Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Review- ACG COLLECTED WORKS: FORBIDDEN WORLDS VOL. 1

ACG COLLECTED WORKS: FORBIDDEN WORLDS VOL. 1 (PS Artbooks, 2011; Hardcover)
Collects Adventures Into The Unknown Nos. 1-5 (cover dates July/August, 1951- March/April, 1952)
Writers: Charles Spain Verral, Alice Carter, Ken Bainbridge, and other unknown writers.
Artists: Paul Reinman, Frank Frazetta, Al Williamson, Ken Bald (cover artist), Emil Gershwin, Mel Kiefer, Edvard Moritz, Lin Streeter, Charlie Sultan, King Ward, Morris Waldinger, George Klein, Bill Molno, Ogden Whitney, Wally Wood, Leo Morey, Paul Cooper, George Willheims, Al Camy, Lou Cameron, and Roy Krenkel. 
Lovable old school Horror/Science Fiction comics or cheesy, dated relics? Yes to both. I adore vintage faulty science fiction, especially what people thought about the moon in the days before we allegedly landed there. I love the far out opinions of space travel and journeys into other dimensions. Low tech folks have steampunk. I should start an anachronistic retro-futuristic, faux science movement that worships at the altar of old science fiction comics and films. What should I call it?
The quality of the stories varies greatly. Some have decent writing but bland art, others have hokey writing and superb art. None of these stories are on par with EC Comics of the day, but all are worth reading and owning. I love all Pre-Code Horror comics. The better issues are towards the end of the book, which gives me great hopes for Volume 2. 
These PS Artbooks are truly a godsend. While Dark Horse has launched their own line of Forbidden Worlds Archives, I was already committed with a subscription to PS, who announced their line first. The Dark Horse books are fully restored but have one less issue, while the PS ones are straight up high resolution scans and even include all of the original advertisements. Which one is the winner? Who can say? 
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This book has that sweet, sweet Chinese printing press smell, the combination of ink derived from lead paint chips, asbestos tiles, mercury from recalled thermometers, and the blood, sweat, and tears of the children working the sweatshop printing press. Combine that with paper pulped from only virgin Amazon rainforest trees, and you have a winner.
Linework restoration rating: 4 out of 5. These are high resolution scans of original single issues, with minimal tinkering. There are some pages that are a tad murkier than others, but the average comic fan wouldn't notice or even care. I skew uber-anal retentive, so your mileage may vary.
Color restoration rating: 4 out of 5. As stated above, these are scans. The four color printing process that everyone is so romantic about quite frankly sucks. Line bleed, off register printing...all the hallmarks of the mid-20th century printing presses. While I love old comic books and old things in general, I do not love inferior manufacturing processes. These books are the best of both worlds.
Paper rating: 5 out of 5. Wonderful, thick uncoated stock paper with zero sheen, can be read under any light without glare.
Binding rating: 5 out of 5. These books are beautifully produced, and the sewn binding is no exception. It lays flat from the first page to the last. If I weren't married, I would cuddle with this book at night.
Hardcover coating rating: 5 out of 5. The image is screen printed on the cover with no dustjacket required. The image has a slightly thicker coating than the non-image portion on the cover, but the rest of the book has a coating of sufficient thickness that it will prove durable with repeated handling. I love these PS Artbooks.

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