The EC Archives: The Haunt of Fear—Volume 1

ec archives the haunt of fear volume 1 cover trade paperback tpb
9.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 10/10

Classic horror comics

Prefer the other titles slightly more than this one

Comic Info

Comic Name: The Haunt of Fear

Publisher: EC/Dark Horse Comics

Writer:  Johnny Craig/Ivan Klapper/Al Feldstein/Gardner F. Fox/Harvey Kurtzman/Bill Gaines/Ray Bradbury

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

# of Issues: 6

Release Date: 2021

haunt of fear #15 cover review

Haunt of Fear #15

Reprints The Haunt of Fear #15-17 and #3-6 (May 1950-March 1951).  The doors to the Haunt of Fear are open and the Old Witch is beckoning you in.  Inside the Haunt there are stories of witchcraft, betrayal, mummies, and ghouls.  The Haunt of Fear always gets its man and once you enter the Haunt of Fear, you might never escape!

Written by Johnny Craig, Ivan Klapper, Al Feldstein, Gardner F. Fox, Harvey Kurtzman, Bill Gaines, and Ray Bradbury, The EC Archives:  The Haunt of Fear—Volume 1 is a Dark Horse Comics reprint collection of the classic EC horror comic book series.  The series initially took over Gunfighter (which itself was previously Fat and Slat) and continued the Gunfighter numbering through #17 before back-numbering and starting with issue #3.

Dark Horse has really done a favor by collecting and reprinting the series.  Initially a hardbound collection, a paperback, magazine size collection of the classic titles is just what is needed to get the series into the hands of more readers.  With a classic series like The Haunt of Fear, there are bound to be some dating, but in a way the dated comics are part of the joy of a series like this.

The stories are all over the place, but having read all of The EC Archives recently, you start to notice some trends in the books.  There are obviously thematic storylines that are always followed (like unfaithful wives/husbands, cruel employers, jealousy and rage), but in this collection, you start to see a few stories that appeared in other magazines.  It is also interesting to see “Murder by a Dead Man” in Haunt of Fear #16 (July 1950) as a prose piece which is later illustrated and turned into a comic story in Tales from the Crypt #22 (February 1951) as “The Thing from the Grave”.  The collection also features a co-written piece by famed science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury in Haunt of Fear #6’s “Strange Undertaking”.

haunt of fear #17 cover first issue

Haunt of Fear #17

Like many of EC’s signature series, there is a lot of gore and horror.  The visuals of the series were really a draw for many readers and The Haunt of Fear doesn’t disappoint in that sense.  The gore and murder is rather tame in some ways to current horror magazines, but you can also see how horror magazines evolved from these comics.  There is also a very post-modern story featured in Haunt of Fear #17 (September 1950) “Horror Beneath the Streets” with the characters Al (aka Al Feldstein) and Bill (aka Bill Gaines) leaving EC after work, debating horror comics, and being driven into the sewers where they meet the Crypt Keeper and the Vault Keeper and become “contractually obligated” to publish horror comics due to making a deal with them.

The EC Archives are just fun and every volume that comes out has good aspects to it.  While I enjoy the other three titles slightly more, I still love what the series are doing, how they are doing it, and the time period in which these horror tales came out.  There have been so many attempts to emulate the EC success and few find that right balance…EC forever!!!  The EC Archives:  The Haunt of Fear—Volume 1 is followed by The EC Archives:  The Haunt of Fear—Volume 2.

Related Links:

The EC Archives:  The Haunt of Fear—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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