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Our Highest Recommendation. Collects #1-3, 1955-56. Contained here is the complete run, two magazine-format issues and the unpublished #3! This was the innovative “Picto-Fiction” magazine that EC created to circumvent the newly created Comics Code, and to break into a more adult comic reading market. Illustrated prose, with one or two large panels per page, tales of frightening crimes, daring heroes, and dangerous psychopaths. Brilliantly illustrated by Reed Crandall, Wally Wood, Joe Orlando, Graham Ingels, Johnny Craig, George Evans, Jack Davis and Bernie Krigstein. Dark Horse, 2021. Due: Dec.

Not yet published. Expected 12/31/21

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Contained here is the complete run, two magazine-format issues and the unpublished #3! This was the innovative “Picto-Fiction” magazine that EC created to circumvent the newly created Comics Code, and to break into a more adult comic reading market. Illustrated prose, with one or two large panels per page, tales of frightening crimes, daring heroes, and dangerous psychopaths. Brilliantly illustrated by Reed Crandall, Wally Wood, Joe Orlando, Graham Ingels, Johnny Craig, George Evans, Jack Davis and Bernie Krigstein.

In a move suggested by publisher William Gaines, editor Al Feldstein included retellings of previous stories: the first issue’s “Fall Guy for Murder” and “Mother’s Day”, and the second issue’s “Screenplay for Murder” and “Pieces of Hate”. Writers included Feldstein, Jack Oleck (who had contributed to EC’s earlier publications), Richard Smith and John Larner.

The format alternated panels of typography with panels of illustrations. Thus, it was arranged in tiers like a comic book but eliminated hand-lettering, balloons and panel borders, allowing the artists far more freedom to expand their artwork and experiment and offer far superior work. And the b&w format and better paper also enhanced the clarity of the work, over the often muddy color reproduction on comics at that time.

The first issue appeared with a cover date of November-December 1955. Crime Illustrated ran for a total of two issues. The Picto-Fiction magazines lost money from the start, and when EC’s distributor went bankrupt, they had no choice but to cancel them.

The third issue included here was assembled but unpublished until Russ Cochran’s Complete EC Library series, and now here.

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