The title was one of four launched by Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Roy Thomas to form a line of science fiction and horror anthologies with more thematic cohesiveness than the company’s earlier attempts that decade, which had included such series as Chamber of Darkness and Tower of Shadows. Whereas those titles generally presented original stories, these new books would instead adapt genre classics and other works.
With the four titles’ debuts set to be staggered over the course of four months, Marvel premiered Journey into Mystery vol. 2 (Oct. 1972),Chamber of Chills (Nov. 1972), Supernatural Thrillers (Dec. 1972), and, with a late start, Worlds Unknown (May 1973). The first issue features an original six-page story by science fiction novelist George Alec Effinger, “Moon of Madness, Moon of Fear”, penciled by P. Craig Russell (then credited as Craig Russell), and a slightly retitled adaptation of the Harlan Ellison short story “Delusions for a Dragon Slayer”, by writer Gerry Conway and artist Syd Shores; in-between was a story by writer Stan Lee and artist Russ Heath, “They Wait in Their … Dungeon”, reprinted from Menace #1 (March 1953), from Marvel’s 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics.
The bimonthly series ran exclusively new material through issue #4, with one reprinted story added to the mix for the following two issues, and only one new story in issue #7, after which the series became all-reprint. Most of the reprinted stories were 1950s “pre-Code” horror stories, which the industry self-censorship organization the Comics Code Authority had forbidden on Code-approved comics until a loosening of the Code in 1971.