SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE WITCHING HOUR VOL. 1 (DC, 2011; Softcover)
Collects The Witching Hour Nos. 1-19 (cover dates March, 1969- March, 1972)
Writers: Denny O' Neil, Steve Skeates, Gerry Conway, Marv Wolfman, and others
Artists: Alex Toth, Nick Cardy, Jack Sparling, Dick Giordano, Jose' Delbo, Sid Greene, Vince Colletta, Bernie Wrightson, Mike Sekowsky, George Roussos, Michael Kaluta, Neal Adams, Gray Morrow, George Tuska, Gil Kane, Wally Wood, Lee Elias, Joe Orlando, Tony Dezuniga, Don Heck, Carmine Infantino, Frank Giacoia, and others
I love these monster phone books, as they are among the best entertainment values on the planet. Where else could you get 550 pages of comic books for $19.99 MSRP? While many fans grumble about the lack of color, the black and white format works really well on these Horror comics. Another nice thing about these being in black and white is that you can really see the fine linework of the art. While I would love to see these done in Archives or other hardcover format, these Showcases are terrific placeholders until such books become available, if ever.
These comic books are admittedly tame by today's standards, but they are fun, traditional Horror stories. Like the old EC Comics, there are three hosts, in this case the Three Witches, who take turns trying to outdo each other with their stories. This format continues until issue 16. While the Three Witches telling stories are still an integral part of the title, there are also several reprinted stories from earlier in the decade.
There are some fantastic artists on this title. Just take a gander at those names up top. It's a veritable who's who of Silver Age greats. Nick Cardy's covers are genius. He really creates an eerie, creepy atmosphere. Gray Morrow is another tremendous artist whose work was head and shoulders above many of his peers. Pretty much every artist on this title was good, although you occasionally get a subpar artist like Jerry Grandenetti (not pictured here).
Issue 12's Double Cross (by Steve Skeates and Gil Kane) is hilarious. Enlightenment through a yoga class causes a housewife to see things as they really are, in terms of good vs. evil. It turns out the school is really a front for a Satanic cult, and they were just trying to steal her soul. I adore early '70s “Hollywood” Satanism nonsense like this. This sense of non-ironic fun is what makes these such fun reads.
This book is a welcome addition to DC's Showcase library, and a terrific companion to The House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Secrets of Sinister House, and Ghosts Showcase Presents volumes. Keep these Silver and Bronze Age Horror anthology collections coming, DC!
The OCD zone- DC's table of contents are more detailed than Marvel's in these phone books. They list each cover's artist, something that Marvel's Essentials do not do. Also, I love the fact the pages are numbered. This is another shortfall with Marvel's Essentials. Aside from that, these phone books are neck and neck since DC decontented the paper stock to the same pulp paper that Marvel uses. For 20 bucks and this many pages, though, who cares?
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