As the second meeting of The Midnight Comic Club comes to order, I’m joined by comic book artist Brent Schoonover to talk about EC Comics, the Tales From The Crypt TV show and the wonders of Jack Davis and the gang by way of Grant Geissman’s excellent Foul Play!: The Art And Artists Of The Notorious EC Comics! We both discovered the show and comics around the same time back in the 90s and had a great time talking about all the goodies in Foul Play. Also, do yourself a favor and check out Brent’s website here and follow him on Twitter here!
We talk about so much in this episode that I want to note here. The Frank Gorshin video we both saw is called Comic Book Collector. You can see the photo of my copy below and also check out the version on YouTube here:
The Amazing Stories episode starring Christopher Lloyd that Brent mentioned is called “Professor B.O. Beans” from 1986. “Reflection of Death” by Al Feldstein appeared in Tales from the Crypt #7. Jack Davis’ “Foul Play” was actually in Haunt of Fear #19 and one of Fredric Wertham’s examples of harmful comics! Then there’s Jack Davis’ “The Coffin” which appeared in Haunt Of Fear #16.
We also talked about the HBO Tales From The Crypt series which ran on from 1989-1996. All of it’s on DVD. You should watch it. I believe the sideshow one Brent mentioned is “Lower Berth” from Season 2, Episode 20, which is also the origin of the Crypt Keeper himself! The nine lives one is “Dig That Cat…He’s Way Gone” (Season 1, Episode 2). “Korman’s Kalamity” (Season 3, Episode 19) changed the name from the original “Kamen’s Kalamity,” which ran in Tales From The Crypt #31.
The house for the blind ep is called “Revenge Is The Nuts” (Season 6, Episode 5). That story was also used for the 1972 Amicus Tales From The Crypt film as well and the original story, “Blind Alleys,” appeared in Tales #46. “Lover Come Hack To Me” (Season 1, Episode 5) starred Amanda Plummer who played Honey Bunny in Pulp Fiction. Teri Hatcher’s in “The Thing From The Grave” (Season 2, Episode 6) and the logging one I mentioned is “Split Second” (Season 3, Episode 11).
Hopefully after listening to us talk about these comics, you’re itching to check them out yourself! There are a variety of different ways you can get into EC Comics these days. First off, a bunch of collections are on Comixology. You can also dig up the old Gemstone reprints that Brent and I read in the 90s. Later on they started doing the recolored EC Archives that have been taken over by Dark Horse. And of course, Fantagraphics started printing artist-specific books in black and white.
In the intro I mentioned David Hajdu’s The Ten-Cent Plague, which I highly recommend. I’m also happy to say that Digby Diehl’s Tales From The Crypt book is nicely priced on Amazon. If you’re looking for more comic book history, peruse the Wiki pages of both Marie Severin and Flo Steinberg who we discussed.
Finally, I have the answers to both the how and why of the EC Comics lettering system. As Diehl wrote in a sidebar, it’s called the Leroy Mechanical Lettering System and Gaines used it, basically, because his dad used it as well as letterer Jim Wroten. Later, Gains would say that it was the only system that would allow them to fit all of Al Feldstein’s words in such a small space (Tales From The Crypt book page 46). Here’s a video of how it worked thanks to YouTuber Ben Towle.
And that’s it for this week. Post any questions, comments or suggestions here in the comment section. Next week’s meeting will feature a kind of sampler of early Vertigo books you should check out!