Reviews | Written by Robin Pierce 28/09/2020

THE HISTORY OF EC COMICS

FORMAT: HARDBACK / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW

Having already published the definitive histories of DC and Marvel, Taschen now turn their microscope on the notorious and no less legendary EC Comics in a stupendous volume.

EC, which originally stood for Educational Comics published as their first titles comic book adaptations of Biblical tales, but in the 1950s took to startling stories of crime, suspense, war, sci-fi and most memorably - unflinching horror which were introduced by a trio of quirky characters, the Old Witch, the Vault-Keeper and, of course, the Crypt-Keeper. The distinctive EC style of short and punchy graphic stories still resonates to this day, as streaming shows like Creepshow demonstrate.

Taschen has produced another exhaustively researched book that is fully immersive and absorbs the reader with lively prose and lavish illustrations from the first page. It offers a richly detailed history of the company right up to its eventual demise in 1956 following frenzied public outrage which led to the knee-jerk adoption of the creatively stifling Comics Code Authority. Included is a handful of full stories, reproduced in all their gory glory. All of EC Comics’ magnificently lurid covers are lovingly presented in a gallery for the reader to drool over. It’s a gloriously hefty book and it comes at a justifiably hefty price considering both its size and scope. But if you’re a fan, or you’re interested in the history and art of the fifties comic book industry from the warts and all view of a rebelliously scrappy underdog, it’s a worthwhile investment.

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