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Jack Cole's Deadly Horror (The Chilling Archives of Horror!) (Chilling Archives of Horror Comics) Hardcover – 15 Oct 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 148 pages
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing (17 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161377656X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613776568
  • Product Dimensions: 28.7 x 22.5 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 519,787 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MoD 1944 on 1 Aug. 2014
Took me back to a time when reading under the bedcovers with a torch was obligatory. Marvellously horrible, lurid and enticing. As a child I read everything I could concerns ghosts, ghouls and monsters. I loved it. Don't give it to your kids... you won't get it back.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Kenneth Otoole on 31 Aug. 2014
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The warped genius of Jack Cole 30 Oct. 2013
By David J. Hogan - Published on Amazon.com
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The IDW/Yoe Books release of writer-artist Jack Cole's Deadly Horror is volume four in the publisher's outstanding Chilling Archives of Horror Comics series. (The earlier volumes are devoted to Dick Briefer's Frankenstein; horror stories illustrated by Bob Powell; and a collection of zombie tales.) Cartoon aficionados and historians embrace Jack Cole for three triumphant accomplishments: his Plastic Man stories of the 1940s; the frenzied crime- and horror-comic stories he produced during the late 1940s and early '50s; and the sexy, smashingly well-done cartoons he did for Playboy and other men's magazines later in the 1950s. (He also produced a quirky, well-liked "family" newspaper strip called Betsy and Me.) The IDW volume collects color reprints of 18 Cole horror stories (or perhaps 17; more about that momentarily)that originally appeared in issues of Quality Comics' Web of Evil, a better-than-average pre-Code horror title.

The tales encompass a wide range of horror variants, including revenge from beyond the grave; murderous extraterrestrials; demons; monsters; self-styled fiends; and, of course, that old devil, the Devil. The stories are brisk and unfailingly amusing, with over-the-top mayhem and plenty of sick humor. Jack Cole's draftsmanship and visual-storytelling ability are bogglingly good. He was essentially a caricaturist with a deep understanding of anatomy and drama. When he drew the adventures of Quality's Plastic Man, he captured the character's boneless quality while maintaining the integrity of the underlying human form. Much of that carries over into Cole's horror work, where fear and desperate action are expressed via contorted faces, and bodies that twist, arch, and bend in emphatically hyperkinetic ways. (The falling figure of a hit-and-run victim in "The Man Who Died Twice" is a marvel of the "pretzel" school of anatomy. The image is nuts, but is clearly rooted in Cole's understanding of how a real body might be twisted at such a moment.)

Cole's panel arrangement varies from page to page, but is fairly standard. It's what goes on inside the panels, and how the action and composition of one leads naturally into the next, that help put Cole in the horror-comics pantheon. Closeups, frames within frames (such as a leaning figure figuratively pinned between a porch pillar and a doorway), and high- and low-angle shots propel the action like a locomotive. Beautifully spotted black areas work with the compositions to keep readers' eyes moving forward. The overall effect is almost like a demented animated cartoon, or a runaway amusement park ride. When it's all over, you feel pleasurably exhausted.

As alluded to above, one of the stories, "Death's Highway" (Web of Evil #10, 1954) doesn't appear to be Cole's work. The art is better than competent, but has none of the delirious nature of the collection's other tales. Figures are "realistic" and without the distortion that characterizes Cole. Most setups are at eye level. There's skill here, but no genius. My guess is that another Quality mainstay, Chuck Cuidera, inked "Death's Highway," and possibly penciled it, as well.

All stories have been digitally cleaned up, with an apparent brightening of some color tones, and crisp-looking captions and word balloons. But the art hasn't been fully restored, which means that color is frequently off-register, and fine details of brushwork are lost. On the other hand, this is a very well-designed book on quality stock, with a case-bound cover and gorgeous endpapers. The sturdy binding is signature-sewn. Given all of that, the publisher's price is considerably lower than you might expect.

Editor Craig Yoe contributes an illuminating and very well-illustrated overview of Cole's career. A selection of five, full-page Web of Evil covers by Cole is another treat. Cole fans will find the whole package mesmerizing.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Cole shines like a diamond 31 Oct. 2013
By Sean Burns - Published on Amazon.com
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Jack Cole's often overlooked horror work finally gets the hardcover treatment. The stories hit many of the usual horror themes, and a few unique ones, with many based in the crime genre. Cole brings his own outlook to the idiom; casually violent and gruesome, with kinetic artwork and splash panels/pages that will knock your socks off.

Offered chronologically, the earlier stories outshine most of the later ones. The best ones are "borrowed" from a couple of "Weird Tales" authors- "Custodian of the Dead" (Henry Kuttner's "Graveyard Rats") and "The Corpse That Wouldn't Die" (Clark Ashton Smith's "The Return of the Sorcerer"). Cole's own stories are pretty original, compared to the mostly ho-hum output of contemporaries like Stan Lee's ATLAS line, and he doesn't try to imitate the EC horror comics like 99% of the rest of the field did. Some of the stories are ludicrous and will make you roll your eyes ("Goddess of Murder" especially), but it's refreshing to see a different take on the comic book horror story.

Production is generally nice, although many of the panels are colored with a wash of blue or red (common at the time), making it hard to appreciate the art in some instances. But Cole was not served well in most cases by the inkers here anyway. The finished art is not as beautiful as his "Plastic Man" work. The cover gallery gives a nice idea of what Cole was capable of.

I love the paper the book is printed on- it resembles old comic book paper, but is a nice and heavy stock. The partially-lacquered cover (a current favorite technique in the field, it seems- IDW also did it on the "Best of EC: Artist's Edition" book, and Fantagraphics uses the process too) is bold and grabs the casual observer. I wish the notes were more in-depth, but that may be a result of lack of available information.

The book is well worth the $24.95 retail tag; at Amazon's cut-rate price it is a no- brainer to pick up.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Jack Cole, the mysterious classic comic artist revealed! 11 Nov. 2014
By Eric - Published on Amazon.com
What I love about these collections by YOE Books is that these have artists names who I have heard throughout most of my adult comic book reading life but never had the opportunity to actually see, let alone read, and now they are being collected in these high quality collections. Jack Cole and Bob Powell have always been mysteries to me that I just figured I would never have the chance to find out about because their comics were too old and too expensive to really just dive into. Now I finally get to find out what these guys are all about.

Jack Cole is a superb artist with dynamic compositions and dramatic brushed inks, but I would add that Cole was probably not an innate horror writer. His skill and ability to visualize a story is top notch, but the grip of how to write a weird horror tale wasn't exactly a natural part of his writing chemistry. Because of this, books like "Bob Powell's Terror" is a superior collection strictly in the sense of being "horror", at least in story. Jack Cole is still way above the profusion of mediocre hacked out horror of the 1950s, and Cole's kitsch factor is high in this collection with a broad fare of B-movie type elements. This collection is completely worth buying, but not quite as good as a lot of the EC comics stuff or Bob Powell's collection. When it comes to pre-code horror, it's all about how much of a bizarre edge it has. When Cole is at his best he really rocks it, and his art is second to none, but his knack for horror isn't always as compelling. Still, this probably some of the very best of the genre.
CRAIG YOE a-Go-Go! 14 Sept. 2014
By Paul S. Power - Published on Amazon.com
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Craig Yoe has done it again! He has put together Jack Cole's Horror Stories in this book. Are there more Craig? I personally would like to see a volume of Jack Cole's Plastic Man horror stories put out by Mister YOE. It would Never be published by D.C. comics. So since those good mugs at IDW are doing deals with Marvel and I guess D.C comics for other hardcover comic art books. I would think that this would be an concept to make $$ money $$ from as well. Jack Cole ended his life in a tragic way that would fit into a sad horror comic. The good part is like Harvey Kurtzman of MAD magazine, he was respected and hired by Hugh Hefner to work for PLAYBOY. Drawing comics is a hard gig kids. I personally wouldn't want it any other way.
A Real Attention Grabber From My Favorite Era On Comics! 24 Nov. 2013
By Bill - Published on Amazon.com
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This is a very neat collection of the kind of golden-age pre-code horror stories I loved to read...very colorful and quite articulate. It is also a real delight reading these stories in non-glossy pages format...simulating the feel of early comics. Also eliminates reader glare. I wish all archival golden-age reprints would follow this authentic style...to be read in the way they were intended.The art and stories in this Jack Cole collection can really hold your attention.
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