The EC Archives: Tales from the Crypt—Volume 1

ec archives tales from the crypt volume 1 cover trade paperback tpb
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Art: 10/10

A classic and important comic presented in a great looking print


Comic Info

Comic Name: The Crypt of Terror/Tales from the Crypt

Publisher: EC/Dark Horse Comics

Writer: Writer

Artist: Artist

# of Issues: 6

Release Date: 2021

crypt of terror #17 cover ec

The Crypt of Terror #17

Reprints The Crypt of Terror #17-19 and Tales from the Crypt #20-22 (April 1950-February 1951).  The Crypt Keeper has some stories for his fearful readers.  The Crypt is full of horror…the dead walk, witches cast spells, jealous spouses plot murder…and the horror is endless.  The Crypt Keeper is ready to welcome his guests, and the Crypt is always open!

Written by Al Feldstein, Gardner Fox, Johnny Craig, and Ivan Klapper (with some writers unknown), EC Archives:  Tales from the Crypt—Volume 1 is an EC horror anthology collection released by Dark Horse Comics.  With Al Feldstein, Bill Fraccio, George Roussos, Johnny Craig, Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Kamen, and Graham Ingels, the series was considered influential upon its release and spawn TV series and films.  The series was previously started as Crime Patrol and then took the title The Crypt of Terror before settling on Tales from the Crypt.

Despite years and years of comic book reading and watching all of the HBO series, I never actually read any of the original Tales from the Crypt or its sister titles.  With a brand new high quality trade paperback reprint series by Dark Horse, I thought it was the right time to visit the Crypt…and as expected, I loved it.

crypt of terror #19 cover ec

The Crypt of Terror #19

Don’t go into Tales from the Crypt expecting shock.  The stories play out largely how you think they will simply because they are clichés now (and likely were clichés then).  The comics always come with twists that seem pretty obvious to readers and feel like pulp stories from old magazines.  Despite this, the writers have fun with stories and know that many of the readers were younger…leading to the knowledge that they were reading something kind of salacious and “dangerous”…something that parents wouldn’t approve of.  It was this self-awareness that allowed Tales from the Crypt to flourish.

The stories are combined with a solid group of artists.  The formats and the look of the comics aren’t like modern comics and “new” readers might find that aspect a bit challenging.  The quality of the art is better than a lot of the comics that were coming out at the time, and Dark Horse has really cleaned up the prints.  In a way, this is fantastic…you can see all the lines and inking as the artist saw it (or even better).  This also is a bit of a letdown in a way in that there is something wholesome and fun of these type of comics having a little grime from being something that wasn’t meant to be clean and pristine.

If you never read Tales from the Crypt, now is the time.  Dark Horse has a nice schedule to release many of the EC titles (which started out as Educational Comics) and this first collection is a great start.  The backlash from Tales from the Crypt rocked the comic book world and helped establish the comic code which helped crush the EC series…but also led to Marvel and DC’s silver age.  The EC Archives:  Tales from the Crypt—Volume 1 is an important comic in history and still worth visiting.

Related Links:

The EC Archives:  Tales from the Crypt—Volume 2

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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