This book is amazing in terms of its production value. The book is gigantic in size(I don't remember the exact dimensions, but trust me - this is one huge book). The quality of the hardcover, binding, and glossy paper is of the highest order. It's a really thick book when it comes to length as well. And the comics from that era tended to have more bang for your buck when speaking strictly of the sheer amount of words per panel that accompanied the artwork. Stories, while still told with artwork, relied heavily on more exposition and writing than modern comics. This leads to more actual 'reading' time. Is this a good thing? Well, it can be. But it can also fail to deliver the dynamic experience you get out of a comic book/graphic novel that focuses a little more on visual storytelling. Now, "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?"(the graphic novel series) is a direct, word for word adaptation of the Phillip K. Dick novel. This is the only series to ever to do this, and having read the first volume, I think it works beautifully. All of the words don't, in any way, detract from the illustrative/pictorial storytelling approach. I feel that in verbal versus visual terms, "Do Androids..." strikes a pretty perfect balance. In fact, I think it could start a new trend in comics; utilizing more prose than is the norm for telling stories. It might not work for every book, but it did for that one. When it comes to this book, however, the results are mixed.
It's not that the writing is bad(though it does feel dated, which in all fairness, should be expected). It isn't great, however, either. Some stories are written very well, and avoid that corny feeling some of the others fall prey to. The first story in the collection is a great example. I loved it. It had everything I expected from a "Tales from the Crypt" story; suspense, horror, and that twist/'snap ending' for which the series is famous. There are other stories here that also meet these requirements. But there are some who fall short, and end up leaving you feeling let-down. I have to say here though, that I am 33 years old, and wasn't around for this series when it was originally published. The only experience I had previously had with "Tales..." was the HBO tv series. I loved that series. But even though I didn't experience this comic book series growing up, I still have always had a kinship with older comics(or comics that have that 50's/60's feel to them; such as Darwyn Cooke's "DC: The New Frontier"). I get a nostalgic feeling when I read these kinds of stories, which I know makes no sense. But I have that feeling nevertheless. So, I'm not completely put-off by the older style of prose/dialogue used in this book(although the use of exclamation points after every single sentence did get a little irritating). I just feel like the sheer volume of writing in each panel sometimes takes away from the artwork. And the fact that much of the writing is TOO MUCH on the cheesy side makes it difficult to feel the fear that I thought these stories were supposed to project. I know they are supposed to have dark humor to them too, but the terror needs to be there as well. And being able to predict the endings to many of the stories doesn't help much either.
The artwork ranges from average(at best) to very good. Given the amount of words per story, I feel like the artistic side of the storytelling, for the most part, is about as good as it could be. Again, I really enjoyed that first story. The writing and artwork gelled really well. This story is probly my favorite in this collection. There are others I like, but I think this one met my expectations the most. I know the artwork in this book is considered by many to be ahead of its time. And in some instances, when compared to other artwork I've seen in comic books from that time period, this is true. There is, however, some pretty mediocre artwork on display here. There really seemed to not be much difference from story to story sometimes. I like variety and uniqueness when it comes to art. And I didn't find much of that here. But maybe I'm subconsciously comparing the artwork here to today's stuff. And that really isn't fair. And as I said earlier, the artists here aren't really given(by the very nature of the writing style) as much freedom to tell the stories in the same visually fresh and distinct ways that today's artists are. Still, the artwork IS interesting and cool in some of the stories. And given what the artistic restrictions the artists had to work with, I guess I can't complain too much.
I am generally pleased with my purchase of this giant tome. I guess if you grew up with these stories, you'll be pretty happy with it. But, if you're really looking for some fun, darkly humorous, and truly creepy short horror stories with truly satisfying twists at the end, and some spectacularly original artwork, then I'd recommend you buy the completely awesome "Creepy Comics Vol. 1" instead. I'm referring to the new series, not the old, classic "Creepy" collections(I've never read any of those, so I can't speak to how good or bad they are). This is an okay book - if you don't mind some wordy cheese and mostly average art with your collection of comic book horror stories. I prefer "Creepy Comics Vol. 1"(from Dark Horse) hands-down.