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Sunday, April 17, 2011

POST # 40 - "THE WEREWOLF LEGEND" by Harry Harrison and Wally Wood (Original Artwork)

Today's feature is a story that was the collective creation of  Harry Harrison, Wallace Wood, and Gardner Fox.

THE WEREWOLF LEGEND originally appeared in what was a new title for EC Comics, THE VAULT OF HORROR. It's first issue (chronologically numbered #12) hit the news-stands as the April-May 1950 issue, simultaneously with another experimental first issue title, THE CRYPT OF TERROR (chronologically labelled #17), which would by it's fourth issue be renamed as the more familiar TALES FROM THE CRYPT. In another month a third horror title would be released, THE HAUNT OF FEAR, which provided EC with it's own trinity of terror that would catapult them to the forefront of the rising horror comics wave that was soon to sweep the nation, and ultimately would virtually cause the downfall of the entire industry.

What is today known as "pre-code horror" comics was basically still in it's infancy at this moment in time, and over the next six years (1950-55) the artwork and stories would evolve (or devolve, as the case may be) into some of the goriest, grisliest, and most violently graphic comics ever to see publication.

EC Comics was just testing the waters at this point, and had no idea how popular their horror comics would soon become, and by all respects, THE WEREWOLF LEGEND is fairly tame in comparison to the works that would soon follow.

I've already featured the amazing and legendary Wallace Wood here several times, so I will not be repeating myself in any great detail for this post. Let us rather look at Harry Harrison. Readers of science fiction may be familiar with his name, as he is currently a well respected writer whose many works include the novels The Stainless Steel Rat (and it's subsequent sequels), and Make Room! Make Room! (which eventually became more well known as the film Soylent Green). Not only a gifted creative writer, Harrison was better known in the late 40's and the 50's as a fairly talented artist. His work in retrospect tends to be overshadowed by contributions of his then-time collaborator Wood, who is now regarded as one of the greatest comic artists of all time. This is a shame, because Harrison is a talented artist in his own right.

In 1948 both artists met and formed a partnership, doing art for both Fox and Avon Comics before they found their way to the EC staff in 1949, and were both developing their skills even further, both seperately and as partners, when EC launched their popular 'New Trend' comics line in 1950. The pair (and Harrison in particular) are directly responsible for talking EC publisher William M. Gaines into producing it's science fiction comics, WEIRD SCIENCE and WEIRD FANTASY

Gardner Fox is another well-known name in the comic book industry, having been a writer since the 1930's. His prolific creative work is too great to mention here in depth, though he is perhaps best remembered at this time for being largely responsible for revamping the superhero genre for DC Comics in the 60's, being the creative force behind the Justice League Of America, The Flash, The Atom, and on and on. From 1947-50 Fox was the head writer for EC Comics, and that, my friends, brings us to today's story.

Imagine how you would feel if you suddenly found yourself  cursed with dreadful affliction that compelled you to prowl the moonlit countryside, hunting for prey, thirsting for warm blood? Would you be able to embrace the horror, would you succumb to the agonizing suffering, or would you futilely fight the growing persistant urges to massacre your victims night after moonlit night? What would you do when you stared into the mirror and found yourself face to face with...



Well, there you have it!
HOOOWWWLLL you ever manage to get to sleep tonight, I just don't know!


For much more fascinating and firsthand knowledge of Harry Harrison,
you can find his personal website by clicking right here!

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