Snark: EC Archives Announced

Gemstone and EC Crypt (?) will be publishing a line of EC Archives. Weird Science Volume 1 is due in October. Like the DC line, the book will be priced at $49.95 US for 212 pages. (I wonder if DC will complain about the similar naming and format, or if some sort of deal’s been made?)

There are a couple of choices they’re plugging as a features that make me shy from preordering a book like this:

  1. “[E]ach of the EC Archives volumes will also include all of the original EC advertisements, editorial pieces, and even the letters pages in order provide readers with the full EC experience.” That says too me “too lazy to reformat”, that they’re straight copies. When Gemstone’s done cheaper, similar projects in the past, I didn’t find that approach enhancing my “experience”; instead, it was distracting.
  2. The book will have “all new colors based on the originals, but utilizing new methods of shading and texture to enhance and improve each story’s impact.” “New methods” to me runs the risk of someone going crazy with Photoshop, as Neal Adams did on his recent Batman collections.

So, definitely a “wait and browse” item.

14 Responses to “Snark: EC Archives Announced”

  1. Shawn Fumo Says:

    The first thing could be interesting, especially letter columns and stuff, but that second point makes my skin crawl. Why can’t they just leave things alone? This is called an “archive” after all…

    BTW, three snark posts in (almost) a row? Seems like things are heating up in the land of snark! ;)

    I’m going to see if I can start blogging (again) and see if I can stick with it this time. Managed to grab some good titles from the library recently…

  2. Johanna Says:

    There are LOTS of press releases going out because of San Diego, which means lots of easy pickings. The straight news, which usually consists of “publisher will have a portfolio review”, either isn’t interesting enough for me to mention or plenty of other sites have already posted it.

    Looking forward to seeing more from you!

  3. Dave White Says:

    Usually when I see #1, I assume it’s a dodge to avoid paying royalties – there’s an exemption for “archival products” if they’re reproduced in their entirety, warts, and all, which is why a lot of CD/DVD versions of comics and magazines include the ads. But EC was known for paying a higher-than-average pay rate for complete ownership of the art, so dodging royalties doesn’t seem like an issue. Or maybe they’re trying to avoid disbursmenets to Ray Bradbury…

  4. jfire Says:

    I have reservations about the recoloring too. I’ll need to see it. However, I sense there’s much love of the original comics behind this effort and that give me hope “modern” colors won’t overpower the classic art.

    As to leaving in the ads, etc.: Yeah! Better that than doing as DC does in its Archives, which is plugging in a lame logo everytime they’ve removed a cool vintage house ad.

    Those old house ads are popular with fans, as evidenced by their regular appearance on the Web, such as on the DC Archives board, Dial B for Blog, my site, etc. Such surrounding elements help recapture the period in which the comics first appeared.

  5. Johanna Says:

    Dave, that’s an interesting condition I feel like I don’t know enough about.

    JFire, I agree when it comes to house ads… but leaving in period ads and EVERYTHING seems like too much for me. I could be over-reacting, but I’ll have to see the final product to know.

  6. Dave White Says:

    Here’s a thoughtful article about the legal points at hand, though it doesn’t go into specifics.

  7. Dave Mahlin Says:

    Ooohh….. tough one. I remember when Marvel put out a TPB of Steranko Nick Fury stuff several years ago that was re-colored and it was way overdone and looked horrible.

    On the other hand, I loved DC’s MAD Archives Vol. 1 from a few years ago and have been heartbroken they haven’t done more. I do loves me some vintage EC comics- and I come by it honestly: The best Xmas gift I received last year was my Dad’s EC Fan-Addict membership certificate that he’d been saving since about 1953. It is now framed and holds a place of honor …. on the wall above the toilet in the guest bath! Al Feldstein and the gang would be proud…..

  8. Eric Gimlin Says:

    Well, in the case of the EC books, I think they would fit well and be appropriate. The Letter pages in the EC’s are miles ahead of any others from the time period. They did not say they were leaving in the paid ads- which were generally just the very last page of the book and the back covers. The inside front cover was normally either editorial or a house ad; same with material in the middle of the book.

    Also, on the EC’s, at least some stories rely on turning the page for part of the effect. Keeping the 33 pages of EC house content consistant would definitly be preferable, in my mind, to reformating to work around that.

    Feel free to worry about the coloring al you want, though.

  9. Ed Cunard Says:

    I was telling someone earlier that I hope some fans will decide to sell their EC black and white archives on Ebay and replace them with these new ones. I want more of the black and white ones. They’re pretty.

  10. Ray Cornwall Says:

    One positive point- the coloring is being handled by Marie Severin, who has a deep respect for the originals. So it’s likely the books will look as good as they can. But I’ll admit to being a big fan of the oversized B&W archives.

  11. Johanna Says:

    Thanks — y’all are giving me more hope that the project will come out successfully.

  12. Jim Kosmicki Says:

    Given that DC and EC are both owned by TimeWarner, and have been for decades now, I don’t think that there’s any difficulty in getting approval to use DC’s packaging style for these reprints, including the name “Archives.” It’s most likely a simple corporate memo of “understanding.”

    The bigger problem, for me, is that the EC art is some of the few Golden Age era material that really benefitted from the increased size of the B&W reprints. These are going to be new, “colorized” versions, but smaller. And the archives are even a bit smaller than the original published versions. (and yes, Marie Severin will do a good job, but the B&W reprints showed how little these stories even needed the color in the first place). With all the text in an EC story, the art was usually pretty cramped in the first place. the B&W reproduction gave it more “space” for the eye to process the often intricate linework. Color only seems to obscure it.

    Having said all that, the few oversized color reprint issues that Gemstone produced back in the late 80s, early 90s were nice as i recall. But that wasn’t re-coloring and had the larger sized art (reproduced at close to original size, IIRC).

  13. Johanna Says:

    Oh, duh! What a basic thing for me to forget!

  14. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] For those of you, like me, wondering about the recoloring on the upcoming EC Archives, there’s a five-page PDF preview available. […]




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