The Unexpected
Cover to The Unexpected #105 (March 1968).
Art by Bob Brown.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre Horror
Publication date February-March 1968 - May 1982
Number of issues 118
Main character(s) Johnny Peril
The Mad Mod Witch
The Three Witches
Creative team
Writer(s) Jack Oleck, Martin Pasko
Penciller(s) Bob Brown, Steve Ditko, Marc Silvestri
Inker(s) John Celardo

The Unexpected was a DC Comics horror comic book series, a continuation of Tales of the Unexpected. It ran 118 issues, #105 (February-March 1968) to #222 (May 1982).[1]

Publication history

Unlike the predecessor, it was a fantasy anthology at first, then turned into a weird/horror anthology in the style of House of Secrets and House of Mystery. Its first "host" was The Mad Mod Witch. Nick Cardy was the cover artist for The Unexpected for issues #111, 116-117, 119-120, 123, 125-139, 141-162.[2] The series was published in the 100 Page Super Spectacular format from #157 (May-June 1974) to #162 (March-April 1975).[1] The Unexpected Special was published in 1977 as an issue of DC Special Series.[3] With issue #189 (January-February 1979), The Unexpected converted to the Dollar Comics format[4] and incorporated House of Secrets and The Witching Hour.[5] Each "Unexpected" story would always include the word in its last panel. After the merge, this was only true of the Unexpected section; there would then be complete, ad-free issues of The Witching Hour, hosted by its witches, and The House of Secrets, hosted by Abel. The Witching Hour feature was alternated with Doorway to Nightmare (starring Madame Xanadu), which appeared in issues #190, 192, 194, and 195. With issue #196 (March 1980), the series was restored to standard size, and rather than three complete issues in one, there was one story each per issue. The House of Secrets continued through issue #208; The Witching Hour continued to appear until issue #209 (April 1981), which incorporated the science fiction series, Time Warp. The final issue of the series was #222 (May 1982) which included early artwork by Marc Silvestri.[6]

The only continuing series was Johnny Peril which ran from issues #106-117. For issues #111-on, he was billed as an 'adventurer of the weird', as the series changed. Johnny Peril would again appear in issues #200 and 205-213. Johnny Peril had originally appeared in Sensation Comics #107-109, when it was retitled Sensation Mystery for issues #110-116. Some of his stories would be reprinted in Unexpected.

The comic features "The Mad Mod Witch" (later known as "Fashion Thing" in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman) as a story narrator in #108-112, 114-116, 140, and 162, and "Judge Gallows" in #113, 118, 121, 125 and 133. Judge Gallows would later appear in the final story arc of The Dreaming.

2011 one-shot

A one-shot special of The Unexpected was published by Vertigo Comics in 2011.[7][8]

Collected editions

  • The Steve Ditko Omnibus Volume 1 includes The Unexpected #189: "Dead Man's Eyes" by Jack Oleck and Steve Ditko and The Unexpected #221: "EM the Energy Monster" by Ditko, 480 pages, September 2011, ISBN 1-4012-3111-X


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Unexpected at the Grand Comics Database
  2. Coates, John (1999). "Art Index". The Art of Nick Cardy. Coates Publishing. pp. 169-170. ISBN 1-887591-22-2. 
  3. DC Special Series #4 at the Grand Comics Database
  4. Romero, Max (July 2012). "I'll Buy That For a Dollar! DC Comics' Dollar Comics". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (57): 39-41. 
  5. Wells, John (October 24, 1997), "'Lost' DC: The DC Implosion", Comics Buyer's Guide (1249), p. 134, Following #85, The Witching Hour was merged with House of Secrets and Doorway to Nightmare in The Unexpected, beginning with #189. 
  6. Pasko, Martin (w), Silvestri, Marc (p), Celardo, John (i). "Act of Contrition" The Unexpected 222 (May 1982)
  7. The Unexpected #1 (December 2011) at the Grand Comics Database
  8. "The Unexpected #1". Vertigo Comics. October 12, 2011. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 

External links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.