• Return to 'The Crypt': Jack Davis Resurrects the Crypt-Keeper When iconic “Mad Magazine” illustrator Jack Davis launched his career in the early 1950s, he made a name for himself drawing nightmarish images for EC Comics titles such as “Tales From the Crypt.” Horror fans today still marvel at his towering and intricately detailed fiends—corrupt men with shadowy, crevassed faces; feral werewolves with saliva dripping from their fangs; hordes of slimy skeletal …
  • Sea-Monkeys and X-Ray Spex: Collecting the Bizarre Stuff Sold in the Back of Comic Books Amazing! Incredible! Unbelievable! Eyeglasses that let you see through clothes. The secrets to super-human strength. Scary seven-foot tall ghosts that do your bidding. All of this could be yours for a dollar or two. At least, that's what vintage comic-book ads would have you believe. Six years ago, artist and historian Kirk Demarais, who runs the brilliant Gen X nostalgia site, Secret Fun Spot, be…
  • Digging Up the Weirdest Old Books and Comics From the Thrift-Store Bargain Bins When we first encountered Alan Scherstuhl's "Studies in Crap" column over at the "SF Weekly," we knew he was one of us. Every week, he goes digging around thrift stores and flea markets looking for that special book that speaks to him. Sometimes its a Kool-Aid Man comic book where the oversize beverage pitcher busts into orbiting spacecrafts, or a comic wherein pseudo-Archies are raptured up to he…
  • Stuck on Comic Character Pinbacks I started off collecting comic books, and still do, but I’d been given a few early Disney pinbacks as a child and always thought they were interesting. In the early 1990s, I started getting Ted Hake’s excellent auction magazine, and I enjoyed browsing his pinbacks listings. [caption id="attachment_1767" align="alignleft" width="225"]
  • Fightin’ Femmes: Unmasking Female Superheroes with Author Mike Madrid When I was growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, reading comics wasn't as popular as it had been in the ’40s or ’50s. But my older sister had comics, including a big collection of “Betty and Veronica.” Our parents encouraged us to read everything, so at 6 years old I was just one of those kids that never stopped reading comics. At a certain point my sister started throwing her comics away. I snagged wh…
  • Harvey Pekar: The Splendor of Ordinary Life Harvey Pekar carried himself with a slouch. He had a disheveled comb-over and dark, haunted eyes. A file clerk at the Veterans Administration hospital in Cleveland, he spoke with a cantankerous rasp. If you sat next to him on the bus, you might not even notice him. Yet this ordinary man, who died this week at age 70, made his unremarkable day-to-day life in a typical city immortal, thanks t…
  • When Superheroes Took Over Comic Books I’ve been interested in comic books since I was very young. My two older brothers had Spider-Man and Fantastic Four comic books. I grew up watching cartoons and my favorite ones were always Spider-Man and Superman. In seventh grade, some friends of mine bought some comic books and were really excited about them. They showed them to me and I started getting into it. My first comic book was Avengers…