“Weird Fantasy Volume 1 touches down at Dark Horse Comics! Fully remastered in magnificent digital color, this otherworldly volume includes twenty-four extraterrestrial tales from a stellar collection of writers and artists—Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, Harry Harrison, Gardner Fox, Jack Kamen, Harvey Kurtzman, and Wally Wood! Collects Weird Fantasy issues #13–#17 and #6, in full color!”
The Entertaining Comic covers are some of the most easily-recognizable in comics (you can probably picture the Tales from the Crypt ones in your head), and I’ve always been interested in reading them. I actually didn’t realize that they had more than Tales from the Crypt! Now that there’s a new hardcover compiling the first six issues of their science fiction magazine, Weird Fantasy, what better time to delve into comics history? These first six issues were published from 1950-1951, and this Archives series offers digitally recolored versions that still stay true to the original books. There’s a forward by Walt Simonson and an introduction by Grant Geissman, both of which are quite informative and give you the run-down of how these comics came to be.
There are a lot more words in these than we see in most modern comics, which is interesting – most panels have paragraphs instead of single words or sentences. There are even a few short stories among the comics, along with the original ads for other EC titles and letters to the editor. The stories vary in quality, but are all fun, pulpy science fiction: robots, clones, time travel, mad scientists, mind reading, space travel, the Necronomicon, aliens, and more! Most end in a twist that fans of the genre will see coming, but at the time, those tropes weren’t so well-worn.
A note on representation – there are only a handful of women in the comics, and no people of color to speak of. This is very much a product of its time in history. However, there is one story narrated by a woman, and there are a few letters to the editor where the editors talk about their girl fans in a proud way, which I thought was great. The EC Archives: Weird Fantasy Volume 1 was a collection I really enjoyed, especially because it’s a great way to see some of the earliest popular science fiction, and I look forward to reading more in the Archives series.
[Disclaimer: A review copy was provided for me to review this comic.]