The Fleshless Ones

Real Name


First Appearance

Worlds of Fear # 10 (Jun. 1953)

Original Publisher


Created by

Sheldon Moldoff

The Fleshless Ones were a race of malevolent, skeletal beings first introduced in Fawcett's horror line. Cruel, vicious and totally without mercy, they were bent on world domination, having succeeded in infiltrating human society at various levels.


When rookie patrolman Perry Mahoney answers a desperate cry for help, he is confronted by a race of undead beings lurking in deep caverns and dark places beneath the streets. Motivated purely by hate, these creatures secretly plot to wipe out humanity and turn the world into a vast graveyard ruled over by the dead. When Mahoney discovers their existence, they respond by abducting his girlfriend, planning to convert her to one of "them" through a process too horrific to conceive. Tracking them to their lair, Mahoney manages to save Ellen from a fate literally worse than death ... only to discover that she may not be all that she seems.


  • An early piece illustrated by comics veteran Sheldon Moldoff, The Fleshless Ones set a precedent for several later scenarios involving the Beyond. In Fawcett's loosely structured continuity, the dead often loathed or envied the living, devising plans to obliterate the entire human species from the face of the planet - a plotline recalling some of H. P. Lovecraft's weird fiction. The story's grim conclusion also bears a remarkable similarity to Invasion of the Body Snatchers, although the movie actually appeared some years later in 1956.
  • The Fleshless Ones has been reprinted several times by various publishers. Atlas swiped the story wholesale, altering the artwork but retaining the title and dialogue, for Mystic No. 64 (November 1957). More recently, AC Comics acquired the rights to the story, issuing an authorized reprint in the first issue of Crypt of Horror, an omnibus-style magazine using material from numerous pre-code comics.
  • Editing credits for this issue (Worlds of Fear # 10) are given as Will Lieberson (executive editor) and V.A. Provisiero (editor). In keeping with the policies of the time, artists and writers were not mentioned, although Moldoff is known to have produced this story as part of his initial horror pitch to Fawcett Publications.

Public Domain Appearances

  • Worlds of Fear #10 (Fawcett)
  • Mystic # 64 (Atlas)

See Also

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