Friday, June 1, 2018

Poe 1950, Pt.2

(Continued from Poe 1950, Pt.1)

THE VAULT OF HORROR  13
"THE CURSE OF HARKLEY HEATH"

EC (Entertaining Comics) remains one of the most famous-- or infamous, depending on your point of view-- comics publishers of the 1950s.  During a period where a virtual witch-hunt erupted over violence in "children's" literature, they were at the center of it.  The Comics Code Authority-- a self-governing industry organization put together by several of the bigger publishers, while allegedly aimed at "cleaning up" the image of comics in general, in many ways was instead designed specifically to put EC-- their biggest competitor-- out of business!  This kind of behavior and attitude never fails to get me incensed in the extreme.

One of EC's triumverate of "New Trend" horror books, along with THE HAUNT OF FEAR and TALES FROM THE CRYPT, was THE VAULT OF HORROR.  This series debuted with issue #12, having continued from issue #11 of WAR AGAINST CRIME.  This sort of name-change went on all the time when publishers wanted to avoid the cost of paying for additional 2nd-class mailing permits.  Unlike THE HAUNT OF FEAR, they never bothered changing the numbering later on.

EC did a number of POE adaptations over the years, quite a few of them "freely" adapted.  The source material is plainly obvious, but many changes have been made.  This kind of thing can alternatively be a matter of frustration for "purists", or a joy to those who are able to enjoy a finished work on its own terms.

The 2nd of these was, despite major changes and updating, obviously...

     "THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER".

     This is the 3rd comics version of this story, following...
Charlton's YELLOWJACKET COMICS #4 (Dec'44),
Gilberton's CLASSICS ILLUSTRATED #40 (Aug'47),
     ...the last one 3 years earlier.

After 2 very faithful adaptations, this one definitely "played" with the source material.

The story was written by one of the most prolific writers of comics stories in the history of the genre, Gardner Fox.  The art was by a pair of men who each went on to great fame in different industries-- Harry Harrison, who later became a novelist, and Wallace Wood, considered by many to be, among other things, the greatest science-fiction comics artist of all time.

I set up stories from the 1950s twice before EC Fan-Addict Facebook group member Josh Burns brought this to my attention, and supplied me with scans on 7-6-2016.  I've been waiting for an opportunity to set this up for almost 2 years now!

Unfortunately, Josh's scans were a bit on the small side, and therefore a bit fuzzy.  "Pappy", who runs a Golden Age Comics blog, responded to a request for better scans.  However, due to some inexplicable glitch, the 300 dpi scans he e-mailed me somehow were 72 dpi when they arrived.  (Neither one of us could figure this out.)  So, I BOUGHT a copy of the 1990 reprint from "My Comics Shop" / "Lone Star Comics" in Arlington, Texas for a measely $2.40 plus shipping (and added in a pair of Jack Kirby THOR comics I'd been wanting for decades to make it worthwhile).  And then I did MY OWN scans, at 300 dpi.  And THESE are the scans I have now posted!

ENJOY!!!

THE VAULT OF HORROR  13
cover by JOHNNY CRAIG   (EC  /  June-July 1950)
"THE CURSE OF HARKLEY HEATH"
     (inspired by "THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER")  /  Version 3
Story by Gardner Fox  /  Art by Harry Harrison & Wallace Wood  /  Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
I find it fascinating how later film adaptations so often seem to have borrowed "original" elements from comic-book adaptations.  Here's 2 examples.  In the 1960 Roger Corman - Richard Matheson "HOUSE OF USHER", there's a scene definitely not in Poe's short story, where a chandelier suddenly falls.  While it might be argued this could have been swiped from the earlier Vincent Price film, "HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL", there's no mistaking such a scene appeared in this 1950 EC comic.
Later, the house is destroyed when it's accidentally set on fire.  It should also be noted that actress Myrna Fahey's "Madeline Usher" looked nothing whatsoever like the deathly-ill sister of Poe's story... but bears a striking resemblance to "Sybil" in this same comic!
REPRINTS:

THE VAULT OF HORROR  1
cover by JOHNNY CRAIG   (Russ Cochran  /  1982)
THE VAULT OF HORROR  3
cover by GRAHAM INGELS   (Gladstone  /  December 1990)
THE VAULT OF HORROR  2
cover by JOHNNY CRAIG   (Russ Cochran  /  January 1993)
EC ARCHIVES:  THE VAULT OF HORROR  1
cover by JOHNNY CRAIG   (Gemstone  /  [October] 2007)
THE FANTAGRAPHICS EC ARTISTS' LIBRARY  [2]:
     Came the Dawn and Other Stories
cover by WALLACE WOOD   (Fantagraphics  /  August 2012)
As a special feature, here I compare Johnny Craig's 1950 cover with one by Frank Frazetta in 1965.  While "THE VAULT OF HORROR #13 had a story "loosely" inspired by "USHER", ironically, CREEPY #3 featured "THE TELL-TALE HEART", the 1st Poe adaptation from Warren, who would not actually do "USHER" until EERIE #20 (Mar'69), as their 6th Poe story.

Was Frazetta inspired by Craig?  .......MAYBE!
Copyright (C) Johnny Craig  &  EC Comics.

Scan of THE VAULT OF HORROR #13 [2] cover from the Heritage Auctions site.
Scan of THE VAULT OF HORROR #1 (1982) cover from the GCD site.
Scans of THE VAULT OF HORROR #3 (1990) cover & interiors
     from MY collection.
Scan of THE VAULT OF HORROR #2 (1993) cover from the GCD site.
Scan of EC ARCHIVES: THE VAULT OF HORROR #1 (2007) cover
     from the GCD site.
Scan of CAME THE DAWN (2012) cover from the GCD site.

Restorations by Henry R. Kujawa

For more:
Read about Edgar Allen Poe at Wikipedia.

Read about EC Comics at Wikipedia.
Read about Gardner Fox at Wikipedia.
Read about Harry Harrison at Wikipedia.

Read the Wally Wood page at Wikipedia.
Visit The Mad Comics Of Wally Wood blog!
Visit Booksteve's Horray For Wally Wood blog!
Read my DAREDEVIL blog article to learn the truth about what really went on
     during Wood's brief time on this 60s series!

Read about Basil Rathbone at Wikipedia.
Read about THE WEIRD CIRCLE radio show at Wikipedia.
Read about Gladys Thornton at the IMDB site.
Read about the ESCAPE radio show at Wikipedia.
Read about Paul Free at Wikipedia.
Read about THE CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER at Wikipedia.
Read about Kevin McCarthy at Wikipedia.
Read about Arnold Moss at Wikipedia.

Read about THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER at Wikipedia.
Read the complete story at the xroads.virginia.edu site.

     Audio:
Hear the Basil Rathbone HOUSE OF USHER recording!
Hear the Gladys Thornton WEIRD CIRCLE episode!
Hear the Paul Frees ESCAPE episode!
Hear the Kevin McCarthy CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATER episode!

     Comics:
Read the Gus Schrotter HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Harley M. Griffiths HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Harry Harrison HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Steve Ditko HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the George Evans HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!

Read the Osvaldo Talo HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Tom Sutton HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Dino Battaglia HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Gino Dauro HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Miguel Gomez Esteban HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
     (coming soon!)

Read the Carlos Moro HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!   (coming soon!)
Read the Jerry Grandenetti HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Cirilo Munoz HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Martin Salvador HOUSE OF USHER adaptation! 
Read the Guido Del Carpio Rivera HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!
     (coming soon!)


Read the Nestor Redondo HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
     (Coming soon:)
Read the Pablo Marcos HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!
Read the Novelas Inmortales HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the Arturo Arnau HOUSE OF USHER illustrated story!
Read the E.C. Nickel HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Richard Corben HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!
Read the P.Craig Russell / Jay Geldof HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

     Misc:
Read the Wally Wood HOUSE OF USHER adaptation!

Read the Wally Wood RAVEN adaptation!

Read the Wally Wood 20,000 LEAGUES parody!
Read my Wally Wood DAREDEVIL article at this very blog!


See my Edgar Allan Poe overview at this very blog!

(Continued in Poe 1951, Pt. 1

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