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"Corpse on the Imjin" and Other Stories (The EC Comics Library) Hardcover – November 15, 2012
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*Starred Review* Before he created MAD, Harvey Kurtzman, who began as an artist with EC Comics, edited a couple of the publisher’s war comics. Compulsorily hands-on, he made editing include writing and drawing. When all those tasks overloaded him, he called in other artists but held them to fully developed pictorial layouts that he created. In separate contributions, R. C. Harvey and Jared Gardner recount very well Kurtzman’s early career and working procedures, including his research to assure that uniforms, weaponry, vehicles, settings, and slang accurately reflected the Korean War, in which most of the stories were set, and the occasional battle from another conflict. Kurtzman’s favorite hired hands became MAD stalwarts, but the others represented in this book include such established and future comic-book masters as Reed Crandall, Russ Heath, Joe Kubert, and though he didn’t truckle to Kurtzman, Alex Toth. Indeed, the two Toth aviation pieces here are artistically superior to everything else except, perhaps, the 11 Kurtzman-drawn entries, in which he practices a powerful expressionistic realism. Kurtzman’s scripts, though verbose and corny, represent war as all-but-unavoidable but brutally death-dealing, necessary but inglorious. Comics fans, connoisseurs, and historians all rave about EC’s war comics; this collection potently demonstrates that they ain’t just whistlin’ “Dixie.” --Ray Olson
[Kurtzman's] best tales are often narrated by a single soldier, the protagonist s grasp limited by the danger in front of him, with his main hope being to get out alive. Not so much the blood and guts of battle here although Kurtzman had a wonderful ear for sound and the unique talent for putting it into words as the psychological state of warriors, the terrors and recurring sense of futility they experience. --Paul Buhle"
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Ultimately, the proof is in the printed page. And the pages Kurtzman gave us are raw and filled with humanity. More than a couple of tales will leave the reader feeling sad, angry, frightened...sometimes the ending is so powerful it leaves you lacking a particular feeling, just an uncomfortable numbness. War and conflict are treated with realism and awe within a Kurtzman piece; neither flag waving rah rah nor flower power preaching. It is and always will be a necessary evil for peace.
Pretty meaningful philosophy for a 60+ year old comic book, eh?
drew collected in one book as well as the pages of the covers he did for both
Frontline Combat and Two Fisted Tales. The text pieces are a nice additional as well
and make for informative and enjoyable reading. If you never read any EC comics before this a great introduction and a must for any fan of great visual storytelling.