Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Review- HARVEY HORRORS COLLECTED WORKS: WITCHES TALES VOL. 1

HARVEY HORRORS COLLECTED WORKS: WITCHES TALES VOL. 1 (PS Artbooks, 2011; Hardcover)
Collects Witches Tales Nos. 1-7 (cover dates January, 1951- January, 1952)
Writers: Bob Powell and other unknown, uncredited writers.
Artists: Bob Powell, Howard Nostrand, John Giunta, Manny Stallman, Vic Donahue, Rudy Palais, Lee Elias, John Sink, Tom Hickey, Al Luster, Al Avison, Tom Gill, and other artists.
Praise Pete Crowther and the rest of the staff over at PS Artbooks! It all started with a wishlist thread over on the Masterworks Messageboard, with us collected edition obsessives wishing and dreaming for archives of this long forgotten material. One day, Pete popped in and announced that his small press company would be presenting these in deluxe hardcovers, sold directly from the publisher. Slightly skeptical but very hopeful, I pre-ordered the first volume (Chamber of Chills Vol. 1) and waited several months for the book to be completed and released. The book sold out, and Pete and company ramped up the production and began rolling out these Maltese Falcons of '50s pre-code Horror comics in rapid fire succession. Heck, they are even now available through Diamond Comic Distributors, so there is no excuse not to own these books, as you can order them from comic shops everywhere. I'm happy to say I knew Pete and PS Artbooks when.
These '50s pre-code comics are the cat's meow. Superb artwork, solid writing, and over the top violence make for a winning combination that can't be beat. These old comics hit all of the sweet spots for yours truly, and I am thrilled to have several more PS Artbooks in my backlog, waiting, waiting...
These stories all deal with witches, witchcraft, and deals with the devil gone wrong. In other words, perfect, nonsensical “Hollywood” style witchcraft. I love it! Real witchcraft is totally fake and stupid, but I love eye of newt type storytelling. Yes, it's somewhat dated and cheesy, but that it was what makes these stories so much fun. There isn't a whiff of irony or self deprecation. 
These comic books were sold to kids, which is so wrong that it is awesome. The artwork in these comics was done by a pretty impressive stable of artists, most of which are unfortunately forgotten by today's comic book buyers. Again, props to PS Artbooks for getting these obscure vintage comics back out there for the masses to rediscover.
The OCD zone- These books are beautifully produced. The image is screen printed on the hardcover itself, with no dustjacket. The paper is uncoated stock, yet smooth to the touch. Think of the stock that Fantagraphics uses in their Steve Ditko Archives and you'll be in the ballpark of the quality of the paper grade. The sewn binding is outstanding, and the book lays perfectly flat from the first page to the last. The restoration is high resolution scans with minimal touch ups. These books are top quality and are really a dream (or is it nightmare?) come true. 
What what WHAT?? Dr. Strange, a scholar of the occult? This was well over a decade before Stan Lee and Steve Ditko would unleash THEIR Doctor Strange on the world.
Today is my birthday. Happy birthday to me! Seen here is my cake, which was Batman. I ordered an Avengers cake, but the rice paper printer was broken when I ordered it, and I was informed that it might not be repaired in time, so Batman was plan B. It was pretty plain, but hey, whatever. It still tasted great.
Follow my blog on Facebook.
Join the cause page if you want make sure that DC keeps up the recent good work on their hardcovers. This group is a watchdog organization dedicated to top notch production values in collected editions.

No comments:

Post a Comment