Horror Hosts

Horror hosts, more commonly associated with television these days, are, as far as this site is concerned, characters who introduce the stories in horror comics, and then provide a final word, often stating the moral of the story. As with most things, the success of one company's use of a horror host was the catalyst for rival companies to create their own. To me, what makes them intriguing and worthy of inclusion on my site, is that many of them were either moonlighting from their more common role as protagonists in regular stories, or left their position as horror hosts (either permanently or occasionally) to get involved in the stories. Most, though not all, were themselves horrific in some respects. For the purposes of my list below, I've included those who appeared in comics in this capacity, as well as some from the sub-category of narrators who introduced other genres of stories - even those whose remit was science-fiction or crime often told stories with a macabre twist.

E.C.

The best known of the horror companies and thus the best known hosts:

Cryptkeeper

Old Witch

Vault Keeper

Drusilla

Warren

Another well-remembered set of horror hosts. Though all three met and broke free of hosting some of the time, Vampirella is the one who shook off the role and became better known as a heroine than a narrator.

Vampirella

Uncle Creepy

Cousin Eerie

2000A.D.

Henry Dubble

Judge Edwina Strange

A.C.

Gorgana

Ace Periodicals

Fate

The Unknown

Archie

Even Archie Comics has gotten into the horror story act. Back in the 1940s, when they were MLJ, they had the Black Witch hosting Blue Ribbon Comics. Then decades later, after they became better known for wholesome teen adventures, they dipped their toe in the horror waters again. Though they soon moved their horror anthology, Chilling Adventures in Sorcery (swiftly retitled Red Circle Sorcery) to their more mature Red Circle line, the title began under the Archie banner and was originally presented by (who else?) Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Black Witch

Sabrina

Bluewater Comics

Bluewater Comics has used the late actor Vincent Price as the host of their Vincent Price Presents title.

Charlton

Baron Weirwulf

Dr. Death

Dr. M.T. Graves

Dr. Haunt

Professor Coffin

Arachne Coffin

Old Witch

Winnie the Witch

Mr. L Dedd

Impy

Countess R.H. Von Bludd

Colonel Whiteshroud

Mr. Bones

The Thing

Mortimer Tishin

Mr. Dee Munn

Claypool

One of the better known TV horror hosts, Elvira's highly respectable run of 166 issues of her own title with Claypool Comics earns her a place on this list. She also presented House of Mystery for DC between 1986 to 1987, and appeared in a Marvel magazine adapting her feature film.

Elvira

D.C.

D.C.'s native horror hosts (as opposed to the guesting Elvira) mostly went on to become recurring characters in Sandman, appropriate as that was in many ways about the mythology of stories. Prior to that Cain presented House of Mystery from #175, Abel (who first appeared in DC Special #4) hosted the House of Secrets from #81 and Lucien the Librarian presented Tales of the Ghost Castle from #1. Destiny, later revealed to be one of the Endless, started by introducing Weird Mystery Tales from #1, but let fellow host, paranormal investigator Dr. E. Leopold Maas, narrate most of them. Eve debuted in Secret of Sinister House #6, and went on to present it until #15. She moved to Weird Mystery Tales, and in #15 Eve replaced Destiny as presenter, while Destiny moved on to share presenting duties with Cain, Abel and Eve on new title Secrets of Haunted House, where he eventially became sole presenter. The Witching Hour was mostly presented by the Three Witches (Cynthia, Mildred and Mordred), while the Mad Mod Witch debuted in The Unexpected and Charity presented Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion.

Cain

Abel

Eve

Destiny

Dr. E. Leopold Maas

Phantom Stranger

Lucien

Elvira

Mad Mod Witch

The Three Witches

Charity

Doctor Thirteen

Squire Shade

Judge Gallows

Eagle

Britain's Eagle comic, during its second, 1980s, incarnation, included a variety of one-off horror tales hosted by the Collector.

The Collector

Eclipse

While appearing for Eclipse Comics, Mr. Monster not only had his adventures in his own comic, but worked as a horror host for other titles, including Mr. Monster's High-Octane Terror.

Mr Monster

Fawcett

Dr. Death Mummy

Gold Key

As well as their fictional paranormal investigator Dr. Spektor and the ghoulish Hepzibah Grimm, Gold Key depicted real world celebrities Rod Serling and Boris Karloff as the hosts of the Twilight Zone and Tales of Mystery titles respectively.

Dr. Spektor Hepzibah Grimm

Hamilton

Bruce Hamilton's early 90s company Hamilton published (via Gladstone Publishing) tie ins to Saban's Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, as well as a trio of anthology horror titles (Grave Tales, Maggots and Dread of Night) with a slew of hosts in each one, some switching from one title to another: Count Robspierre, Madraven Stark, Echo, Deadpan, Obadiah, the Grave Digger, Mr. G, Martin Flores, Dr. Pocks, Eval Reising, Professor Zschieche and Morgue'n the Morgue Keeper.

Count Robespierre

Echo

Madraven Stark

Deadpan

Obadiah

Grave Digger

Martin Flores

Mr. G

Dr. Pocks

Eval Reising

Professor Zschieche

Morgue'n the Morgue Keeper

Harvey

Man in Black Venus Weaver

Key Publications

Mr. Mystery

Marvel/Timely/Atlas

The Old Digger debuted in Tower of Shadows #1, and shared hosting duties with his associate Headstone P. Gravely in both Tower and its sister title Chamber of Darkness. Becoming known simply as Digger, the former would go on to become a member of the villainous Night Shift in the 1980s, but returned to his hosting roots in 2008's Dead of Night featuring Man-Thing mini-series. The Witness hosted crime tales in various late 1940s titles, while the Watcher and the Doctor presented science-fiction stories, the latter as back-up strips in his UK title Dr. Who Weekly.

Witness

Digger

The Watcher

The Doctor

Headstone P. Gravely

Quality

Old Witch

Scream

A British weekly anthonology horror comic, Scream's resident editor was Ghastly McNasty, who also introduced his Ghastly Tales. In addition, Scream's Tales from the Grave was narrated by the rotting gravedigger called the Leper, and there were a couple of guest horror hosts in the Holiday Specials.

Ghastly McNasty The Leper Night Comer Ghoul

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