It’s the next-to-last day of The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide and today I’m going to recommend gift ideas based on one of the most holiday appropriate icons of pop culture.
Today our gifts are all based on EC Comics!
I didn’t say which holiday, now did I?
You may have a horror fanatic on your shopping list who would love to experience and celebrate the comics that arguably shaped everything from modern horror comics and movies to anthology TV shows and even horror-movie hosts. With their mix of shock, gore and humor, the EC horror comics set the tone for the “Monster kids” of the 1960s to take over movies and TV.
And there was much more to EC Comics than just the horror comics. They also offered up Science Fiction books and shocking thrillers, in addition to being the publisher of MAD Magazine.
The original comics are like a “who’s who” of comic book creators, with artists like Frank Frazetta, Wally Wood, Bernie Kreigstein, Jack Davis, Johnny Craig, Graham Ingels, Al Williamson, Harvey Kurtzman and more. Writers included Al Feldstein, Ray Bradbury, Jack Oleck and others. While fun and humorous at times, it’s amazing that these comics were published at the tail end of comic’s Golden Age. They really are a sign of where comics could go in the future.
The HBO Series Tales From The Crypt is an adaption of an EC Comic book, and the Creepshow movies and television series are directly inspired by these classics.
Today’s picks look at a very affordable recent series of EC Comics Archives from Dark Horse, plus some cool licensed products for the die-hard fan.
EC HORROR Collections
EC Comics published a trio of classic horror anthologies, Tales From The Crypt, The Vault Of Horror and The Haunt Of Fear, and each book had a “host” who introduced stories. This was where we met The Cryptkeeper, The Vault Keeper and The Old Witch.
The cool thing was that each book included stories introduced by all three hosts. In their home book, the host would take the first and last story, and turn over the second and third stories to the other two. They would crack corny jokes about the stories and insult and make fun of the other hosts and their stories.
The stories are exceptionally well-crafted, with brilliant art, and the formula worked well enough that it carried over to the HBO adaptation, an animated cartoon series, and almost every horror or sci-fi anthology on TV from The Twilight Zone to Night Gallery, Tales From The Darkside, Creepshow and many, many others.
As part of their affordable paperback EC Archives collections, Dark Horse has published two volumes each of Tales From The Crypt, Vault of Horror and Haunt of Fear. Each book costs less than twenty bucks, and the production is awesome.
The books are printed larger than they were originally. Now they’re the size of magazines, which is easy for aging eyes. Marie Severin’s original color guides were followed to digitally re-color the artwork, and each volume contains six full issues, reprinted complete with the original letters pages and covers. Some volumes have introductions by prominent fans.
These are basically paperback versions of the hardcover EC Archives, which retail for fifty bucks each or more.
You ought to be able to order these from any bookseller or comic book shop, but for the sake of convenience, Amazon has Tales From The Crypt HERE and HERE; Haunt Of Fear HERE and HERE; and Vault of Horror HERE and HERE.
EC Science Fiction Collections
Occasionally overlooked because the Horror comics got so much attention (not all of it welcome), the EC Science Fiction comics were no less revolutionary, with amazing art and stories.
These are absolute gems that belong in the library of any comic book or science fiction fan.
So far, Dark Horse has only released the first volume of Weird Science (The John Hughes movie and TV series had little resemblence to the comic, but at least they did pay for the rights to the name) as a low-priced paperback, but that will change as Incredible Science Fiction is due out just after Christmas, and the first volume of Weird Fantasy is scheduled for January.
For now, you can order volume one of Weird Science HERE.
EC Crime and Thriller Collections
Not content with just horror and science fiction, EC also gave us pulp-style crime and thrillers with Shock SuspenStories.
There have been two paperback volumes so far, the first of which has a foreward by Steven Spielberg. You can order it HERE.
This high-quality trade reprints the first six complete issues of the pulp-comic classic Shock SuspenStories! Featuing the titanic artistic talents of Al Feldstein, Jack Kamen, Jack Davis, Joe Orlando, Graham Ingles, and Wally Wood.
The second volume, which reprints issues #7-#12 can be ordered HERE.
These are suprisingly sophisticated stories, recommended for fans of Film Noir and Mickey Spillane.
EC Comics Plush Throws
These are a pre-order item, but they are supposed to ship next week, so you have plenty of time to get them for Christmas.
The folks at Retro-A-Go-Go have licensed classic EC comic book covers for a series of deluxe plush throws.
These are huge blankets, with a generous 50″ width by 77″ length. Made from ultra-soft, lightweight polyester microfiber. The front of the blanket is printed edge-to-edge with vibrant and fade-resistant colors. The back is lined with fuzzy, warm, white fleece. Machine washable.
You can warm up with horror or science fiction to keep you warm. There are four designs, but one is already sold out. The remaining styles offer up a classic cover from Weird Science, a classic cover from Tales From The Crypt, and a montage of classic science fction covers.
The artwork is beautiful, and these are perfect for folks who are into cool weird stuff to snuggle with.
EC Comics T-Shirts and Socks
The Horror Clothiers at Fright-Rags have licensed EC Comic’s iconic Horror Hosts for a trio of shirts, and not stopping there, they have also produced a pair of socks featuring all three ghoulish storytellers.
These are all high-quality garments, featuring art recreated by Kyle Crawford.
This is as close as you can get to giving socks and underwear to a horror fan without causing them to attack you with a meat cleaver!
Tomorrow we wrap up The 2022 PopCult Gift Guide with a collection of REALLY COOL STUFF!