Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Halloween tribute to E.C.'s Graham "Ghastly" Ingels

It’s Halloween again, my FAVORITE holiday of the year (fie on Xmas). And since I’ve mostly paid tribute to film and music items relating to horror and the Halloween holiday on the show and in this blog, this time out I thought I’d raise a candle to the genius of the creepiest artist of the E.C. Comics group, Graham Ingels.

Nicknamed “Ghastly,” Ingels was, along with Jack Davis, the most “extreme” E.C. artist. But where Davis was cartoony, Ingels really seemed to relish sketching the shocked facial expressions, ominous landscapes, and decomposing corpses that were frequent parts of the stories he was chosen to illustrate. Among the things I’d like to present to honor him are two scans I made of his biography. First, the official one that came out in the 1950s (reprinted in one of the wonderful, invaluable Russ Cochran reprints). Click the image to enlarge.

Then there is a sort of update, a biographical sketch of him provided for a later reprint, which notes he didn’t like to acknowledge his connection with E.C. later in life; it is noted in other online bios that he finally did, in his last few years. Click to enlarge.

And in case you’re looking to read a whole story illustrated by Ghastly, there are two that have been scanned by the good souls over at Insane Journal (great name!). First, a most appropriate tale called “Halloween!” from Shock Suspenstories #2. Read “Halloween,” and celebrate the holiday in style!

And you can’t get any further-out than the really sick “Horror We? How’s Bayou?” It remains one of the most extreme exercises in ugliness that brilliant horror scribe Al Feldstein (who is owned very many royalties and residuals by his student Stephen King) ever came up with. How can you resist reading one of the sickest stories E.C. ever came up?

I should acknowledge where I my E.C. “fan-addiction” sprang to life again: at the local paradise of low-priced, perfect-condition cool books and comic-related stuff, Drougas Books (known to NYers in the know as “that awesome bookstore on Carmine St. with the long Lefty name I can't remember”).

Some of my favorite Ghastly covers, starting with the most atmospheric and subdued to the more lurid lovelies:

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