TWO-FISTED TALES ANNUAL VOL. 1 (Gemstone,1994; Squarebound periodical)
Collects Two-Fisted Tales #18-22 (cover dates November/December, 1950- July/August, 1951)
Writers: Harvey Kurtzman, Al Feldstein, Wally Wood, and Johnny Craig
Artists: Harvey Kurtzman, Al Feldstein, Wally Wood, Johnny Craig, John Severin, Will Elder, Jack Davis, and Alex Toth
These red-blooded, he-man stories take place during different eras. You get pirates, Roman Empire, WWI stories and more, although most of the stories center around modern warfare. This was a most timely series, as we entered the Korean War only a few months before the first issue was released.
Take a glance at the credits above...it's a veritable who's who of Golden Age legends under one roof. I enjoyed every story in this book but my favorite was #22's Chicken! We have all encountered bullies in our lives, from school, work, etc., and every single one of them is a true coward at heart. It's amazing how the cues of abuse from bullies gets passed on like a baton. It was nice to see a bully get theirs at the end in this story.
Like all EC Comics, the writing and artwork are top notch. I read EC's at my leisure, content in the knowledge that whenever I crack one open I know that I'm getting into the good stuff.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4 out of 5.
The OCD zone- This is the part where I go into tactile sensations and materials used in physical media. Those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or women who are pregnant should exit my blog at their earliest convenience, as their safety cannot be guaranteed beyond this point.
Linework and Color restoration: Bill Gaines kept meticulous copies of the original artwork. The color palette is faithful to the original comic books, unlike the EC Archives line.
Paper stock: Standard mando paper of the day. While it is a quarter century old it has surprisingly maintained the off white creamy color. The blacks look weak, the result of the early water-based inks used in the flexograph printing process of the day. My other gripe is that the paper is tissue paper thin. Those accustomed to high end collected editions would be aghast at this authentic comic book paper.
Binding: Perfect bound.
Cover notes: This is not a trade paperback in the traditional sense of the word, since the first few EC Annuals used a super thick glossy comic cover as opposed to the cardstock that would be used for the majority of the line.