We all know people who haven’t read any comics. For some it’s a willful, snobby refusal to read books full of pictures. If you have the will to try to get those people to see the light, you’re a better (and more patient) person than me. A lot of people just don’t know where to start. The comic-book medium is a bit intimidating to a newcomer. I mean, I only took my first step into the larger world of comics six or so years ago. After reading through some of the EC Comics archives, I feel like I’ve found a solid, non-superhero recommendation for friends looking to pick up a comic for the first time.
The biggest draw for EC Comics for me is all the different titles. You can dive into science fiction, crime, horror, adventure, westerns, or even the downright bizarre. I hesitate to say there’s something for everyone because even though the genres are different, the writing style and art is similar since the same creators often worked on everything. Still, I feel like most people will be drawn to at least one of the titles. I prefer the Weird Science and Shock SuspenStories over the horror ones, but I see parallels between all of them.
The quality of the art and writing have broad appeal, and anyone who enjoyed the pulp era of sci-fi novels will be thrilled when they see the pages. And the stories aren’t really dated. Sure, the clothing and sets reveal a different time period, but stories about time travel or revenge or science experiments gone wrong don’t have an expiration date.
Another bonus is that the stories are rarely sequential. You can jump from issue to issue and skip around without losing anything. You can choose an aspect of the genre which suits you and dive in and not need to know dozens of issues worth of backstory to know what’s going on and to enjoy it. I count it as a huge plus as a reader, especially one who is testing the waters.
EC Comics are full of solid stories that make you react. You don’t need another reason beyond that to pick them up. However, they’re also a slice of comic-book history. In a time when everyone was trying to hit on the next Superman, EC Comics broke off and developed new genres in comics. They became trend-setters other publishing companies followed. I’m glad these books were slid in front of me, and I’m looking forward to making others stay awake later than they should reading them.