In the 1960-70s, the covers of House of Secrets frequently featured the same few kids in dangerous situations.

They weren't always aware that they were at risk, perhaps being threatened by a supernatural threat or one sees the threat, and is about to warn the others.

This is a repeating theme for covers of the period.

Where and when did this theme begin?  Who is the primary artist who pioneered this genre of cover?
Have they ever been collected?

And did they cross from one series to grace other covers in other titles as well?

What's the spooky story here?

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Another unique thing about this cover: It's the first time the semi script-style Adventure Comics logo, which had been in use since 1949, was run full size, edge-to-edge.

Dandy Forsdyke said:

I remember picking up a copy of Adventure Comics and thinking, "Where are the Supers?"

I did think that DC (with a few exceptions) was going to go the way of all-horror/mystery like Charlton seemed to be.

Thanks, Dave.

My pal Hoy wrote:

I paged through some of the covers for The Unexpected at Grand Comics Database and saw some great art by Adams and Nick Cardy. If the insides are nearly this good, this has my vote for the next mystery book Showcase Presents.


Having just endured the painfully slow slog that was Showcase Presents Ghosts, I would be very hesitant to jump into another Boltinoff-edited collection of mystery/horror comics.You can rest assured that the covers are by far the best thing about The Unexpected, at least after the Johnny Peril stories end. You'll get more than your fill of Grandenetti, Saaf, Tuska and Calnan. Although there is a Wrightson or two in there, so the journey isn't entirely without its rewards.

Thank you George, I really enjoyed that interview. And I got the answer I needed about those covers.  Very good find!

...UNEXPECTED #125's cover really attracted me at the time !!!!!!!!!

  Really an excellent example of the " teaser " covers that were DC's specialty .

  I saw a bit of the Mad Mod Witch myself , in a " crossover " story for DC's horror hosts , in that THE WITCHING HOUR SP volume I put a line up about .

Hoy Murphy said:

I paged through some of the covers for The Unexpected at Grand Comics Database and saw some great art by Adams and Nick Cardy. If the insides are nearly this good, this has my vote for the next mystery book Showcase Presents. Also, I'm now really curious about who the Mad Mod Witch was!


You know, I recall seeing some of these covers, especially the kids in danger ones from about 1968-1971... as a Marvel Zombie Fan-boy, I saw the DC covers arrive in stores, and sometimes was moved to flip through the books (Man-Bat in Batman was an example) but I didn't register that this was anything  new, or a unique approach or that it was a new direction or that these were a limited run of "reality issues" of GA/GL... or that I needed to pick them up because they were special.

But they did register on my 'radar' at the time.  Of course, the Uncanny X-men with Steranko, and then about a year of Neal Adams artwork also turned my head, but it was almost a half a year before I realized they were REALLY good, and that I should be buying them. You can imagine how difficult it was to find back issues in 1968-69 before the internet, comics stores, or anything except spinner racks showing the latest shipment from the distributor!  I was fortunate to find a few left over copies on racks in grocery stores that were poorly managed, and the same thing happened to me when I started looking for the Uncanny X-men when Dark Phoenix died, and I should have been buying them off the rack, but had not gotten out of college yet.... I had a hellofa time finding back issues from only a year before!

Once in awhile the kids on the cover would actually appear inside of the book in stories based on the covers, but that was rare and sometimes the covers had very little similarity to the stories. The idea ended and the covers started more closely following the interior of the books after Neal Adams and Berni Wrigtson stopped contributing to the titles. One could see their departure as the beginning of the end. I remember several issues of Secrets of Haunted House where the series got less interesting, even sillier, with every issue. Johnny Peril kept popping up, which I eventually realized was a sign the title was in trouble.

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