Since my surgery 2 weeks ago, I’ve been working my way through the EC “Picto-Fiction Library Complete Boxes Set”, published by Russ Cochran in August 2006. The four volumes reprint short stories heavily illustrated by Jack Kamen, Reed Crandall, Joe Orlando, Johnny Craig, George Evans, Graham Ingles, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Angelo Torres Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta and Bernie Krigstein. The stories, first printed in “Shock Illustrated”, “Confession Illustrated”, “Crime Illustrated”, and “Terror Illustrated”, read like pre-Code EC comics transposed into pulp short stories, no better, no worse; The art is what inspires.
I bought the boxed set in 2006, when I was preparing to work on the “Fogtown” graphic novel for Vertigo Noir. My intention was to utilize the painterly half-tone illustration techniques of the EC Masters in my own work. Unfortunately I found that the deadline (170 pages ASAP, along with working 3 days a week storyboarding on “King of the Hill”) precluded any experimentation or exploration on my part; I had to buckle down and crank it out, doing what I already knew how to do, or figure it out as I went.
Things have changed. At the time of this writing (March 17, 2017) I’m on State Disability (I hope—stay tuned on that one) until late May, so I have time to immerse myself the way I didn’t in 10 years ago. This illustration, entitled “On the Beach” is a result. Perhaps, in time, I’ll develop the patience and facility to do a more exact homage; at this point I’m settling for energetic, chunky crudity. Maybe there’s a style in there waiting to be developed.