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The EC Archives are a series of hardcover collections of full-color reprint collections of EC Comics, published from 2006 to present, by various publishers such as Russ Cochran and Gemstone Publishing, GC Press LLC, and Dark Horse Comics.

The output of Bill Gaines' EC Comics line in the 1940s and 1950s is one of the most critically acclaimed of the pre-Comics Code comics publishers (and one of the major casualties of the Comics Code). Such EC Comics as Tales from the Crypt and Weird Science are known even to people unfamiliar with the source material, due to film-TV adaptations and numerous reprints, including publisher Cochran's Complete EC Library, published from 1978 to 2006. Between 1992 and 2000, Cochran and Gemstone Publishing also produced full-color individual issues and EC Annuals reprints of almost all the EC Comics, beginning with The Haunt of Fear, The Vault of Horror and Weird Science.

Digital recoloringEdit

In 2006, Gemstone began producing a more durable series of hardback reprint collections designed by Michael Kronenberg. Similar to the DC Archives and Marvel Masterworks series, the EC Archives superseded Cochran's original annotated EC Library (of black-and-white stories) by reprinting sequential compilations of EC titles in a full-color, hardback archival format with new annotations. On January 11, 2011, Cochran looked back on the project, noting the differences between his earlier EC Library and the later EC Archives:

A few years ago, with the support and encouragement of Steve Geppi and with the permission of the Gaines Estate, I started on a new format: the EC Archives. These are slightly smaller hardcover books (smaller than the EC Library volumes but larger than the original ten-cent comic books), and because of increased demand and the availability of cheaper color printing in China, the EC Archives books were full color, with new color in an infinite palette now being possible with the advances in technology.[1]

Each book reprints six issues for a total of 24 stories. The original coloring by EC's colorist Marie Severin was used as a guide for digital recoloring by Jamison Services, a color separation company in West Plains, Missouri, the hometown of publisher Cochran. Allen Jamison and Jamison Services had previously done coloring for the DC Archives.[2] Also contributing to the project at Cochran's West Plains office were operations manager Angela Meyer and production artist Chris Rock.[3] Crediting Kronenberg as "Art Director/Designer and Color Editor" and Marie Severin for "Colors", Cochran explained the digital upgrade given to Severin's coloring; "Most of the original coloring of these stories is the work of EC colorist Marie Severin, and although all of these stories have been re-colored for this new edition, her style of coloring was followed to retain the integrity of the original EC comic books".[4] He later added:

Technology changes. We are now able to color these comics with an infinite palette, and to reproduce the artists' linework much more clearly. If these new computer generated color techniques had been available in the 1950s, I think Bill Gaines would have used it because it makes the EC work even more beautiful. So the EC material has been printed three different ways: with the old color, as originally published back in the 1950s, without any color, as it was drawn by the EC artists (the EC Library), and with the best color we can do with modern technology (the EC Archives). It has been my experience that the most dedicated EC fans are not satisfied to have them reprinted only one, or two, ways. They want them all. Those fans will have the old comics in the EC Annuals, the black and white art in the EC Library, and the best color we can produce in the EC Archives. There's room there for everyone.[5]

Along with the original EC advertisements, editorials and letters pages, the books also feature introductions by John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Paul Levitz,George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, R. L. Stine, Jerry Weist and others. The entirety of the New Trend and New Direction comics were planned for eventual release. Kronenberg suggested EC's Pre-Trend titles might also be reprinted in Archive form. However, EC's black-and-white Picto-Fiction magazines are unlikely to be reprinted as EC Archives.[6][7]

The EC Archives publishing schedule was interrupted in 2008 due to financial difficulties at Gemstone Publishing, but the line has since been revived by GC Press LLC, a boutique imprint established by Russ Cochran and Grant Geissman. Their first two volumes were released in January 2012. A contract was signed for the next two volumes, Tales from the Crypt vol. 4 and Two-Fisted Tales vol. 3, but they were instead published by Dark Horse Comics in 2013.<refMarvel Masterworks Resource Page forum.</ref>

EC Archives scheduleEdit

Title Volume Reprints Introduction First printing Pages ISBN
EC Archives: Crime SuspenStories 1 Crime SuspenStories #1 - 6 Max Allan Collins January 2008 212 978-1-888472-74-5
EC Archives: Frontline Combat 1 Frontline Combat #1 - 6 John Benson October 2008 212 978-1-60360-014-9
EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear 1 The Haunt of Fear #15(1)[8] - 17(3);[8] #4 - 6
(with notes by Grant Geissman)
Robert Englund January 2012 212 978-1-60360-015-6
EC Archives: Shock SuspenStories 1 Shock SuspenStories #1 - 6
(with notes by Russ Cochran)
Steven Spielberg December 2006 212 978-1-888472-57-8
2 Shock SuspenStories #7 - 12 Dean Kamen June 2007 212 978-1-888472-70-7
EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt 1 Tales from the Crypt #17(1)[9] - 22(6)[9] John Carpenter February 2007 212 978-1-888472-55-4
2 Tales from the Crypt #23(7)[9] - 28(12)[9] Joe Dante July 2007 212 978-1-888472-71-4
3 Tales from the Crypt #29(13)[9] - 34(18)[9] Robert Overstreet September 2008 212 978-1-60360-011-8
4 Tales from the Crypt #35(19)[9] - 40(24)[9] Unknown Unknown 212 978-1-60360-104-7
EC Archives: Two-Fisted Tales 1 Two-Fisted Tales #18(1)[10] - 23(6)[10] Steve Geppi March 2007 212 978-1-888472-56-1
2 Two-Fisted Tales #24(7)[10] - 29(12)[10] Professor Rocco Versaci August 2007 212 978-1-888472-72-1
3 (Two-Fisted Tales #30(13)[10] - 35(18)[10]) Unknown Unknown 212 978-1-60360-017-0
EC Archives: The Vault of Horror 1 The Vault of Horror #12(1)[11] - 17(6)[11]
(with notes by Roger Hill)
R. L. Stine October 2007 212 978-1-888472-73-8
2 The Vault of Horror #18(7)[11] - 23(12)[11]
(with notes by Bhob Stewart)
John Landis January 2012 212 978-1-60360-103-0
EC Archives: Weird Science 1 Weird Science #12(1)[12] - 15(4),[12] #5 - 6 George Lucas December 2006 212 978-1-888472-58-5
2 Weird Science #7 - 12 Paul Levitz May 2007 212 978-1-888472-69-1
3 Weird Science #13 - 18 Jerry Weist / Ray Bradbury August 2008[13] 212 978-1-60360-010-1

Chronological list of EC ArchivesEdit

  • 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: The 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)
  • The EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear Volume 1 (4 January 2012)
  • The EC Archives: The Vault of Horror Volume 2 (4 January 2012)
  • The EC Archives: Two-Fisted Tales Volume 1 (Reissue) (22 September 2015)
  • The EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear Volume 2 (10 November 2015)
  • The EC Archives: Weird Science Volume 1 (Reissue) (29 December 2015)
  • The EC Archives: Panic Volume 1 (9 February 2016)
  • The EC Archives: Shock SuspenStories Volume 1 (Reissue) (29 March 2016)
  • The EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear Volume 3 (7 June 2016)

Leather-boundEdit

  • The EC Archives: Weird Science Volume 1 (February 2008)
  • The EC Archives: Weird Science Volume 2 (August 2008)
  • The EC Archives: Shock SuspenStories Volume 1 (October 2009)
  • The EC Archives: Shock SuspenStories Volume 2 (October 2009)

Limited editionsEdit

In February 2008, the first limited leather-bound edition of one of the EC Archives was released.[14] Weird Science Volume 1 was released in a limited print run of 300, all signed by EC editor Al Feldstein. Weird Science Volume 2 was released in August 2008. The limited editions came packaged with a pair of white gloves for handling of the expensive volumes.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. [web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.weirdfantasy.com/WeirdFantasy/Home/Entries/2011/1/15_Last_Call!.html Russ Cochran Newsletter 19, January 15, 2011.]
  2. Comic Book Database: Allen Jamison
  3. Gemstone Corporate History
  4. EC Archives, 2007.
  5. Digital Comic Museum
  6. Michael Kronenberg posting at MarvelMasterworksFansite.Yuku.com, July 26, 2008. Accessed September 1, 2008
  7. Michael Kronenberg posting at MarvelMasterworksFansite.Yuku.com, July 26, 2008. Accessed September 1, 2008
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Haunt of Fear's first three issues continued the numbering from the Pre-Trend comic initially titled Gunfighter.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Tales from the Crypt continued the numbering from the Pre-Trend comic Crime Patrol.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 The United States Post Office requested that 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. three). Therefore, after three issues of The Haunt of Fear (#15-17), the comic book was again retitled, becoming Two-Fisted Tales.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 The Vault of Horror continued the numbering from the Pre-Trend comic War Against Crime!
  12. 12.0 12.1 Weird Science continued the numbering from the Pre-Trend comic Saddle Romances.
  13. A printing defect saw most copies withheld by the publisher for an erroneously missing cover illustration to be inserted.
  14. Solicited in Diamond Comics' Previews May, 2007.

External linksEdit

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