Lot 32 of 340:
HAUNT OF FEAR No. 19 * 1.5 * SoTI: Foul Play by Jack Davis  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$120
$80 - $120




Entertaining Comics

June, 1953


Fair-Good (1.5). Spine taped; chips at spine ends and bottom cover; cover loose at bottom staple; staple rust with rust migration; some marginal soiling to pages. Tan pages. Good reading copy. Graham Ingels cover. Written and edited by Al Feldstein. Art by Graham Ingels, Jack Davis, George Evans, Jack Kamen. Used in Seduction of the Innocent: "A comic-book baseball game. Notice the chest protector and other details in the text and pictures." -Dr. Wertham.

Featuring the assaultive "Foul Play" by Jack Davis, who later repented, cowboy hat proverbially in hand: "I hated to do it, but Al Feldstein was the boss, the editor." -"Jack Davis: The Sentimental Gentleman from Georgia." Comics Journal #225, 2000.

Robert Warshow, a critic for Commentary magazine, wrote what is probably the most perceptive article of the time on EC. His son Paul was an EC fan, and Warshow tried to discourage his son from reading them. Paul convinced his dad to give EC a try, and so Warshow read a sampling of ECs and tried to keep an open mind. At first, Warshaw seems surprised by the level of quality that he finds: "It should be said that the EC comics do in fact display a certain imaginative flair." But then he gets to "Foul Play."

"There is a picture of a baseball game in which the ball is a man's head with one eye dangling from its socket, the bat is a severed leg, the catcher wears a dismembered human torso as a chest protector, the baselines are marked with stretched-out intestines, the bases are marked with the lungs, liver and heart, the resin-bag is the dead man's stomach, and the umpire dusts off home plate with the scalp." 

Al Feldstein later tried to explain: "You get into a certain frame of mind when you're close to something over a period of time. You're having a tongue-in-cheek approach to horror and you don't realize you're getting more and more numb to what you're being tongue-in-cheek about. The baseball story, to me, was absurd in terms of reality.... But when you step away and become a non-involved individual reading it for the first time, it's an atrocity." -Al Feldstein interviewed by Bill Spicer, The Complete Haunt of Fear vol. 4. [Russ Cochran: 1985].

By the end of his essay, Warshow admits that EC comics are unlikely to damage his son, but he still wishes they'd go away. The lasting impression of "Foul Play" continues to haunt him like a bad dream: "We are left also with the underworld of publishing which produced that baseball game, which I don't suppose I shall easily forget." -Robert Warshow, "Paul, the Horror Comics, and Dr. Wertham," The Immediate Experience. Movies, Comics, Theatre and Other Aspects of Popular Culture [Doubleday: 1962].


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