Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Review- HARVEY HORRORS COLLECTED WORKS: CHAMBER OF CHILLS VOL. 3


HARVEY HORRORS COLLECTED WORKS: CHAMBER OF CHILLS VOL. 3 (PS Artbooks, 2012; Hardcover)

Collects Chamber of Chills Magazine #14-19 (cover dates November, 1952- September, 1953)
Writers: Bob Powell, Howard Nostrand, and other unidentified writers
Artists: Lee Elias, Vic Donahue, Moe Marcus, Rocke Mastroserio, Abe Simon, Rudy Palais, Pete Morisi, Al Avison, Don Perlin, Bob Powell, Howard Nostrand, Al Eadeh, Warren Kremer, Joe Certa, Manny Stallman, Jack Sparling, and other unidentified artists.

I adore the Pre-Code Horror comic books of the 1950s. Part of it is the groundbreaking nature of the material, part of it is the forbidden fruit aspect, but the real draw is of course the great stories and artwork. EC Comics were the best but Harvey was putting out solid material month in and month out as well. 


#14's It!!! is awesome, one of those don't disturb the resting place of the dead type stories. This story could arguably be a precursor for the film Poltergeist if you replace ghosts for zombies. Vic Donahue did some tremendous work on that story. #18's Friend echoes a theme found in many '50s Pre-Code Horror comics: the double cross. This Bob Powell penned and penciled tale has an extra bite to it. That same issue's House kicks the traditional ghost story up a few notches.

#19's iconic cover by Lee Elias was used by The Misfits for the cover of their Die, Die My Darling single and T-shirts, which “punks” today buy at Hot Topic. The issue itself is spectacular. Happy Anniversary by the godlike Bob Powell is an EC-caliber love story.


This stuff is a lot of fun to read. It's lighter on text than EC was so there is less depth, but that honestly would work more for fans of modern comics who dislike reading words and prefer light reading. I am glad that PS Artbooks has compiled the entire series across four books. Owning this series was nothing more than a pipe dream until a few years ago.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- I enjoy huffing these Chinese made books. PS Artbooks smell the best. Whenever I crack one open I sit there and snort it...oh yeah, that's the stuff.
Linework and Color restoration: Raw scans of varying quality with minimal tinkering. They remove all color from the word balloons, leaving them as bright white as the paper stock. A bit of tinkering with photoshop and higher resolution scanning would have been a great help. As it is some of these are tough to read, especially #15.

An example of the poor quality of the scans of #15. The original printing process was primitive, resulting in line bleed and off register printing. My complaint is not due to that, only to the lower scan resolution used on that issue over the others in this book. 

Paper stock: Uncoated bright white stock. Given the yellowed nature of the scans an off-white would have worked better.
Binding: Smyth sewn binding. Lays mostly flat.
Hardback cover notes: No dustjacket. Image printed on casewrap with matte finish and spot varnish. Very mild scuffing with handling.
 

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