I mean, technically this would be graded…what, Fair? Poor? It’s certainly not coverless.

§ November 22nd, 2018 § Filed under retailing § 5 Comments

So on Wednesday a gentleman came to my store to show me this comic which he’d acquired from an estate sale:

He had no luck identifying it, or finding it in a price guide, or in online auctions. Asking around, he was advised to take it to me, which was nice to hear, frankly, and boy, it puzzled me, too. You can follow my progress in this Twitter thread, where I put the word out to my online pals if they had any info on the item, but let me present to you in slightly less confused fashion what I observed about this item.

First, that’s a Mike Vosburg image, which I’ll give you a better look at here:

I wasn’t a watcher of the Tales of the Crypt HBO show, but I learned that Mr. Vosburg worked on the program, providing ersatz Tales from the Crypt comic book covers for use in the episodes which would reflect that installment’s story.

Next, I noticed that the cover image was in fact a separate piece of paper glued over the cover of the comic, which was a copy of Vault of Horror from the Russ Cochran reprint line (#4 from 1993, specifically…thanks, still visible copyright info on the inside front cover!).

The most curious thing about the comic was that, affixed into the middle of the book, was an extra page featuring a sequence of panels that clearly were not in the style of the classic EC comics:

Now, my initial thought was that the comic was some kind of print sample used by the publisher, maybe, or a prop from the TV show. However, looking at some of the episodes online, Vosburg’s cover illustrations were usually presented as being pages in a dusty tome the Crypt Keeper would open and show the audience, and not as an actual comic book.

Posing this observation to my Twitter feed, it was pal Plastic Soul what gave the fateful clue in his response, suggesting that it was used in Demon Knight, the Tales from the Crypt spin-off feature film. And sure enough, looking at a not-great copy of the opening sequence on the YouTubes, I determined that, in all likelihood, this comic I’m holding in my gentle and dainty hands is the very same one used in the movie:

Freeze-framing the video, the comic pages definitely match up between the film and the item in my possession, with the clincher being the end bit where the extra page of art is shown leading directly into the film’s story.

Now, I suppose some EC Comics superfan may have cobbled this together on his own, printing out the pic from Mr. Vosburg’s website and doing his/her own mock-up, but that seems unlikely. Also, given what details I know about where the comic was obtained, I’m pretty sure this is The Real Thing. The current owner of this comic should be forwarding some documentation to me regarding his purchase of the item, so I should have more details shortly. Which I’ll need, since we’ve come to an agreement that I’ll be selling this for him. So watch the eBay skies!

One interesting note: the extra page of art is attached to and covering up another page of extra art. It seems to show more ore less the same sequence of events, just with some different staging. Wish I could get a good picture of it without tearing pages, becase I guess in a weird kinda-squint-right way this is a previously undiscovered alternate take for the film! Okay, it’s just production art, but hey, you didn’t know about it!

Anyway, this is one oddball item to have just fall into my lap like this. Definitely a unique piece of EC Comics history.

ADDENDUM 11/22/18: I received a comment elsewhere from someone who’s confused two different prop comics that are featured in the film. The comic in my possession is the one that appears in the first few minutes…as pictured in the GIF above, the pages are flipped, landing on the newly inserted artwork which then leads into the movie proper. There is a second, different, prop comic that appears much later in the film, featuring other inserted Vosburg pages, which you can see at the bottom of this page. I don’t have that second comic…it’s probably being held by my evil alternate universe counterpart, the one with the goatee.

ADDENDUM 2: Oh, and the comic apparently came from this estate sale.

5 Responses to “I mean, technically this would be graded…what, Fair? Poor? It’s certainly not coverless.”

  • Thom H. says:

    Twitter can be used for good after all! :)

  • Rich says:

    This is one of the most fascinating things I’ve read on your blog, Mike–and that’s saying a lot, as I’m often fascinated here.

  • David Oakes says:

    This is the best Thanksgiving gift ever.

  • BobH says:

    “Wish I could get a good picture of it without tearing pages”

    If you can get a decent image of it with a strong backlight (an artist light table would be best, to give a consistent light) you might be able to get a decent view of it, especially if you use some photoshop trickery to eliminate the top layer (I’ve used that for black&white art, I’m not sure how it would work for colour. If I recall correctly it involved inverting the colours on one layer and playing around with the opacity of each layer). Though it might not work if both pages of new art are pasted on top of the original comic page, so you’d have three layers to eliminate.

  • Mike Loughlin says:

    That’s awesome! I really liked Demon Knight, it was schlocky fun. I’m trying to think of other movies that had fake comics… Chasing Amy is all I can come up with off the top of my head. Maybe The Lost Boys? I know there was an ’80s movie called The Hand I’ve never seen that featured a fake barbarian comic strip with Barry Windsor-Smith art.

    Anyway, cool find!