Monday, June 09, 2008
Tales from the Crypt: the Official Archives - From 1999
Readers who grew up in the early 1950's can recapture their childhoods by acquiring Digby Diehl's Tales from the Crypt: the Official Archives (St. Martin's Press, 1996).
Those who grew up later will also want a copy, but they will never be able to share the earlier generation's memory of joy at seeing new E.C. horror titles on racks and wallowing in the gruesomeness perpetrated by E.C. writers and artists.
The rise, fall and eventual triumph of E.C. has been chronicled in many places. American popular culture has been indelibly marked by editors and writers William Gaines and Al Feldstein, artists Jack Davis and Graham Ingels, and numerous others.
Readers unfamiliar with the Gaines saga catch up quickly with this volume's valuable historical and biographical information. The price is ghastly ($45), however, paper quality and illustrations make it worthwhile.
Other E.C. reprint materials are available, but this book brings the story up to date with extensive coverage of the popular television series.
Hollywood's special effects can equal or surpass anything Gaines's team put on paper, but this reader still retains fondness for letting the imagination add a few hideous details to the final moments of a story.
If there was one dominant theme in these horror titles, it was that evil will bring retribution. Virtue may not be rewarded, but justice will be visited upon the predatory, the abusive, and the corrupt.
Dante's Inferno was mild in comparison to E.C.'s version of justice. One wonders what punishments Gaines and his team would mete out for transgressors who stalk our world today.
This book is not for small children, particularly because of the photographs from the television series.
Even those who own the Russ Cochran reprints of E.C. titles will want to consider adding this to their collections.
-- Dr. Jon Suter