It Rose From The Tomb by Pete Normanton (book review).

Later in the year, TwoMorrows is releasing a new horror magazine, ‘Cryptology’, edited by Peter Normanton. In the lead-up to it, he had a lot of other material outlining his history with the genre, which became the basis for this book, ‘It Rose From The Tomb’. British-born Normanton has liked horror comics since he was young, and his knowledge here has produced a history here with personal comments that draws you in and down to the graveyard. You can bet a bony arm will reach up and drag you in. He also highlights artists who are rare and recognised. There’s also a smattering of early superhero comics that went on the horror side.

Outside of EC Comics and Warren Publications, many of the titles here are ones I’ve not seen, so you’re going to get a good grounding here for later in the year. However, the number of artists I recognised, most of whom were stalwarts at Marvel in the 1960s onwards in the horror field pre-Fredric Wertham and then after, It’s rather odd seeing the covers and some of the interior art collected together because, seen this way, you might think Werthan had a point. If you know your comicbook history, there was a lot more than horror with crime and western material before the super-hero genre resurrected itself. There are also some surprises here as well, with a superb Boris Vallejo cover on page 83 of The Frankenstein Monster that I haven’t seen in any of his book collections and really should have been given a full page.

Normanton touches on horror comic books in Brazil a couple times. I suspect we’ll see more of the other countries in the magazine. People do like to have a fright once in a while, or often more, based purely on the number of horror films that are currently out there. With monsters and such, you know it won’t follow you into real life, where horror is even more terrifying.

It’s inevitable we would have to come to the National Periodicals/DC Comics and Timely/Atlas/Marvel’s horror output before and after the CCA affected them. The examples of DC Comics here clearly show that it was mostly centred around Batman, although the likes of the Phantom Stranger and the Spectre are ignored. Vampirella barely gets a mention. Then again, I suspect there was also a juggling act between how much to cover here and how much to put in the magazine.

I do think I know a lot more about the early American horror comics after reading this book, and that’s what really counts. Just don’t jump out in the dark.

GF Willmetts

April 2024

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 191 page illustrated softcover. Price: $31.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-60549-123-3. Direct from them, you can get it for $31.95 (US))

check out websites: www.TwoMorrows.com and https://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=95_137&products_id=1780


Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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