Saturday, October 11, 2014


THE HAUNT OF FEAR: THE EC ARCHIVES VOL. 1 (GC Press, 2011; Hardcover)

Note: Actually released in 2012

Collects The Haunt of Fear Nos. 15-17, 4-6 (cover dates May/June, 1950- March/April, 1951)

Writer: Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, Gardner Fox, Johnny Craig, and Harvey Kurtzman

Artists: Johnny Craig, Harvey Kurtzman, Harry Harrison, Wally Wood, Al Feldstein, Graham Ingels, and Jack Kamen

I used to love these EC Archives back when I wasn't anywhere near as batshit crazy as I am these days my OCD wasn't as refined and the liberties taken with the original color palette didn't phase me. The production values were so high in terms of paper and binding that I was happy to have these in a high quality format.

Jack Kamen rules!

Let's backtrack a bit in time to late 2012. Fearful that the line would never see completion I ordered every EC Annual from Russ Cochran's site for the material not covered by the Archives. Now I had all “New Trend” EC Comic collected in full color and could sleep at night regardless of the outcome. Move a little further along in time, and I decided I no longer enjoyed reading recolored versions of these classics. I wanted the original color palette. So I set out and first ordered the remaining Annuals that Russ had on his site and then proceeded to hunt down the three that he didn't on eBay. I now have my cake and am eating it at my leisure. I own every single EC Annual except for Panic (I loathe humor comics), I have the Picto-Fiction Library box set, and I don't care about the EC-era of Mad so I am all set.

I love the implied violence in these comics. The mind can trick itself into scenes far more gruesome than what is seen "on screen".
So what did I think of these comics, you ask? The stories remain stellar on the reread in spite of the recoloring. Go read my review for The Haunt Of Fear Annual Vol. 1 for issues 1-5 and Vol. 2, which has issue 6, for more details.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I can't wait for the day when someone, anyone, produces EC Comics Archives in full color with the original color palette, including the original cover color palette.

Both of these GC Press EC Archives are slightly smaller than the Gemstone versions and have minor spine design alterations if such things matter to you.

DVD-style Extras included in this book: Foreword by Robert Englund. (1 page)
EC Horror's Triumvirate: Parts One through Four and Try And Stop Me. (Information and historical context about EC) (5 pages)

Linework and Color: The linework is superb, taken from photostats and original artwork. The color is the killer for me. While based on Marie Severin's original colors, there are too many liberties taken with it in terms of gradient shades and other Photoshop effects for my taste. Your mileage may vary.

Paper stock: Thick coated stock with a slight sheen.

Binding: Smyth sewn binding with seven stitches per signature.

Hardback cover notes: This is the best of both worlds- a dustjacket with the same image on the paper of the casewrap. Top it off with a super thick lamination and you have the cherry on the top of this sundae. 

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