Being born in the late '80s, I was first introduced to Tales From The Crypt from the television series of the same name. My sister and I would stay up late and watch episodes of it and loved every minute.
The opening intro that featured that iconic and horrifying theme by Danny Elfman both scared the crap out of me and was still strangely intriguing.
I'm not quite sure what my first experience reading the EC Comics Tales From The Crypt was like but I remembered one thing about it, it was seriously messed up. Even for a comic that came out almost 60 years ago.
It featured outlandish plots of morality, revenge and murder. It featured ghouls and monsters and jilted black widows. Siamese twins and talking severed heads and mummies!
It also had a staggering roster of talent from the likes of William H. Gaines, Al Feldstein, Jack Davis, Harvey Kurtzman, Al Williamson, Graham Ingels to name a few. One of the greatest accomplishments for most of these guys was that they were able to tell so many different types of stories whether it be horror, westerns, comedy, sci-fi. They could do it all, and in a way they had to do it all as it was their day job. They sat down at a desk all day and drew monsters and in turn supported their families.
Recently Fantagraphics Books has been releasing hardcover volumes of these old stories in beautifully bound and reproduced collections touted as the EC Library.
I've been lucky enough to check out one of the most recent ones entitled 'Tain't the Meat... It's the Humanity! and Other Stories illustrated by Jack Davis and let me tell you, it's been a delight.
These stories are horrific, scary and at many times, hilarious. Tales From The Crypt always had this great comedic undertone as it was produced by the same guys who worked on Mad Magazine, so the black humor is so finely executed. At times it could be corny too, but that's all part of the fun.
This collection features the best of Jack Davis and each story is just so much fun to read. Thinking about how crazy these stories are even for today's standards makes me think about how insane it must have been reading these as they first came out.
Davis has the finesse and ability to switch between beautiful women, handsome men and horrifyingly ugly witches and rotting corpses. Like a lot of great artists, his work feels natural and more importantly he makes it look so easy. Most importantly though, he had an unmistakable style. Nowadays you can tell his influence in lots of contemporary artists like Eric Powell, writer and artist of The Goon but there will never be another Jack Davis.
'Tain't the Meat... It's the Humanity! and Other Stories Illustrated by Jack Davis is now available for pre-order via Fantagraphics and is out April 6, 2013.
You also check out an awesome 26-page preview here.
Once you pick it up, dim the lights and crawl into bed and get ready to get spooked. Cannot recommend this one enough.
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