Weird Science Volume 1 (graphic novel review).

I pulled a copy of ‘Weird Science Volume 1’ simply because as much as I’ve read about EC Comics material, other than the odd story here and there, I’ve never actually read an entire comic and this one, containing 6 issues, neatly fits our remit. The reason it went from # 12-15 and then # 5-6 was because the American postal system said they couldn’t continue the numbering system of the previous ‘Saddle Romances’.

Objectively, publisher Bill Gaines was probably trying to save money than ask and wait for lower postal costs on a new comic.

Interestingly, not all the credits are known for the 36 stories, some are text stories for regulations at the time to get a tax concession, and the colours have been digitally redone but still based off Marie Severin’s colouring. Considering there is digital software that can clear up original colours from yellowed aged paper, I did think this might not have been necessary. However, when you consider Dark Horse are releasing all the EC Comics output there was probably a need to be consistent with the masters from a previous reprint. Many of them are written and drawn by Al Felstein but Harvey Kurtzman and Wallace Wood are in there as well.

There’s a lot of content here. Two of the stories hit on Roswell and Orson Wells’ ‘War Of The Worlds’ radio broadcast with a twist. Many of them are cautionary tales and I didn’t think I was hitting on any based on fictional equivalents at the time.

Picking out favourites was a lot harder. It wasn’t until the last issue that two struck me. ‘Spawn Of Venus’ by Al Feldstein refers to the different temperatures between the two zones on Venus as the twilight zone. I checked the release date of 1951 so it pre-dates Rod Serling’s show by 8 years. The funniest one, ‘Man And Superman!’ by Harvey Kurtzman hits all the right buttons where a scientist’s cousin uses a mass transformer to improve his muscles even further.

Don’t think all the stories are 8 pages long. The first couple issues were and then varied to how many pages were needed to tell the story. It was certainly an experience and really worth a look at 1950s SF.

GF Willmetts

September 2022

(pub: Dark Horse, 2022. 213 page graphic novel softcover. Price: I pulled my copy for  (UK). ISBN: 978-1-50672-118-7)

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