Horror fiction thrives in short story form. Starting in the 1970s this aspect of the genre was reinvigorated after lying fallow for decades after the demise of Weird Tales magazine and others of its kind of the 1930s. Dozens of new magazine titles, self-published and not, specialized in publishing stories from up-and-coming writers, as well as more famous names (which were placed prominently on the cover, of course). Most of the magazines didn't last more than a few years or a handful of issues. Virtually every horror writer of the 1980s had their start in one or more of these magazines so I find it entirely appropriate to explore them a bit here.
The Horror Show, debuting in 1986, is fondly remembered for its J.K. Potter covers and for first publishing Poppy Z. Brite.
You can see the names on the covers that would soon be famous in the field: Lansdale, Brite, Ligotti, Schow. And certainly many more folks just disappeared from the scene. Night Cry was the horror spin-off from Twilight Zone magazine. Great girly-mag style covers here!
Cemetery Dance came a little later but is still going strong today, 20 years later, and has also published hardcover books from all the best writers. Well, probably some crappy writers too, I'm sure.
These '70s magazine covers for Whispers have no authors listed but actually it's the first of its kind, edited by Stuart David Schiff, and intended as a throwback to the pulp fiction days of yore. In the late '70s he started editing paperback anthologies under the same title; I remember reading them probably in 7th or 8th grades and am trying to track down some for review here.
The glossier Midnight Graffiti has already been covered on this blog here. These following covers are from magazines I'd never heard of until now. I've seen some of them on eBay but they're going for more than I like to pay for vintage horror fiction stuff. If you want to see more stuff like this, Locus magazine's archives are indispensable.