ADVENTURING INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN
By Ed Sanchez
The Sangor Shop, named for its owner, Ben Sangor, began producing material for publishers in 1941, and grew into ACG (American Comics Group) by 1948. During this period, numerous famous characters were created, including The Black Terror, The Fighting Yank and Supermouse. Many of the era's significant talents produced work at the Sangor shop, including Ken Platt (who wrote mystery novels), Everett Raymond Kinstler (his portrait of American presidents hangs in the White House), Harry Lazarus (who illustrated children's books) and Hy Eisman (who wrote and drew issues of The Katzenjammer Kids and Popeye).
In 1948, having customarily supplied material for various publishers (primarily Standard), Sangor decided to switch gears and concentrate on comics. This led to the creation of ACG's Adventures into the Unknown (1948-67), a title that was largely created, edited and written by Richard Hughes. Using a variety of pseudonyms, Hughes wrote the majority of ACG's titles for two decades. Adventures into the Unknown was the first continuous and longest running supernatural fantasy title, appearing only a year after Avon Publishing produced the short-lived Eerie Comics. Labeled a supernatural fantasy comic, or mystery book, this was really just a euphemism for horror, which was the book's main selling point. Predating Bill Gaines' EC line, the comic featured many great stories, including an adaption of Horace Walpole's "Castle of Otranto" in the first issue. Issue #5 saw the debut of the "Spirit of Frankenstein" strip, which ran until issue #12, and issue #17 included a story similar to the 1951 film "The Thing". Over the years, Adventures into the Unknown featured work by names such as Fred Guardineer, Al Feldstein, Al Williamson, Roy Krenkel, Johnny Craig, and Ogden Whitney among others.
In 1951, ACG produced Forbidden Worlds (1951-67), a sister title to Adventures into the Unknown. Forbidden Worlds took ACG to a new level and featured work by many of the same creators as Adventures into the Unknown. With issue #34, the title became Young Heroes. The story "There's a New Moon Tonight" from issue #65 is later mentioned in issue #114 as the first comic book story to ever recieve fan mail. Issue #71 saw the first appearance of Herbie by Ogden Whitney, and issue #140 featured a Mark Midnight appearance by Steve Ditko (famed Spider-Man co-creator).
Of note is the fact that at this same time, comics in general were enjoying an artistic change that would be coined Good Girl art, known for its representation of women in lewd positions and risque attire. As the story goes, a mother looking for her son while at a family outing found the boy reading comics, and she did not like what she saw. There was Li'l Abner's Daisy May in a compromising position (at least by the days standards). She pointed the publication out to her husband, who happened to be a United States Senator, and before long the Senate and Congress were both looking into the effects of comics on American society. Way to go Daisy May!
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ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN
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