edited by John Benson and Greg Sadowski Just in time for Halloween, here's a trio of classic horror comics that provide a great window on the great thrill that comics once provided... and still can! First up we have Fantagraphics' Four Color Fear: 320 pages of fulsome full color comics, all scanned from the pre-code originals and printed on flat white paper (except for the cover reproductions, which are, appropriately, reproduced on bright white glossy stock to best mimic their original appearance). This is the horrific follow-up volume to last year's wild and woolly Supermen, that presented a revealing display of the earliest superhero comic books that showed the form before its tropes and conventions were still in flux, before they fully gelled (and later hardened). Aficionados take note: this is not one to miss – in fact, we sold out of our initial shipment almost immediately. Not to worry: new copies are on the way! So, while you wait for our restock, take a moment and read the editor's introduction and check out the table of contents; and then... feast your eyes on this tumultuous 26-page preview that contains four complete stories!
Whew, that title's quite a mouthfull, but this is the kind of book that is for detail oriented people, so it makes sense. Anyone looking to get an engaging inside look at what it was like to work at a small, but dedicated, comic book publisher in the early 1950s – before the Comics Code put the kabosh on creative freedom (and sales!) – will enjoy reading the ten interviews with St. John's veterans that includes editors, managers, staff and artists (including Joe Kubert and Gene Colan!). And then there's Benson's own insights and interpretations of the material produced, along with an excellent and thorough documentation of St. John's output.
This book is strongly recommended for students and fans of comic book history. And, it's now available at a SPECIAL PRICE!
Here's what Fanta sez:
Confessions, Romances, Secrets, and Temptations is the companion volume to John Benson's popular anthology of romance comics, Romance Without Tears. Published in the 1950s by Archer St. John, the stories in that volume were decidedly different from the typical romance comics, just as St. John was decidedly different from the typical comics publisher. This new book explores the background of these comics and their publisher, including a short biography, interviews with the editors and artists who worked for the company, and critical commentary. Confessions contains a time chart of every title published by St. John (all genres), showing issue number and date, and an online supplement provides a complete, detailed checklist of all the company's romance comics, giving story titles, artist credits, and cross-indexing the extensive reprints. The book is lavishly illustrated with examples of the comics, and includes rare photos and other visuals from the period.