JACK COLE'S DEADLY HORROR: THE CHILLING ARCHIVES OF HORROR COMICS VOL. 4 (Yoe Books/ IDW, 2013; Hardcover)
Collects selections from Web Of Evil #1-11 (cover dates November, 1952- February, 1954)
Writer and Artist: Jack Cole
You can't go wrong with Pre-Code Horror comics. Jack Cole is most famous as the creator of Plastic Man (which my Dad read as a kid in the 1940s), although he had a long career drawing everything under the sun. Quality Comics' Web Of Evil was one of a myriad of EC imitators, and Cole was featured prominently throughout the first 11 issues. These stories run the typical 1950s Pre-Code Horror gamut, i.e. selling your soul to the devil, zombies, atomic monsters, etc., all done in a “preachy” sort of way.
Several of these stories will seem familiar to folks, and that would be because they have been reprinted elsewhere in books like Four Color Fear: Forgotten Horror Comics Of The 1950s and other anthology books. They will also all be reprinted in PS Artbook's forthcoming Pre-Code Classics: Web Of Evil line of hardcovers. I wish that they would have announced that line before this book came out. Those interested in only the Jack Cole stories will delight in their purchase of this book, as you get 160 pages of ghoulish fun at a reasonable price.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Yoe Books are slightly wider than a Creepy/Eerie/Vampirella Archive...meaning that they are just wide enough that it won't fit in an acid free magazine box.
Linework and Color restoration: High resolution raw scans. This is a warts and all approach, where you see all of the limitations of the original four color printing process: off-register printing, line bleed, and benday dots. Some folks prefer this warts and all approach to the “frame up” restoration found in other lines of books. It is as much a philosophical argument as it is a technical one, and one that I will leave to the people to decide on.
Paper stock: Super thick uncoated stock. While the stock is bright white, Yoe cleverly colors the borders a sort of cream color, fooling people into thinking that this is an off white stock. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...
Binding: Smyth sewn binding, lays mostly flat. The book block has sufficient room to flex within the casing.
Hardback cover notes: No dustjacket. Image printed on the casewrap, images and words spot varnished. The black has a dull matte finished which had a few light scuffs with handling.