The Living Mummy and Other Stories – Jack Davis & Al Feldstein (Fantagraphics Books)

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There are already some seventeen or so titles in Fantagraphics Books’ EC Library, but it’s testimony to Entertaining Comics prolific output that there remains no shortage of unnerving, icky goodness to be compiled from the golden age and arguably golden publisher of illustrated horror. The Living Mummy is the second volume to showcase the work of Jack Davis, one of the founding artists of Mad Magazine, but more relevantly while in situ at EC, the man responsible for the revamped and enduring appearance of the iconic Crypt Keeper. Being a second volume don’t expect to find herein those tales often cited as Davis/Crypt Keeper classics – and in one case cited in Fredric Wertham’s Seduction Of The Innocent – “Foul Play”, “Lower Berth”, “Death Of Some Salesman”, etc, as these are already collected in the earlier release, Tain’t The Meat … It’s The Humanity And Other Stories (2013). Nevertheless, this is by no means a lesser tome – over thirty shocking and blood-curdling vignettes await you, oh tremulous reader, within its lovingly crafted pages, each brilliantly reprinted in black-and-white together with an overview of every story, a biography of Davis and a history of EC Comics and its founder, M.C. Gaines. It’s true that the overview can sometimes veer towards the overly analytical – Davis was, after all, a jobbing artist who would not have had the time to deploy such thought into his panels as is here ascribed – but that is mere quibble and perhaps indicative of the easy genius of Davis’s work in the first place. If you know your EC, this collection is a must; if you don’t, prepare to revel in such disturbing tales as “Cheese, That’s Horrible!” and “99 44/100% Pure Horror!”. Yes, really. It really is. Go buy. Mike Wild

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