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Getting Hibbsy with 10/31

Brian Hibbs

Ugh, I’ve missed too many weeks of reviews here, let’s get this back on track!

A PLUS X #1 NOW: Finally another ”Marvel NOW!” title ships… and it is the low-to-no plot title. “AvX: VS” was a cute side project for the main AvX comic (and could be, I think, argued that it was often much better than the comic with the actual plot), but I have a hard time seeing this concept sustainable as an ongoing monthly.  As always, things that work out as a joke idea generally can’t survive being stretched out to ongoing status, and I think the low-to-no-plot content is going to not help that one tiny bit. The execution of this issue? Totally competent, but I suspect people are looking for a bit more than “competent” for a $3.99 monthly series. I thought it was EH.

ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #1: Sholly Fisch (Whose name, have I said out loud?, sounds like a golden Age DC Comics writer) takes the big chair here, and the result is perfectly respectable.  Actually, what I found interesting was just how much this comic resembled the basic plot of SUPERMAN EARTH ONE v2 – sudden powers given to someone that Superman must stop, but can’t touch physically lest his own powers be removed; end of comic, villain goes to work for military, which is trying to figure out a way how to kill Superman – also out this week. I think this annual did the story much much better, and it was highly OK.

ANGEL & FAITH #15: I mostly bring this issue up because the back half of it is illustrated by David Lapham, a general rarity these days, much to my sorrow. Isn’t it just nuts that STRAY BULLETS is not in print? Crazy crazy making. Anyway, yeah, ANGEL & FAITH is generally more readable than BUFFY and this issue is no exception, even if it reads a smidge like a fill-in with its two-story structure. Still? GOOD.

AQUAMAN #13: Fourteen issues later, and it’s still all about TELLING us that Aquaman is good, without really SHOWING it. Scowly-Anger-Man is, I guess, a form of characterization, but I’m still not really certain just WHY he’s so pissed off about everything. The only one calling Aquaman lame is the writer of this comic (and they do it again, here, fourteen issues in). Were I paying cash for comical books, this issue would mark me as “Done”, but I work in a comics store, so I quite imagine I’ll read the next issue as well, and not really enjoy it very much either. EH.

BATGIRL ANNUAL #1: I found the painted art (mostly by Admira Wijaya) to be a little too, dunno, paperback cover-like, maybe? Too stiff, too posed, and largely unable to properly render anything too “fantastic” (like Catwoman’s mask, or the perfectly proportioned bandages on SheTalon’s face, and I’m pretty sick of Court of Owls-related stuff at this point, but otherwise, this annual was perfectly OK.

BEDLAM #1: It’s kind of an Arkham Asylum / Joker pitch with the serial numbers filed off in which, at least if I’m following this correctly, the Joker becomes a “good” guy at the end – it carried me right along in its world, which is what a comic is supposed to do, so let’s add this to the rapidly growing pile of intriguing Image comics – I’ll go with VERY GOOD, I think, and, hey, you can buy it on our digital store!

CAPTAIN MARVEL #6: Among the many reasons I am not an editor of comic books is not really understanding why you would launch a book with as distinct of an artist as Dexter Soy, then drop him out before the end of the first arc for someone like Emma Rios (who is a swell artist, but nothing whatsoever like Soy in style or tone). Nor, for that matter, why you would jam out those 6 issues in three and a half months. Especially if your artist can’t keep that schedule, apparently? Also: I’d never ever have made the first arc a time travel story, especially with a (sorry) B-level character like Cap who needs to be “reintroduced” to the Marvel U – you don’t make that work by taking the character OUT of the (modern) Universe. Add it all up, and it’s not any kind of surprise we’re already down to single digit sales on this title from just under 30 sold of issue #1. But the worst part of it all, the very worst part? I really thought this wrap up chapter was quite good, and, I think, ended up making Carol’s “secret origin” a much stronger one. I thought this issue was VERY GOOD, too bad I’ll end up being subs only by issue #12 at the rate things are going.

EC WALLY WOOD CAME THE DAWN AND OTHER STORIES HC : Sadly, deeply, amazingly disappointed in these – purely because they’re in black & white. I was strongly hoping for something like the Carl Barks reprints, with that nice flat coloring, and I was absolutely committed to replacing out my EC library (which consists of all of the Gemstone reprints, the ones that are literally four issues of the comics, covers, ads and all, glued together into an outercover) for handsome FBI reprints… but, ugh, I don’t want them in black and white. The solicitation copy, the press releases, really bury the fact that these aren’t in color, which I kind of find borderline dishonest. This is now the second attempt at upscale packaging for the ECs in a row that gets it wrong (the last HC set had new, shiny, color, ew!), which just hurts. I think I’m going to have to cut my orders on the next set of books by like 80% — even “Nostalgia Guy” (my name for him) turned up his nose at them when he spied them on the rack. It’s too bad, because these ARE handsome hardcovers, and those spines are going look AWESOME together on the shelf, and it is really smart to collect the ECs by artist and genre – but they’re simply not how I want these stories archived in my library.
I love the EC comics, and they really do deserve to be there for a wider audience, but I’d encourage you to have your LCS to try ordering the Gemstone “Annuals” – about ¾ of them are still in print, but Diamond never really advertises the fact. I stumbled across them doing a trawl of Diamond’s inventory, in fact. But those are flat color on newsprint, which is kind of how those books SHOULD be presented.
I also don’t like how this edition doesn’t note which specific comics which specific story comes from. I would have preferred a Table of Contents more like a DC Archives edition, which even gives you month/year. *sigh* For the outer packaging, and the underlying work, I wanted to give a VERY GOOD, or an EXCELLENT, but this B&W edition makes me say EH, instead.

GHOSTS #1: Here’s a happy surprise – I kind of flat-out loved this anthology, as virtually every story was stellar. The other thing I really liked is that with the exception of the Phil Jimenez story, I feel like I could hand this comic over to Ben to read at 9 years old, just like its 70s predecessor. That’s the most awesome thing of all, and I think that they should continue that into the future with Vertigo Anthologies. Get that “Suggested for mature readers” off the cover, says I! The only story I really didn’t like? The “Neil Gaiman’s Dead Boy Detectives” which they decided to bill on the cover instead of Geoff John’s first Vertigo work (which I kind of found odd) – the problem is that it isn’t a full story, at all, and “too be continued, somewhere, eventually” is a big fail in an anthology book. I’m also growing more and more convinced that Al Ewing is The Real Deal, and I really loved his kick off story. And presenting the pencils-only from the Joe Kubert story was kind of touching and cool. Yeah, so: VERY GOOD.

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE THE ORIGIN OF SKELETOR #1: You also want to know from surprising? LOVED this. I don’t care for/about MotU at all, and their backstories never seemed any deeper than, dunno, a marketing interns stab at creating a fantasy world (Though, really, what else can you do when you have characters named things like “Stinkor”), so when Joshua Hale Fialkov actually manages to build a backstory that is reasonably compelling, then said story is drawn by Frazier Irving (!), then, hokey smokes, you’ve got a horse race. I was loving this right up to the last page when it says something like “And, so, your name is….SKELETOR!” and then I remembered it was a MotU comic. Aw! Still, this really was surprisingly VERY GOOD.

POPE HATS #3: Ooh, and this was even better. Ethan Rilly is going from strength to strength with this comic, and, damn it, I wish I could still sell issue #1 because we should be picking up readers for this great slice of life story about two room mates with very different career paths. Straight up terrific cartooning, and I would call it “Excellent” except for that pesky $6.95 cover price. Ow. So, knocking a grade off for that: VERY GOOD.

Looks like I’m out of time for the week – time to go pay bills! (yay?)

As always, what did YOU think?


31 Responses to “ Getting Hibbsy with 10/31 ”

  1. You need to get out more. Or the opposite.

    It would take a huge fear of money to feature Geoff Johns over Gaiman on the cover of ANYTHING.

  2. Meh, not so much on a periodical comic — Neil hasn’t really written for that segment of the market in a long time, while Geoff is still a big ass deal for the weekly comics buyer.

    Plus, Neil or not, NO ONE cares about the Dead Boy Detectives.


  3. Always great to see your reviews. And it’s a major plus when you actually REALLY like something.

  4. Not sure where you got the idea the Fanta EC books would be in colour. The fact that they were in black and white was a major draw for me (second to them being creator/genre themed rather than by title), and the solicitation text I have is:

    by Harvey Kurtzman, et al.
    $28.99 / HC / 240 pgs / BW / 7 x 10

    Which is pretty clear. Searching the web, the Fanta blog announcing them includes black and white art and says:

    “Came the Dawn” and Other Stories
    By: Wally Wood, Al Feldstein, et al.
    Release Date: July 2012
    ISBN: 978-1-60699-546-4
    Black & White • Hardcover • 7” x 10”

    (seriously, the four months lateness is a bigger complaint)

    That page lists “Imjin” as “Black & White / Color”, I assumed the latter referring to the covers.

    And the Comics Reporter story on the announcement says “B&W” right in the title. Thinking they’d be in colour is just not paying attention.

    And I’m sorry to hear that you see the market (locally to you at least) as so resistant to them in b&w.

  5. Can I vote for these reviews always being called ‘Getting Hibsy with’? I loved it.

    I’m a bit surprised Joe Kubert Presents didn’t get a look in – it was book of the week for me, a perfect showcase of Joe’s skill, and what a master cartoonist likes in a comic himself. I skipped it, but I think I’ve been sold on Ghosts.
    Aquaman is a odd one – it’s better than the issue that had the cliffhanger of Mera going to buy dogfood (seriously), but the book misses a real reason to root for Aquaman. I think he’s angry for the same reason Namor is angry – the singing crab lied, and life under the sea sucks. I’m still compelled to see where Johns goes with it all, but it’s Ivan Reis keeping me on board.
    Dexter Soy’s art kept me off Captain Marvel – Emma Rios wouldn’t have.
    I’ve still got Bedlam and Action Comics Annual to go.

  6. @BobH:

    So, the actual solicit copy for the Kurtzman book says:

    “MAD would have been enough to cement Harvey Kurtzman’s reputation as one of the titans of American comics, but he also created two other landmarks: the scrupulously-researched and superbly-crafted war comics Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat. Like every book in the new Fantagraphics EC line, ‘Corpse on the Imjin!’ will feature extensive essays and notes by EC experts – but Kurtzman’s stories, as vital, powerful, and affecting and as when they were created 60 years ago, make this a must-have.”

    The Wood book says:

    “From the legendary Wally Wood, Fantagraphics proudly presents one of two premiere releases in our highly-anticipated new EC reprint line. Ranging from supernatural shockers from the Tales from the Crypt and The Haunt of Fear to pointedly contemporary crime thrillers from Crime SuspenStories, these compelling and superbly crafted classics will be accompanied by extensive essays and notes on these historic stories by EC experts.”

    Yes, if you look at the AD in PREVIEWS, there’s the “$28.99 / HC / 240 pgs / BW / 7 x 10”, but the solicitation COPY, which is what I ACTUALLY use to order — that is, what gets imported into the computer, doesn’t say “boo”.

    In the press release, the note about it being in B&W appears way way way down at the end. Sorry, I think that’s a first paragraph notification!

    The rational assumed expectation is that a reprint project largely reprints the work AS IT ORIGINALLY APPEARS. IF it is significantly changed from the original (as I would argue “color” is “significant”), then that is expected to be mentioned up front: “Presented in glorious black & white” or “Now with remastered color” or whatever.

    I doesn’t matter WHAT appears at Tom’s site, or in a press release, or anywhere but the actual solicitation copy, because the COPY is what retailers use to order non-returnable goods. The Barks books (same format, same publisher, same price point) are in color — I think it is reasonable to expect that these were as well, short of CONSPICUOUSLY noting that they are not.


  7. As much as I love Marie Severin’s coloring, I PREFER the EC reprints in black and white. I like to see the art as the artist drew it, like those great oversize art books (Simonson’s THOR, Wally Wood, GROO, etc) we’ve been getting lately.

    That said, I won’t be buying these either, as I spent the last 10 years hunting down the old Cochran EC slipcase hardcovers.

  8. For what it’s worth, I was chatting up Scott Dunbier and Darwyn Cooke at last year’s Long Beach Comic-Con (all of us enthusing about how EXCELLENT Dave Sim’s Glamourpuss was, and the conversation went from Alex Raymond to EC artists), and Mr. Dunbier kind of whispered to me IDW’s future as-yet un-announced plan to start doing definitive collection of the EC books.

    This was a year ago, now, looks like. I guess that plan fell through :(

  9. Your MotU review made me laugh. As I’ve been without power since Monday night… thanks.

  10. Really sad Captain Marvel is plummeting so hard in the sales department, because the actual content is great. On the art front, Emma Rios clearly should have been the artist all along. No offense to Soy, but Rios’ work just fits the book like a glove. Sadly, it’s only a random fill-in stint, which seems like a really weird thing to do mid-arc.

  11. The twin aspects of the color issue on the EC books (should they be in color? did we fail to notify people properly that they weren’t?) is obviously open to discussion (my opinion, obviously, is no and no), but “I also don’t like how this edition doesn’t note which specific comics which specific story comes from” is not: The indicia page of each volume features a full list of every story and where it appeared, including cover dates.

    I’m sorry if some fans are disappointed, but I’ve been an EC fan for close to 40 years and I’ve never, ever preferred any color version, from the original comics through every attempted color reprint, to the black-and-white versions. And I’m normally a 100% “reprints should match the original” hard-ass. EC is one of the very, very few cases where I disagree with this rule.

  12. You’re right, Kim, it’s in the indicia — I didn’t notice it there, because I personally expect that in the Table of Contents.

    My fault.

    For the color thing — I feel like we already had a definitive edition of B&W reprints for anyone who might want them. We’ve *never* had a proper collection of the color work. I could own the Cochran books, but I chose the Gemstone “annuals” over them. I REALLY wanted to replace those with something more archival, and was looking forward to giving you several hundred dollars for that privilege. Oh well, next time!


  13. True, but the Cochran reprints are out of print, super expensive, and divvied up by title as opposed to by artist, so they’re really only useful to very wealthy fans of EC as a whole who are willing to fill an entire shelf with books. And they certainly aren’t useful for fans of specific artists: If you’re a big Al Williamson fan, say, and wanted to work with the Cochran books, you’d be in hock for hundreds of dollars. When our 50 GIRLS 50 comes out, it’ll cost ya $28.99.

    We were getting fed up with how cluttered TOC’s were looking with all the sourcing jammed in there (especially since in EC’s case we had to add author credits for every story), so moving that to the indicia seemed like a good graphic solution.

    I think it’s a truism that every fan has an ideal vision of how his favorite classic work should be repackaged and reprinted, and there’s no way of satisfying them all.

  14. Mr Hibbs’ review of the EC volumes lead to the provocation of some thoughts in my head.

    I have always coveted these comics and have a few floppy reprints and a couple of the re-coloured h/bs. I think I finally settled on the h/bs because they were in print and coming out at a fair clip; actually faster than I could afford them. I got about 5 (Whoo! Slow down, John!) before financial reality bit. So I’ve realised that, although I would want all of them, I won’t ever be able to afford all of them.

    In that case the artist-centric Fanta vol.s are perfect. I don’t want hundreds of dollars of Feldstein (bless him) when what I really want is Davis, Wood, Kurtzman etc. etc. And if I’m buying them for the artist then B/W is going to show them off to best effect. So, er, I’m okay with the Fanta approach. They’re cheaper too, right? (Although I guess the Toth and Kubert volumes will be pretty thin?)

    Of course I can see how someone who wants the comics practically as they were wouldn’t be though. Horses for courses, I guess. I can see that as clearly as I can see why it is funny that someone who wants ‘5os reprints to be just like they were when Ike was in The White House is calling some other cat “Nostalgia Man”! Oh me oh my!

    Also, I think all of us out here want a full Hibbsian review of SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE Vol.2. That preview was shocking. Bring on the Full Metal Hibbs!

    Thanks for the reviews!

  15. If a guy has never, in 20 years, bought anything from me that wasn’t printed before 1972, I think I can fairly nickname him “Nostalgia Man”, John!

    And actually, we have TWO customers like that, so they’re a superteam of sorts: NOSTALGIA MEN.

    One thing about the ECs, is I sorta kinda think they should be judged against each other in a way, since that’s how they was published. Creator-centric books seem like buying a bag of Pub Mix, and just taking out those rye cracker things and not eating the other bits. Cheaty!

    I honestly thought SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE v2 was much weaker than v1 — and I rated that one AWFUL (http://www.savagecritic.com/retailing/superman-earth-one/), so writing up something formal on v2 feels like picking on a cripple. It Just Isn’t Done.


  16. @Brian Hibbs: You call him whatever you want, sir. Wow. So that means he hasn’t read AMERICAN FLAGG! or FROM HELL or L&R: HUMAN DIASTROPHISM or DAREDEVIL:NINJA? That cat’s hurting only himself; get your hand-selling hat on! NOSTALGIA MEN, Heh! The Present is their Kryptonite!

    Oh, I agree about creator-centric being a bit (very) cheaty. But if that’s the affordable option I’m gonna cheat on my pub mix (you have pub mix over there? Awesome! I prefer Bombay Mix myself.). Obviously I want them all in the right order and in colour just as they were like you do. Yes! I am the third NOSTALGIA MAN – the Sleeper Awakens!

    Way to make me look like John “Cripple Kicker” K(UK). I don’t know how you did that exactly, but I’m gonna keep an eye on you in future! Man, you’re good.

    Best. John.

  17. I don’t know whether buying or reading EC stories by one cartoonist is any more “cheaty” than watching a classic TV series like FAWLY TOWERS without watching the shows that came before and after it when it was broadcast on the BBC, reading a TERRY AND THE PIRATES collection without reading the 20 other strips that were appearing on the same newspaper page at the time, or failing to read whatever else was serialized in the magazines that serialized the Charles Dickens stories. Or reading GIlbert Hernandez’s POISON RIVER instead of the dozen issues of LOVE AND ROCKETS it appeared in.

    But I say that as someone who has picked cashews out of mixed nuts bowls, or M&M’s out of the trail mix package mix, so maybe I’m just cheaty by nature.

    Do I hear an argument for including all the non-Barks stories that appeared in WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES in the Barks collections?

  18. Can we talk about Wally Wood some more?

    Wally Wood is the best.

    In my perfect world, Glamourpuss is a three volume set, with Vol.2 hitting Sim’s wheel house with Mort Drucker and then Vol.3 turning funnybooks on its ear by teaching the masses about Wally Wood.

  19. Kim, I think my counter example might be from Mark Evanier today, talking about the Al Jaffe book:

    “I neglected to mention what I didn’t like about that Al Jaffee book. For the price I paid, it was a bargain and I’m glad I ordered two — one for a friend. It’s a big four-volume hardcover reprinting all of Mr. Jaffee’s wonderful, clever fold-ins — but you’re not going to open a book, look at one or two, then close the book and open it again the next day. You’re going to look at a lot of them and…well, some things just aren’t meant to be experienced in that concentrated a dose. It makes them seem ordinary and you also start to learn Al’s bag o’ tricks. It’s like watching a magician’s act over and over again until it seems utterly unremarkable that he pulls that dove out of the secret compartment in his tux.”

    Part of what makes EC so grand is just how many great cartoonists were part of it — and, yeah, I prefer my MAD ARCHIVES in chronological order, I think, than to have, say, all the Kurtzman yanked out on its own.. I think most ISSUES of EC’s were well constructed things… and that’s why we talk about “EC (as a whole)” and not merely “Wood’s EC stories” (or whichever)


  20. That’s an entirely reasonable counterargument, but in that case isn’t pretty much every collection of short stories by any single author problematic in this regard?

    I think I’ve read old-timey strip cartoonists who were horrified at the idea of book editions of their strips because they were designed to be read in tiny daily bits, and if you read them as collected stories the artificial suspense, repeated tricks, and so on become more blatant. I don’t know if that’s a convincing argument against TERRY AND THE PIRATES or DICK TRACY collections.

    Of course, if you pick up the Wood book you aren’t forced to read all the Wood stories in a row, either. Any more than when Cochran put out a five-volume set of TALES FROM THE CRYPT anyone was holding a gun to your head to read all of them in order.

  21. yes, EC reprints suck. Those new HC colors look garish on shiny white paper.

    No big deal, tough because the war comics are still very affordable. (if you got a job)

    just hit ebay.

  22. @mateor: I’d buy those Dave Sim comics! But only if Fantagraphics published them after Kim Thompson was forced to openly negotiate with Dave Sim on the Comics Journal website. Imagine if that happened! What larks!

    @Kim Thompson: Your FAWLTY TOWERS, Dickens etc example doesn’t work but it took me a bit to catch on. Clever. (I like RISING DAMP more myself anyway.) Also, I can’t read TERRY AND THE PIRATES for exactly the reasons you cite the original artists being concerned about. I can look at it but I have The Devil’s own time reading them. Nice books though. Glad they exist; so you win.

    Also Mckracken (accidentally) raises a point I’d like addressing: What kind of paper are the new Fanta books printed on? I rarely get in a physical store and I can’t stand the paper on the latest colour reprints. Woe betide you if I order sight unseen and get glossy paper!

    What’s your paper like, Kim Thompson? Is your paper up to it? Can your paper cut it? Or maybe Brian Hibbs can tell me if he isn’t busy regretting all those copies of SPACEMAN? Anyone! Holy Hannah, won’t someone tell me about the paper!?!

    Also: Don’t forget to vote, my American friends!

  23. It’s nice flat white stock — it is much like the Barks books that FBI has been doing.

    I’m trying to think of the last glossy book FBI has done?


  24. For my own part, I’d love to see a “Best of EC” anthology (or series, divided by genre) that collected the best & most influential stories, regardless of the artist. My interest in EC has been a little dulled because the “archived issues” format of past editions virtually guarantees there’ll be a few clinkers for every bona fide classic. (Though I see Hibbs’ point!)

    But I guess there’s never a perfect form for any collection… I know a lot of people loved the Jack Kirby FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS series, but I was irritated by the decision to print the titles sequentially — so you end up with NEW GODS cheek by jowl with JIMMY OLSEN, despite their radically different tones (and despite the fact that it derails the epic build of that middle run of NEW GODS). I’m glad I hung onto my B&W NEW GODS paperback — which I’ve loaned to many people who I’d *NEVER* inflict JIMMY OLSEN on!

  25. @Brian Hibbs: Oh, I haven’t got a Barks book. Like the POPEYE books? That paper’s nice. (I think TERRY & THE PIRATES is a bit glossy?)

    @SteveD:”I’d *NEVER* inflict JIMMY OLSEN…” Go to your room, now! And you think about what you have done, young man!


  26. I bought all the Cochran books back in the 90’s when I had money & stopped buying new comics. Still need the Picto-Fiction set tho. JohnK’s comments never fail to make my day!

  27. I think I’d have to agree with the Kim Thompson side of the argument for B & W, but only because they are producing them as Artist Showcases, and black and white is the best way to really drink in Wood, Williamson, etc. I still don’t think this is the best way to experience the EC’s, because while the new Fantagraphics books are very tempting, you’re going to miss out on a lot of great EC stuff by focusing on a specific artist. To wit, I would never think of shelling out 30 bucks for a Jack Kamen book, or a Johnny Craig, but they did the art for some of their very finest and most memorable stories. That was the magic of EC: the care with which they were produced inspired all their artists to really bring out their “A” game. I bought a bunch of the Cochran floppies when they were coming out in the 90’s, so I’d vote for nice flat white paper reproducing Marie Severin’s color, issue by issue. Could be interesting to do them chronologically instead of by series, even though the way Fantagraphics is doing them is probably far more commercially viable, color or not. Still, you bring out a Bernie Krigstein book, Mr. Thompson, I probably won’t be able to resist.
    Is there really a pricey Al Jaffee hardcover set of Mad fold-ins? What a terrible fucking idea. Like, you’re looking at the pages wanting to fold it in to get the joke, but you just paid good money for a coffee table book so you don’t want to bend it all up. That would be maddening.

  28. We very, very rarely use glossy or even coated paper for any graphic novel, comic-strip reprint, or comic-book reprint. “Fancy” shiny paper was a disease of the 1980s and 1990s, from which most of us have since recovered. There are a few very specific instances where I think it works (our recent Mattotti book THE CRACKLE OF THE FROST, for instance) but I set my default to “uncoated white” (or “uncoated cream”) many years ago, and almost never feel the need to move it.

  29. I’ve been waiting at least twenty years for EC artists editions, and I always just assumed toyed be black and white, not color, since that was the main way I’d seen the material. I love these new books, and I like that Dark Horse is doing that with the Creepy collections, too. All the EC artists were great, but when I pull down Crime Suspenstories, I just flip through the Johnny Craig stories, mostly, and skip everything else.

  30. I expect there are considerably more artist-specific EC fans than all-of-EC fans. A Johnny Craig fan like Ed who earlier would have had to buy over a dozen books to collect all his crime/horror work (and would have ended up with 80% or more non-Craig work in those) will, when we’re done, have all of it concentrated neatly in just three books. I’m sure there are specific Wood fans, Williamson fans, Ingels fans, Davis fans, Kurtzman fans, etc. who will be similarly pleased as we roll out their books. And if you love all of EC you’ll still eventually get all of EC.

    While I understand Brian’s cavils about color and recontextualization in single-artist volumes, I think the EH! rating (a single notch above AWFUL!, no less) was a bit harsh for some of the greatest American comics of the era presented with beautiful reproduction, gorgeous design, and terrific textual and graphic supplements for a genuinely reasonable price. The same rating as AQUAMAN #13? Three notches below MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE THE ORIGINAL OF SKELETOR? That’s cold.

  31. @Kim Thompson: Hey, you know who’d be really good to do an introduction for the Johnny Craig volumes…Frank Miller! The Tank loves him some Johnny Craig! Or maybe Sean Phillips, he draws some crime comics I hear. Oh for goodness sakes, can you just put Ed Brubaker out of his misery and let him do it. He’s going to sprain something at this rate.

    Would it not have been possible to release the books as colour collections by title (on your “uncoated cream”) with all your expert essays etc. AND do the artist specific B&W volumes? A bit like Dark Horse are doing with CREEPY and EERIE? You can get the volumes collecting the titles or just the Corben or Wrightson volumes. (Although the paper IS glossy. Boo! Hiss!)

    Putting Brian Hibbs’ rating into context does make it seem a bit harsh but he was obviously badly disappointed and I think his emotions got the better of him. He’s a big man with big emotions you know. Or he really does think AQUAMAN and SKELETOR BEGINS are better than EC Comics. I mean, he could! Maybe.

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