"No one could draw a rotted, walking corpse like Graham Ingels." – Donald Vaughan, (Florida) Sun-Sentinel
"I love Ingels …" – George A. Romero
"All of these books are essential purchases for comics fans… These are the books that best show off how EC took genre stories seriously, striving to create comics that didn’t treat readers as naive or ignorant." – Noel Murray, Los Angeles Times
"...I am not only appreciative...but also very impressed. [The books] are spectacular packages of their featured artist and their stories." – Al Feldstein
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.
The countdown to Zero Hour continues with this first glimpse of an advance copy of the upcoming volume in our EC Comics Library series. Artist Jack Kamen brings Al Feldstein's scripts to life with confident chiaroscuro brushwork in these spine-tingling sci-fi yarns. Mad scientists, creepy aliens, desperate criminals, beautiful women, cigar-chomping government types, apocalypse survivors, sideshow freaks... the classic EC stuff, reproduced in crisp black & white in our handsome, bookshelf-friendly hardcover presentation with scholarly bonus features. Secure your copy by pre-ordering today!
A new volume in our EC Comics Library series beams your way next month: Zero Hour and Other Stories, drawn by Jack Kamen and mostly scripted by Al Feldstein, with 22 pulpy sci-fi & suspense shockers full of Cold War paranoia, barely-suppressed sexual urges, desperation, alien invaders, bioengineering gone wrong, mass extinctions, lovelorn automatons, and man's folly in the face of technology he can't fully understand or control.
In our downloadable excerpt you'll find the haunting title story, adapted from a story by Ray Bradbury, sandwiched between the ultimate self-loathing tale "The Parallel" and the teleportational "Hot-Rod!"
This week's comic shop shipment included the following new titles. Read on to see what comics-blog commentators and web-savvy comic shops are saying about them (more to be added as they appear), check out our previews at the links, and contact your local shop to confirm availability.
176-page monochrome/color 6.25" x 9.25" hardcover • $26.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-676-8
"[A] family's evolution springs from the stories and the dialogue. Clever, moving and often hilarious." –Houston Chronicle
"…it's another work in a very strong year for Reklaw that included the short he did for Robyn Chapman. An autobiographical tale that gets increasingly unhinged, Reklaw's work also reminded me of some of the emotionally infused alt-manga I read this year: a really unique comics-reading experience." –Tom Spurgeon, Comics Reporter
There's a lot of energy hidden, pent up, in Reklaw's older normal "square" cartooning style, and it's starting to bust out and become unpredictable, more like he is in person." –Kevin Huizenga
144-page full-color 10.5" x 14.75" hardcover • $49.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-698-0
"It's easy to toss around the word 'genius,' especially when it comes to comics. We all have our favorites and we all like to think ours are the great ones. But one look at Roy Crane's work and anyone can see that he definitely was worthy of the 'genius' tag." - Tom Mason, Comix 411
"Crane's art is stunning, combining simple cartoony figures with richly detailed backgrounds in clever, colorful layouts. It isn't even necessary to read the dialogue or captions to follow the action; just scan Crane's dynamic lines, which make every panel look like a unique work of pop art. [Grade:] A-." –The A.V. Club
264-page black & white 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-749-9
The team of Harvey Kurtzman and John Severin was one of the most fruitful collaborations in the history of comics. The work they did combines the taut emotional and psychological insights of Stephen Crane with a verisimilitude so gritty that it seems as if they are reporting from the scene. Together with inker and friend Will Elder, whose own obsession for detail perfectly heightened the impact of every line, they produced 34 war stories — emotionally draining and dramatically eloquent — in just under three years. This book collects them all. Settings include: the Roman empire; the Revolutionary War; the American-Indian Wars; the Alamo; the Civil War; World War I (in the trenches and in the air); World War II (in the Pacific and in Europe, including the D-Day invasion); and the Korean War.
224-page black & white/color 7.75" x 11" hardcover • $29.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-752-9
Frank is, as everyone knows, Jim Woodring's bestselling cartoon character. Jim, on the other hand, is Woodring's cartoon alter ego, the fictional doppelganger who has for 30 years inhabited Woodring's alternate universe where shifting, phantasmagoric landscapes, abrupt, hallucinatory visual revelations, and unexpected eruptions of uninhibited verbal self-flagellation are common- place. Jim is a mind-bending collection of all of Woodring's best non-Frank creative work — comics stories, prose stories, drawings, and paintings, with a new introduction and afterword by the man himself. Abounding in metaphors if you choose to see them and naked self-disclosure if you don't, this volume of comics, prose, and images — collected here for the first time and including an all-new 24-page story — is a bounty of Woodring's inspired artistry.
Are you ready to get Ghastly? Our next EC Comics Library volume Sucker Bait and Other Stories, featuring the nauseatingly expressive artwork of Graham Ingels, is a couple of months from haunting your shelves, as evidenced by the acrid arrival of advance copies in our cobwebbed lair. The Old Witch serves up a cauldron-ful of grue and rue in over two dozen classic creepfests, reprinted in glorious, gory-ous black and white. Peek through your fingers at 3 full stories and pre-order your copy right here.
184-page black & white 7.25" x 10.25" hardcover • $28.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-727-7
Joe Orlando was a mainstay at EC, especially on science fiction, and this collects 23 of his best sci-fi stories. All of them, most scripted by Al Feldstein, serve up classic O. Henry-style endings, such as “I, Robot,” and “Fallen Idol.” The title story is one of EC’s most famous, with its blunt anti-racism message. When it was printed during the era of the Comics Code, publisher Bill Gaines and Feldstein had to fight to keep the story’s final panel “reveal” (and thus its whole point) intact. It was a pyrrhic victory, however, as “Judgment Day” became the last story in the last comic book EC published. This volume also features two of Orlando’s outstanding adaptations of classic Ray Bradbury science-fiction stories: “The Long Year” and “Outcast of the Stars.” Also included are all of EC’s “Adam Link” adaptations, a series which was later adapted for The Outer Limits TV show featuring Leonard Nimoy.
four black & white hardcover volumes in a 7.5" x 10.5" boxed set, 832 pages • $94.99 ISBN: 978-1-60699-728-4
A boxed set of our first four books in our acclaimed EC Comics Library, which collects the best comics of the 1950s from the greatest mass market comic book publisher in history. Featured are: Corpse on the Imjin! by Harvey Kurtzman, et al.; Came the Dawn by Wallace “Wally” Wood, Al Feldstein, et al.; 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson, Al Feldstein, et al.; and 'Tain’t the Meat... It’s the Humanity! by Jack Davis, Al Feldstein, et al. A great gift for Father’s Day or for the genre fiction fan in your life!
"EC Comics' output of crime, horror, and war comics have been reprinted and collected multiple times, but never like in Fantagraphics' new 'EC Comics Library,' which repackages some of the most influential comics ever published in writer/artist-driven volumes, printed in black and white.” – The A.V. Club
"The EC Comics Library collections display the grace of cartooning." – The Chicago Tribune
"Fantagraphics has been inventing unique ways to publish [this] treasure trove of '40s and '50s crime, horror and war comics." – The Toronto Star
The Comics Journal Library series is the most comprehensive series of lavishly illustrated interviews conducted with cartoonists ever published. To celebrate our republication of the legendary EC line, we proudly present the first of a two-volume set of interviews with the artists and writers (and publisher!) who made EC great. Included in the first volume: career-spanning conversations with EC legends Will Elder, John Severin, Harvey Kurtzman, and Al Feldstein, as well as short interviews with EC short-timers Frank Frazetta and Joe Kubert. Also: EC Publisher William Gaines on his infamous Senate subcommittee testimony, and probing conversations between Silver Age cartoonist Gil Kane and Harvey Kurtzman, as well as contemporary alternative cartoonist Sam Henderson and MAD great Al Jaffee.
Part of what made EC the best publisher in the history of mainstream comics was some of the most beautiful drawing ever published in comic books, and every interview is profusely illustrated by pertinent examples of the work under discussion. The EC artists were renowned for their attention to detail, and the reproduction here takes full advantage of the oversized art book format.