Wednesday, January 11, 2017


ACG COLLECTED WORKS: ADVENTURES INTO THE UNKNOWN VOL. 5 (PS Artbooks, First Printing, 2013; Hardcover)

Collects Adventures Into The Unknown #21-25 (cover dates July- November, 1951)

Writers: Alan Hartwood, Charles Spain Verral and other, unidentified writers

Artists: Ken Bald, Paul Gattuso, Lin Streeter, Edvard Moritz, Charlie Sultan, Pete Riss, King Ward, Richard Brice, Art Gates, Jerry Grandenetti, Carl Kiefer, George Wilhelms, Leonard Starr, Al Camy, and Ogden Whitney

My rule of thumb when it comes to 1950s Pre-Code Horror comics is the closer that you get to the 1954 implementation of the Comics Code Authority, the better the material is. Every publisher was in direct competition with EC Comics, trying to outdo or even match what they were doing. Despite many valiant efforts no one really made it, but it's woefully ignorant to dismiss the contemporaries of EC.

Ghosts, werewolves, witches, and vampires become the focus of the series as the Horror elements are ramped up from one month to the next. This is easily the best volume in the line thus far, and I half expect Volume 6 to be even better.

#23's Shadow Of The Wolf features artwork by future newspaper strip legend Leonard Starr, who also did some work for DC around this time on Tales Of The Unexpected. ACG used the best hired guns around. The artwork as a whole really shines. The writing is decent but it's the artwork that saves the day here. I have become a big fan of Ogden Whitney due to this series.

Most of these stories tend to run into one another, as writers “borrowed” liberally from one another as well as from movies, books, and television. If something seems derivative or repetitive it is difficult to ascertain exactly where the idea originated from. Horror comics of the day were incestuous in this regard.

I read these books at a leisurely pace, as there is no sense of urgency when reading 60+ year old anthology series comic books. I get around to reading them when I get around to reading them, and it doesn't matter whether I read it in 2013 when this book was published or in late 2016 when I finally got around to it in my backlog rotation.
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.
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. 

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