I'm excited about this find, folks. I think I should win some sort of cyber-sleuthing award.
So Cave Girl #11 in 1953 gets the honors of featuring the very first ape-like, abominable "Snowmen", but a year before, the story, Glacier Beast, appeared in the September '52 issue of Tomb of Terror #4 and it starred what are clearly meant to be yetis:
The "glacier beasts" (not sure why they are called that since there are no moving masses of ice) appear to be white-furred - is this the first example of this ever?! They live on "Mystery Mountain" and attack any treasure seekers.
They say AAAARRRGH! and MMMPFFFF! a lot because they can't talk, apparently.
Interestingly enough, this is 5-6 years before Tom Slick and the Pangboche Hand, and yet a severed Yeti Hand is discussed.
I love this retort: "Stay away from us, ya @#!*! slobs!"
Momentous: first time (and last?) time somebody calls yetis "slobs".
The treasure seekers are captured and brought to the yeti village where they meet the king.
They target the woman of the group and take her away. The trope "Abduction in Love" comes to mind. It would later become very common to yeti stories from this point forward (hey, if it worked for King Kong...).
If one had any doubts that a Tibetesque setting was meant to be evoked
for the Mystery Mountain, check out this clearly Eastern-inspired golden
And finally: greed leads the final treasure seeker to be turned into a yeti himself:
This is the very first instance of this now classic trope - most recently used in last year's big video game as the shocking twist ending. I also ran down additional examples of this in later comics. Were they perhaps inspired by this very story?
A big thanks to the fantastic blog The Horrors of It All for posting the scans!