Edited By Jim Trombetta, Abrams ComicArts, $29.95, 206 pages
It’s hard not to miss the old horror comics, even if you have never read them. The Horror! The Horror! looks back at the pre-code horror comics through a number of short essays wedged between a collection of covers and some of the original stories. There are all of the twists you would expect from the old EC Comics, with some of the real-life twists arguably even more shocking than those in the comics. It’s interesting to see what got published before the Comics Code Authority had its say, and a fun exploration of what was actually published then that made senators and psychologists nervous, and at the same time there is a realization that these would not have been printed today.
The essays make for an interesting read, even the obligatory Freudian analysis article. There is an enclosed DVD of the “Confidential File” highlighting the comics’ problem. Even though it was out of date as it was broadcast, it nonetheless captures the spirit of the times. For comic book fans and for those who want to see why the First Amendment is worth fighting for, this makes for a compelling read.
Reviewed by Jamais Jochim