In Review: Tales from the Crypt #1 – Back from the Dead!

Tales from the Crypt #1 - Cover C

38 pages – Full Colour – Adult Material
Published by Papercutz as part of their ‘Super Genius’ imprint

Creators include Larry Hama, Scott Lobdell, John McCrea, David Anthony Kraft, Miran Kim and Stefan Petrucha and Jolyon Yates

A lot of horror found in all mediums these days seems almost systematically restrained to the point of self censorship. I imagine a writer sitting at his keyboard, sweating, biting away at his fingernails and worrying that what he writes might actually upset someone by scaring or disturbing that person too much.

For me, this is the equivalent of a hardcore porn film getting a censorious digital sign pop up with the word ‘Oops’ on it, covering every single engorged dong that appears.

Tales from the Crypt #1 - Cover A
I am pleased to say that from moment one after opening the digital review file for the new version of Tales From the Crypt, this modern day travesty did not appear, even for a second.

Yes, today, finally, I received a magazine to review from the mighty John Freeman that for once I didn’t have to spend hours trying to think of something nice to say about it. Thank you, Jim Salicrup, and his crowd of horror funsters!


What you are actually treated to in this first issue is some off the wall nastiness. None of the typical clichés of vampires who are a bit moody, stripper werewolf hunters, boiled egg salesmen or tentacle cocked creatures here! Oh, no, not in this comic.

OK. Down to the basic bits that you expect from me in reviews. (No, I have not been drinking).

This is a 38 page comic for adults and appears at first glance to have been written by some as well. It is in full colour and contains three twist in the ending stories. All are told with panache and style but also an apparent love for 1970s and 1980s horror movies as well as the comics pre code source material.

Tales from the Crypt #1 - Die-Vestment
These stories are more Creepy/Eerie than they are Twilight/Buffy. (Yes, that last comment is meant to upset people – and no, I do not care if you thought the last season of Buffy was scary!)

All three stories have a genuine edge and each and everyone one of the stories is well told, with an eye to the experimental from the type of narrative down to some excellent page layouts that echo the horror magazines of the past.

Tales from the Crypt #1 - Zombie Bank
Tales from the Crypt #1 - The Werewolf of Wall Street

I’m not going to write a summary of each and every bloody (literally) plot point. But all three stories read well, had great art and colour and made me smile, albeit it in a slightly unhealthy way.

Because this isn’t this team’s first rodeo the sent a pretty big press pack along with the review copy, which outlines the background to this great project, which I’ve included below. Enjoy.

• Tales from the Crypt #1, a $3.99 bi-monthly comic book for Papercutz’s Super Genius imprint is available in comic book stores  now

• You can follow these people on Twitter @ec_comics or pop over to their website and read more about what they have planned

(Although I would like to collaborate on a Stripper/Werewolf comic if any half competent artists are available. My details are at the bottom of the page.)

Many thanks for reading.

Tales from the Crypt #1 - Cover B
Tales from the Crypt has risen from the dead

When it comes to classic horror comics, William M. Gaines’ EC line remains the gold standard. From the late 1940’s to the early 1950’s, Gaines and his talented team of writers, artists and editors reinvented the genre – delighting readers and terrifying authority figures.

Ambitious, subversive and flawlessly executed these books (along with the rest of the EC line) have been endlessly reprinted throughout the years, a testament to the enduring appeal of characters like the Crypt-Keeper, the Vault-Keeper and the Old Witch and the stories they presented.

Now, like a zombie protagonist from one of those self-same stories, Tales from the Crypt is back from the dead to entertain a whole new generation, returning as an all-new bi-monthly comic book series from Papercutz’s Super Genius imprint. And while Papercutz previously published a version of the title aimed at a younger audience, this new series is definitely not for kids.

Tales from the Crypt #1 - Cover D

“Unlike our previous series, this new version of TFTC will be much closer in spirit and style to the original EC comics,” explained Editor-In-Chief Jim Salicrup.

“In addition to bringing back classic EC horror host the Crypt-Keeper, we’re also looking to emulate what one writer called the ‘gruesome joie de vivre’ of the original series. Gaines and Feldstein’s original series contained plenty of shocks and thrills but also a lot of dark humor and that’s something we want to emulate in our take on the franchise.

“At the same time, we’re not looking to just create pastiche. We’ll be going after some present day targets that are perfect for the Tales from the Crypt treatment. If you’ve longed to see greedy Wall Street brokers or corrupt politicians get what’s coming to them, this is the series for you.”

While Salicrup has a clear editorial vision for the new series, he won’t be the only editor setting the tone. “One of the unique aspects of our new approach is that we’ll be inviting guest editors to present their take on Tales,” noted Publisher Terry Nantier.

“Each guest editor will bring their own interpretation of this classic franchise to the series as well as their own unique set of artists and writers. We think it’s a great way to work in many of the writers, artists and editors that are, if you’ll forgive the phrase, dying to work on Tales from the Crypt. Eventually, when we collect these comics in to graphic novel format, each volume will feature the vision of a different guest editor.”

“I’m very excited that Larry Hama has agreed to be our first guest editor,” added Salicrup. “Larry’s probably best know for being the guiding vision behind the GI Joe comics. But he’s written and edited everything from Savage Sword of Conan to Crazy Magazine. And he started his career working as an assistant to legendary EC artist Wally Wood. So he’s definitely got a connection to the material.”

Some of the industry’s top creators are already looking to carry on the EC legacy. In addition to a cover by Jolyon Yates, the first issue of the new series also features variant covers from Bob Camp, Dean Haspiel and industry legend, Russ Heath.

“The lineup of cover artists is indicative of the variety of talent Jim has lined up for the series,” enthused Papercutz VP of Marketing, Sven Larsen. “And with a first issue featuring creators like Scott Lobdell, John McCrea, David Anthony Kraft, Miran Kim and Stefan Petrucha, and Jolyon we’re setting the talent bar high.”

Antony Esmond

Antony Esmond

Antony Esmond is a comic reviewer and writer - his hips don't lie.

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