Chamber of Chills #19 Homage Covers
1st Class Horror Cover
Cover Date: September 1953
Covert Artist: Lee Elias
Cover Inks: Lee Elias
Writer(s): Bob Powell & Howard Nostrand
Pencilers: Lee Elias, Warren Kremer, Bob Powell, Howard Nostrand, Joe Certa, Jack Sparling
Cover Price: $.10
Chamber of Chills #19 from September 1953 is one of the most recognizable horror covers from the Golden Age of Comics in the world. Lee Elias’ iconic cover has inspired dozens of homages (perhaps some spoofs, too) since its publication nearly 80 years ago.
Elias worked at Timely Comics during the Golden Age of Comics as a penciler, inker and a cover artist. He is most noted for his work created for the Harvey Comics’ Black Cat title. Unfortunately, Fredric Wertham’s historic anti-comic Seduction of the Innocent, published in 1954, used four of Elias’ Black Cat panels as examples of “depraved” art. Elias as a result left the industry but returned a few years later.
Elias worked for DC Comics during the 1960s. on such titles as Adventure Comics, World’s Finest, Adam Strange and others. He also co-created supervillain Eclipso. In the 1970s, Elias worked for Marvel on such titles as Power Man and The Human Fly, to name only two.
Some speculate, however, that Elias himself was inspired by the cover of an earlier popular mystery/horror magazine, i.e. Dime Mystery Magazine (Vol 30) #4 from nearly a decade before. Dated September 1944, this Dime Mystery Magazine cover bares remarkable similarities with Elias’ iconic comic book cover. Both women featured are blonde with dark eyebrows, partially obscured by a glass object (an orb in Dime Mystery and a wine glass in Chills) which reveals to readers the woman’s underlying skull. The glass “window” on each cover is held aloft by a (seemingly) male hand. The art on Chamber of Chills, however, is flipped when compared to the art on Dime Mystery. so the hand enters from the left (Chamber) rather than the right (Mystery). The backgrounds of both covers are dark as well, with Chamber being almost entirely black and Dime Mystery being a dark blue trending to black at the top of the page. Placed side-by-side, one must surmise that the earlier cover for Dime Mystery Magazine (Vol 30) #4 inspired Lee Elias’ iconic cover for Chamber of Chills #19.
Whatever the origin of Lee Elias’ work for Chamber of Chills #19, we are all about inspiration and homages here.
We hope you find inspiration in the homages below.