Midnight Tales #1 (Dec. 1972). Art by Wayne Howard.
|Publication date||Dec. 1972-May 1976|
|Number of issues||18|
|Main character(s)||The Midnight Philosopher and Arachne Coffin|
Midnight Tales was a horror-suspense anthology comic book series created by Wayne Howard and published by Charlton Comics from 1972 to 1976. The book was "hosted" by Professor Coffin (a.k.a. The Midnight Philosopher) and his niece Arachne. (The book followed a standard formula where each issue's first story was a framing sequence divided up among the other stories.) The setting, Xanadu University, was a tie-in with the Charlton series E-Man.
Charlton took the unusual step of giving Howard a "created by" credit on each issue's cover, providing a precedent for such credits eventually becoming common years later beginning with DC's Vertigo imprint. Charlton writer/editor Nick Cuti described Howard's credit being granted because the book, "... was his idea, his concept, his everything." In addition, each issue shared a theme: "One time it would be blob monsters, and I wrote three stories about blob monsters, and another time it was vampires ... and that sort of thing". Howard penciled and inked every cover and virtually every story, and occasionally scripted stories as well.
Midnight Tales was part of a wave of new horror and suspense comics published by Charlton during this period. Its sister titles were the Charlton anthologies The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves (with host Dr. M.T. Graves), Ghostly Tales (with I.M. Dedd), Ghost Manor (with host Mr. Bones), Ghostly Haunts (with Winnie the Witch), Haunted (with Impy and then Baron Weirwulf), and Scary Tales (with Countess R.H. Von Bludd).
Midnight Tales appeared bimonthly; altogether, it published 18 issues. In Oct. 1985, Charlton briefly revived the title as a reprint book, changing its name to Professor Coffin, and continued the numbering for three more issues before finally ceasing publication in 1986.
Critic Mark Andrew:
Old dude and his sexy niece traipse across the countryside, bumping into oddball characters who invariably have a story to tell.... Sadly, since Charlton didn't want to do anything that'd offend your average nine-year-old, you can feel this book fighting against the uber-restrictive comics code. Kinda sad, really. What is good, however, are the artists in this book, easily the equal of anyone workin' at Marvel or DC at the time. You got Wayne Howard ... probably the most deft practitioner of the Wally Wood school ever.
- Midnight Tales entry, Grand Comics Database. Accessed April 3, 2011.
- Cooke, Jon B., "Lest We Forget: Celebrating Four that Got Away": Comic Book Artist #12 (March 2001), p. 112.
- Nicola Cuti interview, Comic Book Artist #12 (March 2001), p. 41-42.
- Andrew, Mark. "Nine Things I Read This Week. A (hopefully) weekly Column", "Comics Should Be Good" (column), March 3, 2006. WebCitation archive.