Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Add It To My Want List: Shocking Tales Digest #1

Harvey published this little oddity in 1981. I don't think that I've ever seen a copy of it - and I'm pretty sure that I would remember that cover. Seemingly out of nowhere, Harvey decided that this would be a good time to reprint a bunch of old Jack Kirby stories from the late 50s (Marvel and DC had the same epiphany, only a decade earlier). From what I can tell, it's got a mixture of pre-Code and post-Code horror stories from titles such as Witches Tales (one of my favourites), Alarming Tales and even Race for the Moon, so there's probably Bob Powell and Howard Nostrand in there too - maybe even Rudy Palais if we're lucky. The cover is pure kookiness (I definitely recognize that flying chair from Alarming Tales #1). I know that Kirby's artwork likely doesn't translate well to the digest page, but I really love Harvey horror, and we're not likely see it reprinted elsewhere. Lone Star has a FN copy for $8.40 right now. That's a bit steep for me, especially since I'm trying to cut back but it's soooooo tempting. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for a better deal.


Dan Bailey said...

Can't remember where I got my copy a couple of years ago -- quite possibly eBay.

And yeah, I certainly didn't pay $8.40, even with shipping. Probably more like $5, all told.

Scott M said...

What's the reproduction quality like? I don't know much about the Harvey digests.

Dan Bailey said...

The repro quality strikes me as pretty much equal to the DC & Gold Key digests of that era -- not exactly breathtaking, but perfectly adequate. (It may actually be a bit better than than found in some of the DCs, which memory tells me often looked like they were printed with plates etched in warm butter ... though the one I snagged on the way out of the door for work this a.m. -- Best of DC #26 -- certainly looks better than that.)

The contents & credits are listed on the GCD -- about equal amounts of Bob Powell & Simon & Kirby, two Nostrands (though one's only a 1-pager). Dunno about Palais, since I don't have a clear mental image of his style, but he might've been involved in one of the 4 or 5 stories on which the GCD indexer could only enter "???".

Anonymous said...

Well, Scott, did you buy Shocking Tales yet? You provoked me into getting out my old near mint copy that I bought new way back then. When I read it then, I thought it was quite bizarre even then, so different in flavor from the Marvel and DC house editorial styles. Freaking different. Closest thing I've read would be some ACG.

I haven't re-read it yet, but I counted 42 pages of rare Kirby art. It's quite readable, with nice tight registration, but the art truly deserves to be seen larger. Kirby appears to have different inkers at times and some are better than others. The non-Kirby art has a few gems, too. Most of the stories are 3,4, even 2 pagers. After all these years it still is a strange, unique book.