With that, the floodgates opened and horror fans could sink their fangs into a wide variety of offerings from Marvel Comics! In just a few short years, readers could find scare fare not just in new titles starring vampires, werewolves and reanimated corpses, but also in black and white magazines with delightfully ghoulish names like TALES OF THE ZOMBIE and HAUNT OF HORROR. Even more anthology-style comics got in on the freaky fun.
Before getting too far into the darkness, now's a good time to shine a light on one more facet of these jarring jewels. One way to fully get around the Comics Code was to publish black and white magazines that did not fall under the Authority's purview. Way back in the 1930s, Timely founder Martin Goodman also started the Magazine Management Co. which would own Marvel for a time. The Code-wary Goodman got out of the game in 1972, which just so happened to coincide with the proliferation of more risqué material from the magazine side of things.
Before Goodman left, the magazine arm published SAVAGE TALES #1 which not only showcased Robert E. Howard's Conan character, but also introduced the world to the renowned muck monster Man-Thing. Though immediately cancelled, this publication helped pave the way for a decade-long monster mash.
Man-Thing's initial home may have died off, but he soon moved in to ADVENTURES INTO FEAR #10-19 -- leaving a vacancy filled by Living Vampire, Morbius thereafter -- before starring in his first solo title for 22 issues from 1974-1975, written by legend Steve Gerber. Before the end of the decade, the thing once known as Ted Sallis also headlined five issues of GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING and a second volume of MAN-THING.
Also debuting in 1971 was a series that would produce more than a few shining stars: MARVEL SPOTLIGHT. Though the second issue came out a year after the first, that's when the scares started with the debut of Werewolf by Night and Ghost Rider. The series also gave Son of Satan, Scarecrow, and Moon Knight a home at various times before its end in 1977.
Speaking of Jack Russell and his lycanthropic alter ego, his three-issue MARVEL SPOTLIGHT introduction led directly into a 43-issue solo series that ran from 1972-1977. Werewolf by Night also co-starred in 1974's one-off GIANT-SIZE CREATURES, which transmogrified Greer Grant Nelson from the super-suit-wearing Cat into the werecat, Tigra!
Meanwhile, Johnny Blaze's Ghost Rider roared off from his MARVEL SPOTLIGHT initiation into his own self-titled book that drove itself all the way to 1983 before getting extinguished. However, of all the ‘70s horror characters, he of the flaming skull and his Spirit of Vengeance ilk seem to have had the best afterlife with series' in every decade plus membership in teams ranging from the Champions to the Avengers!