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EC Archives: Weird Science Volume 1 [Hardcover]

Al Feldstein , Russ Cochran


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Book Description

Nov. 7 2006 Weird Science: Fantasy (Book 1)
Star Wars creator George Lucas kicks off the full-color, chronological, hardcover presentation of the EC Comics line with a foreword introducing readers to the wonders of Weird Science. Included are stories by Al Feldstein, Bill Gaines and others with art by legendary illustrators such as Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, Joe Orlando, Jack Kamen, Feldstein and others from the first six issues of this pivotal comic book title. Find out what made EC among the most influential comic book lines ever in this complete and newly re-colored collection. This volume reprints the first six complete issues (24 stories) of the comic book Weird Science, originally published in 1950, and features science fiction and fantasy stories, flying saucers, aliens, other worlds, space travel, similar to the first science fiction movies of the same period.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Gemstone Publishing (Nov. 7 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1888472588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1888472585
  • Product Dimensions: 28.6 x 21.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 45 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #752,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Edition Is A Fine Addition Dec 9 2006
By D.P. Merde - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have been following Russ Cochran's efforts to reprint the E.C.'s since the late seventies or early eighties. It's hard to remember, because I was pretty young when I came across an ad for the "Complete Tales From the Crypt" and put it on my Christmas list. I was rather naive and actually expected a box full of the original comics to arrive, so when I opened the package and found the oversized, b&w E.C. Library editions, I was a bit taken aback at first. However, being young and flexible I quickly adapted and showed great enthusiasm for the gift, which is the only polite thing to do. But I had no need to feign the enthusiasm any longer once I had a chance to really peruse the books. Anyone who owns any of the library sets or is attempting to find them second hand knows what I mean.

So memory lane has led me to the first edition of the E.C. Archives. Now that I am older and wiser (and a bit wealthier I suppose), and now that the rest of the world (including some pretty famous names) has gotten on board with Mr. Cochran, we can finally get a pristine full-color version of these historic comics. And I must say it doesn't disappoint. There are many ways the publisher could have gone with this. We've seen photographic reproductions of some of the original stories done, and they have great character. But the original color printing is often way off (though those great color pixels, lost on many moderns not named Lichtenstein, are a true mark of authenticity). We've had actual comic book format reprints, some of which collected stories from here and there, and the complete run, which was slightly undersized (compared to the original) in order to match current comic dimensions, and so, much of the detail (so gloriously preserved in the oversized b&w reproductions of the library) was lost.

But here we have the books reproduced in original (golden age) size on slick, bright white paper. This admittedly doesn't have the character of the tea-patina the originals take on over the years. (I believe this comes from the tannic acid in pulp and is actually a sign of its slow self-destruction. I don't think the new paper is actually "archival" in the acid free sense, but it is surely more resistant than pulp.) The covers are included, of course, and are unchanged from those that appear in the library sets(unlike the comic reproductions that required necessary changes from the original to sell on newsstands) . I do not say that they are unchanged from the originals because afficionadoes will already know that the EC Library covers were re-colored by the original colorist, Marie Severin. They are close to the originals, but not exactly the same (Ingel's "Haunt of Fear" covers are closest).

As for the color of the stories in the "Archives," this is probably the most controversial of all the changes that have been made to the originals. I'll be interested in reading what those reviewers who have the opportunity to closely compare these to the present printing have to say. I own only a few originals and some photographic reproductions of stories not yet printed in the "Archives" series . The stories have been re-colored by a company in Missouri (West Plains, Cochran's home town) called Jamison Services, and they do a fine job. The coloring in the comic book reprints was rather sloppy. However, it was more in the spirit of the expressionistic color schemes of the originals. The color schemes of the originals are pretty arbitrary and sometimes even irrational. This, combined with the frequent off-printing made for some pretty bizzare visuals, but that is part of the dream-like charm of the originals. The present coloring seems to be informed by more recent esthetics and technology, and is more rational (skies are always blue) and consistent (skin is usually flesh colored instead of inexplicably red, green or blue with yellow and orange highlights, for example). Overall, the colors are toned down and the effect cleaner and more "realistic." But, as good as it looks, something is lost. It seems that most efforts at reproduction of old classics always end up changing things. One can understand this with Volkswagens and Mustangs, perhaps, but why can't the look be reproduced exactly if that's what people love about the thing in the first place? Why must it always be "updated" in some way? The re-coloring was probably necessary, and, perhaps the colorists had to start from scratch. Taken on its own, the result is quite deep and rich, though, colorwise, the stories take on the look of the present rather than preserving the past look of the fifties. There is no off-printing of course and the detail lost in the undersized runs (and the originals, frankly) is not lost here. The blacks are strong and the images eye-poppingly precise. There are also some effects used (like the glow of a moon, for instance, reflected light, quite naturalistic, on faces and a more subtle gradation of hues) that were impossible in the originals.

The original one-pagers, letters, and in house E.C. ads are reproduced. One wishes the outside ads could have been reproduced (Charles Atlas: Before and After!), but that is probably not possible, so we have photos and articles concerning the well-worn E.C. history in their place. The cover is a glossy reproduction of the dust-cover (a cloth cover would be tops, but then I would probably complain about the price). The end papers are an oversized monochrome (maroon in this one)reproduction of a detail of one of the covers overlaid with the E.C. logo in black. The binding is sewn, which is very nice.

As I say, this is a fine edition, but one wonders if it is the last? You see, one format remains to be explored. The b&w E.C. Library is a standard of the industry now. Frank Miller's "Sin City" Library is based on it. The original of Miller's series was in black and white mostly, so the format makes sense. But the few color scenes from "Sin City" were reproduced in the oversized format as well. And now we have the oversized "Sandman" Library editions coming out which are totally in color. So it can be done, and with the E.C.'s, it probably will (and should) be done -- eventually. Can you imagine oversized "E.C. Library" collections just like the b&w versions in every way, but in color? I suppose the market will decide.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Volume 1 Contents Dec 7 2007
By Israel Jovanovich - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Here's a listing of this edition's stories:

From the May/June 1950 issue:
1.) "Lost in the Microcosm" by Albert B. Feldstein (Script) & Harvey Kurtzman (Art)
2.) "Dream of Doom" by Feldstein (Script) & Wally Wood (Art)
3.) "Experiment ... In Death" by Feldstein (Script) & Jack Kamen (Art)
4.) "'Things' From Outer Space!" by Feldstein (Script & Art)

From the July/August 1950 issue:
5.) "The Flying Saucer Invasion" by Feldstein (Script & Art)
6.) "The Meteor Monster" by Feldstein (Script), Harry Harrison (Pencils) & Wood (Inks)
7.) "The Micro-Race!" by Feldstein (Script) & Kamen (Art)
8.) "The Man Who Raced Time" by Feldstein (Script) & Kurtzman (Art)

From the September/October 1950 issue:
9.) "Destruction of the Earth!" by Feldstein (Script & Art)
10.) "The Sounds from Another World!" by Feldstein (Script) & Kurtzman (Art)
11.) "Machine from Nowhere" by Feldstein (Script) & Harrison (Art)
12.) "The Eternal Man" by Feldstein (Script) & Kamen (Art)

From the November/December 1950 issue:
13.) "Panic!" by Feldstein (Script & Art)
14.) "The Radioactive Child" by Kurtzman (Script & Art)
15.) "House, in Time!" by Feldstein (Script) & Graham Ingels (Art)
16.) "I Created a ... Gargantua!" by Feldstein (Script) & Kamen (Art)

From the January/February 1951 issue:
17.) "Made of the Future!" by Feldstein (Script & Art)
18.) "Return" by Feldstein (Script) & Wood (Art)
19.) "The Last War on Earth" by Kurtzman (Script & Art)
20.) "The Man Who Was Killed in Time!" by Feldstein (Script) & Kamen (Art)

From the March/April 1951 issue:
21.) "Spawn of Venus" by Feldstein (Script & Art)
22.) "Man and Superman!" by Kurtzman (Script & Art)
23.) "Sinking of the Titanic!" by Feldstein (Script) & Wood (Art)
24.) "Divide and Conquer" by Feldstein (Script) & Kamen (Art)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars milestones in the comic book history Jan. 23 2007
By Jack key - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Yes, the EC comic books are one of the best ever. Astonishing, these stories are almost 60 years old but can easily surpass the very best stories you can read today. The stories are about 8 pages but contain more ideas than a 3 hour movie. There are countless ideas in these stories you can find in later movies and comic books and countless ideas still to explore. The story line goes up and down, from right to left, bend in all directions and goes fast forward and ends in a surprising climax. All stories make sense and provide a morale message and a comment on righteousness. Above all, the stories are also very entertaining. Beside all fantastic events, the stories are somehow realistic because all the outrageous ideas are connected to real science and the characters speak and acting very naturally, so you think it could be happen this way. In the fifties the EC comics are banned because of the violence. But I think they were banned because some stories are socio-critical. In "Weird Science" is almost no violence and the violence in the other titles are mild in comparison with the violence you see in an average movie and comic book today. The drawings are innovative, skilful and detailed and look realistic. This new edition is very good. It is oversized and the binding is superb. The colouration is not the original one but is computer generated. I am very critical about computer colouration but this time it is perfect. It is accurate and well balanced. There are not too much fancy effects and the colours are not so deep, so the reader can enjoy the wonderful ink work.

No comic collection is complete without these milestones and if you have no comic books start with this one, it is essential. I will buy all of them. The endless fun is worth the money.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great comic Dec 30 2012
By danny boy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I see a lot of flak being targetted to these archival reprints, mostly on the new colouring not being true to the original.

However, despite neither being a keeper of the flame for EC comics, nor a fan of gory comics, I picked this up because of the very attractive cover and inside contents. The stories are absolute gems and are not too formulaic (as in other EC titles). The artwork is excellent and I liked the colours, faithful or not. I can't believe that the majority of people prefer to read a black and white reproduction over this attractive coloured rendition.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest of guilty pleasures... July 29 2009
By OAKSHAMAN - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Most of us have our guilty pleasures and these EC stories are among mine. Why would I review such stuff? Simply because these are in my humble opinion the finest graphic science fiction stories ever printed. I believe that Gaines is on the record as saying that they were the best thing that EC ever published. They are also simply the best comics printed during the arid 1950's. As far as I am concerned nothing that came later, even from the same writers and artists, compared to them. I have every single Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, and Weird Science-Fantasy (including the title switch to Incredible Science Fiction) published- I wouldn't trade them for anything.

The wit, originality, and craft of these tales define the 1950's just as the original Twilight Zone defined the 1960's. However, I have noticed over the years that such stories tell us less about the future than they do about the values and obsessions of the past. That's alright though, since it is good to ponder where we came from- and where so many "new" ideas are still being lifted from...

As for the comments on the "garish" colors- apparently some people forget that the technicolor of the films of this period was so bright and gaudy that it practically made your eyes bleed. Why should the colors be subtle when nothing else about these comics was?
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