EC Reprints: A Brief EC Addendum

In growing up, many people made references to comics I could never think of getting. One of the things we work hard for in this site is to be current in terms of what’s out there. So I didn’t review the entire line of Crime Does Not Pay but let me segue a little bit into the EC line of comics, which I found so much more enjoyable and recommend highly.

Soon after M. C. Gaines past on and left his comic book company to his son William, they began to publish Crime Patrol and War Against Crime and tried to copy much of the style. They tried to make their covers look like the Charles Biro covers that were so successful for Lev Gleason and their covers even said “real stories from police records.” The artwork here was consistently better, sometimes much better, then the early Gleason comics, but nothing spectacular. But that would soon change when EC started their horror line and their crime and suspense stories. They were drawn and written so much better that even today they are the standard of which all comics seem to be compared. And their science-fiction stories were simply the best I have ever read in comics.

There was one problem. As the horror comics became more popular, EC mixed them in with their crime and science-fiction stories. So, many times when I didn’t expect it, I was startled!

For 25 years, Cochran released oversized, black and white, hardcover, beautifully reproduced EC books. These were the books I collected. They start with many comics that were printed years before EC’s heyday, and ended with his comics code approve comics. Those comics weren’t all that good. Of course MAD is included. Now owned by DC comics, MAD is getting its own archives, again. The last batch of EC comics was called Picto-Fiction, which were basically pulp versions of their old comic book stories with illustrations thrown in. In some way they were the precursor to the graphic novel.

A good place to start in reading these stories is in their various archives and reprint comics that are available all over the place. Russ Cochran has now made available 15 volumes of the EC comics in living color. Well, it’s EC and may not be living. Also available on eBay and in many comic shops are comic book reprints of these books at very reasonable prices.

Shock Suspenstories (EC Classics #1)

  • Crime Patrol (1948-1950) 7-16 (Continued as Crypt of Terror)
  • Gunfighter (1948–1950) #5-14 (continued as The Haunt of Fear)
  • Crime Patrol (1948–1950) #7-16 (continued as The Crypt of Terror)
  • Gunfighter (1948–1950) #5-14 (continued as The Haunt of Fear)
  • Modern Love (1949–1950) #1-8
  • A Moon, a Girl…Romance (1949–1950) #9-12 (continued as Weird Fantasy)
  • Moon Girl (1947–1949) #2-6 (continued as Moon Girl Fights Crime! )
  • Moon Girl and the Prince (1947) #1 (continued as Moon Girl)
  • Moon Girl Fights Crime! (1949) #7-8 (continued as A Moon, a Girl…Romance)
  • Saddle Justice (1948–1949) #3-8 (continued as Saddle Romances)
  • Saddle Romances (1949–1950) #9-11 (continued as Weird Science)
  • War Against Crime! (1948–1950) #1-11 (continued as The Vault of Horror)

The EC Era of Comics:

  • The Crypt of Terror / Tales from the Crypt (April/May 1950)
  • The Vault of Horror (April/May 1950)
  • The Haunt of Fear (May/June 1950)
  • Weird Fantasy (May/June 1950)
  • Weird Science (May/June 1950)
  • Incredible Science Fiction (July/August 1955)
  • Crime SuspenStories (October/November 1950)
  • Two-Fisted Tales (November/December 1950)
  • Frontline Combat (July/August, 1951)
  • Shock SuspenStories (February/March 1952)
  • MAD (October–November 1952)
  • PANIC (February-March 1954)
  • Weird Science-Fantasy (March 1954)

Post EC era, Comics Code:

  • Piracy (October/November 1954)
  • Impact (March/April 1955)
  • Valor (March/April 1955)
  • Extra! (March/April 1955)
  • Aces High (March/April 1955)
  • Psychoanalysis (March/April, 1955)
  • M.D. (April/May 1955)
  • Picto-Fiction
  • Confessions Illustrated
  • Crime Illustrated
  • Shock Illustrated
  • Terror Illustrated

Just a few notes:

Cochran published 66 hardcover volumes that covered 491 comics. Many of these volumes are available in comic book stores and on eBay. They can be expensive so I recommend actually getting the comic book reprints. Or the new hardcover color additions, of which there are 15 volumes.

In case you’re wondering why there are so many name changes: subscription for the life blood of comics in the 1950s. Every new postal permit cost a few thousand dollars. So if they could just change the name of the comic and not pay that additional fee the publishers were very happy. There are long and even funny stories about this but that’s for another day.

Crime Suspenstories, Vol. 1 (EC Archives) (v. 1)

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