Skywald Publications was a 1970s American publisher of black-and-white comic magazines, primarily the horror anthologies Nightmare, Psycho, and Scream.
Skywald’s first publication was Nightmare #1 (Dec. 1970). The company lasted until early 1975, with Psycho #24 (March 1975) being its final publication. Nightmare published 23 issues and Scream put out 11 issues.
The company name is a combination of those of its founders, former Marvel Comics production manager Sol Brodsky (“Sky”) and low-budget entrepreneur Israel Waldman (“wald”), whose I. W. Publications (also known as Super Comics) in the late 1950s and early 1960s published comic book reprints for sale through grocery and discount stores. Skywald was based in New York City.
Brodsky, who also served as editor, brought in Al Hewetson — briefly an assistant to Marvel chief Stan Lee and a freelancer for the Warren Publishing horror magazines and others — as a freelance writer. “Archaic Al”, as he later jokingly called himself in print, quickly became the associate editor, and when Brodsky returned to Marvel after a few months, Hewetson succeeded him as editor. Hewetson, aiming at a more literary bent than the work of industry leader Warren Publishing, developed what he called “the Horror-Mood” and sought to evoke the feel of such writers as Poe, H. P. Lovecraft and Kafka.
Comics professionals who produced work for the Skywald magazines include writers T. Casey Brennan, Gerry Conway, Steve Englehart, Gardner Fox, Doug Moench, Dave Sim, Len Wein, and Marv Wolfman, and artists Rich Buckler, Gene Day Vince Colletta, Bill Everett, Bruce Jones, Pablo Marcos, Syd Shores, Chic Stone, and Tom Sutton. Many who also contributed to rival Warren employed pseudonyms. Future industry star John Byrne published his first professional story, a two-pager written by editor Hewetson, in Skywald’s Nightmare #20 (Aug. 1974).
Editor Al Hewetson, in an interview given shortly before his death of a heart attack on Jan. 6, 2004, asserted the demise of Skywald was caused by:
“…Marvel’s distributor. Our issues were selling well, and some sold out. Such returns as we received were shipped overseas, mainly to England, where they sold out completely… When Marvel entered the game with countless [black-and-white horror] titles gutting [sic] the newsstand, their distributor was so powerful they denied Skywald access to all but the very largest newsstands, so our presence was minimal and fans and readers simply couldn’t find us…”
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