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After years of waiting, yes years. The second volume of EC Archives Vault of Horror is finally out. Who is at the hem of this phenomenal collection? Well, creators like Al Feldstein, Johnny Craig, Wally Wood, Harry Harrison, Jack Kamen, Harvey Kurtzman, Graham Ingels, and Jack Davis provide the entertainment for us to absorb. Six full issues and 24 complete stories are collected in this full-color, deluxe volume. There is a nice forward by master of horror director John Landis
The book is the same dimension as volume 1 and all the other EC Archives that came out back a couple of years ago. It is an oversized hardcover that comes with a nice dust jacket; the same artwork is on the book’s cover as well. Now, let’s talk about the main change here that defies this collection different than the previous collections of EC comics. The colors, whereas in the past we’ve had collections in black and white. These EC Archives have been tricolored using new techniques. And it looks great and manages to make to book look modern while still keeping the creepy feel to the originals. Paper stock is nice with thick glossy pages. An all-around great looking book!
The forward by Landis was short and sweet, but it’s just great to see a big name like that praise the creators. At this point artist Johnny Craig is still doing all the covers and some of the inside work. By far my favorite story that stands out is called Reunion. The art is simply amazing; Graham Ingels makes you really feel for the characters and still manages to gross you out with his attention to details. There are some amazing notes at the end of every issue that tell you more about the behind the scenes in the studio. I cannot push these collections enough on people. They are beautifully done, but they need to be in everyone’s library. A+
Along with a new volume of Vault of Horror we get for the first time ever in color a collection of the first six issues of The Haunt of Fear! The other horror book in the EC library. The numbering is a little odd on these because this was originally a comic called Gunfighter, with issue 15 it became Haunt of Fear, but then issue 18 became issue four. It’s a little confusing, but believe me it’s all collected and explained in this volume. The forward is done by Mr. Freddy Krueger himself: Robert Englund.
The first thing I noticed with the first issue is that it didn’t have a host. The Old Witch makes her appearance in the second issue. So the format is a little different and I’m not sure if the creators wanted to use a different formula to get the ball rolling. As for this volume, this is early in the EC days, so the artists were really just building up to the greatness they would eventually become. The art (Really the best reason to check out these books) isn’t quite us to the polish of the later years, but you can definitely see flashes of greatness, and the true beginning of the EC style. It’s the style that everyone would mimic in years to come. The writing also shows that the winning formula was found early on, as these stories are among some of the best of the line.
I can’t get enough of the EC stuff, I love it! These books are always great fun, and just a damn joy to read. That being said, the high price tag ($49.99) might keep you away from these. But, when you get your hands on these, you will see why they go out of print so quick! These fantastic editions are worth every penny! It is so nice to have these collections in a complete format. Other collections charging 50 bucks for black and white comics could really take a note here. This is how you give the proper treatment to classics. They’ve got me as a fan for life! A-