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Key Publications
Status defunct 1956
Founded 1951
Founder Stanley P. Morse
Country of origin United States of America
Headquarters location New York City, New York
Publication types Comic books
Fiction genres Horror, War, Mystery, Western, Crime, Science fiction, Adventure
Imprints Aragon Magazines
Gillmor Magazines
Medal Comics
Media Publications
S. P. M. Publications
Stanmor Publications
Timor Publications

Key Publications was an American comic-book company founded by Stanley P. Morse that published under the imprints Aragon Magazines, Gillmor Magazines, Medal Comics, Media Publications, S. P. M. Publications, Stanmor Publications, and Timor Publications.

History[edit]

Stanley P. Morse's[1] Key Publications, based variously at 1775 Broadway,[2] 280 Madison Avenue,[3] 175 Fifth Avenue,[4] and 261 Fifth Avenue[5] in New York City, New York, published comic books from 1951 to 1956.[6] The first, a horror anthology titled Mister Mystery, under the Media Publications imprint, ran 19 issues cover-dated September 1951 to October 1954, and featured much early work by the art team of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.[7]

Wrote historian Lawrence Watt-Evans,

His titles often changed publishers from one issue to the next as he dodged creditors or changed partners, and would sometimes have cover art taken from a story from a different issue as deadlines were missed. If he came up a story short, he would simply reprint something. If he couldn't get an artist for a particular slot, he'd have his editor cut up and rearrange the art from an old story to make a new one.[1]

During the 1950s boom in horror comics, Morse "produced several acutely vile horror comics", wrote one historian,[8] and "some of the grossest and most vile" of the time, concurred another.[1] Interviewed for a 2008 book on 1950s horror comics, Morse said, "You did what you had to do — what moved 'em off the racks. ... I don't know what the hell I published. I never knew. I never read the things. I never cared."[8]

Artist Steve Ditko, the future co-creator of Spider-Man, began professionally illustrating comic books at Key in early 1953, illustrating writer Bruce Hamilton's science-fiction story "Stretching Things" for Key's Stanmor Publications, which sold the story to Ajax/Farrell, where it finally found publication in Fantastic Fears #5 (Feb. 1954).[9][10] Ditko's first published work was his second professional story, the six-page "Paper Romance" in Daring Love #1 (Oct. 1953), published by Key's Gillmor Magazines.[11]

Titles by imprint[edit]

Source:[6]

Aragon[edit]

  • Battle Fire #1-4, #6 (April 1955 - May 1956; no issue #5)
  • Mister Mystery (see Media, below)
  • Mutiny #1-3 (Oct. 1954 - Feb. 1955)
  • Navy Task Force #1-6, #8 (Dec. 1954 - April 1956; no issue #7)
  • Weird Tales of the Future (see Key, below)

Gillmor[edit]

  • Action Adventure Comics #2-4 (June-Oct. 1955)
  • Climax #1-2 (July-Sept. 1955)
  • Daring Love #1 (Oct. 1953) / '"Radiant Love #2-6 (Dec. 1953 - Aug. 1954)
  • Real Adventure Comics #1 (April 1955)
  • Super Fun #1 (Jan. 1956)
  • Weird Mysteries #1-12 (Oct. 1952 - Sept. 1954)
  • Western Rough Riders #1-4 (Nov. 1954 - May 1955)

Key Publications / Medal Comics[edit]

  • Flying Aces #1-5 (July 1955 - May 1956; Medal Comics imprint, #3-5)
  • Hector Comics #1-3 (Nov. 1953 - March 1954)
  • Navy Patrol #1-4 (May-Nov. 1955; Medal Comics imprint, #4)
  • Peter Cottontail #1-2 (Jan.-March 1954)
  • Peter Cottontail Three Dimensional Comics #1 (Feb. 1954)
  • Prize Mystery #1-3 (May-Sept. 1955)
  • Silver Kid Western #1-5 (Oct. 1954 - July 1955)
  • Tender Romance #1-2 (Dec. 1953 - Feb. 1954) / Ideal Romance #3-8 (April 1954 - Feb. 1955) / Diary Confessions #9-12, #14 (May 1955 - April 1956; no issue #13; Medal Comics imprint, #14)
  • Weird Chills #1-3 (July-Nov. 1954)
  • Weird Tales of the Future #1-8 (March 1952 - July 1953; S. P. M. #1-2, 4 at least; Aragon #6 at least)

Media[edit]

  • Mister Mystery #1-19 (Sept. 1951 - Oct. 1954); Aragon imprint #7-19

S. P. M[edit]

  • Junior Hopp Comics #1-3 (Jan.-July 1952)
  • Weird Tales of the Future (see Key, above)

Stanmor[edit]

  • Battle Attack #1-8 (Oct. 1954 - Dec. 1955)
  • Battle Cry #1-20 (May 1952 - Sept. 1955)
  • Battle Squadron #1-5 (April 1955 - Dec. 1955)
  • Pete the Panic #1 (Nov. 1955)
  • Warpath #1-3 (Nov. 1954 - April 1955)

Timor[edit]

  • Algie #1-3 (Dec. 1953 - April 1954)
  • Animal Adventures #1-3 (Dec. 1953 - April 1954)
  • Blazing Western #1-5 (Jan.-Sept. 1954)
  • Crime Detector #1-5 (Jan.-July 1954)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Watt-Evans, Lawrence (Summer 1997). "The Other Guys". The Scream Factory (19). Archived from the original on April 22, 2009.  Reprinted as "The Other Guys: A Gargoyle's-Eye View of the Non-EC Horror Comics of the 1950s". Alter Ego (97): 22. October 2010. 
  2. ^ Mister Mystery #1 at the Grand Comics Database
  3. ^ Crime Detector #5 at the Grand Comics Database
  4. ^ Ideal Romance #5 at the Grand Comics Database
  5. ^ Diary Confessions #10 at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ a b Key Publications at the Grand Comics Database
  7. ^ Mister Mystery, Key Publications, 1951 Series at the Grand Comics Database
  8. ^ a b Hajdu, David. The Ten-Cent Plague|The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008), p. 190. ISBN 978-0-374-18767-5
  9. ^ Bell, Blake. Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko (Fantagraphics Books, Seattle, Washington, 2008), p. 20. ISBN 978-1-56097-921-0
  10. ^ Fantastic Fears #5 at the Grand Comics Database
  11. ^ Daring Love #1 at the Grand Comics Database

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