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Graham Ingels (American, 1915-1991)

Comic Book Art

Graham Ingels (1915 – 1991) was a comic book and magazine artist best known for his work on EC’s horror titles: The Haunt of Fear, Tales from the Crypt, and Vault of Horror. His striking and grim visuals leaped from the page, terrified readers, and catapulted EC’s horror genre into the mainstream comic market. Graham’s horror was so fierce that it earned him the nickname “Ghastly”, which he would go on to use to sign his name in 1952.

Ghastly Graham was born in Cincinnati, and at the young age of 16 he entered the art world drawing theater displays. After studying at New York’s Hawthorne School of Art and doing minor freelance work, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1943. In the same year, Ingels began doing work at Fiction House Publication’s pulp magazine and comic book department. At Fiction House Graham worked on many different titles such as, Wings Comics, Action Stories, Jungle Stories, and Planet Stories. Once his time in the military was done, Ingels went to comic books full-time for Magazine Enterprises and Famous Funnies. Later on, he changed directions and became the editor at Better-Standard-Nedor where he was in charge of writing and drawing for titles including, Wonder Comics, Startling Comics, and Thrilling Comics. Ingels worked for various other publications in the ‘40s, but he found his true calling with the EC family in 1948.

Along with Bill Gaines, Johnny Craig, and Al Feldstein, Graham Ingels aided in revitalizing their older titles. This revamping process was called the “New Trend” of comics in 1950. Where Graham excelled compared to other artists was in the horror genre. In titles such as, The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror, and Tales from the Crypt, Graham became EC’s go to artist. He was the company’s most loyal horror contributor who specialized in gore, swamps, zombies, and his own creation, The Old Witch. Unfortunately, Ghastly’s glory days were halted when the Comics Code was enforced in 1955. This caused Graham to be largely out of work, but eventually he found a job as an art teacher with the Famous Artists correspondence school in Westport, Connecticut. He would later teach in Lantana, Florida where he denied his contribution in horror comics until just before his death in 1991.

In 2011, the Ghastly Awards were created and the founders paid homage to the late Ghastly Graham Ingels by making him their first inductee into the Horror Hall of Fame.

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