The EC Archives: The Vault of Horror—Volume 1

ec archives the vault of horror volume 1 cover trade paperback tpb
10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Art: 10/10

Fun classic tales of horror


Comic Info

Comic Name: The Vault of Horror

Publisher: EC/Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Johnny Craig/Gardner Fox/Harry Harrison/Bill Gaines/Al Feldstein/Richard Connell/Harvey Kurtzman/Henry Kuttner/Jack Kamen

Artist:  Johnny Craig/Harry Harrison/Wally Wood/Harvey Kurtzman/Al Feldstein/Graham Ingels/Jack Kamen

# of Issues: 6

Release Date: 2021

vault of horror #12 cover first issue ec

The Vault of Horror #12

Reprints The Vault of Horrors #12-17 (April 1950-February 1951).  Reprints The Vault of Horror #12-17 (April 1950-February 1951).  The Keeper of the Vault of Horror has opened the door to the vault and within it stories of darkness and despair.  From werewolves and vampires to monstrous babies, the darkness lying within the vault can be both inhuman and terrifying.  Within the vault, the deepest and darkest recesses of the mind exist and the true depravity of humanity pours out.  The Keeper of the Vault has invited you into his home, but the vault may not let you go!

Written by Johnny Craig, Gardner Fox, Harry Harrison, Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, Richard Connell, Harvey Kurtzman, Henry Kuttner, and Jack Kamen, The EC Archives:  The Vault of Horror—Volume 1 is a Dark Horse Comics reprinting of the classic EC series of horror and thriller comics.  The collection features art by Johnny Craig, Harry Harrison, Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, Al Feldstein, Graham Ingels, and Jack Kamen and had previously been titled War Against Crime from early 1948 to February 1950.

The Vault of Horror and Tales from the Crypt were largely considered tied together by EC.  Both titles possessed similar stories and similar “hosts”.  While Tales from the Crypt ended up with a lot of the glory due to its title and later TV series, Vault of Horror was just as important and fun.

vault of horror #16 cover review

The Vault of Horror #16

The stories are what you’d expect.  Many of them end with a twist which probably even when they were being written was expected…but part of the fun of all the EC titles is seeing how they get to the twist.  It isn’t necessarily the ending but the journey that is the fun.  They are a blend of revenge, folklore, and classic aspects of horror.

One of the things lacking from the straight horror titles of EC which is present in some of their other titles is a bit more social commentary.  Some of the EC titles were very progressive and out to make a statement (which was probably more dangerous than actually having a lot of gore and horror).  The Vault of Horror for the most part stays in its lane which isn’t as fun as something like Shock SuspenStories which often mixed horror with societal politics of the time.

The Vault of Horror presents a classic and revolutionary time in comics.  It might not have the daring nature of some of the EC titles, but in its gore and “terror”, it scared enough parents that a change was demanded.  If you never read the actual series (like me), you are missing not only some good stories, but a moment in comic book history that reverberates even to today.  The EC Archives present the stories in clean, affordable means for everyone to get their hands on them.  The EC Archives:  The Vault of Horror—Volume 1 is followed by The EC Archives:  The Vault of Horror—Volume 2.

Related Links:

The Vault of Horror (1973)

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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