Sunday, 16 January 2011
BOOK REVIEW: THE HORROR! THE HORROR! COMIC BOOKS YOUR GOVERNMENT DIDN'T WANT YOU TO READ
Previously published on Amazon. Rating: 4stars.
-but not neccessarily for the reasons you might think.
The author, Jim Trombetta, very carefully, and over a series of short chapters, places the horror comics within the context of the times -the Korean War, anti-communism, the fear of juvenile delinquency, sexual fears, and the disturbingly easy way in which censorship can prevail (which is worth comparing to the Video Nasty censorship scandal of the 1980's) and censors always get it wrong.
There are fewer actual stories in this volume than I was expecting as many pages are given over to the wonderfully lurid covers. The art itself varies considerably in quality and even the big names listed on the back cover are a long way from the top of their game. That said, there's a lot of interesting stuff with my favourite pieces coming from the quite unique Basil Wolverton who is surely long overdue for a new compilation of his best work. Don Heck has several covers on display and are different to his pencilling work for Marvel in the 60's and 70's. Howard Nostrand and Charles Biro are also worth paying close attention to, as are several others. But all too many of the covers and stories are by artists whose names have been, usually deservedly, long forgotten.
Nevertheless, at its current nice price, this an informative and delightfully lurid and garish volume which is well worth picking up