The arrival of Weird Fantasy Vol. 3 had the usual effect series collections have on me, making me wonder how close we were to finishing that series. In this case, that also means, by extension, the EC line.

I have cause to worry -- Dark Horse's track record on series collections isn't good. Currently it appears that the Tarzan, Archie and Crime Does Not Pay series have all stalled at nowhere near the end.

Anyway, I felt we were close enough to make a summary worthwhile. Here's where I think we are:


Aces High: Five issues collected in EC Archives: Aces High Vol. 1.

Extra!: Five issues collected in EC Archives: Extra! Vol. 1.

Incredible Science Fiction: Four issues collected in EC Archives: Incredible Science Fiction Vol. 1.

Panic: 12 issues collected in EC Archives: Panic Vols. 1-2.

Shock SuspenStories: 18 issues collected in EC Archives: Crime SuspenStories Vols. 1-3.

Crypt of Terror/Tales from the Crypt: 30 issues collected in EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt Vols. 1-5.

Valor: Five issues collected in EC Archives: Valor Vol. 1.

Weird Science: 22 issues collected in EC Archives: Weird Science Vols. 1-4.


Haunt of Fear: Fifth and final volume scheduled for Oct. 23.

Vault of Horror: Fifth and final volume scheduled for Dec. 28.

Piracy: One volume, scheduled for Feb. 26, 2019


Crime SuspenStories #19-27: The first 18 issues have been collected in EC Archives: Crime SuspenStories Vols. 1-3..

Frontline Combat #7-15. The first six issues have been collected in Frontline Combat Vol. 1.

Impact! #1-5.

M.D. #1-5.

Psychoanalysis #1-5.

Two-Fisted Tales #36-41: Issues #18-35 have been collected in Two-Fisted Tales Vols. 1-3.

War Against Crime! #7-11: First six issues scheduled to be collected on Aug. 28 in EC Archives: War Against Crime! Vol. 1.

Weird Fantasy #19-22: The first 18 issues have been collected in EC Archives: Weird Fantasy Vols. 1-3.

Weird Science-Fantasy #25-26: Weird Science-Fantasy picked up the numbering of Weird Science with issue #23 and turned into Incredible Science Fiction with issue #30. Issues #23-24 were included in Werid Science Vol. 4, and issues #27-29 were included in Incredible Science Fiction Vol. 1. (I suspect these two issues will be collected with the last four issues of Weird Fantasy, for the standard six-issue package. But I don't know that for sure.)

I'm not including MAD, since DC Comics has that franchise now (and has reprinted all the comic book issues in MAD Archives Vols. 1-4). I'm also not including the Picto-Fiction line, which consisted of B&W magazines.

Did I miss anything? Who else is collecting these? And who's with me on wanting a few more pre-"New Trend" titles like Crime Patrol, Land of the Lost and Moon Girl?

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That is the worst! It drives me nuts whenever a company changes design or switches to TPB in the middle of the process. Even the EC Archives bug me when I am switching from the Gemstone days to the Dark Horse days. I would buy the Gemstone again as Dark Horse books if they ever reprinted them. That's how OCD I am about my shelves! Haha.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

DICK BRIEFER'S FRANKENSTEIN: Dick Briefer did two versions of Frankenstein's monster back in the day: a serous horror version and a comedic version. In 2003, PS Artbooks set out to collect the entire series, BUT they started with volume three (the "funny" version) due to lack of availability of the "straight" version. They promised to keep looking and to collect the early stories when they found copies to reprint. In the meantime, they published six versions of the funny version (vols. 3-8). Now it seems as if copies of the horror version have been found, BUT the solicitation is for a "softee" (i.e., tpb) version of volume one, whereas 3-8 had been hardcovers.

I checked their website to see if hardcover versions of the first two volumes had been released and I had somehow missed them, but that is not the case. Their website says pretty much the same thing I related above, that they released hardcover versions of volumes 3-8, now here's  a softcover version of volume one. I sent an e-mail asking if there were plans to release volumes one and two in hardcover. I expected a response this morning (given the time difference), but so far nothing.

More on this situation as it develops.

Don't even get me started about Marvel's ever-changing Masterworks trade dress!

According to Amazon, the next Carl Barks volume will be Donald Duck "Balloonatics"(Vol.25) scheduled for Oct 19.


Meanwhile, I can add a little to the PS Artbooks scenario, but it's not good news.

After printing 12 volumes each of ACG's Forbidden Worlds and Adventures into the Unknown in hardback, PS Artbooks has switched to "softees" for both. There are no HCs to be had; the Softee version is all there will be of each as they proceed.

I became familiar with both titles as they switched to superhero (ish) lead features toward the end of ACG's existence in the mid-1960s, with "Magicman" (by Richard Huges and Pete Costanza) in Forbidden Worlds, and "Nemesis" (by Richard Hughes and Chic Stone) in Adventures into the Unknown. Hughes, who had been the writer/editor behind a number of pseudonyms for most of ACG's run, had a distaste for superheroes (and for horror stories that had any actual horror), and had fought the Silver Age trend as long as he could. But he finally knuckled under to forces beyond his control with Magicman (using an artist who was familiar to DC fans from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen) and Nemesis (using an artist familiar to Marvel fans as a Kirby inker). Both magazines were graced with Kurt Schaffenberger covers.

At this point, "the Unknown" was an actual place and had something of a mythology supporting it. The "Unknown" was, basically, heaven. People who lived there wore robes and walked on clouds, and were colored in two shades of green.

They didn't act very heavenly, though, being pretty snotty and bureaucratic. "Nemesis" came from there; he was a guy who went to The Unknown before his time, and was sent back to right and wrongs as a superhero until his actual death date came due. He was green up in The Unknown, but regular colors down on Earth. He had a sweetheart that he couldn't marry because, you know, he was dead. And a laughable costume, to tell the truth.

Magicman was a soldier in Vietnam who had a Private Pyle/Sgt. Carter relationship with a superior that then and now seemed so gay I had a hard time taking it seriously. Vietnam, of course, was just like World War II, so don't look for any social commentary. Magicman dressed in a male version of Barbara Eden's I Dream of Jeannie outfit, in greens and blacks instead of purples and pinks. But bare-chested with short pantaloons, which did nothing to make me think he was less gay.

Anyway, as I learned more about comics history, I got more interested than ever in ACG's history, because the publisher is credited with the first ongoing horror title, Adventures into the Unknown in 1948. As noted, by the '60s there was very little horror going on in ACG's horror titles, but I came to find out that the same was true of their late 1940s books.

In most cases, a boy came into contact with a supernatural circumstance, and his girlfriend (or soon-to-be girlfriend) would insist on coming along as he (and she) bravely faced it, and once the evil was defeated, one or the other would announce they're going to get married. Sometimes the genders were reversed. Very, very different from the other horror books, and I really wish I'd met Richard Hughes.

Anyway, I'm very disappointed in this "Softee" business, and I can't help but feel this is just a stopgap before they stop reprinting FW and AitU altogether.

"I can add a little to the PS Artbooks scenario, but it's not good news."

Maybe there's a silver lining. "Buying new comics and not reading them is stupid," I always say, yet I have allowed myself to fall hopelessly behind reading "new" PS Artbooks. Perhaps this will be my impetus to cut the cord. I have not yet received a response to my inquiry from PS Artbooks and, after reading your post, I doubt I will. Also, when I used their "contact us" template, all of my information auto-filled. I don't recell what I asked them in the past, but I'm pretty sure I never received a response. I've got Dark Horse Archives of Nemesis and Magicman, so I'll let those and the PS Artbooks hardcovers stand as representatives of Adventures into the Unknown and Forbidden Worlds in my collection. 

One thing I've noticed, just from reading the solicitations, is that the contents of the "softee" editions don't necessarily match up with their hardcover counterparts. PS Artbooks left two volumes of their "Frankenstein" series unpublished to fit the missing issues, but the softee comprises Prize Comics #7-37. Isn't that all that's left? One softee vs. two hardcovers? I'll be getting the softee and being done with it.

"It drives me nuts whenever a company changes design or switches to TPB in the middle of the process."

It's not just you and me, but retailers, too. Sometimes its a blow to fans' egos when they are told they are not publishers' customers; retailers are. Publishers are less inclined to listen to fans than they are to retailers but, according to the owner of my LCS, they don't pay all that much attention to retailers, either. If you collect any of DC's Golden, Silver or Bronze Age omnibuses, you've noticed that the trade dress has changed. At first, I thought the difference was between "Ages," but I later noticed that second printings of earlier editions now sport the new trade dress.

When I discussed this with the owner of my LCS, he said the retailers complained about this, too, and were told that the designers liked the new trade dress better. I wonder if the "designers" considered what the books look like sitting on a shelf when the dust jacket design changes several volumes in...?  ARRGH!

Captain Comics said:

Magicman was a soldier in Vietnam who had a Private Pyle/Sgt. Carter relationship with a superior that then and now seemed so gay I had a hard time taking it seriously. Vietnam, of course, was just like World War II, so don't look for any social commentary.

I was reading the ACG comics off-and-on before their attempts at superheroes. They were repetitive and boring.

I've only watched Gomer Pyle USMC in syndication. I understand their reasons for ignoring the Vietnam War since it was a light-hearted show. They may have been inspired by the episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show that showed Rob's Army service. Rob's Army service may have included WWII but mostly peacetime. He was in Special Services (troop entertainment) so it was different than Gomer's Marine Infantry service.

It was hard to believe Gomer's exclusively stateside service. There were a lot of Army guys who never went to Vietnam. This is because the Army is and was a much larger service. In the case of the Marine Corps, IMO it had a disproportionate share of the war effort. I'd be surprised if any USMC member didn't go to Vietnam. One indicator is that the standard Army tour was 12 months while the standard Marine tour was 13 months.

I had never thought about that before, Richard, as my focus during Vietnam was praying the draft would end before I turned 18. I had thought a little about how duty would vary among the service branches, because I was considering joining the Navy should my number come up. Not only was there a long Navy tradition in my family, but I thought floating off the coast of Vietnam servicing airplanes would be less likely to be fatal than being drafted into the infantry. I hadn't considered that Marine duty would almost certainly be a ticket straight to the bush.

As to trade dress, I have some Marvel Masterworks character runs that have three different trade dresses. (Thor and Fantastic Four come to mind.) How annoying.

When my group was sworn in before leaving Los Angeles a guy wearing blue pants with a red stripe announced that this month the Marine Corps was authorized to draft. He took two or possibly three of my group into the Marines. In theory the Navy and Air Force could draft if they didn't have enough volunteers but, like you were saying, guys would opt for one of those to avoid the potential of Infantry.

After about a week of Basic Training "our friend" the recruiting sergeant gathered us together. Dramatically, he placed one boot on a log and opened his jacket. He then lied to us and said that if we didn't go for an extra year we would be Infantry. I didn't buy it. I was a clerk in civilian life and I also knew how to type so they gave me On-the-Job-Training as a clerk. They saved money on me by not sending me to Advanced Individual Training,

From Google. Probably pretty accurate:

"The Army suffered the most total casualties*, 38,179 or 2.7 percent of its force. The Marine Corps lost 14,836, or 5 percent of its own men. The Navy fatalities were 2,556 or 2 percent. The Air Force lost 2,580 or l percent."

*These numbers are deaths. The term "casualties" would include wounded, which is much higher.

A childhood friend of mine served on dry land at the Naval Supply Depot in DaNang, which was where our Army unit (under the Marines) got its supplies. The Marines where I was were Artillery like us. There were also Navy guys in River Patrol Boats and every Marine unit, Infantry and otherwise, had medics who were Navy guys. Our chaplain was a Navy Commander. And the so-called "Blue Water Navy" (River patrols were "Brown Water") off the coast was finally approved for Agent Orange presumptive illnesses and cancers.

I'll shut up now.

"I have some Marvel Masterworks character runs that have three different trade dresses."

Four if you count the modification to the part that covers the binding of the black & silver trade dress.

Daredevil is another.

Everyone says all ACG's Silver Age output was by Hughes, but I don't believe it.

(1) ACG began carrying author and artist credits in 1959,  when it wasn't the norm elsewhere. It could have simply credited the artists (and sometimes did).

(2) Although the artists were normally credited under their real names, they weren't always. John Rosenberger was credited as Jon Diehl early on, and later as John R. Occasionally stories had author credits only.

Kurt Schaffenberger's covers were sometimes signed with his own name, sometimes "Lou Wahl", and sometimes with Pete Costanza's. (This might be because Irwin Donenfeld at DC paid particular attention to covers.)

(3) The first writers credited at Silver Age Marvel after Stan Lee and Larry Lieber were credited under pseudonyms (Robert Bernstein as R. Burns, Jerry Siegel as Joe Carter).

(4) Leon Lazarus was credited with a story in Unknown Worlds #6 - "Wes Wilson, Worry Wart!" - under his own name.

(5) The Nemesis story in Adventures into the Unknown is credited to "Richard E. Hughes, editor. (Pinch-hitting for Shane O'Shea)", which suggests Hughes didn't normally write them.

(6) "The Luck of Ivar Kron!" in Unknown Worlds #6 was recycled as "The Secrets of Superman's Fortress" in Action Comics #395. It's likely a case of an author recycling himself, and the later story was by Leo Dorfman. (Complicating things, "The Luck of Ivar Kron!" is attributed in the issue to Pierre Alonzo, but the image of the original art at Heritage has a stick-on credit attributing it to Zev Zimmer.)

(7) "The People from Afar!" from Forbidden Worlds #105, credited to Brad Everson, was apparently the basis of the LSH story "The War Between Krypton and Earth!" from Adventure Comics #333, suggesting it was by Edmond Hamilton.

(8) The text page of Gasp! #3 has a auto-bio by Lorna Cass, whose story, "The Plot!", appeared in that issue. It could be a hoax bio, but it's an elaborate one if it is.

The variation in writing style between the stories makes it unlikely they were all by the same author. To be fair, some writers, such as Otto Binder, could vary their writing style. But I think I can seen variations in approach and content between the different authors. For example, Shane O'Shea's stories often have romances, and he prefers happy endings. But I'm not certain the same authors always got the same pseudonyms, an sometimes stories attributed to the same name are quite different in approach.

"Jimmy Olsen's Super-Romance!" from Jimmy Olsen #64 has a similar plot to "The Lonely Life of Homer Hergis!" from Forbidden Worlds #81. It might be another case of an author recycling himself, but perhaps both tales recycled some earlier story. The GCD attributes the Jimmy Olsen story to Dorfman, but I can't say if that's certain or a guess. The ACG story is credited to Greg Olivetti.

I think the Magicman stories, attributed to Zev Zimmer, were by Otto Binder. They read like Captain Marvel stories, and the Fatman stories Binder did not long after with C. C. Beck. "Ancient Ape!" from Forbidden Worlds #132 looks like a recycling of  "The Super-Gorilla from Krypton" from Action Comics #238.

Shane O'Shea might be Jerry Siegel. O'Shea is credited with most of the Herbie and Nemesis stories. (Not all the Herbie stories were credited, and the first one predates ACG's use of credits.) Herbie is a subtle variation on Superman, and "Nemesis" is a G-rated version of "The Spectre". When Herbie goes to superhero school in "Make Way for the Fat Fury!" in Herbie #8 the tricks he's taught are Golden Age Superman tricks, and the story's villain resembles the Metal Plunderer from one of the Spider stories Siegel wrote for the UK.

O'Shea also wrote a number of stories where a misfit goes to another planet, develops superpowers, and find love. These are variations on "Superman" too. I call these Reggies, after "Reggie Rides a Rocket!" in Adventures into the Unknown #103, in which the hero is an originally-wimpy man who finds his manliness, takes sides in a war, and marries a queen. Compare "The Origin of the Comet" from Archie's The Mighty Crusaders #2. "Reggie" predates ACG's use of credits, so it might not be by O'Shea, but it's my guess it was.

"Judas Goat!" from Adventures into the Unknown #131 has a panel exactly like the infamous "Robin-- What have I done to you?" panel from Justice League of America #44:

That could mean its author, Lafcadio Lee, was Gardner Fox. (On the other hand, the story reminded me of "The Counterfeit Earth!" from Mystery in Space #35, which is said to be by Binder. It's not credited in the original issue, but it's my understanding editor Julie Schwartz kept records.)

All of which said, according to Wikipedia Hughes's widow donated his papers to Fairleigh Dickinson University, and they might prove me wrong.

The stories were likely written full-script. But ACG's output in the Silver Age never exceeded four titles a month and was often less than that, so I don't know it's impossible Hughes was the sole writer. On the other hand, he was the editor, which is a job itself, and he may not have had an assistant. At Marvel Stan Lee had Sol Brodsky.

I hope you didn't think I was saying Hughes wrote everything at ACG. That wasn't my intent.

I think I have seen that asserted somewhere, but didn't believe it. He apparently did have a prodigious output, though. The GCD lists Kurato Osaki and Pierce Rand as two of his pseudonyms. Annabel Nubbe was a pseudonym for his wife.

I've often seen it said that Shane O'Shea was also a pseudonym for Hughes. Don Markstein's Toonopedia says so, at least for Herbie. Markstein isn't holy writ, though, so I'd like to see a couple of corroborations. I have the Herbie collection, which might say in the foreword, but I can't lay hands on it right now.

Since he was the editor, I wonder if he might have assigned writer names to stories at random? All of them except his own were pseudonyms.

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