Adventures into the Unknown Volume Three
Reprinting Adventures into the Unknown #11-15 (Jun-Jul 50/Jan 51)
Writers and artists: Various
PS Artbooks, $38.41, color, 288 pages
I've been plowing through these ACG collections, and I've got to say: To my surprise, I'm enjoying them.
I also have to say that the art in the ACG books (I'm including Forbidden Worlds collections when I say this) is really pedestrian. The art in Atlas, Harvey and (of course) EC books in the same period is far superior. The art in DC and ACG books at this time is professional, but boring. The names involved are guys you've never heard of, but they do artwork that would pass for advertising at the time, and probably did.
As for the writing, the more I plow into the ACG material -- most of which was written by the same guy -- the more I get a grasp of what Richard Hughes thought. And what he thought was that vampires were kinda weak guys who happened to have wings (that stuck out, somehow, from their suit coats), and that all monsters and devils (and sometimes THE devil) were weak enough that a typical husband, library researcher or newspaper reporter could take them down with a good right cross.
That's kinda stupid, but at the same time, Hughes also thought that all girls were tough enough to explore "the Unknown" (more and more a PLACE, not a concept) by virtue of their grit (and not their right crosses). That is amazingly forward-thinking for the times, and I give Hughes credit for being a feminist before the concept had a name.
Having read enough of these collections, I'm surprised to see a story or two where innocent people suffer. For the most part, Hughes wrote stories where ordinary Americans step into situations where terrible stuff (from the UNKNOWN!) has held sway for centuries, and the Americans -- usually a young couple who are just married or are about to be -- fix that Old World nonsense by grit and can-do spirit. But here and there in these stories (often in the text pieces), good people fall to the powers of darkness. Is this because other companies -- notably EC -- were having enormous success pursuing that concept? Or was is it something I don't know? Because if you read enough of these stories, you get a good sense of who Richard Hughes was, and what he thought ... and innocent people falling to the powers of darkness was NOT what he thought.
Anyway, I kinda enjoy these stories. They are Stuart Smalley kinda stories, where the heroes and heroines are smart enough, good enough and, darn it, people like them. And they win.