Weird Science 1, 1990 “Incredible Science-Fiction Stories!”

I love EC comics, and honestly, who doesn’t? These reprints from the 1980s and 1990s are the perfect way to get introduced to these excellent comics from the Golden Age. Of course, EC is mostly known for their horror books, but don’t sleep on their crime, war, or science fiction books! This reprint covers Weird Science 22 and Weird Fantasy 13 (from 1953 and 1950, respectively).

This book has eight stories in it, and each one of them has a legendary creative team behind it. This is not much of a surprise for anyone that knows the quality of material that EC Comics put out, though. Just look at the magnificent cover by Wally Wood

The first story is called “A New Beginning” and it is glorious. It shows a man and a woman that are taking turns using some kind of machine that if not operated correctly, will blow up! A time travel machine, and art by Al Williamson (story by Al Feldstein, colors by Marie Severin, and letters by Jim Wroten) is enough to sell it to me!

The Headhunters” is up next, and we see. doctor that has a machine that can cure insanity! Written by Al Feldstein and art by George Evans, colors by Marie Severin, and letters by Jim Wroten.

Thirdly, “My World” brings dinosaurs, rocket ships, aliens, and everything else your imagination can conjure! Brought to you by Feldstein, Severin, Woten, and Wally Wood (art)!

The following story, “Outcast of the Stars,” is an adaptation of a story by Ray Bradbury! We see a man that owns a junkyard with visions of one day traveling to Mars! Art by Joe Orlando (the rest of the creative team as before)!

Next is “Am I Man or Machine?” This story is about a man that suddenly appears…two years after his death! Script and art by Al Feldstein (colors and letters the same as before).

Only Time Will Tell” is a crazy story that involves a scientist thats on the brink of inventing a device that may doom mankind. A strange visitor warns him that he might want to change his mind. Art by Harry Harrison and Wally Wood!

The next to last story is called “Men of Tomorrow.” Some explorers find a lost civilization only to possibly have it go up in smoke! Art by Jack Kamen!

Trip into the Unknown” is the final tale in this book. The story shows a Professor Oppenheim, as he boards a rocket and heads into the vastness of outer space! What will he and the crew find on another world? Art by Harvey Kurtzman!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weird Wonder Tales 6, 1974 “The Man Who Owned a Ghost?”

As the 1970s progressed, Marvel went full on crazy with the reprints. Some were of recent material (Spider-Man, The Avengers, the Fantastic Four, etc.), and others were from as far back as the Atom Age (post Golden Age but pre-Silver Age). Flooding the market was nothing new for them, but it is still astonishing to look back on. Not that you can blame them, after all they were under the constraints of the publisher that was their rival for many years. Once they got out from under those shackles, they went hog-wild, and who could blame them.

The book is all reprints, but don’t discount it on that accord. The first story alone is worth its weight in gold, as Bill Everett is the mastermind behind “The Man Who Owned a Ghost!” Some artists have their work deteriorate as they age, but Everett’s work got stronger, just look! The second story, “Was He Just Seeing Things?,” has art by Manny Stallman, and this is a creator that I’m not very familiar with to be honest (here’s a link to Mark Evanier’s blog from 1997, talking a bit about him). Neat little sci-fi story including dinosaurs! “Homicide” follows and brings an axe murderer! Nothing here you didn’t already see from a publisher like EC comics, but still pretty jarring. The art in that one is by Harry Anderson. Again, a relative unknown today, but I found some info here. The last installment in the book is called “The Man in the Crazy Maze.” A treat for sure, as this has art by Jack Kirby (pencils) and Dick Ayers (inks)! It’s always a treat to see some Kirby! The cover is by Larry Lieber (probably pencils/layouts) and Mike Esposito (inks).

 

Shock Suspense Stories 1, 1985 “EC Classics”

EC comics was no stranger to controversy. That said, putting a racist organization (not in name but visually) on the front cover of one of their books was wild. They were already under fire for their horror covers that featured decapitations, severed limbs, people being strangled to death, and even a maniac with an ice pick chasing kids through a graveyard! This cover was different though, as this wasn’t fantasy for many, but a sad and truly horrific reality. Without going into a social lecture, I think we can all just say that this book showed a very ugly side of our country’s past that should remain there.

The first story shows this “group of hooded men” as they have a woman bound and are going to torture her for consorting with “them” (black people). A grim tale of reality and not a happy ending, Written by Al Feldstein (with plot assist by Bill Gaines), art by Wally Wood, and letters by Jim Wroten. The following story is about a soldier who is afraid of dying in combat. Nothing too crazy here but incredible artwork. Written by Al Feldstein (with plot assist by Bill Gaines), artwork by Jack Davis and Johnny Craig! Next, we get a sci-fi story where a certain member of a team doesn’t respect the plant life on an alien world…an regrets it. Written by Al Feldstein (with plot assist by Bill Gaines), art by Wally Wood, and letters by Jim Wroten. A creepy orphanage and the man who runs it is the subject of “Halloween.” A gruesome ending in this one! Brought to us by Al Feldstein (writer, with plot assist by Bill Gaines), art by Ghastly Graham Ingels! Another story centered around racism and corruption tells the story of a black man wrongly accused of murder, then gunned down in cold blood! Written by Al Feldstein (with plot assist by Bill Gaines), art by Wally Wood. “Stumped” is a wild story involving a trapper and his demise. Written by Al Feldstein (with plot assist by Bill Gaines), art by Jack Davis. The old story Hansel and Gretel is the foundation of this tale, and two children end up headed for an old witch’s oven! Written by Al Feldstein (with plot assist by Bill Gaines), and art by Ghastly Graham Ingels. Finally, one of my favorite tropes is used, as an insane husband not only kills his wife, but then carves her up and puts her in a meat freezer (“Cold Cuts“). Lets just say later he gets a taste of some bad meat. Written by Al Feldstein (with plot assist by Bill Gaines), art by Jack Davis.

As time marches on, these EC books get more and more expensive, but the reprints can still be found at a reasonable price. Search them out at shows, or on the web, as they can bring you some of the best (if not the best) horror comics ever made. Both of the covers were done by none other than Wally Wood!

 

 

Haunted Horror- A trip into Pre-code madness!

For all those that wonder in amazement over the horror comics they see today, do yourself a favor if you already haven’t. Go back in time (thanks to IDW and Yoe Books), before the CCA (Comics Code Authority) was instituted, and revel in the brilliant, thought-provoking, and outright envelope pushing work that was done in the era before that foolish code was created.

Kudos must be given to the creators of this incredible work, but also to Craig Yoe, for putting this all together, and reminding us all of those great times. Getting this material back in front of comic book buyers in this day through a big publisher like IDW is something to be lauded.

The stories are various in their subject matter, but the resounding theme was horror, straight up. Zombies, murderers, radioactive insects, vampires, werewolves, etc. These wild comic books were carefully hidden under the beds of kids everywhere back in the 1950’s, in hopes that mom wouldn’t find them and throw them away. Don’t let that fool you though, they’re still pretty edgy even in this era. Do yourself a favor, grab these issues before they get too expensive, because we all know how expensive the original comics are from this age!

 

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