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Almost Gone! 30 complete stories from 1948-51. By Harvey Kurtzman, Jerry De Fuccio et al. Art by Al Feldstein. An extra-big volume, 302 pages. Al Feldstein was the co-architect and construction chief of EC Comics, and in this volume, you can see him laying the foundation for everything to come. This collection of Feldstein’s pioneering work features all of the stories he wrote and drew for both EC’s original crime titles (War Against Crime and Crime Patrol) and for EC’s terror triumvirate — Tales From the Crypt, Haunt of Fear, and Vault of Horror, including the very first appearances of The Crypt-Keeper and the Vault-Keeper. Fantagraphics, 2020.

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An extra-big volume, 302 pages. Al Feldstein was the co-architect and construction chief of EC Comics, and in this volume, you can see him laying the foundation for everything to come. This collection of Feldstein’s pioneering work features all of the stories he wrote and drew for both EC’s original crime titles (War Against Crime and Crime Patrol) and for EC’s terror triumvirate — Tales From the Crypt, Haunt of Fear, and Vault of Horror, including the very first appearances of The Crypt-Keeper and the Vault-Keeper.

With complete control over his work as both scripter and illustrator, this was Feldstein’s heyday. His bold, confidant brushwork perfectly suits the pulpy noir-ish atmosphere of his crime capers (often involving wronged women and vengeful men — or vice versa). The same is true of the escalating sense of dread of his horror stories — inexorably building to the sudden “poetic justice” story twist at the end that was the hallmark of EC horror.

Conniving men, scheming women, and plots steeped in deceit abound in such crime tales as “The Machine-Gun Mad Mobsters”, “The Case of the Floating Corpse”, and “I Was a ‘B’-Girl,” as well as in such horror gems as “The Mummy’s Curse,” “The Thing in the Swamp!” and, of course, the title story, “Terror Train.”

Plus: the most unlikely origin story of them all — the tongue-in-cheek origin of EC Comics itself, in “Horror Beneath the Streets!” More than 30 stories in all, with essays and commentary by EC experts. Introduction by Thommy Burns, afterwords by Ted White and Steve Ringgenberg.

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