on The Amazing Spider-Man. At DC Comics, he is known for co-creating the superhero Firestorm and others, and for writing the Justice League of America for eight years. Conway wrote the first major, modern-day intercompany crossover, Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man.Horror comics
Horror comics are comic books, graphic novels, black-and-white comics magazines, and manga focusing on horror fiction. In the US market, horror comic books reached a peak in the late 1940s through the mid-1950s, when concern over content and the imposition of the self-censorship Comics Code Authority contributed to the demise of many titles and the toning down of others. Black-and-white horror-comics magazines, which did not fall under the Code, flourished from the mid-1960s through the early 1980s from a variety of publishers. Mainstream American color comic books experienced a horror resurgence in the 1970s, following a loosening of the Code. While the genre has had greater and lesser periods of popularity, it occupies a firm niche in comics as of the 2010s.
Precursors to horror comics include detective and crime comics that incorporated horror motifs into their graphics, and early superhero stories that sometimes included the likes of ghouls and vampires. Individual horror stories appeared as early as 1940. The first dedicated horror comic books appear to be Gilberton Publications' Classic Comics #13 (August 1943), with its full-length adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Avon Publications' anthology Eerie #1 (January 1947), the first horror comic with original content. The first horror-comics series is the anthology Adventures into the Unknown, premiering in 1948 from American Comics Group, initially under the imprint B&I Publishing.John Buscema
John Buscema (; Italian: [buʃˈʃɛːma]; born Giovanni Natale Buscema, December 11, 1927 – January 10, 2002) was an American comic book artist and one of the mainstays of Marvel Comics during its 1960s and 1970s ascendancy into an industry leader and its subsequent expansion to a major pop culture conglomerate. His younger brother Sal Buscema is also a comic book artist.
Buscema is best known for his run on the series The Avengers and The Silver Surfer, and for over 200 stories featuring the sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian. In addition, he pencilled at least one issue of nearly every major Marvel title, including long runs on two of the company's top magazines, Fantastic Four and Thor.
He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2002.Journey into Mystery
Journey into Mystery is an American comic book series initially published by Atlas Comics, then by its successor, Marvel Comics. Initially a horror comics anthology, it changed to giant-monster and science fiction stories in the late 1950s. Beginning with issue #83 (cover dated Aug. 1962), it ran the superhero feature "The Mighty Thor", created by writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber and artist Jack Kirby, and inspired by the mythological Norse thunder god. The series, which was renamed for its superhero star with issue #126 (March 1966), has been revived three times: in the 1970s as a horror anthology, and in the 1990s and 2010s with characters from Marvel's Thor mythos.Len Wein
Leonard Norman Wein (; June 12, 1948 – September 10, 2017) was an American comic book writer and editor best known for co-creating DC Comics' Swamp Thing and Marvel Comics' Wolverine, and for helping revive the Marvel superhero team the X-Men (including the co-creation of Nightcrawler, Storm, and Colossus). Additionally, he was the editor for writer Alan Moore and illustrator Dave Gibbons' influential DC miniseries Watchmen.
Wein was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2008.Nightmask
Nightmask is a name and identity used by several fictional characters who appear in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The first character to bear the name, Keith Remsen, was created by writer Archie Goodwin, and first appeared in Nightmask #1 (November 1986), a series which was published under Marvel's New Universe imprint. Subsequent
characters bearing the name were introduced in the 2006 series newuniversal, and as part of Marvel's 2012 rebranding, Marvel NOW!Starr the Slayer
Starr the Slayer is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He first appeared in Chamber of Darkness #4, (April 1970), and was created by Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith. In 2007, writer Warren Ellis introduced a new version of Starr in the Marvel series newuniversal.Strange Worlds
Strange Worlds was the name of two American, science-fiction anthology comic book series of the 1950s, the first published by Avon Comics, the second by a Marvel Comics predecessor, Atlas Comics. Each featured work by such major comics artists as Steve Ditko, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, and Wally Wood.Supernatural Thrillers
Supernatural Thrillers was an American horror fiction comic book published by Marvel Comics in the 1970s that adapted classic stories of that genre, including works by Robert Louis Stevenson and H.G. Wells, before becoming a vehicle for a supernatural action series starring an original character, the Living Mummy.The Masque of the Red Death
"The Masque of the Red Death", originally published as "The Mask of the Red Death: A Fantasy", is an 1842 short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The story follows Prince Prospero's attempts to avoid a dangerous plague, known as the Red Death, by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, hosts a masquerade ball within seven rooms of the abbey, each decorated with a different color. In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through each of the rooms. Prospero dies after confronting this stranger, whose "costume" proves to contain nothing tangible inside it; the guests also die in turn.
Poe's story follows many traditions of Gothic fiction and is often analyzed as an allegory about the inevitability of death, though some critics advise against an allegorical reading. Many different interpretations have been presented, as well as attempts to identify the true nature of the titular disease. The story was first published in May 1842 in Graham's Magazine and has since been adapted in many different forms, including a 1964 film starring Vincent Price. Additionally, it has been alluded to by other works in many types of media.Tower of Shadows
Tower of Shadows is a horror/fantasy anthology comic book published by American company Marvel Comics under this and a subsequent name from 1969 to 1975. It featured work by writer-artists Neal Adams, Jim Steranko, Johnny Craig, and Wally Wood, writer-editor Stan Lee, and artists John Buscema, Gene Colan, Tom Sutton, Barry Windsor-Smith (as Barry Smith), and Bernie Wrightson.
The stories were generally hosted by Digger, a gravedigger; Headstone P. Gravely, in undertaker garb; or one of the artists or writers.
It is unrelated to the novel The Tower of Shadows by Drew Bowling.
After the ninth issue, the title changed to Creatures on the Loose, publishing a mixture of sword and sorcery features, horror/fantasy reprints, and the science-fiction werewolf feature "Man-Wolf."Worlds Unknown
Worlds Unknown was a science-fiction comic book published by American company Marvel Comics in the 1970s, which adapted classic short stories of that genre, including works by Frederik Pohl, Harry Bates, and Theodore Sturgeon.