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The EC Archives: 1 [Hardcover]

Al Feldstein
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
RRP: 37.99
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Book Description

28 Nov 2006 EC Archives
This beautifully bound hardcover reprints the first six complete issues (24 stories) of the comic book Shock SuspenStories, originally published in 1952. Includes stories by William Gaines & Al Feldstein, with art by Jack Kamen, Jack Davis, Joe Orlando, Graham Ingles, and Wally Wood. Featuring a foreword by Steven Spielberg this book looks back at some of the edgiest and best written stories in comic history.

Frequently Bought Together

The EC Archives: 1 + The EC Archives: Shock Suspenstories Volume 2 + The EC Archives: Vault Of Horror Volume 1: Vault of Horror v. 1
Price For All Three: 94.42

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: William M. Gaines Agent, INC. (28 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188847257X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888472578
  • Product Dimensions: 28.9 x 22.1 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 531,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an AWESOME product! 23 Mar 2007
Finally, Gemstone (and lifetime fan Russ Cochran) has published this, The EC Archives. It's what we fans have been waiting for....and it's finally in color.

This is THE original comics that was published by William gaines (yes, the founder of MAD!) along with Al Feldstein, and it contains artwork by all these legends in the comicbook business; "Ghastly" Graham Ingles, Jack Davis, Johnny Craig, George Evans, Bernie Kriegstein, Joe Orlando, Harwey Kurtzman, Jack Kamen and even Feldstein himself! These stories were published during the period of 1950-1954, then after a congress hearing,where William Gaines defended his beloved comics, they banned these "morally wrong" comics, stating they caused "juvenile delinquency".

Now, after over fifty years later, they're regarded as classics! And the stories are all here, with exceptional art and newly added color (based on Marie Severin's original coloring schemes from the period), the book is all made up from six issues of the title, excactly as it was back in the fifties! If you love comics, then you can't go wrong with buying this book.....a cultural treasure from the "Golden Age" of comics! I just hope you'll get as big a kick from these beautifully done stories as i have.

Prepare to be amazed....
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comics at their best! 14 Dec 2006
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This is a great book. By 1952 EC Comics were in their stride, and the confidence of their production is evident here. These twist in the tale stories (which perhaps inspired The Twilight Zone years later) showcase the work of comic artists such as Jack Kamen, Wally Wood, and Graham Ingels in sharp detail. They also show the craft of the short story; almost a lost art in the multi-part comics of today.

The attraction of Shock SuspenStories were its morality tales. Not presented as twee homilies but as hard edged stories that showed the dark side of human nature. It's a place where every leafy suburb hides a secret that escalates into calamity, and where on every city street there's a hustler or a hoodlum about to be hoist by his own petard. In a way it's a corruption of the clean-cut image that America tried to create for itself in the 1950's. No wonder EC Comics disturbed the establishment; these stories peeled back the facade and showed that despite the sharp suits and the prosperity the seven deadly sins were still prospering too.

Excellent stuff.
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
66 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ARMCHAIR CRITICS: STOP WITH THE SPOILERS! 21 Dec 2006
By TeeBee - Published on Amazon.com
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A big "thanks for nothing" to the reviewers who are actually giving away the shock endings to these great little gems in their reviews! So stop, already, Tim Janson and "friends," there are a lot of people under 60 who didn't read these comics in 1953, and we'd like to enjoy the fun of discovering the twisted E.C. endings for ourselves, if you don't mind!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! 4 Feb 2007
By Charles D. - Published on Amazon.com
Just as I started thinking about the old E.C. titles and how I'd like to get my hands on some of the reprints that came out in the 1980's, I found out they were getting reprinted in hardcover trades! I was young when I first started reading the E.C. books, picking up the single-issue reprints of whatever was available at the supermarket or drug store. All of those copies were thrown away as a punishment nearly 20 years ago, along with all the other comics I had. I started reading comics again in 2001, and lately I've been dying to read these old stories from the 1950's that I connected with so heavily, forty years after they had originally been collected.

I've picked up this title and Weird Science, so far, and they both deliver even more than I thought they would. The original art was used in the re-printings. The lines and shading of the reprinted art is just as crisp as it may have been in the 1950's, perhaps crisper. The lettering is also amazingly clean and it's a blast to read Al Feldstein's thoughts on how each artist had his own distinctive style of bubbling/boxing in the letters that matched his artistic style.

And the colors, well I can't say that I ever laid eyes on the original printings, but I would imagine that the re-colorings are at on par. Even if they are not, they are certainly more defined than in the reprinted issues from the 1980's. Those issues are what I have to go on, and the reprinting in the hardcover surpasses them in quality--I managed to find a couple of back issues of the "Tales From the Crypt" and "Vault of Horror" reprints so I am able to compare them. Plus, everything is printed on high-quality, glossy paper. It's really a great job. And the writing is, of course, unchanged. It's amazing how Feldstein had so many stories in his head, churning out four stories per issue plus one or two one-page short stories. They hit just as hard as ever, with the "preachies" standing out like lightening blasts. To have read these fiery anti-bigotry stories in 1952 must have been a shock, indeed. All the letters pages and E.C. ads are also faithfully included.

Only downsides? It sells for $50 in the comic shops. Personally, I think it is worth the price considering just how well these stories are reprinted and the fact that it just gets harder and harder to find any trace of the older reprints, including the old hardcover reprints. The price just puts the younger readers out of range, though, kids will have to rely on their parents to fork over the cash if they want to be shocked and in suspense. The other downside is that it seems the volumes are going to be coming out just as slowly as every other comic book company puts out their trades, and that Weird Fantasy (the stories I am most interested in!) isn't scheduled until lord only knows when. They are putting out just one new volume every two months! Maybe if they sell fast and well, the release schedule will be quickened....hint, hint...BUY THEM!

To further answer the questions from die-hard fans about how faithful the re-colorings are, here is a quote from Russ Cochran, in charge of the project, from an interview by Jim Patterson for "Tales of Wonder" (Google it):

"RC: I remember when I saw the Nostalgia Press book Horror Comics Of The '50s. I was very disappointed in the color. It was garish and so strong in some cases that it tended to obliterate the artwork. The original ECs were printed on the cheapest grade of paper which absorbed the colors and kept them from being too garish. When these same color separations were printed on a better quality paper, the color was too strong. This has been a problem in virtually all the Archives projects from DC and Marvel and I wanted the EC Archives to solve that problem, and I believe it has. First of all, the earliest EC Comics from 1950 were not colored by Marie Severin. They were colored by employees of Chemical Color Engraving and this coloring left a lot to be desired. Bill Gaines and Al Feldstein were very unhappy with the coloring from Chemical. Toward the end of the first year John Severin mentioned that his sister, Marie Severin, could do a better job of coloring all the ECs. She was hired and subsequently colored all the EC product. Every page in the EC Archives has been re-colored using modern computer technology to include fades and blends, modeling on faces and clothing, and other modern techniques to achieve a more pleasing color page. But in doing this Marie's original color schemes and style were followed."
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new welcome for a well known comic-book series 1 Feb 2007
By Diego Cordoba - Published on Amazon.com
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For those of you like me who have already bought the prevoius black and white reprints by Russ Cochran before and are wondering whether these new and recolored reprints are worth your hard earned money, the answer is YES! As much as these comics have attained cult status it's great to finally have them under new hardcovers, printed on heavy-stock glossy paper and in COLOR.

Eventhough the coloring has been done on a computer, it maintains Marie Severin's original color schemes, which still gives it that retro-look (the male characters wearing cyan-blue and sometimes orange suits, phew). The printing never looked this good and though the notes by Cochran tries to give some historical context to the stories it isn't as good as the notes for the previous black and white reprints, but this is a minor quibble.

About the only negative thing I can think of from these reprints, is that it'll take me another fifteen years to get the whole collection once again (and depending on your age, some will never get to see the whole series once the reprinting is finished).

For those of you who are only into superheroes, forget it, this isn't for you, but if you are into well written and drawn stories this is way ahead of anything Marvel or DC could ever think about.

A really warm welcome to see and read once again the (in-)famous EC comics. Great job by everyone involved.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Place to Start 16 Dec 2006
By Doug Brunell - Published on Amazon.com
If you've never read an EC story, but have always been curious, this is the best place to start (unless you have unlimited amounts of money to invest in buying up the back issues).

This archive edition is of a title that was a sampler of EC's (in)famous stories -- stories that influenced the likes of Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, George Romero, George Lucas and John Carpenter. In this volume you've got crime, horror, social commentary (some of it very hard hitting), war and science fiction. The stories hold up even today and show how EC helped to shape modern horror.

EC holds a special place in the history of horror, comics, and censorship. This archive volume shows you why. EC was unafraid of tackling subjects like racism and blind patriotism (no pun intended -- you'll get it later) and mix it up with unapologetic horror where a murdering husband ends up eating his wife, or a sci-fi tale where people are skinned and worn like fur.

Affordable and beautiful, these books deserve a place in the library of any horror and comic fan. If you don't have this one already, get it today.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shock SuspenStories...The jewel of the EC Archives 17 Aug 2009
By Grant - Published on Amazon.com
Amazon Verified Purchase
In the early 50s, William Gaines and Al Feldstein put out a line of comic books that were such high quality in both art and writing that nothing else could touch it. At a time when the popularity of costumed hero comic books was waning, EC set the new standard and spawned a slew of imitators. Unfortunately, EC drew the attention of Frederic Wertham who singled out EC more than any other comic company as the prime offender in a group of comic book creators that Wertham claimed were conspiring to corrupt the children of the 50s. This led to the creation of the Comics Code, which effectively handicapped EC and put an end to the deliciously gory and outrageous, even thought provoking comic books.

One of these EC titles was Shock SuspenStories. Volume 1 reprints the first 6 issues cover to cover in their entirety. Stories range anywhere from tales of scheming and murderous wives and husbands, to startling tales of racism and anti Semitism. The stunning cover art and interiors show off the work of ECs dream team of talent. Works of writers like Bradbury, and the art of people like Wally Wood, Jack Kamen, Joe Orlando, Jack Davis and Al Feldstein. Volume 1 also contains issue number 4, which contains material that Wertham cited as objectionable in his book "Seduction of the Innocent", his expose on the dangers of comics on children. There is also an entertaining foreword by Steven Spielberg.

Gemstone Publishing has set the standard with EC Archives. The color and art is wonderfully reproduced and very lush and attractive. These aren't just reprinted comic books. This is comic book history. All of the EC Archives are extremely entertaining. However...Shock SuspenStories were always my favorite of the bunch. They were more diverse in theme. Stories of War, Horror, Crime, Racism....this series had it all.

As someone who has been a comic book collector for 35 years, I have to say this is well worth the money and I must highly recommend it. It's fun, outrageous, over the top, innovative, beautiful and just plain entertaining. All of the EC archives would be a wonderful addition to any comic fans collection. But especially Shock SuspenStories.
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