ACG COLLECTED WORKS: ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN VOL. 4 (PS Artbooks, First Printing, 2013; Hardcover)
Collects Adventures Into The Unknown #16-20 (cover dates February-June, 1951)
Writers: Richard Hughes and other unidentified writers
Artists: Ogden Whitney, Ken Bald, Lin Streeter, Emil Gershwin, Richard Case, Charlie Sultan, Al Camy, Paul Gattuso, Edvard Moritz, Bob Jenney, John Belfi, George Wilhelms, Paul Cooper, Richard Brice, Frank Siminski, Art Gates, W.G. Hargis, and John Rosenberger
This series gets better with each volume. The supernatural elements are continually ramped up as the competition from other publishers increased. These stories are more intense than any found in the first three volumes of this series. I suspect that this will only increase as we inch closer to the 1954 Senate sub-committee hearings which killed Horror comics off for a decade.
The recurring Spirit Of Frankenstein feature continues in #16, previously appearing in this series in #5, 8-10, and 12. The robot Frankenstein is basically a superhero type fighting other monstrosities by this point. Think of it in this regard as a precursor to Marvel's Bronze Age Horror comics like Werewolf By Night and Monster Of Frankenstein. There are no further appearances in this book, so I wonder if this is the end of the line. We shall see.
|Zombies were becoming a recurring theme in Horror comic books by 1951.|
I found #17's Beast From The Beyond to be a fascinating read, as it felt very familiar. That's because it is an adaptation (authorized or not...) of John W. Campbell's 1938 pulp novella, Who Goes There? Science Fiction fans know the movies which were adapted from that story, The Thing From Another World and John Carpenter's godlike The Thing. This version is closer to the original story (much like Carpenter's movie) than the 1951 film which would hit theatres shortly after this issue hit the stands.
#19's The Hands Of Horror is great, a tale of a pair of artists and ambition gone wrong. It's a great story with the ironic twist ending that EC had already made their hallmark. Let's just say that all of the publishers of the day liberally borrowed from one another and from various other sources (books, movies, etc.).
All of the stories in this book have good writing and above average artwork. I am really enjoying these books, even if the restoration leaves a lot to be desired at times.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 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 with minimal tinkering. They remove all color from the word balloons, leaving them as bright white as the paper stock. The original printed comics had shoddy printing, and that is presented here warts and all. Off register printing and line bleed are all present, just like they were back then. This one even has one panel where a child wrote on it in pencil. I chuckled when I saw that.
The scan quality seems to vary from one issue to the next. Issues 16 and 18 look abysmal, like they were either scanned at an incredibly low resolution or sourced from microfiche. It's a blurry, nearly unreadable mess. My friend has the Dark Horse Archive with these issues and it blows this one out of the water, as it boasts a full blown restoration job.
Paper stock: Uncoated bright white stock.
Binding: Sewn binding. Lies mostly flat.
Hardback cover notes: No dustjacket. Image printed on casewrap with matte finish and spot varnish.