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Ghastly ReflectionsSkywald Publications and Psycho magazine!
POSTED BY TERENCE NUZUM, September 17, 2014    Share

Ever since I was a small boy horror comics and magazines have been a huge part of my fandom. While that goes hand in hand with being a fan of horror movies, as a kid you couldn't watch horror movies 24/7 nor did you own them all. The best way to get your horror fix was reference books, magazines like Fangoria and horror comics. While I was a little slow to get fully into horror comics they always seemed to find their way into my possession.

The first one I can remember was Skywald Publications' Psycho. I found this moth-eaten, yellow-paged aged gem in the utility room of my house when I was about 11 or 12. My aunt had an old 1950s refrigerator in the storage and it was filled with old musty books, and of course, at least one horror magazine, Psycho issue 9. I was completely enthralled with the Dracula-like ghoul on the cover whose title font was black and red with green lettering and proclaimed "This is the issue of The Slither-Slime Man!" and, of course, had to find out who he was. It turned out he was some sort of ghoul who lived in the ground of the graveyard and exacted revenge on some crooked sheriff. The rest of the issue introduced my young and hungry horror kid mind with tales of crooked real estate agents entering a real haunted house, a tale of hippie sorcery (written by none other than Doug Moench) and, the one that stuck with me the most, a violent and disturbing retelling of The Turn of the Screw titled And Suffer the Little Children.

I never found or ever read any issues beyond #9 and I wouldn't have had too many more as Skywald Publications only put out 24 issues of Psycho before folding. Skywald may appear to be a poor man's Warren, but they put out some quality work as well as various other titles in the 1970s like Nightmare and Scream. Skywald was run by Sol Brodsky, who used to work for Marvel, but it was subsequent editor-in-chief Al Hewston who felt the need to make horror comics that were more moody and literary than Creepy and Eerie's shock endings. Psycho, Scream, and Nightmare all sold well and even were written by top talent in the comic field such as Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Doug Moench, and even hosted John Byrnes first ever published story. Skywald ended publication for the same reasons Warren did. When Marvel and DC saturated the market with horror titles the distributors denied Skywald access to the newsstands.

I got hugely into E.C. comics and Warren's titles Creepy and Eerie as I got older, but Skywald's Psycho was my first and I'll never forget certain horrific images it thankfully scarred my mind with, and yes to this day I still have the very same copy of #9. So here's to hoping Dark Horse or Craig Yoe starts reprinting Skywald's amazing and overlooked contribution to graphic horror.

"Ghastly Reflections" is ©2014 by Terence Nuzum. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2014 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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