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      Haunt Of Fear

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Haunt Of Fear The Haunt of Fear was a bi-monthly horror comic anthology series published by EC Comics in the early 1950's. Haunt of Fear hit newsstands with its May/June 1950 issue and ceased publication with its November/December 1954 issue, producing a total of 28 issues. The title was popular, but, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, comic books came under attack from parents, clergymen, teachers and others who believed the books contributed to illiteracy and juvenile delinquency.

Artist Graham Ingels took over the art duties of the Haunt of Fear starting with issue #4, and became the Old Witch's primary artist for the remainder of the comic's run. Ingels would take over the cover duty with issue #11 in February 1952. Other artists who contributed to the title were Feldstein, Johnny Craig, Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, George Roussos, Harry Harrison, Joe Orlando, Sid Check, George Evans, Reed Crandall, Will Elder and Bernard Krigstein.

Gaines and Feldstein were responsible for writing all of the stories until the end of 1953. An unauthorized adaptation of Ray Bradbury in another one of EC's comics eventually led to authorized Bradbury adaptations, which included two stories in this title, "The Coffin" (#16) and "The Black Ferris" (#18). Features included "Grim Fairy Tales", horror based parodies of well known fairy tales such as Sleeping Beauty and Hansel and Gretel, which first began appearing in issue #15 in 1952.

The title's most controversial story was "Foul Play" (#19, 1953). The story, written by Feldstein and drawn by Davis, featured a crooked baseball player being dismembered, with his body parts used to play baseball by his murderers. The story was singled out by Robert Warshaw in his essay "Paul, the Horror Comics, and Dr. Wertham" who described it as "the outer limits of ... 'good taste'." It was also one of many examples used by Frederick Wertham in his book Seduction of the Innocent.

The first issue of The Haunt of Fear had no host introducing the stories. However, it did contain a cover character that vaguely resembled the Vault Keeper beckoning the reader to enter. The second issue debuted The Witch's Cauldron feature, with a character called The Old Witch introducing herself in a story drawn by artist Jack Kamen. The third issue featured a Craig cover with all three of EC's horror host GhouLunatics stepping out of doorways, and it launched a letter column, "The Old Witch's Niche". The final story of the issue, "Horror Beneath the Streets," written and drawn by Feldstein, tells how Gaines and Feldstein left the EC offices one night, encountered the Ghoulunatics in the sewer and were forced to sign contracts agreeing to publish the trio's stories.

The Old Witch introduced the lead story of the remaining issues, as well as one additional story per issue. The Crypt Keeper and Vault Keeper introduced the other two stories in each issue. The Old Witch also appeared in every issue of Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror, introducing a story in each. She also appeared in the final story of Crime SuspenStories from issue #3 through #16. The Old Witch's origin was explained in issue #14's "A Little Stranger!" which revealed that she was the daughter of a dead werewolf father and a dead vampire mother.