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Weird Science Volume 1: The EC Archives    by Russ Cochran order for
Weird Science Volume 1
by Russ Cochran
Order:  USA  Can
Gemstone, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Two types of classics exist in the world of comic books. The first applies to narrative. Certain stories within comicdom have become part of the larger mythology and lore that fans worldwide know almost instinctively after several years of reading. Origin stories of Batman, Superman, Captain America and Spider-Man, along with classic encounters such as Batman and the Joker, Wolverine and the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four against Galactus, become classic stories told and retold year after year. But, then there are comic books that are classic merely because they are old or vintage. Part of their classic status comes from their age and inaccessibility by readers. In the case of EC Comics, their titles fit into this realm of classic by inaccessibility, but their classic status goes one step further.

EC Comics began dominating sales in the late 1940s as fans lost interest in superhero tales and gravitated to the crime and horror comics that EC produced. However, EC Comics' reign would not last for long. When Frederick Wrentham began his crusade against the evils of comic books and their insidious subtext, EC Comics suffered the biggest blow and closed shortly therefter. Well, Gemstone Publishing has started to republish many of these comics in full, starting with the first six issues of Weird Science, in a beautiful hardcover book with a foreword by George Lucas. All six issues are fully restored on glossy paper, which means rather than bleeding colors and blurry writing, readers enjoy crisp re-creations of the original comic books. Speckled throughout the collection are short essays providing insight and information about EC Comics and some of their more eccentric practices.

By no means should this behemoth be tackled in one sitting. Each issue includes several short pieces with an occasional text-based story. In fact, the collection includes the correspondence pages and even some advertisements. Unlike some reprints, they provide the entire comic. The benefits of this are twofold. First, it provides readers with a full comprehension of how readers of half a century ago came to know these comics. The more important benefit is that comic scholars, who may not have access to the originals, can still make these titles a topic of study with the reprints. Filled with dozens of science-fiction stories, this volume represents our cultural obsession with the world beyond. Some stories will instantly grab readers and others be barely worth a skim, but on the whole, the collection provides a great wealth of entertainment and classic comics.

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