Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"The EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt, Volume 1"

"The EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt, Volume 1"
by Al Feldstein, Wally Wood, Johnny Craig, Graham Ingels, Jack Kamen
Format: Hardcover, 212 pages

Before 1989 in my country comic books were almost inexistent. You could find in rare occasions some French comic books, "Pif et Hercule" and "Rahan", but besides those almost nothing. After the 1989 revolution the situation didn't change much, but you can see now an improvement. You can find now English titles, translated or with the possibility to order them from abroad. When I got the chance to read and review "Tales from the Crypt" you can understand my joy.

The volume gathers the first complete 6 issues of "The Crypt of Terror" and "Tales from the Crypt" in excellent conditions and in a great book. I was familiar with "Tales from the Crypt", but I saw only one issue until now. But this volume, besides the stories of the first 6 issues, gathers information about the creators of these comics, about the process of creation and about the innovations brought in the comic books art. So this volume besides the comic books is also a great source of information regarding "Tales from the Crypt".

The comic books art is a classical one. I really enjoy the art from "Tales from the Crypt" and even though it is not like the present art from the comic books or graphic novels, denying its value is like denying the movie "Casablanca". These classic comics remain in the top of their line and they have that unique flavor of the old and beautiful things. And you can see its value in the limited possibilities of its time, the limited options for color, equipment and print. In an excellent article I could find out about the coloring made for these comic books, the method used then and the great amount of work that was necessary in realizing it. Also it was interesting to find the evolution of the comic book name and of the Crypt logo.

The stories have all the horror themes, werewolves (like "Curse of the Full Moon!"), vampires (like "Blood Type V!"), ghosts (like "Ghost Ship!" and "Zombie!"), monsters (like "The Thing from the Sea!"), murders (like "Impending Doom!" and "Death's Turn!"). But all the stories have delightful ironies and unexpected ends for their protagonists. And those ironic ends contribute successfully to my entertaining. My favorite stories are: "The Maestro's Hand!" (a doctor that contributes to the death of his love rival, but who will find his death by a surprising hand), "A Fatal Caper!" (in which a joke can turn ugly, and who will laugh at the protagonists?) and "Death Suited Him!" (be careful what you are wearing because it might not suite you).

"The EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt, Volume 1" was a very fun and entertaining read, a foray in the history of comic books and I will certainly look to read the next volumes of the collection, too.

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