Forbidden Worlds, the bizarre fantasy anthology comic series that ran for 145 issues from July/August 1951 to August 1967, and corralled some of Comicdom’s most celebrated visualists of the strange and unusual, is returning in a mighty big way. Next month Dark Horse Comics will release Forbidden Worlds Archives Vol. 1, a hardcover collection of the first four pre-Comics Code issues of the series.
You can check out a 7-page story from the inaugural volume, “The Doom of the Moonlings” with artwork by George Wilhelms, here below.
Published by the American Comics Group, Forbidden Worlds dazzled readers with colorful tales featuring creatures of all manners of being engaging in the most original of adventures into the unknown. For five months in 1955 the title was forced to undergo a brief format change due to intense pressure from the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency that was investigating the connection between the rise of criminal behavior in America’s youth and the popularity of envelope-pushing comic titles, most prominently the horror and sci-fi anthology titles made famous by William M. Gaines’ E.C. Comics including Tales from the Crypt and Crime SuspenStories.
After spending a few months as Young Heroes, Forbidden Worlds made a strong comeback in August 1955 and would remain in steady publication until August 1967. Gaines, meanwhile, was forced to cancel most of E.C.’s biggest-selling titles in the wake of the Senate hearings backlash and would eventually become known only for the popularity of Mad Magazine. Herbie Popnecker, the short and tubby kid creation of Ogden Whitney who spoke few words, thrived on lollipops, and just happened to be one of the most powerful beings in the universe, made his debut in the pages of Forbidden Worlds and became one of its most popular recurring characters. He was eventually granted his own title in 1964.
Dan Nadel, comic book historian and author of Art Out of Time: Unknown Comics Visionaries, 1900-1969, will provide an introductory essay for each volume which will include stories illustrated by legendary comic artists such as Wally Wood, Al Williamson, and one of my idols, Frank Frazetta.
Forbidden Worlds Archives Vol. 1 will be released in hardcover on December 5, 2012 by Dark Horse Comics. You can pre-order it here.