Marvel Monster Group – Marvel Horror Magazines of the 1970s

by Douglas Ohlandt

102723C_FB-1024x536 Marvel Monster Group - Marvel Horror Magazines of the 1970sIt’s October, and that means we here at GoCollect are turning our attention to horror comics and magazines. We’re going to take a look at the Marvel Horror Group line of magazines to see which ones may be worth adding to your collection.

Marvel Monster Group

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In June 1973, with the departure of publisher Martin Goodman, Marvel began a new line of horror magazines under the brand Marvel Monster Group. Besides the extremely popular at the time Dracula, many of Marvel’s other monsters were featured in stories, including Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, Frankenstein, Blade, and Morbius.

Although it only lasted two years, many issues in the line are treasured by collectors and readers.

Dracula Lives!

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Thanks to the fame of its title character, Dracula Lives is probably the most well-known of the Marvel Monster Group magazines. There are 149 graded copies of Dracula Lives #1 in the CGC census. There have been only four sales this year with the highest being a 9.0 going for a slashed $200 on August 6.

The most recent sale was a 7.5 selling for $100 in a September 30 eBay fixed price sale. In the 9.8 grade, the highest sale was way back in 2007 when one sold in a Heritage auction for $1,225, by far the highest price paid. A subsequent sale in 2012 brought the price crashing down to a more reasonable $556 and it’s stayed there since, as shown by a 2020 sale for $528.

There are only seven 9.8 graded copies, somewhat justifying the $500+ price tag, but $1,225 strikes me as overbidding.

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Many of Marvel’s monsters had their first solo tales in the pages of Marvel Monster Group magazines. Among those was Lilith, who had her first solo story in Dracula Lives #10. There are only 28 graded copies and no sales yet this year.

The most recent sale – a 9.6 selling for $200 in a July 2022 fixed price eBay sale – is also the highest price paid.

Vampire Tales

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Vampire Tales featured a variety of Marvel’s bloodsuckers as well as other assorted demonic characters. Vampire Tales #1, besides being the first issue, also features the first solo appearance of Morbius, he of ill-famed moviedom.

There are 131 graded copies and the highest price paid was a surprising $807 in June 2022. The surprising part is that someone paid that much a few months after the Morbius film bombed – for a 9.4 graded copy.

The highest price paid for a 9.8 was $550 back in 2019. Recent sales include an 8.5 selling for $152 on October 16 and a 9.4 going for a much more affordable $203 in an August 26 eBay auction.

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Satana, the sister of Daimon Hellstrom, made her first appearance in Vampire Tales #2. There are 302 graded copies and Satana’s comic debut makes this easily the most valuable of the Marvel Monster Group magazines. The highest price paid was a slashed $4,000 in April 2021.

No 9.8 graded copies have sold since, although I imagine the price wouldn’t be quite that high if one were to sell in the coming months. The most recent sale was a 9.4 going for $360 in an October 1 eBay auction.

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Blade had his first solo story in the pages of Vampire Tales #8. There are 101 graded copies. The high price paid was very much an outlier sale – a slashed $2,000 for a 9.6 in September 2022 and far above the next highest sale – a 9.6 selling for $800 in January 2022.

A 9.8 hasn’t sold since a December 2020 Heritage auction when one went for $690.

Monsters Unleashed

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Marvel used the pages of Monsters Unleashed to feature their comic book monsters – Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night, and Frankenstein as well as some fantasy tales. There are 95 graded copies of Monsters Unleashed #1 in the CGC census. This issue features the first comic appearance of Robert E. Howard creation Solomon Kane.

The most recent sale – and highest price paid – occurred on September 15 when a 9.8 graded copy – one of only five – sold for a slashed $1,400. That’s right in line with a $1,200 sale for a 9.8 on April 30. Both are surprisingly high prices considering a 9.8 sold in a May 2022 Heritage auction for $384.

One sale would mark an outlier but two sales in the same year – particularly when there are only five 9.8s – could mark the beginning of a trend. I’m not sure why the sudden jump in prices for this magazine, especially in a down market. If you have some thoughts, definitely let us know below.

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The Neal Adams painted cover for Monsters Unleashed #3 has to be one of the best covers ever published by the Marvel Monsters Group. There are 93 graded copies.

The high price paid was a slashed $900 for a 9.8 in October 2022. Sales since September 1 have ranged from $110 for a 9.2 to $75 for an 8.5, all very affordable for a truly stellar cover and the first reprinting of Savage Tales #1.

Tales of the Zombie

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Tales of the Zombie featured Simon Garth as the titular Zombie, a character first introduced in Menace #5 back in 1953. Although not as well-known as the other magazines in the Marvel Monster Group, Simon Garth is fondly remembered by those who collect these publications.

There are 131 graded copies of Tales of the Zombie #1 in the CGC census. It’s also a first issue that could serve as a good introduction if you want to start a Marvel Monster Group collection. Prices are very reasonable, with a 9.2 sporting a 90-day average of $164 and a 6.0 a 90-day average of just $47.

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One other issue of note is Tales of the Zombie #5. While there are only 33 graded copies, prices have reached as high as $450 for a 9.8 in a January 25 fixed price eBay sale.

That’s far more than the issue before or after and due primarily to this issue featuring the final artwork of Syd Shores, the Golden Age great who followed Jack Kirby as the primary illustrator on Captain America Comics.

Honorable Mention

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When the Marvel Monster Group folded in 1975, an attempt was made to revive monster magazines at Marvel. While the line sold well as an overall entity, the problem was that it was too spread out among too many series. So, Marvel tried to consolidate everything into one series.

Unfortunately, this series only lasted one issue, but it was a memorable one: Legion of Monsters #1. Featuring the first appearance and origin of Manphibian as well as the first team appearance of Dracula, Frankenstein, and Manphibian together, the issue has become something of a big deal among Marvel monster collectors.

Manphibian Marvel Monster Group - Marvel Horror Magazines of the 1970s

There are 215 graded copies of Legion of Monsters #1 in the CGC census. The high price paid was $1,200, reached twice in April 2019 and September 2020 fixed price eBay sales. Recent sales include a 9.0 going for $312 in a June 27 Heritage auction (up 70% from the $184 paid in a March 17 ComicConnect auction) and an 8.0 selling for $200 in an August 20 eBay auction (down 8% from the $218 paid in a June 25 eBay auction).

While not technically a Marvel Monster Group magazine, it may be the one issue that has the most legs from a collecting and investing standpoint.

Do you collect magazines from the Marvel Monster Group? What are some of your favorites? Let us know below!

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