News | June 11, 2024

First Tranche of Roger Hill's Horror Comics Collection to Auction

Heritage Auctions

Black Cat Mystery No. 50

The first part of The Roger Hill Collection of key works of original comic art and ephemera will go under the hammer later this month at Heritage Auctions in its June 20-23 Comics & Comic Art auction. The collection, which includes artwork from titles that pre-date the Comics Code Authority, is so large that Heritage will continue to offer material from it through 2025.

Hill, who died at 75 in December 2023, was one of the best known collectors, historians and authors with a particular interest in EC Comics, launched as Educational Comics in 1947 before it became Entertaining Comics in 1950  and other horror titles from the 1950s. 

Leading the sale is Lee Elias’ original art for hands-and-face-melting cover of Black Cat Mystery No. 50, a title that became one of the more horrifying reads on newsstands. The issue hit newsstands in June 1954 just as psychiatrist and author Fredric Wertham was decrying comics to the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency and the comics industry was opting to self-censor rather than risk government regulation.  

Other highlights include:

  • Elias's cover of Chamber of Chills No. 23 featuring a woman being confronted by a corpse 
  • Basil Gogos' rendering of Vincent Price as Roderick Usher which appeared on the cover of Famous Monsters of Filmland No. 9, 
  • Johnny Craig’s cover of the horror anthology The Haunt of Fear No. 15, June 1950 with the toothless Old Witch centrestage 
  • Al Feldstein’s Living Mummy artwork for Issue No. 4 in December 1950 
  • Graha mIngels’ August 1952 cover for The Haunt of Fear No. 14, the comic that told the Old Witch’s origin story and teased the “big secret” later revealed as MAD’s debut issue
  • a house ad for a title EC tried to resurrect in 1954, The Crypt of Terror

Hill’s collection also includes Fredric Wertham’s EC Fan-Addict Club Membership Kit – including the membership card, the colorful certificate, the coveted patch and pin all contained within The Entertaining Comics Group envelope mailed to his home in 1955. According to a signed 1979 letter by Wertham the kit “was sent to me years ago” by someone on the inside of the company he worked tirelessly to topple. 

Heritage Executive Vice President Todd Hignite said: "What an incredible thrill and honor it’s been to work with Roger’s family on this collection of a lifetime. Much of this material is either the absolute best of the best or rarities that only Roger could have acquired due to his seemingly endless personal connections to the artists and publishers, not to mention the earliest collectors.”