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Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!

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Legendary publisher Bill Gaines is perhaps best remembered as the founder of MAD Magazine, but in the opinion of many dedicated comic book fans, his greatest achievement was E.C. Comics, a line of adventure, horror, and science-fiction comics whose influence on American graphic novels is undeniable, even today. Foul Play! is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understan Legendary publisher Bill Gaines is perhaps best remembered as the founder of MAD Magazine, but in the opinion of many dedicated comic book fans, his greatest achievement was E.C. Comics, a line of adventure, horror, and science-fiction comics whose influence on American graphic novels is undeniable, even today. Foul Play! is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understand the special place E.C. holds in the comic fan's heart -- or who just wants to read some real good comics!Foul Play! celebrates the fan-favorite creators of E.C. Comics, profiling their artists -- a veritable who's who of mid-20th century popular illustration -- and describing how they came to work with Bill Gaines and how their careers evolved after E.C.. Among the comics art legends profiled are Al Feldstein; Harvey Kurtzman; Johnny Craig; Jack Davis; Graham Ingels; Jack Kamen; Wallace Wood; Joe Orlando; Will Elder; John Severin; George Evans; Al Williamson; Reed Crandall; Bernie Krigstein; and more! Plus, the book includes a special bonus: a lost E.C. Comics story "Wanted for Murder!" originally intended to be published in 1956 but forgotten and unseen until now. When originally published, E.C. Comics titles like Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and Weird Science became best-selling titles, embraced by readers for their macabre wit and stunning illustration. Eventually, E.C. Comics ran afoul of a full Senate Subcommittee investigating (but never proving!) the link between comic books and juvenile delinquency, but not before winning a legion of fans that still treasure E.C.'s output. Foul Play! demonstrates -- in glorious, gory detail -- exactly why these are among the most beloved comics stories ever published.


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Legendary publisher Bill Gaines is perhaps best remembered as the founder of MAD Magazine, but in the opinion of many dedicated comic book fans, his greatest achievement was E.C. Comics, a line of adventure, horror, and science-fiction comics whose influence on American graphic novels is undeniable, even today. Foul Play! is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understan Legendary publisher Bill Gaines is perhaps best remembered as the founder of MAD Magazine, but in the opinion of many dedicated comic book fans, his greatest achievement was E.C. Comics, a line of adventure, horror, and science-fiction comics whose influence on American graphic novels is undeniable, even today. Foul Play! is the perfect book for anyone wanting to understand the special place E.C. holds in the comic fan's heart -- or who just wants to read some real good comics!Foul Play! celebrates the fan-favorite creators of E.C. Comics, profiling their artists -- a veritable who's who of mid-20th century popular illustration -- and describing how they came to work with Bill Gaines and how their careers evolved after E.C.. Among the comics art legends profiled are Al Feldstein; Harvey Kurtzman; Johnny Craig; Jack Davis; Graham Ingels; Jack Kamen; Wallace Wood; Joe Orlando; Will Elder; John Severin; George Evans; Al Williamson; Reed Crandall; Bernie Krigstein; and more! Plus, the book includes a special bonus: a lost E.C. Comics story "Wanted for Murder!" originally intended to be published in 1956 but forgotten and unseen until now. When originally published, E.C. Comics titles like Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and Weird Science became best-selling titles, embraced by readers for their macabre wit and stunning illustration. Eventually, E.C. Comics ran afoul of a full Senate Subcommittee investigating (but never proving!) the link between comic books and juvenile delinquency, but not before winning a legion of fans that still treasure E.C.'s output. Foul Play! demonstrates -- in glorious, gory detail -- exactly why these are among the most beloved comics stories ever published.

30 review for Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!

  1. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    Another book that's pretty much what the cover promises. This is a loving, gorgeously illustrated history of EC Comics, with an emphasis on the various artists who helped make its reputation. Each artist’s profile is accompanied by a classic EC story that shows their work to its best advantage. In addition, each profile also includes illustrations of any pre- and post-EC work from each artist, including sketches and paintings done for fans that haven't been widely published. There are also brief Another book that's pretty much what the cover promises. This is a loving, gorgeously illustrated history of EC Comics, with an emphasis on the various artists who helped make its reputation. Each artist’s profile is accompanied by a classic EC story that shows their work to its best advantage. In addition, each profile also includes illustrations of any pre- and post-EC work from each artist, including sketches and paintings done for fans that haven't been widely published. There are also brief features on artists like Alex Toth and Joe Kubert who, while they did do stories for EC, made their reputations elsewhere. There's also a feature on Marie Severin, whose coloring greatly enhanced EC’s books and helped cement their reputation. And there's a selection of sketches done for the annual office Christmas party. There's even a previously unpublished story that was slated for EC’s never-released Picto-Fiction magazine, Crime Illustrated #3, with artwork by Al Williamson (and probably Angelo Torres as well.) The book is certainly not an in-depth history of the company, but it's a lovely overview. And it definitely provides a tantalizing glimpse of what made EC so special. Highly recommended!

  2. 4 out of 5

    R.

    Thank you, M. & S. !!! And, as could be expected, I was startled awake by a nightmare! - thanks to the E.C. classic "Horror We? How's Bayou?" An excellent coffee table book. If your coffee table happens to be fashioned out of a selection of bones, doilied with spiderwebs. :) Thank you, M. & S. !!! And, as could be expected, I was startled awake by a nightmare! - thanks to the E.C. classic "Horror We? How's Bayou?" An excellent coffee table book. If your coffee table happens to be fashioned out of a selection of bones, doilied with spiderwebs. :)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A great overview and sampler of EC Comics - featuring an introduction/history of the company, and 14 (!!) artist biographies, each featuring a full-length EC classic showcasing that creator's best work! It's a veritable who's who of great comic illustrators and creators. Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig, Jack Davis, Graham Ingels, Jack Kamen, Wally Wood, Joe Orlando, Will Elder, John Severin, George Evans, Al Williamson, Reed Crandall and Bernie Krigstein! Plus, short bios of Marie Sev A great overview and sampler of EC Comics - featuring an introduction/history of the company, and 14 (!!) artist biographies, each featuring a full-length EC classic showcasing that creator's best work! It's a veritable who's who of great comic illustrators and creators. Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig, Jack Davis, Graham Ingels, Jack Kamen, Wally Wood, Joe Orlando, Will Elder, John Severin, George Evans, Al Williamson, Reed Crandall and Bernie Krigstein! Plus, short bios of Marie Severin, Sheldon Moldoff, Alex Toth, Basil Wolverton and Joe Kubert! It's got TONS of unpublished artwork, and a previously unpublished picto-fiction story (with Williamson artwork!) All wrapped up in a great Johnny Craig cover (with Graham Ingels on the back cover). Lots of great quotes, gag cartoons that were posted around the office, and terrific insights and comments from the best artists of the time. I would've LOVED more depth to the bios, but this is a great overview package and a huge value for anybody interested in the history of comics and the creators behind them. Al Williamson is still, bar none, the greatest adventure comic artist of all time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Kahn

    Fascinating story of the artists that worked for E.C. Comics. I have read several E.C. stories, but am not really an aficionado of them, but Geissman managed to make each biography interesting, and tied them into the rest to give an idea of the E.C. family and how they interacted. It really seemed like a warm, wonderful collection of artists and a great period of time. I especially appreciated how Geissman treated them as artists, and not just hack illustrators. A very enjoyable book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rob McMonigal

    Really cool overview of the EC era, and a good place to start if you want to learn more about some of the best comics no one still talks about (assuming you skip the captions, LOL). I always had some interest, but after this book, I became a fan and now I collect all the reprints I can.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Donna Krebs

    I've always loved the creepy old comic books. This is a great look at the artists who made some of these. Besides biographies of these artists it features some of their artwork and also a full story by most of them. The biographies are interesting and the art is amazing ! I've always loved the creepy old comic books. This is a great look at the artists who made some of these. Besides biographies of these artists it features some of their artwork and also a full story by most of them. The biographies are interesting and the art is amazing !

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael Alford

    A great book full of amazing art. My only issue is the inclusion of some more risque panels, including nudity.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zane

    The book is divided by artists and has a wikipedia-style introduction to a short EC comics work each of them did. Most of the biographical shorts are sad, because the comics scare unemployed these horror artists, and a lot of them had trouble finding work after defining a genre that was made illegal by US censors. That story doesn't really get told here, but there are pieces of it in each biography. I wonder if there is a more straight forward book that tells the history of EC comics. The shorts The book is divided by artists and has a wikipedia-style introduction to a short EC comics work each of them did. Most of the biographical shorts are sad, because the comics scare unemployed these horror artists, and a lot of them had trouble finding work after defining a genre that was made illegal by US censors. That story doesn't really get told here, but there are pieces of it in each biography. I wonder if there is a more straight forward book that tells the history of EC comics. The shorts they included are generally great. There is one they were forbidden to publish by censors done by Joe Orlando, which tells the story of an astronaut from earth who goes to a planet of robots people from earth built and left to evolve on there own. The astronaut is there to see if the robots are ready to share in earth's technologies and participate in some sort of intergalactic council or federation or something. Pretty soon after being on the robot planet, the space man finds out the robots have created a segregated society based upon robot color. In the end, the astronaut leaves for space, his visor lifts... and he is black. The stars twinkle in his space sweat. The story was banned by the U.S. congress! The format of this was a little off-putting, it couldn't decide if it was a history or a survey of comics, but if you are at all interested in the EC history (MAD magazine, horror comics, or otherwise), you might check this out. (I chip away at a lot of books at once and was sick a couple of days this weekend, so I finished a few.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eric Skillman

    A great overview of one of the great leaps forward for comics as a whole. The best part is that after every section on each artist, they reprint a signature story to give you a sense of their style, and the stories are, of course, great. My favorite tidbit of trivia? Apparently, one of my favorite EC artists (and Charles Burns of the 1950s), Jack Kamen, is the father of the guy who invented the Segway. Speaking of which... Eh, I got nothin'. I just thought couldn't resist the "segway/segue" joke A great overview of one of the great leaps forward for comics as a whole. The best part is that after every section on each artist, they reprint a signature story to give you a sense of their style, and the stories are, of course, great. My favorite tidbit of trivia? Apparently, one of my favorite EC artists (and Charles Burns of the 1950s), Jack Kamen, is the father of the guy who invented the Segway. Speaking of which... Eh, I got nothin'. I just thought couldn't resist the "segway/segue" joke.

  10. 5 out of 5

    MikeS

    Foul Play! Is a great overview of the E.C. comics from the 50s. Even by today’s standards, this is pretty edgy stuff, tackling issues of racism, sexism, violence, crime, lust, etc. all through rather sordid genres like Weird Science, Shock Horror, Picto-fiction (“a new form of Adult Entertainment”), pirating and plundering. This book is great fun if you’re familiar with these classics. It works as a pretty decent primer for those not familiar with E.C. and provides a basic rundown of notable art Foul Play! Is a great overview of the E.C. comics from the 50s. Even by today’s standards, this is pretty edgy stuff, tackling issues of racism, sexism, violence, crime, lust, etc. all through rather sordid genres like Weird Science, Shock Horror, Picto-fiction (“a new form of Adult Entertainment”), pirating and plundering. This book is great fun if you’re familiar with these classics. It works as a pretty decent primer for those not familiar with E.C. and provides a basic rundown of notable artists in the biz. Solid stuff.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Johnny

    Freakin' awesome! These are the godfathers of modern comic art. They revolutionized the form, introducing dark and bizarre subject matter that freaked out all the folks in charge of censoring stuff. In the immortal words of Glenn Danzig, "All murder, all guts, all fun!" Freakin' awesome! These are the godfathers of modern comic art. They revolutionized the form, introducing dark and bizarre subject matter that freaked out all the folks in charge of censoring stuff. In the immortal words of Glenn Danzig, "All murder, all guts, all fun!"

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael Graber

    While a little bit of an insider's manual, this is a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes people and events at comics most acclaimed imprint. While a little bit of an insider's manual, this is a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes people and events at comics most acclaimed imprint.

  13. 5 out of 5

    wildct2003

    Lots of visuals and sample pages/stories. DNF

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nesie

    http://www.greenmanreview.com/book/bo... http://www.greenmanreview.com/book/bo...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Scott Gillespie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

  17. 4 out of 5

    Fil

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy Walker

  20. 5 out of 5

    Roderick Patterson

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  22. 4 out of 5

    David

  23. 4 out of 5

    Woolrich13

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nick Sherman

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carlos Perez

  27. 5 out of 5

    Matt Reese

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Hulse

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