Fans of EC Comics will be excited to see the new release from Dark Horse: it’s the complete run of Confessions Illustrated.
The three issues of this short-lived title were published in 1956, as part of a four-title experiment in presenting “Picto-Fiction”. That is, a magazine format presentation, with lurid colour covers, and prose fiction accompanied by black and white illustrations. Not a comic book, this publication was targeted at a more mature reader. Other titles in this line of illustrated stories included Crime Illustrated, Shock Illustrated and Terror Illustrated.
The stories were all written by Daniel Keyes, (1927 – 2014) Keyes also wrote the 1966 book Flowers for Algernon, which sold 5 million copies. Keyes also won the Hugo and Nebula awards for his work.
The romance stories in Confessions Illustrated combine many traditional thriller and romance tropes to great dramatic effect: the farm girl who moves to the big city and gets recruited by a girl gang; the woman who marries a raging alcoholic, then walks out, but finally decides to return to his arms, to save him. The woman who sleeps around on her husband then sees the errors of her ways.
It’s wonderfully bathetic and over the top, especially to today’s reader.
The stories are profusely illustrated;. Wally Wood, Joe Orlandeo, Reed Crandall, Jack Kamen, and Johnny Craig each contribute approximately 35 high-quality drawings per story, making this a truly valuable source of high-quality artwork for the EC comic fan.
Dark Horse, The EC Archives: Confessions Illustrated Hard Cover, $49.99 for 184 pages