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The EC Archives are a series of American hardcover collections of full-color comic book reprints of EC Comics publications, published by Gemstone Publishing. Their publishing schedule has been suspended due to financial difficulties at Gemstone Publishing.

History

Earlier EC reprints

The output of William Gaines' (in)famous EC Comics line in the 1940s and 1950s is one of the highest-profile and most lauded of the pre-Comics Code comics publishers (and one of the major casualties of the comics code). Featuring the work of such artists as Johnny Craig, Reed Crandall, Jack Davis, Will Elder, Frank Frazetta, Graham Ingels, Jack Kamen, Bernard Krigstein, Joe Orlando, Al Feldstein and Wally Wood, the companies output has had a disproportionate influence far in excess of its relatively small numbers of issues. Although the titles - Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, etc. - are familiar even to people unfamiliar with the source material, even though the actual stories themselves have (unlike many early, pre-Code comics titles) been reprinted on a number of occasions, thanks largely to the actions of a single man: EC fan-turned-publisher Russ Cochran.

Cochran's reprints (which have been released through a number of publishers, including Cochran himself) were compiled primarily from copies of the original artwork pages, (complemented as needs be by scans of the original comics) which were owned by EC Publisher William Gaines. Cochran befriended Gaines, and also handled the resale of the original artwork to collectors via mail-auction catalogs during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.

Cochran's major republication of EC output began with a mammoth undertaking - the Complete EC Library, consisting of large, slipcased black-and-white[1] collections of (particularly) the most famous "New trend" EC Comics titles. These were made available via mail-order from the late 1970s and 1980s, and ultimately reprinted all the "New Trend," "New Direction" and "Pre-Trend" titles, terminating with 2006's Picto-Fiction volumes, which were released in conjunction with Gemstone.

In the early 1990s, Cochran joined Steve Geppi's Gemstone Publishing, and Gemstone also assisted in producing full-color individual-issue and 'annual'-format (compendiums on four issues apiece) reprints of almost-all the EC Comics between 1992 and 2000 beginning with the most famous titles - The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror and Weird Science.

The EC Archives

In 2006, Gemstone began producing a more durable and luxurious series of hardback reprint collections - similar to the DC Archives and Marvel Masterworks volumes - intending to supersede both the original "EC Library" and the individual issues, by reprinting in full-color hardback ('archival') format sequential compilations of the EC titles.

Designed by art director/designer Michael Kronenberg, a number of volumes have been released, and the entireity of the "New Trend" and "New Direction" comics are planned for eventual release.[2] Kronenberg has also suggested that, sales allowing, the "Pre-Trend" titles might also be reprinted in Archive form.[3] (The already-Gemstone-released final volumes of Russ Cochran's initial Complete EC Library - the final EC-released comics, called "Picto Fiction" - however, are unlikely to be reprinted in Archive form.)

These EC Archives volumes have drawn praise for their quality, and feature introductions by such notable EC fans as George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante and Paul Levitz, et al. In early 2009 several comic blogs reported financial difficulties at Gemstone Publishing, and a subsequent announcement was published on the Gemstone website stating "at this time, no final decision has been made regarding The EC Archives...but it seems certain that (they) will continue in some form." There has been no further information on the fate of the Archives.

Proposed schedule of EC Archives

Title Volume Reprints Introduction First printing Pages ISBN
EC Archives: Crime SuspenStories 1 Crime SuspenStories #1 - 6 Max Allan Collins January 2008 212 ISBN 1-8884-7274-X
EC Archives: Frontline Combat 1 Frontline Combat #1 - 6 John Benson October 2008 212 ISBN 1-6036-0014-0
EC Archives: Haunt of Fear 1 Haunt of Fear #15(1)[4] - 17(3)[4]; #4 - 6 November 2008 ISBN
EC Archives: Shock SuspenStories 1 Shock SuspenStories #1 - 6
(With notes by Russ Cochran)
Steven Spielberg December 2006 212 ISBN 1-8884-7257-X
2 Shock SuspenStories #7 - 12 Dean Kamen June 2007 212 ISBN 1-8884-7270-7
EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt 1 Tales from the Crypt #17(1)[5] - 22(6)[5] John Carpenter February 2007 212 ISBN 1-8884-7255-3
2 Tales from the Crypt #23(7)[5] - 28(12)[5] Joe Dante July 2007 212 ISBN 1-8884-7271-5
3 Tales from the Crypt #29(13)[5] - 34(18)[5] Robert Overstreet September 2008 212 ISBN
4 Tales from the Crypt #29(13)[5] - 34(18)[5] Unknown Unknown 212 ISBN
EC Archives: Two-Fisted Tales 1 Two-Fisted Tales #18(1)[6] - 23(6)[6] Steve Geppi March 2007 212 ISBN 1-8884-7256-1
2 Two-Fisted Tales #24(7)[6] - 29(12)[6] Professor Rocco Versaci August 2007 212 ISBN 1-8884-7272-3
3 (Two-Fisted Tales #30(13)[6] - 35(18)[6]) DUE Late 2008/early 2009 ISBN
EC Archives: Vault of Horror 1 Vault of Horror #12(1)[7] - 17(6)[7] R.L. Stine October 2007 212 ISBN 1-8884-7273-1
2 Vault of Horror #12(1)[7] - 17(6)[7] R.L. Stine Pending 212 ISBN 978-1603601030
EC Archives: Weird Science 1 Weird Science #12(1)[8] - 15(4)[8], #5 - 6 George Lucas December 2006 212 ISBN 1-8884-7258-8
2 Weird Science #7 - 12 Paul Levitz May 2007 212 ISBN 1-8884-7269-3
3 Weird Science #13 - 18 Jerry Weist/Ray Bradbury August 2008[9] 212 ISBN 1-6036-0010-8

Chronological List of Published Archives

  • The EC Archives: Weird Science Volume 1 (6 December 2006)
  • The EC Archives: Shock Suspenstories Volume 1 (6 December 2006)
  • The EC Archives: Tales From The Crypt Volume 1 (14 February 2007)
  • The EC Archives: Two-Fisted Tales Volume 1 (28 February 2007)
  • The EC Archives: Weird Science Volume 2 (18 April 2007)
  • The EC Archives: Shock Suspenstories Volume 2 (30 May 2007)
  • The EC Archives: Tales From The Crypt Volume 2 (20 June 2007)
  • The EC Archives: Two-Fisted Tales Volume 2 (8 August 2007)
  • The EC Archives: Vault Of Horror Volume 1 (20 October 2007)

  • The EC Archives: Crime Suspenstories Volume 1 (16 January 2008)
  • The EC Archives: Weird Science Volume 3 (30 July 2008)
  • The EC Archives: Tales From The Crypt Volume 3 (10 September 2008)
  • The EC Archives: Frontline Combat Volume 1 (14 October 2008)
  • PUBLISHING SCHEDULE SUSPENDED

Leather-bound

  • The EC Archives: Weird Science Volume One (Ltd Leather-Bound Edition) (February 2008)
  • The EC Archives: Weird Science Volume Two (Ltd Leather-Bound Edition) (August 2008)
  • The EC Archives: Shock SuspenStories Volume One (Ltd Leather-Bound Edition) (October 2009)
  • The EC Archives: Shock SuspenStories Volume Two (Ltd Leather-Bound Edition) (October 2009)
  • The EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt Volume One (Ltd Leather-Bound Edition) (2007) - Scheduled?

Limited Editions

In February, 2008, the first Limited Leather-bound edition of one of the EC Archives was released.[10] Weird Science Vol. 1 was released in a limited print run of 300, all signed by legendary EC writer/editor Al Feldstein. Weird Science Volume 2 was released in August 2008. The limited volumes came pre-packaged with a pair of white gloves for more gentle handling of the expensive volumes.

See also


References

  1. The MAD reprints were also printed in color as well as black-and-white.
  2. Michael Kronenberg posting at MarvelMasterworksFansite.Yuku.com, July 26, 2008. Accessed September 1, 2008
  3. Michael Kronenberg posting at MarvelMasterworksFansite.Yuku.com, July 26, 2008. Accessed September 1, 2008
  4. 4.0 4.1 Haunt of Fear's first three issues continued the numbering from the "Pre-Trend" comic initially titled Gunfighter.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Tales from the Crypt continued the numbering from the "Pre-Trend" comic Crime Patrol.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 In a somewhat-complicated move, the United States Post Office requested that the numbering of the "New Trend" title The Haunt of Fear (formerly the "Pre-Trend" title Gunfighter) be realigned to accurately reflect the number of issues that were actually part of the Haunt of Fear run (i.e. 3). Therefore, after three issues of Haunt of Fear (#15-17), the title-originally-known-as-Gunfighter was re-re-named from Haunt of Fear, becoming: Two-Fisted Tales...
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Vault of Horror continued the numbering from the "Pre-Trend" comic War Against Crime!.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Weird Science continued the numbering from the "Pre-Trend" comic Saddle Romances.
  9. A printing defect saw most copies withheld by the publisher for an erroneously-missing cover illustration to be inserted.
  10. Solicited in Diamond Comics' Previews May, 2007

External links

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