Jack Kamen, Al Feldstein, and Ray Bradbury: Three For the Money and Other Stories (Fantagraphics) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Three For the Money and Other Stories


Jack Kamen, Al Feldstein, and Ray Bradbury

Dec 08, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Three For the Money and Other Stories, the newest volume in the Fantagraphics EC Artists’ Library, is sure to delight any fan of the award-winning series. It focuses on the work of illustrator Jack Kamen, as well as writers Al Feldstein and Ray Bradbury, by collecting comics originally published in Shock SuspenStories, Crime SuspenStories, Impact, Vault of Horror, Gunfighter, War Against Crime, Crime Patrol, and Tales from the Crypt. It also contains additional stories by writers Otto Binder, Jack Oleck, and Carl Wessler as well as illustrators Sid Check and Fred Peters.

There’s plenty to love here but the most notable comic has to be “The Orphan,” which first appeared in Shock SuspenStories #14. It was the subject of EC publisher Bill Gaines’ April 21st, 1954 testimony before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, which was brought to national prominence a week later when Newsweek reprinted the final four panels with the headline “Are Comics Horrible?”

Al Feldstein’s adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s short story “The October Road” fits perfectly with Jack Kamen’s romance-comics style and sits right at the intersection of suspense and horror that defines much of EC’s output. Other highlights include the Edgar Allan Poe-inspired “Frozen Assets!,” the pre-Psycho cross-dressing curiosity “Standing Room Only,” and “In the Groove,” which features a murderous disc jockey.

As usual for the series, Three For the Money and Other Stories is packed with extras like creator biographies, an essay on Kamen by S.C. Ringgenberg, and a deep dive into the history of the company by Ted White. Perhaps most interesting is the excellent introduction by legendary crime novelist Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition, the Quarry novels), which guides readers through each of the stories, contextualizing the comics, pointing out references to James M. Cain, O. Henry, and Saki, and giving his unedited opinions along the way. It alone is worth the purchase price. (www.fantagraphics.com/products/three-for-the-money-and-other-stories)

Author rating: 8/10

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