EC Archives: Tales From the Crypt Vol. 2 by Al Feldstein, et. al.

Categories:  Reviews

EC Archives: Tales From the Crypt Vol. 2
Al Feldstein, Johnny Craig, Wally Wood, Graham Ingels, Harvey Kurtzman
Gemstone Publishing

Al Feldstein

Back in June I took a look at EC Archives: Tales From the Crypt Vol. 1-Gemstone Publishing’s excellent hardcover that contained reprints of EC Comics groundbreaking horror series-and dubbed it essential reading for fans of the supernatural or comics historians who want to see a stellar body of work from some of comics’ Hall of Famers. With the follow up, EC Archives: Tales From the Crypt Vol. 2, Al Feldstein and his macabre crew pick up where they left off in Vol. 1 – which is a good thing.

The one minor knock against the first collection is that the early stories featured in the book were obviously the beginnings of what EC billed as the “new trend”, and as such, weren’t as strong as those in the latter half. Vol. 2 starts off strongly with “Reflection of Death” a tale of grim fate that recalls H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Outsider”; “The Living Death” in which science clashes with pseudo-science over the fate of a young woman’s life; and “Bats In My Belfry”, a warning against blending animal’s DNA with man’s. Throughout the 212 pages, the EC creators serve up a similar dose of twisted morality tales, supernatural malevolence, and science gone awry in via a concise but thoroughly engaging writing style and dynamic artwork.

As with the previous volume, the comics are reprinted brilliantly enhanced color, and feature the Cryptkeeper’s letter pages where he hams it up answering reader mail. Bonus material includes a foreword by director Joe Dante who details reading his first Tales From the Crypt after finding it (appropriately) in an open field adjacent to a funeral home, and a January 2007 interview with Nancy Gaines about the early days of EC Comics and her relationship with creative dynamo (and husband) Bill Gaines.

Tales From the Crypt Vol. 2 is a bit pricey at $49.99, but is well worth the money. Gemstone Publishing has done a spectacular job of preserving one of America’s undervalued pop art treasures.

–Jeffrey Wilson

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