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Tales From The Crypt #1
posted July 17, 2007
 

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Creators: Kyle Baker, Rob Vollmar, Marc Bilgrey, Mr. Exes, Ortho, Tim Smith, Laurie E. Smith, Mark Lerer, Jim Salicrup, Rick Parker
Publishing Information: Papercutz, comic book, 44 pages, July 2007, $3.95
Ordering Numbers:

*****

Tales From The Crypt #20, EC Comics, 1950
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Tales From The Crypt #1, Papercutz, 2007
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*****

1950
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2007
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*****

1950
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2007
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*****

1950
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2007
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I'm not comparing art from the first issue of EC's re-titled, early-'50s Tales From the Crypt series and Papercutz' newly-licensed debut issue to be cruel. For all I know, many people might prefer the newer art. However, I think the art makes clear that the basic failure of the Tales From The Crypt #1 -- and I think it's a great, heaving collapse on all levels -- has as much to do with tone as it does with craft. I suspect that the line and therefore this book targets young readers, but there's a point at which if you're not going to give readers something scarier than a guy pointing a gun somewhere oddly off panel, a few vaguely threatening zombies and some animated action figures, why do a series of comics with this title in the first place? With so many options available to readers, even in horror directed at young folks, what about this laconically paced, unlovely, and magnificently cliched work should make anyone want to return?

You could build a house from discarded copies of uninspiring licensed comics, but this effort depresses more than usual in that Papercutz is an imprint of NBM. For all that I go back and forth on some of that company's individual titles, the traditionally admirable thing about NBM is that they've led with content -- translated European albums and their take on an American equivalent -- and then found as much of a market for their books as they can. I suppose in these times where we're actually starting to see the rise of comics industry-targeted marketing consultants that the Tales From the Crypt brand can be leveraged into some places other comics can't go and can be used to whip up press coverage other comics would have to buy. Hey, I might not be doing this review if the book were called Papercutz' Heebie-Jeebies. But wherever this comic goes and whoever buys it when it gets there, they'll be reading some really uninspired stories. The great EC-style twist here is that the dragged-out stories and at-best desultory art are more like the comics that served as the background against which that fabled line's attention to craft and basic storytelling values popped. Tales From the Crypt made my stomach churn, just for all the wrong reasons.