So, what new arrival was Mike most excited about this week, you may be asking?
Chamber of Mystery: Witchcraft, from Olympian Publishing, features 13 stories from pre-Comics Code horror comics, and I do love the pre-code horror, as do all decent, right-thinking people. The stories are in color, and reproduction is mostly good…there is some fuzziness in the images, here and there, but it’s only a minor issue, and almost certainly can’t be helped given the quality of the printed pages the pages were shot from. The only qualm I have with the book is that it’s far too short…these brief, weird, and just downright goofy horror stories go by far too quickly, leaving one wanting for more. However, given that the book is marked “Volume 1,” hopefully more volumes will follow. As wonderful as EC Comics’ horror titles were, and as thankful as I am for the availability of modern-day reprints for those comics, the horror output of their competitors is woefully underrepresented with recent reprints, so this volume is quite welcome. Perhaps the stories aren’t nearly as polished and professional as EC’s, but they do have kind of a bizarre “anything goes” charm missing from the slightly more mannered EC formula.
Something else I would have liked in this book is extra editorial content, perhaps with publication, artist, and other historical information about these stories and the comics they come from, but perhaps I’m a bit spoiled by the precedent set by New England Comics’ Tales Too Terrible to Tell. The lack of this material, however, doesn’t diminish the fun. Some additional amusing touches include the cover image being shot from an actual, “distressed” cover of an issue of Witchcraft (complete with a missing piece at the bottom edge of the cover), and a period Charles Atlas ad on the back cover.
Plus, you get to see that Joss Whedon was beaten to the punch by about fifty years:
In other news:
Oh my goodness gracious. I thought that guy I once saw with a bloody-”S” “Death of Superman” tattoo was something else. I clearly had no idea.
If you’d like to see what cover would be tattooed on my back…please, enjoy.