Tuesday, May 26, 2015


CRIME DOES NOT PAY ARCHIVES VOL. 1 (Dark Horse, 2012; Hardcover)

Collects Crime Does Not Pay #22-25 (cover dates July, 1942- January, 1943)

Writers: Woody Hamilton, Dick Wood, and Ivy
Artists: Woody Hamilton, Charles Biro, Harry Lucey, Carl Hubbell, Bob Montana, George Tuska, Richard Norman, Norman Mauer, Alan Mandel, Dick Wood, Bart Tumey, Sam Burlockoff, Dick Briefer, Frank Giacoia, and Dan Barry

Crime Does Not Pay was not only the first crime comic book on the stands but also the highest-selling comic book of it's day with a circulation of over a million copies every month. These early issues are nowhere near the level of quality that the title would soon achieve. Indeed, these early issues have some fumbling around as they find their way, with #22 even featuring a superhero story. The War Eagle makes his first and only appearance here, for reasons seen below.

This series is an anthology of 'true crime' stories, we are treated to criminal acts of all kinds and from different points in time. All of them involve gunplay, and there is almost always the warning at the end of each story that CRIME DOES NOT PAY! I love the old slang and fashions in these Golden Age comics. These old comics are not politically correct by any stretch of the imagination, and I find them to be unintentionally funny because of it.

Prohibition was still fresh on the minds of the country, and stories about John Dillinger and his ilk resonated with the public. Mr. Crime, who goes on to be the host of the series, debuts in #24.

The writing is decent and the artwork is hit or miss. On the art side there are a few greats, seen here before they became greats. This particular volume is for those interested in how one of the defining comic books of the Golden Age got its start. Things will get much better in subsequent volumes.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.

The OCD zone- There are a few credits in the Table of Contents that conflict with the credits provided on The Grand Comics Database. There is also a one page strip listed in #24 called Conny The Convict which did not appear in the original issue. The GCD is a good tool but it is not perfect.
Linework and Color restoration: Linework is very, very good and the original color palette is faithfully maintained.
Paper stock: Thick uncoated stock. It has a creamy off-white color, being close to Mint condition pulp paper in appearance while being of sufficient thickness that it feels like 'Archival' quality paper.
Binding: Oversewn Smyth sewn binding. Binding is stiff and the book does not lay flat.
Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: Nice faux leather casewrap with die foil stamping. Dustjacket has a decent lamination but is thin. I need to get a roll of Brodart sleeves and embark on the next OCD frontier.

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