With his wholesome approach, Jack Kamen stood out amongst the grand-guignol grunge, gritty realism, or futuristic dazzle of his fellow EC cartoonists — but his brilliant editor/writer Al Feldstein found a way to exploit the surface innocence of his style with seemingly nice stories of romance gone horribly wrong, or future fantasies with an unexpectedly brutal twist. And nowhere did Kamen'’s clean-but-lush graphics work better than in the stories he created for EC's science-fiction comics.
The title story, "Zero Hour" (one of three in this book adapted from works by Ray Bradbury), set in a Spielbergian suburban idyll, is particularly well served by Kamen's surface innocence; "A Lesson in Anatomy" works similar magic, with its Mayberry-esque setting veering into alien-invasion terror.
If there was any devil in Kamen, it came out in his loving depiction of the female face and form, and you could see why his hapless heroes were often fatally entranced with them — as in "Punishment Without Crime" (Bradbury again), "He Who Waits!" (a scientist finds an extreme way of rejoining his eight-inch-tall inamorata), and "Miscalculation!" (the lucky recipient of a package from the future literally brews his own harem); even the supercomputer in "Only Human!" proves vulnerable to a beautiful woman's charms.
Zero Hour and Other Stories contains 22 classic EC yarns — plus the usual all-new biographical, historical, and critical essays that have made Fantagraphics' EC Library series the ultimate version of these classics.
Even sixty years after their original release, in a post-Saw-and-Hostel era of explicit horror, EC Comics superstar Graham "Ghastly" Ingels's grisly pages retain the power to shock.
His loving depictions of the endless corruption of flesh and nature made him the go-to guy for stories involving swamps, maniacs, and dismemberment — and all three combined to best effect in one of the standouts of this collection of his stories: "Horror We? How’s Bayou?" — considered the single most spectacularly drawn of all of EC’s horror stories, with a climax that would give body-horror king David Cronenberg nightmares.
Ingels specialized in depicting the unimaginable. If you ever wondered what the vengeful, decaying corpse of an elephant stomping a woman to death would look like, it's in here ("Squash...Anyone?"). Or living rats sewn into the bodies of a tyrannical king and queen ("A Grim Fairy Tale")... or the results of injecting a "poison-pen" letter writer with literal poison and reducing him to, in the words of Al Feldstein's script, a "foul-smelling, oozing pool of putrescence" ("Notes to You!"). One of the two Ray Bradbury adaptations in the book, "There Was an Old Woman" (about a deceased crone who simply refuses to stay dead) provides the closest thing to a note of sweetness that you'll find here — perhaps with the exception of the genuinely romantic "A Little Stranger!" and its loving marriage between a dead vampire and a dead werewolf.
Sucker Bait and Other Stories features 25 classic stories from Tales from the Crypt, Shock SuspenStories, Vault of Horror, and Ingels and his "Old Witch" character's special showcase Haunt of Fear — plus the usual fascinating historical, critical, and biographical material.
"One of the greatest comic strips of all time and a peak in visual splendor and breathtaking adventure, the story of Prince Valiant's 30-plus year odyssey is getting a marvelous presentation in Fantagraphics' series of books…" – The Huffington Post
“Medieval swordplay and adventure have never been as glorious as in Foster’s Sunday-only comic strip. This edition has been reproduced from pristine printer’s proofs to give the gorgeous artwork its crispest version ever.... Prince Valiant is one of the best-drawn comics ever, and this new edition does ample justice to its achievement.” – Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"If you've never read Prince Valiant at all, I highly implore you to give it a shot with Fantagraphics' current hardcover reprints. They're huge, beautiful — the best these strips have looked since their original publication, if not exceeding them. They're world-spanning adventure comics of the highest order — in a pantheon of titles ranging from Corto Maltese to Kamandi to Tintin." – Joe Keatinge
BRRRT! CRACK! SPANG! RATAT! BRADAP! POW! SPLAT! WHUMP! BOOM! BADABALAM! VIP VIP VIP! KRUMF! BA-ROOM! These are the sounds of our downloadable 27-page excerpt of Wallace Wood's Cannon, and PLOP will be the sound of your jaw hitting the floor. Bullets fly, explosions blow stuff up, and a chiseled, square-jawed, killing-machine hero puts the hurt on the baddies in the name of the U.S. of A. Plus over half the pages also feature at least one panel of naked or partly-naked women. Just sayin'. It's Grade A unapologetic exploitation fare by one of comics' all-time greats, finally in a complete and definitive edition. Pre-order your copy now for February release!
These pages may look familiar to loyal readers of Peter Bagge's Hate Annual comic book, or maybe you haven't been keeping up with the latest tales of Buddy & Lisa's domestic "bliss." Either way, you'll be glad to know that those stories (most from out-of-print issues) are finally being compiled, along with a new 20-page concluding chapter, in the evocatively titled Buddy Buys a Dump. It'll be the first new Buddy Bradley collection to hit shelves in seven years when it's released in April, and you can pre-order it now!
SPECIAL OFFER: Add Prince Valiant Vol. 9 (coming Spring 2014) or Vols. 9 & 10 (coming Fall 2014) to your pre-order for just $27.99 each, a savings of 20% off the cover price! Use the option menu on the product details page to subscribe.
Our continuing reprinting of Hal Foster's sumptuous epic — still scanned directly from Foster's personal collection of syndicate proofs, providing the most spectacular iteration of this material since its original publication in Sunday newspaper supplements 60 years ago — enters the 1950s with this new volume.
The entire first third consists of the second half of the 15-month-long (!) Roman epic "The Missionaries," which includes a dramatic, life-changing experience for Prince Geoffrey (aka "Arf") at its climax. After a brief stay back in Camelot (where the irrepressible Val and his friend Gawain indulge in some not-very-knightly pranks that end up costing them dearly), the two, accompanied by Arf, are summoned back to Thule, where Aleta presents Val with new twin daughters!
Foster also reintroduces such favorite characters as the piratical Boltar and the Indian princess Tillicum (now an unlikely romantic couple), and the year concludes with the beginning of "Valhalla" (another installment in the ongoing story of the problematic Christianization of the Vikings) — which includes one of Foster's most dramatic and gorgeous splash panels (used here on the cover).
And as a back-up, Prince Valiant Volume 8 includes an article by Foster scholar Brian M. Kane on Foster's near-forgotten "Mounties" ad campaign paintings from the 1930s, along with a number of gorgeous reproductions.
Here's 10 days of Peanuts strips from 1991-1992, which are to be included in our next volume of The Complete Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz, due out in April. Not content to rest on his laurels, Schulz kept evolving and experimenting, keeping the strip fresh and funny after four full decades.
What the heck, here's 3 more from our catalog, to make a lucky 13:
No one fails quite like Charlie Brown and nobody captured the agony of defeat — and the persistence to try again — quite like Charles Schulz. Here's just a taste of what's to come in Batter Up, Charlie Brown!, our cute little gift book of baseball-themed Peanuts strips coming in April. (Final images & specs may vary.)
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