Weird Fantasy is a dark fantasy and science fiction anthology comic that was part of the EC Comics line in the early 1950s. The companion comic for Weird Fantasy was Weird Science. Over a four-year span, Weird Fantasy ran for 22 issues, ending with the November–December 1953 issue.
Al Williamson & Frank Frazetta cover, issue #21
|Publication date||May/June 1950 – November/December 1953|
|No. of issues||22|
|Created by||William Gaines|
|Written by||William Gaines, Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Harry Harrison, Wally Wood|
|Artist(s)||Frank Frazetta, Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Wally Wood, Marie Severin, Will Elder, Joe Orlando, Bernie Krigstein, Al Williamson, John Severin|
The bi-monthly science-fiction comic, published by Bill Gaines and edited by Al Feldstein, replaced romance comic A Moon, A Girl... Romance with the May/June 1950 issue. Although the title and format change took effect with issue 13, Gaines and Feldstein decided not to restart the numbering in order to save money on second class postage. The Post Office took note, and starting with issue #6, all the issues were numbered correctly. Because of this, "Weird Fantasy #13" could refer to either the May/June 1950 issue or the actual 13th issue of the title, published in 1952. The same confusion exists for issues #14–17, #17 being the last issue published before EC reset the numbering.
Artist/writer Harry Harrison claims credit for originally turning Gaines on to the idea of publishing science fiction. Harrison has stated that he and fellow artist Wally Wood were interested in science fiction and supplied Gaines with a lot of science fiction material to read. Harrison had no editorial control over the contents of the comic aside from his own stories, and he left EC by the end of 1950.
Cover illustrations were by Feldstein with the exception of two by Joe Orlando, one collaboration by Feldstein and Al Williamson, plus another collaboration by Williamson with Frank Frazetta. Artists who drew stories for this EC title were Feldstein, Frazetta, Williamson, Orlando, Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, George Roussos, Harrison, Reed Crandall, Will Elder, Bernard Krigstein, Jack Kamen, John Severin and Mac Elkin. Writers in the early issues included Feldstein, Gaines, Kurtzman, Harrison and Gardner Fox. Gaines and Feldstein wrote nearly all stories from 1951–53.
Creators Gaines and Feldstein made cameos in the stories "Cosmic Ray Bomb Explosion" (14, July–August 1950), "7 Year Old Genius" (7) and "The Expert" (14) and "The Ad" (14).
Issues 14 and 15 in 1952 ran EC Quickies, a format featuring two similarly themed stories, each three or four pages, in the space usually devoted to a seven or eight-page story.
In Weird Fantasy 17 (1953), Al Williamson illustrated "The Aliens". Three aliens head for Earth to prevent a nuclear war, but they arrive too late. Amid the devastation they find a copy of Weird Fantasy 17. When they read "The Aliens", they see that it had predicted their arrival. On the last page they see a picture of themselves looking at a comic book with a picture of themselves looking at... ad infinitum.
Quite possibly the comic's most controversial story was published in issue 18 in 1953. "Judgment Day" featured an astronaut who comes to a planet populated by orange and blue robots who hope to join the Galactic Republic. As he tours the planet, the astronaut, named Tarlton, realizes that blue robots are treated horribly and given fewer rights than the orange robots, despite the fact that they are identical except for the color of their exterior. Tarlton decides that because of this, the planet will not be allowed in the Galactic Republic. In the final panel Tarlton removes his helmet, revealing that he is black. This story was chosen for reprinting approximately three years later in Incredible Science Fiction, which resulted in an argument that caused Gaines to quit comics altogether.
As with the other EC comics edited by Feldstein, the stories in this comic were primarily based on Gaines reading a large number of science fiction stories and using them to develop "springboards" from which he and Feldstein could launch new stories. Specific story influences that have been identified include the following:
After their publication of "Home to Stay", Ray Bradbury contacted EC about their plagiarism of his work. They reached an agreement for EC to do authorized versions of Bradbury's short fiction. These official adaptations include:
EC's science fiction comics were never able to match the popularity of their horror comics like Tales from the Crypt, but Gaines and Feldstein kept them alive using the profits from their more popular titles. In the EC Library reprints, comics historian Mark Evanier theorizes that the short story format, where no story was longer than eight pages helped contribute to poor sales because the horror comics were much better suited for very short stories with shock endings than the science fiction comics. Evanier also ponders whether the very similar logo style of Weird Science and its companion comic Weird Fantasy, as well as similar cover subjects contributed to lower sales due to customers thinking they already owned the issues on sale. Historian Digby Diehl wondered whether having host characters like EC's horror comics would have helped the comics be more commercially successful.
When the poor sales became too much to handle, Weird Fantasy combined with companion comic Weird Science in 1954 to become Weird Science-Fantasy. As discussed in an "In Memoriam" feature in the final issue, every issue for the previous year and a half had lost money, and EC had no choice but to combine the two comics into one. Weird Science-Fantasy ran for seven issues before a title change to Incredible Science Fiction for four issues.
As with many other EC titles, Weird Fantasy has been reprinted numerous times over the years. Ballantine Books reprinted selected stories in a series of paperback EC anthologies in 1964–66. All 22 issues were published in black and white in four hardbound volumes in 1980 as part of publisher Russ Cochran's The Complete EC Library. In addition, all 22 issues were reprinted in comic form in the mid-1990s by Cochran and Gemstone Publishing. This complete run was later rebound, with covers included, in a series of five softcover EC Annuals. Cochran and Gemstone planned to publish hardcover, re-colored volumes of Weird Fantasy as part of the EC Archives series, but Gemstone's financial troubles left this project in limbo. But the project may soon be revived under a new publisher. GC Press LLC, a boutique imprint established by Russ Cochran and Grant Geissman, announced in a press release dated September 1, 2011 that it is continuing the EC Archives series, with the first new releases scheduled for November 2011.
|#||Date||Cover Artist||Story||Story Artist|
|13(1)||May/June 1950||Al Feldstein||Am I Man or Machine?||Al Feldstein|
|Only Time Will Tell||Wally Wood & Harry Harrison|
|The Men of Tomorrow||Jack Kamen|
|...Trip into the Unknown||Harvey Kurtzman|
|14(2)||July/Aug 1950||Al Feldstein||Cosmic Ray Bomb Explosion!||Al Feldstein|
|The Black Arts||Wally Wood & Harry Harrison|
|The Trap of Time!||Jack Kamen|
|Atom Bomb Thief!||Harvey Kurtzman|
|15(3)||Sept/Oct 1950||Al Feldstein||Martian Infiltration||Al Feldstein|
|Henry and His... Goon Child||Harvey Kurtzman|
|I Died Tomorrow!||Jack Kamen|
|Dark Side of the Moon||Wally Wood|
|16(4)||Nov/Dec 1950||Al Feldstein||The Last City||Al Feldstein|
|The Mysterious Ray From Another Dimension||Harvey Kurtzman|
|Second Childhood||Jack Kamen|
|A Trip to a Star!||Wally Wood|
|17(5)||Jan/Feb 1951||Al Feldstein||Child of Tomorrow!||Al Feldstein|
|The Time Machine and the Shmoe!||Harvey Kurtzman|
|Prediction of Disaster!||Jack Kamen|
|6||March/April 1951||Al Feldstein||Space-Warp!||Al Feldstein|
|The Dimension Translator||Harvey Kurtzman|
|...And Then There Were Two!||Jack Kamen|
|7||May/June 1951||Al Feldstein||7 Year Old Genius!||Al Feldstein|
|Come Into My Parlor||Jack Kamen|
|Across the Sun!||George Roussos|
|8||July/Aug 1951||Al Feldstein||The Origin of the Species!||Al Feldstein|
|It Didn't Matter||Jack Kamen|
|The Slave Ship||Bernard Krigstein|
|The Enemies of the Colony||Wally Wood|
|9||Sept/Oct 1951||Al Feldstein||Spawn of Mars||Wally Wood|
|The Duplicates||Jack Kamen|
|The Connection||Mac Elkin|
|A Mistake in Multiplication||Joe Orlando|
|10||Nov/Dec 1951||Al Feldstein||The Secret of Saturn's Ring!||Wally Wood|
|A Timely Shock!||Jack Kamen|
|The Mutants!||Wally Wood|
|Not on the Menu||Joe Orlando|
|11||Jan/Feb 1952||Al Feldstein||The Two-Century Journey!||Wally Wood|
|Shrinking From Abuse||Jack Kamen|
|The 10th At Noon||Wally Wood|
|The Thing in the Jar||Joe Orlando|
|12||March/April 1952||Al Feldstein||Project... Survival!||Wally Wood|
|A Lesson in Anatomy!||Jack Kamen|
|The Die is Cast!||Wally Wood|
|A Man's Job!||Joe Orlando|
|13||May/June 1952||Al Feldstein||The End!||Wally Wood|
|The Trip!||Jack Kamen|
|Home to Stay!||Wally Wood|
|Don't Count Your Chickens...||Joe Orlando|
|14||July/Aug 1952||Al Feldstein||The Exile!||Wally Wood|
|The Expert!||Joe Orlando|
|The Ad!||Joe Orlando|
|Close Call!||Jack Kamen|
|Mad Journey!||Al Williamson|
|15||Sept/Oct 1952||Al Feldstein||Revulsion!||Joe Orlando|
|The Quick Trip||Al Williamson|
|The Long Trip||Al Williamson|
|He Who Waits!||Jack Kamen|
|By George!!||Al Williamson|
|16||Nov/Dec 1952||Al Feldstein||Mass Meeting!||Joe Orlando|
|Skeleton Key!||Al Williamson|
|What He Saw!||Jack Kamen|
|The Green Thing!||Joe Orlando|
|17||Jan/Feb 1953||Al Feldstein||In the Beginning...||Joe Orlando|
|Ahead of the Game!||Bill Elder|
|The Aliens||Al Williamson|
|There Will Come Soft Rains...||Wally Wood|
|18||March/April 1953||Al Feldstein & Al Williamson||Counter-Clockwise||Bill Elder & John Severin|
|Zero Hour||Jack Kamen|
|Judgment Day!||Joe Orlando|
|19||May/June 1953||Al Feldstein||King of the Grey Spaces!||Bill Elder & John Severin|
|Time For a Change!||Joe Orlando|
|20||July/Aug 1953||Al Feldstein||...For Us the Living||Bill Elder & John Severin|
|I, Rocket||Al Williamson|
|...Conquers All!||Jack Kamen|
|The Automaton||Joe Orlando|
|21||Sept/Oct 1953||Al Williamson & Frank Frazetta||My Home...||Joe Orlando|
|Planely Possible||Jack Kamen|
|The Million Year Picnic||Bill Elder and John Severin|
|22||Nov/Dec 1953||Joe Orlando||The Silent Towns||Reed Crandall|
|The Freaks||Jack Kamen|
|The Fossil||Joe Orlando|
|Derelict Ship||Bernard Krigstein|
Notable events of 1950 in comics. See also List of years in comics.Al Williamson
Alfonso Williamson (March 21, 1931 – June 12, 2010) was an American cartoonist, comic book artist and illustrator specializing in adventure, Western and science-fiction/fantasy.
Born in New York City, he spent much of his early childhood in Bogotá, Colombia before moving back to the United States at the age of 12. In his youth, Williamson developed an interest in comic strips, particularly Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon. He took art classes at Burne Hogarth's Cartoonists and Illustrators School, there befriending future cartoonists Wally Wood and Roy Krenkel, who introduced him to the work of illustrators who had influenced adventure strips. Before long, he was working professionally in the comics industry. His most notable works include his science-fiction/heroic fantasy art for EC Comics in the 1950s, on titles including Weird Science and Weird Fantasy.
In the 1960s, he gained recognition for continuing Raymond's illustrative tradition with his work on the Flash Gordon comic-book series, and was a seminal contributor to the Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror comics magazines Creepy and Eerie. Williamson spent most of the 1970s working on his own credited strip, another Raymond creation, Secret Agent X-9. The following decade, he became known for his work adapting Star Wars films to comic books and newspaper strips. From the mid-1980s to 2003, he was primarily active as an inker, mainly on Marvel Comics superhero titles starring such characters as Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Spider-Girl.
Williamson is known for his collaborations with a group of artists including Frank Frazetta, Roy Krenkel, Angelo Torres, and George Woodbridge, which was affectionately known as the "Fleagle Gang". Williamson has been cited as a stylistic influence on a number of younger artists, and encouraged many, helping such newcomers as Bernie Wrightson and Michael Kaluta enter the profession. He has won several industry awards, and six career-retrospective books about him have been published since 1998. Living in Pennsylvania with his wife Corina, Williamson retired in his seventies.
Williamson was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2000.Alistair Rennie
Alistair Rennie is a Scottish author of weird fantasy and horror fiction, known for his weird fantasy novel, BleakWarrior, published by Blood Bound Books in 2016. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has lived for ten years in Bologna, Italy.. He is also the creator of the dark ambient music project Ruptured World which released its first album, "Exoplanetary", on the dark ambient music label Cryo Chamber (Simon Heath) in August 2018.British Fantasy Society
The British Fantasy Society (BFS) was founded in 1971 as the British Weird Fantasy Society, an offshoot of the British Science Fiction Association. The society is dedicated to promoting the best in the fantasy, science fiction and horror genres.
In 2000, the BFS won the Special Award: Non-Professional at the World Fantasy Awards. The society also has its own awards, the annual British Fantasy Awards, created in 1971 at the suggestion of its president, the author Ramsey Campbell. It held its first Fantasycon in 1975.The current British Fantasy Society has no direct connection with the earlier science fiction group using the same name from 1942 to 1946.David Britton
David Britton is a British author, artist, and publisher. In the 1970s he founded Weird Fantasy and Crucified Toad, a series of small press magazines of the speculative fiction and horror genres. In 1976, Britton and Michael Butterworth co-founded the controversial publishing house Savoy Books.EC Archives
The EC Archives are an ongoing series of American hardcover collections of full-color comic book reprints of EC Comics, published by Russ Cochran and Gemstone Publishing from 2006 to 2008, and then continued by Cochran and Grant Geissman's GC imprint (2011-2012), and finally taken over by Dark Horse in 2013.
The output of Bill Gaines' EC Comics line in the 1940s and 1950s is one of the most critically acclaimed of the pre-Comics Code comics publishers (and one of the major casualties of the Comics Code). Such EC Comics titles as Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror and Weird Science are known even to people unfamiliar with the source material, due to movie and television adaptations.
Numerous reprints throughout the decades have also kept EC alive on book store shelves, starting with Nostalgia Press's EC Horror Comics Of The 1950s tome (1971), followed by publisher Cochran's six EC Portfolios (1971-1977), but primarily because of his Complete EC Library, printing all of the 'New Trend' comic titles (although missing the unique stories from the three 3-D EC Classics issues), as well as all of the 'New Direction' and 'Picto-Fiction' titles, and some of the 'Pre-Trend' title issues, in a series of 18 b&w boxed-sets (19 if you include the fact that the Mad set was done as both color and b&w editions) containing a total of sixty-six hardcover books, all shot directly from the original art, mostly published from 1979 to 1996, with the Picto-Fiction box being delayed until 2006. Between 1992 and 2000, Cochran and Gemstone Publishing also produced 295 different full-color individual issue reproductions of all the "New Trend' (except Mad) and 'New Direction' EC Comics, and subsequently sixty-three "EC Annuals" which glued together titled chronological overstock copies of those individual issues in a new outer wrapper, in a nod to the original unsold-stock content of the EC Annuals of the 50s, although back in the fifties there was no specification as to what issues may have been contained inside the covers to those various annuals, which could vary from copy to copy.EC Comics
Entertaining Comics, more commonly known as EC Comics, was an American publisher of comic books, which specialized in horror fiction, crime fiction, satire, military fiction, dark fantasy, and science fiction from the 1940s through the mid-1950s, notably the Tales from the Crypt series. Initially, EC was owned by Maxwell Gaines and specialized in educational and child-oriented stories. After Max Gaines' death in a boating accident in 1947, his son William Gaines took over the company and began to print more mature stories, delving into genres of horror, war, fantasy, science-fiction, adventure, and others. Noted for their high quality and shock endings, these stories were also unique in their socially conscious, progressive themes (including racial equality, anti-war advocacy, nuclear disarmament, and environmentalism) that anticipated the Civil Rights Movement and dawn of 1960s counterculture. In 1954–55, censorship pressures prompted it to concentrate on the humor magazine Mad, leading to the company's greatest and most enduring success. By 1956, the company ceased publishing all of its comic lines besides Mad.Incredible Science Fiction
Incredible Science Fiction was an American science fiction anthology comic published by EC Comics in 1955 and 1956, lasting a total of four issues.Iron Council
Iron Council (2004) is a weird fantasy novel by the British writer China Miéville, his third set in the Bas-Lag universe, following Perdido Street Station (2000) and The Scar (2002). In addition to the steampunk influences shared by its predecessors, Iron Council draws several elements from the western genre.
Iron Council is perhaps the most overtly political of China Miéville's novels to date, being strongly inspired by the anti-globalization movement, and tackling issues such as imperialism, corporatism, terrorism, racial hatred, homosexuality, culture shock, labour rights and war. The novel won the Arthur C. Clarke and Locus Awards in 2005, and was also nominated for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards the same year.List of Entertaining Comics publications
Entertaining Comics, commonly known as EC Comics, was a major publisher of comic books in the 1940s and 1950s. The letters EC originally stood for Educational Comics. EC's Pre-Trend titles are those published by Max Gaines and his son William M. Gaines, who took over the family business after his father's death in 1947.
In 1950, with the addition of writer and artist Al Feldstein, EC found success with their New Trend line, including their horror titles Tales From the Crypt The Haunt of Fear and The Vault of Horror. A line of science fiction titles soon followed, Weird Science and Weird Fantasy, illustrated by the best artists in the business, such as Wallace Wood, Reed Crandall, Johnny Craig, George Evans, Graham Ingels, Jack Davis, Bill Elder, Joe Orlando, Al Williamson and Frank Frazetta. In addition to original stories, the books also featured adaptations of Ray Bradbury's short stories.
The New Direction group was a response to the Comics Code Authority. Picto-Fiction was a short-lived line of heavily illustrated short story magazines. Beginning in 1958, EC published annual and special editions of Mad.Moon Girl (EC Comics)
Moon Girl (Clare Lune) is a fictional character published by EC Comics. Created by Max Gaines, Gardner Fox and Sheldon Moldoff. Moon Girl is a character from the Golden Age of Comic Books and has since slipped into the public domain.Perdido Street Station
Perdido Street Station is a weird fantasy novel by British writer China Miéville, the first of three independent works set in the
fictional world of Bas-Lag, a place where both magic (referred to as 'thaumaturgy') and steampunk technology exist. The novel has won several literary awards.
In an interview, Miéville described this book as "basically a secondary world fantasy with Victorian era technology. So rather than being a feudal world, it's an early industrial capitalist world of a fairly grubby, police statey kind!"Perdido Street Station is set in Bas-Lag's large city-state of New Crobuzon: the title refers to a railway station at the heart of the city.Perversions of Science
Perversions of Science is an American science fiction/horror anthology television series that ran on the cable channel HBO for one season from June 7 to July 23, 1997. It is a spin-off of the horror series Tales from the Crypt also shown on HBO, and its episodes are based on EC Comics's Weird Science comic book series.Russ Cochran (publisher)
Russ Cochran (; born July 3, 1937) is a publisher of EC Comics reprints, Disney comics and books on Hopalong Cassidy, Chet Atkins, Les Paul and vacuum tubes. He has been a publisher for over 30 years, after quitting his job as a physics professor.
His EC Comics reprints include the black-and-white The Complete EC Library, the four-color EC Annuals, and the full-color hardcover EC Archives.
Cochran has been associated with Another Rainbow Publishing, Gladstone Publishing and Gemstone Publishing.Tales of the Incredible
Tales of the Incredible is a mass-market paperback collection of eight science fiction comic stories gathered from the pages of the EC Comics comic books of the 1950s. It is one of five collections published by Ballantine Books between 1964 and 1966 (the others are Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, The Autumn People and Tomorrow Midnight). The presentation of the material is problematic at best, since the color comic book pages are represented in black and white and broken into horizontal strips to fit the mass-market paperback format. Still, the collections are historically important. They were the first attempt to resurrect the EC comics, only a decade after public outcry had driven them off the racks. They were the first introduction of those comics to a generation of readers too young to remember them in their first run.
The stories are drawn from the comic books Weird Fantasy and Weird Science. The writer was not credited in the original publications but was probably Al Feldstein, the editor of the books. The artists were such EC stalwarts as Feldstein, Joe Orlando, Al Williamson and Wally Wood.
The cover painting by Frank Frazetta, himself an EC alumnus, is original to this collection.The Scar (novel)
The Scar is a weird fantasy novel by British writer China Miéville, the second set in his Bas-Lag universe. The Scar won the 2003 British Fantasy Award and was shortlisted for the 2003 Arthur C. Clarke Award. The Scar was additionally nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award in 2002 and the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2003.
It is set directly after the events described in Perdido Street Station.Tomorrow Midnight
Tomorrow Midnight is a mass-market paperback collection of comic adaptations of eight short science fiction stories by Ray Bradbury, gathered from the pages of the EC Comics comic books of the 1950s. It is one of five EC collections published by Ballantine Books between 1964 and 1966 (the others are Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, Tales of the Incredible and The Autumn People), and one of two made up of comic adaptations of Bradbury's work (the other is The Autumn People). The presentation of the material is problematic at best, since the color comic book pages are represented in black and white and broken into horizontal strips to fit the mass-market paperback format. Still, the collections are historically important. They were the first attempt to resurrect the EC comics, only a decade after public outcry had driven them off the racks. They were the first introduction of those comics to a generation of readers too young to remember them in their first run.
The stories are drawn from the comic books Weird Fantasy and Weird Science. The adaptation was not credited in the original publications but was probably by Al Feldstein, the editor of the books. The artists were such EC stalwarts as Bill Elder, Jack Kamen, Joe Orlando, John Severin, Al Williamson and Wally Wood.
The cover painting by Frank Frazetta, himself an EC alumnus, is original to this collection.Weird Science-Fantasy
Weird Science-Fantasy was an American science fiction-fantasy anthology comic, that was part of the EC Comics line in the early 1950s. Over a 14-month span, the comic ran for seven issues, starting in March 1954 with issue #23 and ending with issue #29 in May/June 1955.Weird Science (comics)
Weird Science was an American science fiction comic book magazine that was part of the EC Comics line in the early 1950s. Over a four-year span, the comic ran for 22 issues, ending with the November–December, 1953 issue. Weird Fantasy was a sister title published during the same time frame.