HARVEY HORRORS COLLECTED WORKS: BLACK CAT MYSTERY VOL. 1 (PS Artbooks, 2012; Hardcover)
Collects Black Cat Mystery Comics #30-35 (cover dates August, 1951-
Writers: Bob Powell and other unidentified writers.
Artists: Lee Elias, Vic Donahue, Rudy Palais, Manny Stallman, Bob Powell, Howard Nostrand, Joe Certa, John Giunta, JohnnBelfi, Vic Donahue, and other unidentified inkers and art assistants.
Praised be PS Artbooks for rescuing these forgotten classics and releasing them in their entirety, ads and all, in full color deluxe hardcovers. While these are not quite as good as my beloved EC Comics of the day they are still fine, fine old school Horror comics that everyone should own. There is some tremendous artistic talent on this book. Rudy Palais has a decades-spanning career, ditto Joe Certa. Both of them are great artists who never seem to be mentioned by fans. Bob Powell is a fricking genius, one of the best artists of the 1950s bar none.
Some of the stories are silly, such as The Monkey's Paw-style riff Hand Of The Yogi. The Last Man On Earth is one of those Cold War fear mongering tales. Deadly Acres is probably my favorite in the whole book. All of the stories are pretty enjoyable and make perfect Hallowe'en reading. I will be reviewing a slew of Horror comics over the coming weeks. You have been warned!
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.
The OCD zone- I love these PS Artbooks. They are the best smelling books on the market. I theorize that this delectable aroma is the result of paper sourced from virgin Amazon rainforests and ink derived from a paste of mercury from recalled thermometers, broken asbestos tiles, lead paint chips, industrial waste, and the ancient Chinese secret- the blood, sweat, and tears of the children working the Chinese sweatshop where these books are made. That's why the sewn binding is so superb...their little fingers are perfect for stitching the signatures of books!
DVD-style Extras included in this book: Foreword by Christopher Fowler. (4 pages)
Macabre Maestros featuring artist Howard Nostrand- article about the artist with images of original artwork. (6 pages)
Linework and Color: These are scans of the original comics with minimal tinkering, so the yellowed aging of the pulp paper is present throughout the book. A little bit of work in Photoshop could have greatly improved things, as would scanning in something better than 300-400 dpi. The scans vary in quality but are mostly acceptable. As for the linework and color, well you gets what you get. The original comic books had absolutely horrid printing, so you get plenty of off register printing and line bleed. Again, this was how the original issues look if you own them. Fans of benday dots and the anomalies found in vintage comic books will be thrilled. Fans weaned on frame-up restoration found in Marvel Masterworks, DC Archives, and Dark Horse Archives may be disappointed.
Paper stock: Thick uncoated stock with zero sheen.
Binding: Smyth sewn binding, seven stitches per signature, lays perfectly flat.
Hardback cover notes: No dustjacket. Image printed on the paper for the casewrap. Dull matte finish coating which has a few light scratches after handling, cover images and all words on cover are spot varnished and have a thicker coating.