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EC Archives

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Subject: EC Comics, Russ Cochran (publisher), The Haunt of Fear, Frontline Combat, Weird Science (comics)
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EC Archives

Example of EC Archives' digital coloring by Jamison Services on a Johnny Craig page: "Terror on the Moors!" in EC Archives: The Vault of Horror (2007), originally in The Vault of Horror 17 (February–March 1951).

The EC Archives are a series of American hardcover collections of full-color comic book reprints of EC Comics, published by Russ Cochran and Gemstone Publishing from 2006 to 2008.

The output of Bill Gaines' EC Comics line in the 1940s and 1950s is one of the most critically acclaimed of the pre-Comics Code comics publishers (and one of the major casualties of the Comics Code). Such EC Comics as Tales from the Crypt and Weird Science are known even to people unfamiliar with the source material, due to film-TV adaptations and numerous reprints, including publisher Cochran's Complete EC Library, published from 1978 to 2006. Between 1992 and 2000, Cochran and Gemstone Publishing also produced full-color individual issues and EC Annuals reprints of almost all the EC Comics, beginning with The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror and Weird Science.

Contents

  • Digital recoloring 1
  • EC Archives schedule 2
    • Issue Numbering 2.1
    • EC Archives Books 2.2
  • Chronological list of EC Archives 3
  • Leather-bound 4
  • Limited editions 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Digital recoloring

In 2006, Gemstone began producing a more durable series of hardback reprint collections designed by Michael Kronenberg. Similar to the DC Archives and Marvel Masterworks series, the EC Archives superseded Cochran's original annotated EC Library (of black-and-white stories) by reprinting sequential compilations of EC titles in a full-color, hardback archival format with new annotations. On January 11, 2011, Cochran looked back on the project, noting the differences between his earlier EC Library and the later EC Archives:

A few years ago, with the support and encouragement of Steve Geppi and with the permission of the Gaines Estate, I started on a new format: the EC Archives. These are slightly smaller hardcover books (smaller than the EC Library volumes but larger than the original ten-cent comic books), and because of increased demand and the availability of cheaper color printing in China, the EC Archives books were full color, with new color in an infinite palette now being possible with the advances in technology.[1]

Each book reprints six issues for a total of 24 stories. The original coloring by EC's colorist Marie Severin was used as a guide for digital recoloring by Jamison Services, a color separation company in West Plains, Missouri, the hometown of publisher Cochran. Allen Jamison and Jamison Services had previously done coloring for the DC Archives.[2] Also contributing to the project at Cochran's West Plains office were operations manager Angela Meyer and production artist Chris Rock.[3] Crediting Kronenberg as "Art Director/Designer and Color Editor" and Marie Severin for "Colors", Cochran explained the digital upgrade given to Severin's coloring; "Most of the original coloring of these stories is the work of EC colorist Marie Severin, and although all of these stories have been re-colored for this new edition, her style of coloring was followed to retain the integrity of the original EC comic books".[4] He later added:

Technology changes. We are now able to color these comics with an infinite palette, and to reproduce the artists' linework much more clearly. If these new computer generated color techniques had been available in the 1950s, I think Bill Gaines would have used it because it makes the EC work even more beautiful. So the EC material has been printed three different ways: with the old color, as originally published back in the 1950s, without any color, as it was drawn by the EC artists (the EC Library), and with the best color we can do with modern technology (the EC Archives). It has been my experience that the most dedicated EC fans are not satisfied to have them reprinted only one, or two, ways. They want them all. Those fans will have the old comics in the EC Annuals, the black and white art in the EC Library, and the best color we can produce in the EC Archives. There's room there for everyone.[5]

Along with the original EC advertisements, editorials and letters pages, the books also feature introductions by Steven Spielberg, R. L. Stine, Jerry Weist and others. The entirety of the New Trend and New Direction comics were planned for eventual release. Kronenberg suggested EC's Pre-Trend titles might also be reprinted in Archive form. However, EC's black-and-white Picto-Fiction magazines are unlikely to be reprinted as EC Archives.[6][7]

The EC Archives publishing history has been a troubled one. The original run was interrupted after thirteen volumes, due to financial difficulties at Gemstone Publishing, in 2008. The line was revived for two more volumes by GC Press LLC, a boutique imprint established by Russ Cochran and Grant Geissman, in 2012. Most recently the line has been taken up by Dark Horse Comics, who announced plans to resume it with the release of Tales from the Crypt Volume 4 in October 2013.[8]

EC Archives schedule

Issue Numbering

In the early 1950s, comic book publishers, seeking to save money on second-class postage permits, frequently changed the titles of their comics, rather than start new ones at #1. Because of this, many comics featured in The EC Archives series do not start with #1. War Against Crime was replaced by The Vault of Horror and so numbering for The Vault of Horror begins with issue #12. Similarly, Crime Patrol was replaced with The Crypt of Terror for issue #17. By issue #20, the title changed again to the familiar Tales from the Crypt. The Crypt of Terror is not considered a separate series and is included in Tales from the Crypt: Volume One.

The Haunt of Fear, Weird Science, and Weird Fantasy began with issues #15, #12 and #13, respectively, but at the request of the Post Office, their issue numbering was reset a few issues later, beginning with The Haunt of Fear #4, Weird Science #5, and Weird Fantasy #6. Because of this, there are several comics within those series that share the same issue number. For example, The Haunt of Fear #15 was published in 1950 and was the first issue in the series, while a second comic, also titled The Haunt of Fear #15, was published in 1952 and was the fifteenth comic in the series.

Following The Haunt of Fear's issue numbering being reset, its previous numbering was instead used for a new title, Two-Fisted Tales. Thus, Two-Fisted Tales begins with issue #18.

The table below uses the original numbering.

EC Archives Books

Title Volume Reprints Introduction First printing Pages ISBN
EC Archives: Crime SuspenStories
1
Crime SuspenStories #1 - 6 Max Allan Collins January 2008 212
EC Archives: Frontline Combat
1
Frontline Combat #1 - 6 John Benson October 2008 212
EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear
1
The Haunt of Fear #15 - 17
The Haunt of Fear #4 - 6
(with notes by Grant Geissman)
Robert Englund January 2012 212
EC Archives: Shock SuspenStories
1
Shock SuspenStories #1 - 6
(with notes by Russ Cochran)
Steven Spielberg December 2006 212
2
Shock SuspenStories #7 - 12 Dean Kamen June 2007 212
EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt
1
The Crypt of Terror #17 - 20
Tales from the Crypt #20 - 22
John Carpenter February 2007 212
2
Tales from the Crypt #23 - 28 Joe Dante July 2007 212
3
Tales from the Crypt #29 - 34 Robert Overstreet September 2008 212
4
Tales from the Crypt #35 - 40 Russ Cochran October 2013 212
5
Tales from the Crypt #41 - 46 Bruce Campbell November 2014 216
EC Archives: Two-Fisted Tales
1
Two-Fisted Tales #18 - 23 Steve Geppi March 2007 212
2
Two-Fisted Tales #24 - 29 Professor Rocco Versaci August 2007 212
3
Two-Fisted Tales #30 - 35 Joe Kubert August 2014 216
EC Archives: The Vault of Horror
1
The Vault of Horror #12 - 17
(with notes by Roger Hill)
R. L. Stine October 2007 212
2
The Vault of Horror #18 - 23
(with notes by Bhob Stewart)
John Landis January 2012 212
3
The Vault of Horror #24 - 29 Mike Richardson February 2014 216
4
The Vault of Horror #30 - 35 Jonathan Maberry February 2015 216
EC Archives: Weird Science
1
Weird Science #12 - 15
Weird Science #5 - 6
George Lucas December 2006 212
2
Weird Science #7 - 12 Paul Levitz May 2007 212
3
Weird Science #13 - 18 Jerry Weist / Ray Bradbury August 2008[9] 212
EC Archives: Weird Fantasy
1
Weird Fantasy #13 - 17
Weird Fantasy #6
Unknown May 2014 216

Chronological list of EC Archives

Leather-bound

  • The EC Archives: Weird Science Volume 1 (February 2008)
  • The EC Archives: Weird Science Volume 2 (August 2008)
  • The EC Archives: Shock SuspenStories Volume 1 (October 2009)
  • The EC Archives: Shock SuspenStories Volume 2 (October 2009)

Limited editions

In February 2008, the first limited leather-bound edition of one of the EC Archives was released.[10] Weird Science Volume 1 was released in a limited print run of 300, all signed by EC editor Al Feldstein. Weird Science Volume 2 was released in August 2008. The limited editions came packaged with a pair of white gloves for handling of the expensive volumes.

See also

References

  1. ^ Russ Cochran Newsletter 19, January 15, 2011.
  2. ^ Comic Book Database: Allen Jamison
  3. ^ Gemstone Corporate History
  4. ^ EC Archives, 2007.
  5. ^ Digital Comic Museum
  6. ^ Michael Kronenberg posting at MarvelMasterworksFansite.Yuku.com, July 26, 2008. Accessed September 1, 2008
  7. ^ Michael Kronenberg posting at MarvelMasterworksFansite.Yuku.com, July 26, 2008. Accessed September 1, 2008
  8. ^ Dark Horse to Publish EC Library. Accessed July 28, 2013.
  9. ^ A printing defect saw most copies withheld by the publisher for an erroneously missing cover illustration to be inserted.
  10. ^ Solicited in Diamond Comics' Previews May, 2007.

External links

  • Gemstone: EC Archives
  • Collectors Society
  • Crisis on Infinite Comics
  • , Volume TwoThe Vault of Horror
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