Visitors to "The Horror: Selections from the EC Comics Library" on Saturday, October 13 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will have the added pleasure of viewing "Apopalyptic America," an exhibition of new works by Jem Eaton. His postmodern paintings combine pop culture motifs with fine art techniques to create colorful comments on classic cartoon characters. The show is at the One Night Stand Gallery space directly above the bookstore and Georgetown Records, the site of a free concert that evening by Berlin-based recording artist Molly Nilsson. These events coincide with the lively Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community. See you all then.
The lurid crime and horror comics of the fifties created nationwide hysteria. Unsubstantiated claims that comic books caused juvenile delinquency, circulated by psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham in his book Seduction of the Innocent, led to sensational Senate hearings and the introduction of the Comics Code Authority – a self-censoring body that ended this age of classic American comics. At the peak of their popularity, crime and horror comics on the EC imprint sold millions of copies each issue despite being demonized by political opportunists. It was only later understood that these disposable publications were arguably the work of the greatest cartoonists of their generation.
Musical entertainment will be provided by Swedish-born, Berlin-based recording artist Molly Nilsson. Her haunting vocal delivery and lyrical approach perfectly complement the EC aesthetic. This event coincides with the colorful Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout Seattle’s spookiest neighborhood. Celebrate the beginning of Halloween season in style on this extraordinary evening.
The Horror: Selections from the EC Comics Library Opening reception Saturday, October 13, 6:00 to 9:00 PM Performance by Berlin-based recording artist Molly Nilsson. Exhibition continues through Halloween.
The creation of MAD would have been enough to cement Harvey Kurtzman’s reputation as one of the titans of American comics, but Kurtzman also created two other comics landmarks: the scrupulously-researched and superbly-crafted war comics Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat. Here were finally war comics without heroic, cigar-chomping sergeants, wisecracking privates from Brooklyn, or cartoon Nazis and “Japs” to be mowed down by the Yank heroes, but an unflinching look at the horror and madness of combat throughout history.
Kurtzman employed some of the finest of the EC artists including Jack Davis, John Severin, and Wallace Wood, but his vision came through clearest in the dozen or so stories he both wrote and drew himself, in his uniquely bold, slashing, cartoony-but-dead-serious style (“Stonewall Jackson,” “Iwo Jima,” “Rubble,” “Big ‘If ’,” and Kurtzman’s own favorite, “Air Burst”) — as well as his vividly colored, narratively-dense covers, all 23 of which are reproduced here in full color in a special portfolio.
Corpse on the Imjin! is rounded off with a dozen or so stories written and laid out by Kurtzman and drawn by “short-timers,” i.e. cartoonists whose contributions to his war books only comprised a story or two — including such giants as designer extraordinaire Alex Toth, Marvel comics stalwart Gene Colan, and a pre-Sgt. Rock Joe Kubert... and such unexpected guests as “The Lighter Side of...” MAD artist Dave Berg and DC comics veteran Ric Estrada — as well as a rarity: a story by EC regular John Severin inked by Kurtzman.
Like every book in the Fantagraphics EC line, Corpse on the Imjin! features extensive essays and notes on these classic stories by EC experts — but Kurtzman’s stories, as vital, powerful, affecting, and even, yes, modern today as when they were created 60 years ago, are what makes this collection a must-have for any comics reader.
Make plans now to attend the opening of "The Horror: Selections from the EC Comics Library" at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery on Saturday, October 13 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM. Store patrons will be among the first in the nation to receive complimentary copies of Jack Davis's Tales From the Crypt sampler. We'll also have a limited number of advance copies of the breathtaking Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood EC anthologies available. And we'll have some seasonal surprises.
Entertainment will be provided by Swedish-born, Berlin-based recording artist Molly Nilsson. Her haunting vocals and lyrical approach perfectly complement the EC aesthetic. Seeing this amazing musician in the intimate bookstore environment is Halloween treat you won't soon forget. Here's Molly performing "I Hope You Die" in Prague earlier this year. Don't miss her free show here.
The 20th century had hit its exact midpoint. Social upheaval — sexual, social, racial, cultural — was in the air; and the fledgling EC comics line was about to become a vital part of it.
Working within the horror, war, crime, and science fiction genres, publisher William Gaines and editor/writer Al Feldstein combined a deliciously disreputable, envelope-pushing sensibility with moments of genuine, outraged social consciousness, which shone a hard light onto such hot-button topics as racism, anti-Semitism, mob justice, and misogyny and sexism.
The 1950s were also a launching pad for some of the greatest comic book artists in history, many of whom worked for EC — including Wallace Wood, whose hypnotically detailed, lushly expressive brushwork brought to life menacing thugs, ominous cityscapes, and small-town America, as well as Everymen grappling with profound moral issues — not to mention some of the most heart-stoppingly beautiful women ever to sashay across a comic book page.
Came the Dawn collects all 26 Wood-drawn horror and crime stories — including the full baker’s dozen of EC’s most courageous and politically charged dramas.
Taking its title from one of Wood’s all-time classics, the evil little paranoid thriller “Came the Dawn,” this collection features page after page after page of Wood’s sleek and meticulously crafted artwork put in the service of cunning twist-ending stories, most often from the typewriter of EC editor Al Feldstein. These tales range from supernatural shockers from the pages of Tales From the Crypt and The Haunt of Fear (“The Living Corpse,” “Terror Ride,” “Man From the Grave,” “Horror in the Freak Tent”) to often pointedly contemporary crime thrillers from Crime SuspenStories (“The Assault,” “The Whipping,” and “Confession,” which was singled out for specific excoriation in the anti-comics screed Seduction of the Innocent, thus giving it a special cachet), but the breathtaking art and whiplash-inducing shock endings are constants throughout.
Like every book in the Fantagraphics EC line, Came the Dawn features extensive essays and notes on these classic stories by EC experts — but the real “meat” of the matter (sometimes literally, in the grislier stories) is supplied by these ofted lurid, sometimes downright over-the-top, but always compelling and superbly crafted, classic comic-book masterpieces.
Join Fantagraphics this weekend for the 2012 Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland! On September 15th & 16th, we'll be filling the Marriott Betheseda Conference Center with some dazzling debuts, panels, and signings! Come meet your favorite artists and get your books signed:
Heh, heh! Got a real chiller-diller this time fiends! Join me, The Crypt-Keeper, your host of howls, along with Jack Davis and Al Feldstein as we creep our way through four spine-tingling, hair-standing, blood-curdling tales of terror! We'll scare you silly! Trick or treat? Treat!!
Jack Davis's Tales from the Crypt is one of TWO special mini-comics we produced as a special Halloween 2012 give-away for participating comic shops (stay tuned for our announcement of the second one... here's a hint: rhymes with "Grasil Molverton"). Contact your local shop for availability.
We're like Navin Johnson on new phone book day over here!
Advance copies of these two highly-anticipated beauties arrived at the office yesterday: the first two volumes in our EC Comics Library series, Came the Dawn and Other Stories illustrated by Wallace Wood and Corpse on the Imjin! and Other Stories by Harvey Kurtzman et al. Came the Dawn features thrilling crime and suspense stories drawn by Wood (written mostly by Al Feldstein), and Corpse on the Imjin! contains Kurtzman's masterful and influential war stories illustrated by himself and others. If you didn't know and hadn't gathered, the volumes in this new series collect stories by genre and creator, in glorious black and white. (And don't they look handsome? Series design & art direction by good ol' Jacob Covey.) This classic material has never been collected this way before, and we're honored and proud to be doing it!
We've already posted excerpts from each book on its respective page with several full stories you can read (plus the tables of contents for your reference), and, of course, stay tuned for further previews. We also have a special deal for our mail-order customers where you can buy both books together for 20% off! Yes, we will have advance copies for sale at SPX next week and at our EC exhibit at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery next month (stay tuned for more about that), and the books are due to hit the shelves in November.
The sing-song-i-est new Online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Drawn Blog features a review of Steven Weissman's Barack Hussein Obama. Dustin Harbin says, "[the comics] seem less humorous and more like the slow aggregation of a large portrait, maybe not of the man, but of the time the man is living in."
• Review:The Comics Reporter confirms that Dal Tokyo by Gary Panter is THE book to buy this week. Tom Spurgeon states, "This is really the only book you need this week . . . I've been wanting to read a collected version of Gary Panter's strip for a time longer than all about a dozen personal relationships I currently have."
• Plug: Lots of book lust on the Collected Comics Library for the EC Library editions coming out soon featuring work from like Came the Dawn by Wally Wood,Corpse on the Imjin! by Harvey Kurtzman and future reprints from Al Williamson and Jack Davis. Chris Marshall says, "EC Archives are Dead! Long Live the EC Library!"
• Plug: The sweet people over at Robot 6 on Comic Book Resources started flipping through Previews and flipped out over some of our new releases. John Parkin on Walt Disney's Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown by Carl Barks: "Fantagraphics continues its series of high-end collections of the best of Carl Barks’ duck stories, with the Christmas-themed third volume arriving just in time to be stuffed in somebody’s stocking." Graeme McMillan on The Love and Rockets Reader: From Hoppers to Palomar by Marc Sobel: "As a latecomer to this classic series, I’m looking forward to Marc Sobel’s look back at the first three decades of the work of Los Bros Hernandez to help me get caught up on what I missed the first time around and really need to get in collected edition. I suspect this may end up being an expensive project."