PRE-CODE CLASSICS: THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED VOL. 1 (PS Artbooks, First Printing, May, 2016; Hardcover)
Collects This Magazine Is Haunted #1-7 (cover dates October, 1951- October, 1952)
Writers: Al Schutzer, John Martin, Daniel Sheldon, Earl Hammer, Jr., Eando Binder, Richard Kraus, and other unidentified writers
Artists: Sheldon Moldoff, George Evans, Bernard Baily, Bob Powell, Edd Ashe, Myron Fass, Ed Waldman, Leonard Frank, “Jokerface” (unidentified), and other unidentified artists
I adore 1950s Pre-Code Horror comic books. While EC remain the gold standard for the era, this title, published by Fawcett, gave EC a run for their money. While the writing is better than average for the genre and the time it falls just a pinch short of EC level quality.
The topics of these stories run the gamut of what was typically included in these types of series at the time. There are no real surprises here. It's not the predictable twist ending that offers the payoff here, it is the execution and the craft of these stories that kept me turning the pages so quickly.
The artwork, on the other hand, is where this title truly shines. Take a gander at the list of talent above. There are many Golden Age notables that worked on this series. And while some of these stories have been cherry-picked by other publishers in various compilation type books, it is great to have the complete issues reprinted.
|Artwork by the godlike George Evans.|
#5's The Slithering Horror Of Skontong Swamp! features artwork by future EC legend George Evans. Evans employs a cinematic camera angle style to his panel composition, with the results being nothing short of incredible. Issue 6's Showcase For Horror! is another brilliant story, reading like an episode of The Twilight Zone. There weren't any bad stories in the bunch, these two were just the standouts for me.
This was an absolute blast to read in the weeks leading up to Halloween. I'll have to read the rest of this series sooner than later. Maybe next Hallowe'en I'll read Volume 2.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- PS Artbooks reprint public domain material in a high quality hardcover format. While there are several companies that reprint public domain material via Amazon's CreateSpace print on demand imprint, none of them are as nicely made as these books.
Linework and Color restoration: Like any PS Artbook, the quality varies issue by issue. Some, like issue 3, are perfectly acceptable raw scans. Others, like issue #6, are blurry, muddy messes sourced from lower resolution scans.
The raw scan presentation has the benefit of the feeling of reading the original comic book. The drawback, which is a huge one subjectively speaking, is that all of the shortcomings of the primitive four color printings presses are apparent. Line bleed, off register printing, and other anomalies are all present. It's a warts and all approach.
This material will likely never be given a full blown Marvel Masterworks level restoration, so this is your only chance to get it in color in hardcover.
Paper stock: This book was released in the era when PS took the EC Annual format and put it into a hardcover. Glossy paper covers with interior paper that replicates the feeling of pulp paper, albeit much thicker. The paper is not as thick as the matte paper that Dark Horse was using in their Archives. It's a matte off white stock that I like a lot.
Binding: Sewn binding.
Hardback cover notes: Matte casewrap with spot varnish. No dustjacket. Images printed directly onto the casewrap.