Publication Dates: October-November 1950 – February-March 1955
Number of Issues Published: 27 (#1 – #27)
Dimensions: Standard Golden Age U. S.
Publishing Format: Was Ongoing Series
Information thanks to the Grand Comics Database
Most of these issues are reprints and with different numbering.
Crime SuspenStories was a bi-monthly anthology crime comic published by EC Comics in the early 1950s. The title first arrived on newsstands with its October/November 1950 issue and ceased publication with its February/March 1955 issue, producing a total of 27 issues. Years after its demise, the title was reprinted in its entirety, and four stories were adapted for television in the HBO’s Tales From The Crypt.
Each issue contained four stories centering around a wide variety of criminal activities, and it differed from other crime comic books of the period because the content was strongly influenced both by film noir and the writers of short fiction for magazines. Issues three through 16 featured a guest appearance from The Haunt of Fear’s Old Witch.
Artists included Al Feldstein, Johnny Craig, George Evans, Jack Kamen, Wally Wood, Graham Ingels, Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, George Roussos, Sid Check, Al Williamson, Fred Peters, Joe Orlando, Will Elder, Reed Crandall, Bernard Krigstein and Frank Frazetta. The predominant writers for the title were publisher William Gaines, Feldstein, and Craig from 1950 to 1953, along with other writers such as Carl Wessler, Otto Binder and Jack Oleck.
Craig was the lead artist for this title for the majority of its run, doing both the cover and the lead eight-page story. In 1954, Craig became editor of EC’s The Vault of Horror. Since Craig was the slowest artist at EC, his new responsibilities forced him to drop his work on Crime SuspenStories. Evans, Crandall and Kamen assumed the cover and lead story responsibilities for the rest of the run. This was one of five titles cancelled by Gaines in 1954 due to the increasing controversy surrounding horror and crime comics and the subsequent unwillingness of distributors to ship his comic books.
Influences and adaptations
As with the other EC comics edited by Feldstein, the stories in this comic were primarily based on Gaines reading a large number of suspense stories and using them to develop “springboards” from which he and Feldstein could launch new stories. James M. Cain, Cornell Woolrich, Jim Thompson and radio’s Suspense were some of the influences on Crime SuspenStories scripts. Specific story influences that have been identified include the following:
“Murder May Boomerang” (issue 1) – Samuel Blas’ “Revenge”
“Poison!” (issue 3) – W. W. Jacobs’s “Interruption”
“Blood Red Wine” (issue 3) – Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Cask of Amontillado”
“The Gullible One” (issue 5) – Cornell Woolrich’s “After Dinner Party”
“A Question of Time” (issue 13) – John Collier’s “De Mortuis”
“From Here to Insanity” (issue 18) – S. R. Ross’ “You Got to Have Luck”
“In Each and Every Package” (issue 22) – John Collier’s “Back for Christmas”
After their unauthorized adaptation of one of Ray Bradbury’s stories in another magazine, Bradbury contacted EC about their plagiarism of his work. They reached an agreement for EC to do authorized versions of Bradbury’s short fiction. These official adaptations include:
“The Screaming Woman” (issue 15)
“Touch and Go” (issue 17)