Monday, December 3, 2012

Adventures into the Unknown (Volume I)

Adventures into the Unknown (Volume I)
ISBN: 978-1595829306
Dark Horse Archives, 2012

Plot Summary: A nice, hardcover comic collection of the first four issues of the comic magazine, Adventures into the Unknown—a pre-Comics Code horror anthology collection that first appeared in 1948.

Critical Evaluation: Before the Cryptkeeper and his friends at EC, there was Adventures into the Unknown, a pre-code horror anthology. Dark Horse is now adding it to its Archive series. This first volume reprints the first four issues of the comic in full-color (including the original covers and advertisements). It features an introduction on the importance of pre-code horror comics to comic book history and scholarship. Each issue contained at least four stories along with some illustrated “true” ghost stories, tales of different cultural superstitions, and more. There is an important editorial note that the comics are a product of their time and many do contain culturally insensitive aspects. Dark Horse didn’t edit these stories in order to keep the historical accuracy of the tales. Most of the insensitive aspects in this volume are more geared towards gender roles for women and their “frail” natures (“Oh, Nancy! You didn’t see a ghost. You’re just under strain. Go lie down and you’ll stop hallucinating.”) It’s interesting for a magazine aimed at males more so than females that most of the ads or for figure sliming products (that teens will laugh their heads off at). The stories are by no means terrifying to today’s audiences but die hard comic fans and horror fans will find this collection intriguing with some laugh out load moments, some horror clich├ęs, and some stories that are still chill-inducing. 

Reader's Annotation: Craving some werewolves, vampires, and zombies in your graphic novels? Cuddle up with this collection of the first four issues of this classic pre-Comics Code Authority magazine for some good chills and to see what all the fuss was about in regards to horror and crime comics in the 1940s!

Author Information: Adventures into the Unknown was a horror and supernatural comic series from the Golden Age of comic books. The title was released in the fall of 1948 by B&I Publishing (later known as American Comics Group) and enjoyed a run of 174 issues for nearly two decades, ceasing publication in August 1967. Adventures into the Unknown was the first horror comic to enjoy regularly scheduled publication. Unlike many horror comics of the Golden Age, it weathered the public criticism of the early 1950s and survived the aftermath of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency hearings of April and June 1954 when the comics industry attempted self-regulation with a highly restrictive Comics Code Authority (Adventures, 2012).

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Curriculum Ties: Comic Code Authority history, race and gender issues and roles in society, censorship in literature

Booktalking Ideas: Read one of the short stories or a suspenseful piece of one.  

Reading Level/Interest Age: 16+

Challenge Issues: Comics are “trash”, horrific elements

Challenge Defense: If this book were challenged, I would make sure the library has a Challenge Defense File ready for such a situation. Inside the Challenge Defense File, librarians and the public could find:

·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at
·        A copy of the library’s own selection policy (my library, the La Vista Public Library, has a policy but it is not online so I can’t link to it as an example).
·        A copy of the library’s citizen’s complaint/reconsideration form (my library, the La Vista Public Library’s, form is called the City of La Vista Service Request form).
·        Copies of reviews—both good and bad—from reputable library and publishing services to justify why a book was selected for inclusion in the collection. These include not only reviews from such journals as School Library Journal, VOYA, Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, but also any mention of books on YALSA lists and other copies of articles about any awards or nominations such books may have received.
·        Include a short rationale file for other coworkers so if the librarian in charge of selecting materials is not available when a challenge occurs the other staff members have some information to go by (the rational would include such information as a short summary, what could be challenged, reviews, awards and nominations, etc.)
·        Include for staff members a copy of “Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials,” a document written by the American Library Association. Make sure that staff reviews this document periodically so they are prepared and know how to face such situations. (Can be found and printed from ALA’s website at

Reason for Inclusion: Classic horror stories from before the self-censorship of the comic industry. If first volume circulates well, purchase second volume out in 2013. This title would also be considered an adult crossover since many people who might remember it are adults.   


Adventures into the Unknown. (2012). Retrieved from Wikipedia:

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