|Cover of #1 by Sheldon Moldoff|
There was money to be had in the growing horror comics market that Fawcett Comics couldn’t ignore. It was very different brand move for the company, who was known for superheroes and teen humor.
Leading the charge to darker fare for the company was Sheldon Moldoff. According to Moldoff, he approached EC’s comics new owner William M. Gains with the pitches for This Magazine in Haunted and Tales of the Supernatural after Gains expressed a concern over closing the company and Fawcett had already said no to the ideas.
Gains offered a contract for the titles, and took the first issue already produced. Moldoff waited for word on when to started the second issue. In waiting he spotted Tales from the Crypt and other horrors coming from EC.
Gains reneged on the contract, and Moldoff was threaten to be blackballed from the industry if he tried to sue. Meanwhile Gains took the four stories he had from Moldoff and published in other works. Approaching Fawcett again, Moldoff stuck a deal of $100 for the title and all the work he wanted.
Here is a taste from This Magazine is Haunted #1
Fawcett turned out a string of several titles, staring in 1951 until they stopped publishing comics in 1953. Their titles were then sold to Charlton Comics, who started doing reprints and publishing unused stories (source). When the reprints started in 1954, scholars estimate the horror genre comics market was 1/6, but it quickly died off with the comics code.
The comics received another round of mixed reprints by Gredown in This Comic is Haunted in the 1970s. The comic baned together a lot of pre-code works. It offers especially high amount of Steve Ditko's work. (Find more out about that here.)