THE JOE KUBERT ARCHIVES VOL. 1: WEIRD HORRORS & DARING ADVENTURES (Fantagraphics, First Printing, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects selections from Abbott and Costello Comics #10, All-New Comics #10, Black Cat #1, 2, Boy Comics #110, The Challenger #2, 3, Cow Puncher Comics #2, Crime Does Not Pay #142, 143, Eerie #3, 7, 9, Green Hornet Comics #30, The Hawk #2, Hollywood Confessions #2, Jesse James #6, Meet Miss Pepper #5, Parole Breakers #2, Planet Comics #32, Police Lineup Vol. 1 #3, Son of Sinbad #1, Strange Terrors #4, 5, Strange Worlds #8, 18, Three Stooges #1, Weird Horrors #8, Weird Thrillers #4, Whack #2, and Witchcraft #1 (cover dates September, 1944- April, 1955)
Writers: Robert Bernstein, George Vincent, Charles Biro, and other unidentified writers
Artists: Joe Kubert with penciling by Carmine Infantino (Strange Worlds #18 and Jesse James #6), Bob Bean (Meet Miss Pepper #5), and inking by Norman Mauer (Whack #2)
Joe Kubert is as prolific as any of the comic book journeyman of his era. While he is most famous for his Silver Age DC work (Hawkman, etc.), his Pre-Code work for all of the various publishing houses here is interesting as well. The quality of the writing is all over the place, which is common for the era, but his artwork is consistently good. I am unsure if Steve Ditko ever claimed Joe Kubert as an influence, but I can spot many similarities in the ways that they draw the everyman in the crowd.
Pre-Code Horror comics all kind of feel the same after a while, and the ones collected here are no exception. I'm a big fan of the genre so I love them, but I can understand the criticism that some folks have about them all running together into a blur. The Widow's Lover (Weird Thrillers #4) is a cut above the rest, no pun intended.
Some of the genres are of little interest to me. I find most Western comics and War comics to be a chore to read, and some of these old Science Fiction comics can be a bit too silly. I love old Crime comics. I dislike Humor comics, as they are often very unfunny if you aren't aware of the context and reference points. You would have to approach them from a scholarly standpoint. They almost require annotations.
The Son Of Sinbad material was my favorite in the entire book. As hard as it may be to imagine today, there was once a world of no cable television, where three major networks and a handful of UHF channels showing reruns dominated the airwaves. In this world the ABC Sunday night movies were a big deal, and I loved the Sinbad ones in the '70s. I would be all over a collection of Sinbad comics, but nobody aside from print-on-demand companies like Gwandanaland Comics would even consider it.
This was a good but uneven read. One can only assume that there will not be a second volume in this series, as this book is already five years old and a follow up was never solicited. Oh well. I'm over these artist-centric collections anyways.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This book is wider than a Marvel Masterwork, DC, or Dark Horse Archive.
Linework and Color restoration: High resolution scans with some tinkering. Some line bleed was fixed and some solids were done, which looks jarring when the rest of the panel has the so-called Ben Day dots. All or nothing, folks. I can tolerate full blown restoration and I can tolerate raw scans, but the hybrid approach doesn't work for my money.
Paper stock: Bright white uncoated stock.
Binding: Sewn binding. Lays flat. The book block has room to flex within the casing.
Hardback cover notes: Matte casewrap. No dustjacket.