Stephen's Reviews > The EC Archives: Crime SuspenStories, Vol. 1

The EC Archives by Al Feldstein
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it was amazing
bookshelves: comics-graphic-novels, crime, hardboiled-and-noir, 1930-1953, pulpy

...........THE DOUBLE-CROSS REVIEW...OF DEATH...........
The following is an homage to the pulpy noirtasticness of CRIME SUSPENSTORIES by EC COMICS
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3:00 A.M. Upstairs in a rundown room in a rundown house deep in the heart of a city with no name. I'd been reading for hours, my eyes going back and forth like the swish-swishing of a windshield wiper. Outside the room, rain was dropping in buckets like swells over the bow of a rusty boat. I knew I needed to sleep, but I didn’t want to stop reading... I couldn’t stop....I was Afraid to stop. I had to finish before...before...well I’ll get to that.

The dame next to me in bed, my wife, stirred in her sleep. Her green eyes opened heavily, looking like emeralds reflected through smoky glass. She purred something in a lazy, bedroom voice that sounded like, “TURN OFF THE FUCKING LIGHT I’M TRYING TO SLEEP”...but I ignored my little kitten and gave her a nice firm pat on the bottom.

Later, after she'd offered to surgically remove my testes if I didn't let her sleep, I decided, on my own mid you, to get out of bed and turn off the light. Scratching my danglies to assure myself they were still attached, I grabbed the book and my smokes and headed downstairs to the kitchen. Outside, the rain kept falling, relentless as death and taxes.

Downstairs I made my way past the cat who looked right through me, dismissed the intrusion and casually went make to licking its butt. I went to the kitchen and dropped some ice in a tumbler. I looked back up stairs where my wife was sleeping, and then quietly grabbed the large butcher knife from the drawer.
CrimeSuspenStories24 review

Walking slowly back towards the bottom of the stairs....I headed past them to the bar where I cut the tape off a new bottle of Scotch. I poured myself three fingers and drank it down in a gulp. It burned like VD but I calmed my nerves. I poured another hooker from the bottle, lit up a smoke and dropped down onto my couch with a sigh.

It was gonna be one of those nights. One of those nights that won't let go, that creep inside you and nest like rats. I shook my head telling my self to clam the self-pity. I told myself I didn't have a choice, so stop belly-aching and get to it. Somehow, someway, I had to finish the book by morning. Otherwise...otherwise...it would be too late.

Trembling, I tried to brush the thoughts from my head like cobwebs in a haunted house. I downed the rest of the Scotch, lit another smoke and continued to read. So far, I'd been through 24 stories, gems like:

Murder, My Boomerang,
Snapshot of Death,
Dead-Ringer and
A Moment of Madness.

Stories that made me shake in my socks like a junkie after a 3 day bender. Still, I slowly...ever so slowly... turned each page and pressed on.

With 12 more to go by morning, it was gonna be close. I had to make it. I had to try. I started working my way through the next batch, hands sweating like preacher in a whorehouse. Reaching for the Scotch bottle and another smoke, I came to the next piece, Mr. Biddy…Killer. It was corker about a man looking to get rid of his wife...permanent like, and scared me so bad I was trying to back my way straight through the chair.
Crime Suspense review

As the night wore itself out like a prize-fighter on a punching bag, I continued on. Next was The Gullible One and then The Sewer. Tales that had me jumpier than a six-legged kitten on a hot plate. I drank and read and smoked.. and then drank some more….always reading, never stopping except to try and calm the beating of my heart.

Finally...with the sun just beginning to creep up over the horizon like fire coming up from a struck match, I came to the last story. I had very little time left...was that a noise?... probably nothing...just the nicotine and my nerves singing me a lullaby.

Upstairs, I could here the woman begin to stir. She must have reached over and felt the coldness from the other side of the bed because I thought I heard her silky voice saying, “DID THAT FUCKING MORON STAY UP ALL NIGHT READING AGAIN?” It was clear to me she wanted me to come hold her, maybe give a little of the old heave and ho, but I had to finish. I had to...before it was too late.

Finally, here it was, the last story. A frightful tale called Jury Duty, about an execution that didn’t take and a condemned man out for some payback. It spooked me so bad I thought I might just cash it in right there. Somehow, I got through it...barely...but I got through it.
crime_suspenstories neck review

As I finished, I crushed out my smoke and sat there shivering with relief. I had done it. I had finished the book and I still had over an hour to spare. The sun was shining down on me like a cop on the beat, but I didn’t care. I had time. More than enough time to shower, put on a fresh suit and throw some coffee down my throat.

Then they would see. I would show all of those wise guys down at the library when I walked in at 9:00 a.m. on the dot...and returned the book, avoiding their dumbshit late fees and *gulp* an uncomfortable visit from library police. Sure, I had to stay up all night reading, and my eyes were redder than a wino's nose, but I had done it...and no one would be coming after me.
.
.
.
Of course...I still needed to figure out what to do with the dead hooker I had stashed in my trunk, but I suppose that would keep for the moment. For now, I was on easy street...without a care in the world...
Wait a minute...what's that sound coming from the trunk?...it sounds like...no, it couldn't be...I saw her dead...but that must mean....oh no, it can’t be...NOOOOOO!!!!.........The End?

5.0 stars.


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Comments Showing 1-50 of 74 (74 new)


message 1: by Kemper (new)

Kemper Great review!


message 2: by Steve (new)

Steve I agree. (And I loved the addition of the cover art.)


Stephen Thanks guys. I really appreciate it. It was a lot of fun to put together and I am glad you enjoyed it.


message 4: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Excellent review Stephen! Fun to read. :)


Stephen Kathryn wrote: "Excellent review Stephen! Fun to read. :)"

Thanks, Kathryn. I am really glad you enjoyed it. I am hoping to do some more like that with some of the other volumes as it was fun to do.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Agreed....fantabulus review. But you could just renewed the book :)


message 7: by Tintin (new)

Tintin This review is so funny!!!


Stephen Tintin wrote: "This review is so funny!!!"

Thank you very much. Always nice to hear.


Stephen Stephanie wrote: "Agreed....fantabulus review. But you could just renewed the book :)"

You know, that is a very good point. So just for you, here is my synopsis of the stories themselves. First they are a ton of fun with wonderful artwork and great noir dialogue that is simply priceless. Most of the plots come down to either husband or wife trying to bump off the other and having things go terribly wrong. Great, great fun.


message 10: by mark (new)

mark monday awesome review.


Stephen mark wrote: "awesome review."

Thanks, Mark. Much appreciated. I just went back through it again and cleaned up so typos that got by the "editor" the first time.


message 12: by unknown (new)

unknown nice!


message 13: by mark (new)

mark monday "I ignored her and gave a firm pat on the bottom"


Stephen Missed that one. Thanks.


message 15: by mark (last edited Mar 17, 2011 09:15PM) (new)

mark monday that wasn't a correction, that was my favorite line!!

although now that you mention it, i do see the missing "her".


Stephen mark wrote: "that wasn't a correction, that was my favorite line!!

although now that you mention it, i do see the missing "her"."


That's what I fixed.... I think that was one of my favorite lines to write. That and just having an excuse to use the word "dame" which I just think is the ultimate "noir" word and always makes me chuckle.


message 17: by unknown (new)

unknown that was my favorite line too!


Stephen That settles it. Firm bottom pats are going to have to become a staple of my reviews. This may present a problem when I do The Return of the King...did Gandalf pat Aragorn on the rump when he became King?


message 19: by unknown (last edited Mar 17, 2011 09:37PM) (new)

unknown i don't know about aragorn, but there was that slow motion pillow fight with the hobbits at the end of the movie.


Stephen I forgot about that...perfect!!


message 21: by mark (last edited Mar 17, 2011 10:22PM) (new)

mark monday oh i'm sure frodo got some rump-patting action from samwell, at the very least. anything to support the Ring Bearer!


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Stephen wrote: "Stephanie wrote: "Agreed....fantabulus review. But you could just renewed the book :)"

You know, that is a very good point. So just for you, here is my synopsis of the stories themselves. First ..."


I said "reNewed" not "reViewed"..... Your review again was fantabulus.


Stephen Oops, missed that. Oh well, nice to have a brief description of the book anyway.


message 24: by Gary (new)

Gary Great review Stephen. I must say your wife is a keeper. I'm assuming she does see your reviews, doesn't she?


Stephen Oh yeah...she is my sounding board for quite a few of them. This is one of her personal favorites.


message 26: by Gary (new)

Gary She's standing behind you isn't she? Just get her to put the knife down....


message 27: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent I can't remember if I already mentioned this to you:

Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!


message 28: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus I *HATE* liking reviews of these things. I would only do it for you.


message 29: by Dina (new)

Dina Fun-tastic review, Stephen!


message 30: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Kat wrote: "Richard wrote: "I *HATE* liking reviews of these things. I would only do it for you."

I feel like a dork for asking...but what do you mean by 'these things', Richard?"


I am so not interested in graphic novels/comic books. I am angry about them, in fact. But Stephen makes them sound so good, and so tempting, that I try to make myself appreciate them. I just don't. They don't appeal to me.

Habibi is the latest one to cross my radar screens that I just don't like. Graphics don't appeal to me. It seems to me a cheat. What, you can't find a way to say it in words?

Whatever. It's not the format, it's me in relationship to the format.


Stephen Dan wrote: "I can't remember if I already mentioned this to you:

Foul Play!: The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!"


I think you did. Previously I looked for it on Amazon and there were no cheap copies. I just caved and splurged for it.


Stephen Richard wrote: "I *HATE* liking reviews of these things. I would only do it for you."

Your sacrifice is duly noted. At least I gave you a story with this review.


Stephen Dina wrote: "Fun-tastic review, Stephen!"

Thanks, Dina. I had a lot of fun writing this one.


message 34: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent Richard wrote: "I am so not interested in graphic novels/comic books. I am angry about them, in fact."

This almost sounds like a challenge to find a comic that will bring a smile to your curmudgeonly face.


message 35: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus I do not care what Stephen writes. I will treat it with respect and acceptance.

My first ex-wife, the not-dead one, is the only other person to merit this respect, and she both gave birth to and caused the death of my son. So she gets major consideration that no one else ever could. And she tells me in her latest email that she's ready to be the writer she always should have been. God bless fracking!


message 36: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Dan wrote: "Richard wrote: "I am so not interested in graphic novels/comic books. I am angry about them, in fact."

This almost sounds like a challenge to find a comic that will bring a smile to your curmudgeo..."


Dan...stick to noirs. I'll read those without rancor. And speaking of which, where is the one I'm supposed to send to Larry Kirschbaum?> Have you sent it to me?


message 37: by Lea (new)

Lea My favourite review so far!


message 38: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent Richard wrote: "Dan...stick to noirs. I'll read those without rancor. And speaking of which, where is the one I'm supposed to send to Larry Kirschbaum?> Have you sent it to me? "

I decided to give it another round of edits. Good thing, too. My character parked his car in a "marking lot" in the second chapter. I should have it to you in a week or so.


message 39: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Okay. I won't expect it before 2/15.

Now...join the chorus...if you dare. I think, with several others, that Stephen should attempt some longer-form writing in a fictional setting. Add your voice to our chorus!

Or I'll lose your MS.


message 40: by Dan (new)

Dan Schwent Richard wrote: "Now...join the chorus...if you dare. I think, with several others, that Stephen should attempt some longer-form writing in a fictional setting. Add your voice to our chorus!

Or I'll lose your MS. "


Fine. I am officially challenging Stephen to participate in the June Camp NaNoWriMo with me in the hopes that it will jumpstart his writing career.

http://www.campnanowrimo.org/sign_in


Stephen Lea wrote: "My favourite review so far!"

Thank you, Lea. This is probably the one I had the most fun writing. I'm glad you liked it.


message 42: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Stephen wrote: "Lea wrote: "My favourite review so far!"

Thank you, Lea. This is probably the one I had the most fun writing. I'm glad you liked it."


YOO HOO

SEE POST #42


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Richard wrote: "Kat wrote: "Richard wrote: "I *HATE* liking reviews of these things. I would only do it for you."

I feel like a dork for asking...but what do you mean by 'these things', Richard?"

I am so not int..."


I feel the same way....and I am an artist! I try to read comic books but I just can't get into them. Not even when they are great....sorry.


message 44: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Oh Stephanie...ever more I am convinced that I am your *actual* parent. I have ~250 pieces of original art, or at least I have about that many until the next auction, and I just do not get graphic storytelling. I also don't get MMORPGs, or cosplay, or SCA/AMTGARD. I've owned original art since I was six (first purchase was Hovsep Pushmanian's art, to my mother's disgust). I do not follow the logic of comics. And I don't care.

Hell! Who cares? Others are addicted, and I am not the Gold Standard.


Stephen Dan wrote: "Richard wrote: "Now...join the chorus...if you dare. I think, with several others, that Stephen should attempt some longer-form writing in a fictional setting. Add your voice to our chorus!

Or I'l..."


I have heard a lot about this and will certainly check out the link. No promises yet, but I will check it out.


Stephen Stephanie wrote: "I feel the same way....and I am an artist! I try to read comic books but I just can't get into them."

I'm exactly the opposite, Stephanie. I've always been very visual and the graphic medium has always appealed. For me, it has been the writing that has always let me down, but with the emergence of guys like Ellis, Ennis and Brubaker...I am a happy camper.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Richard wrote: "Oh Stephanie...ever more I am convinced that I am your *actual* parent. I have ~250 pieces of original art, or at least I have about that many until the next auction, and I just do not get graphic ..."

YUUP! You're my real dad!


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Stephen wrote: "Stephanie wrote: "I feel the same way....and I am an artist! I try to read comic books but I just can't get into them."

I'm exactly the opposite, Stephanie. I've always been very visual and the gr..."


I can't explain it. I obviously am a visual person, and I like great story telling, but when the two are mixed. Complete turnoff. I think it's because I prefer to create the visual in my mind and I dislike having someone force it on me. Maybe.


Stephanie *Very Stable Genius* Oh and papa, Hovsep Pushmanian......good taste.


message 50: by Richard (new)

Richard Derus Stephanie wrote: "YUUP! You're my real dad!"

I suspected as much.

My daughter is an artist, my son-in-lam is an artist, and all my not-for-sale art is by the woman my mother should have married. My soon-to-be-ex-wife has given me some woodcuts that I adore and treasure, Gothic cathedrals in abstract...but my dear, the telling part is that I love
Mea Culpa: Murder the American Way because Peter Kalberkamp is my friend and not because it's an ***amazing*** graphic story. (My wife and I sold it as literary agents many years ago.)


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