Lot 73 of 500:
HAUNT OF FEAR #26 * 4.0 * "Are You a RED DUPE?"   

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$156
$80 - $120







EC (Indicia: "Fables Publishing Co., Inc."). July-August, 1954. VG (4.0). Bit of edgewear, corner wear, and spine stress. Faint vertical crease. Back cover a bit dusty, ¼" closed tear to edge. Slight pull to bottom staple. Off-white pages. A very attractive mid-grade mag. Graham Ingels cover. Scripts by Otto Binder. Art by Graham Ingels, Reed Crandall, Jack Davis, Jack Kamen. House ad: "Are You a Red Dupe?" by Gaines and Davis.

"We were always getting into trouble, and we never knew why exactly, so it couldn't be prevented. Those were the times!" -Bill Gaines, interviewed by Rich Hauser, Spa Fon #5, 1969. 

Domesticity, EC-style: A man sits in his favorite chair, newspaper close at hand, as his doting wife brings him his slippers and pipe. The only thing wrong with this picture of married bliss is that the headline blares "WOMAN ... SUICIDE" and the wife is a rotting corpse. As Graham Ingels' cover story ("Marriage Vow") makes clear, the "suicide" was murder, and in exchange for her devotions, wifey expects full conjugal benefits. The description is vivid: "She pulls you up the dust-laden stairs... up into the foul rancid-smelling bedroom above.... You can hear her rustling her drab infested clothes... You can hear them falling to the floor....And as much as you try, you cannot help but look. You cannot stop yourself from looking at your wife's body...." If one reads the words without looking at the pictures, it's essentially the description of a man who's no longer sexually attracted to his wife. 

This issue contains Bill Gaines' ill-fated editorial, "Are You a Red Dupe," in which he facetiously defends EC against anti-horror criticism by claiming "THE GROUP MOST ANXIOUS TO DESTROY HORROR COMICS ARE THE COMMUNISTS!" Illustrated by Jack Davis in a style more akin to his MAD parodies than his horror yarns, the editorial was clearly tongue-in-cheek. But it was a dangerous misstep all the same. Gaines handed a hostile press the opportunity to misrepresent his lampoon as a serious statement, and they didn't let the chance go to waste:

-Hartford Courant (March 30, 1954). "The Entertainment Comic Group [sic] of 225 Lafayette Street, New York, is among the worst offenders in a commercial group that makes money by selling immorality and vice to small children. [The EC Group], who specialize in vampirism, adultery, and cannibalism, have now come out with what should go down in history as one of the really stupid propaganda efforts in modern history." 

-El Paso Herald-Post (May 12, 1954). "Wonder if the Entertaining Comics group has scared anybody with such silly tripe? I doubt it.... Nearly all the stores are co-operating [with a horror comics ban], and the kids' reading is cleaner than it has been for quite a while." 

-Waterloo [IA] Daily Courier (June 21, 1954). "The same publisher admitted authorship of a sequence entitled, "Are You a Red Dupe?," which... showed the Russian police destroying the press of a comic book publisher and hanging him to a tree because the Kremlin bosses didn't think the Russian people should be allowed to decide what they should read. The message at the bottom of the page declared: "So the next time some joker gets up at a PTA meeting and starts jabbering about the naughty comic books at your local candy store, give him the once over. We're not saying he is a communist. He may be innocent of the whole thing. He may be a dupe. He may not even read the Daily Worker. It is just that he swallowed the Red bait, hook, line and sinker." We doubt if many parents would consider the author of that piece fit to publish anything for themselves or their children to read." 

-The Bristol [TN] Herald Courier (August 3, 1954). "One of the comic book publishers offering a particularly violent crime magazine, warned youngsters to defend the books against attack. He added in a sinister note that 'only Communists' want to take the books away from the kids! So it was not surprising when The News received one letter of protest in a childish scrawl that started: "You are a Red dupe! You swallowed the Communist bait—hook, line and sinker...' It was almost word for word from the 'comic book.'"

A limited edition of 100 softcover and 15 hardcover catalogues are available. Over 200 pages, fully illustrated. Fun reference, great keepsake. Softcovers $40, dust-jacketed hardcover with limitation plate $200. To order, contact [email protected] or visit: https://www.pbagalleries.com/content/comics/.

R. Crumb says, "I found [PBA's catalogue] so interesting that I am saving it for the texts that accompany the comics which were put up for auction. This is some of the best commentary I’ve yet seen on the quality of the content of comic books. I especially enjoyed the reviews of the post-war horror comics. Great. Priceless."

Consignments welcome for PBA's Spring 2021 Comic Book sale. Pre-Code Horror, Golden Age and Silver Age comics, original art and ephemera sought. Send inquiries to [email protected].

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