number 11 of 50 hand-colored Frazetta prints of Weird Science-Fantasy 29
| || EC Comics (Anthologies)|
First time travel: May 1950
The prototypical comic book weird story anthologies were EC’s titles that began in April 1950 with Crypt of Terror. I don’t know whether that title and EC’s other horror comics had any time travel (because I was forbidden from reading those!), but Harry Harrison, Wally Wood and their fellow artists managed some in the titles that were more geared to sf.
I’m aiming for a complete list of EC’s time-travel vignettes, but the list as of now is only partial. The first one I found was in Weird Fantasy 13 (May/Jun 1950), which was actually its first issue. That was part of a ruse to take over a second-class postage permit from A Moon, a Girl . . .Romance (which ended with issue 12). They stuck with that numbering through the fifth issue (number 17) when the postmaster general took note, and the next one was number 6. I did kinda wonder how many of those romance readers were surprised when Weird Fantasy 13 showed up in their mailboxes.
There was a sister title, Weird Science, which began in May/Jun 1952 with issue 12 (taking over the postage permit after the 11th issue of Saddle Romance). It had many time travel stories, starting with “Machine from Nowhere” in issue 14 (the 3rd issue).
Weird Science and Weird Fantasy were not selling that well, so EC combined them into a single title—Weird Science-Fantasy—with issue 23 in March 1954. Alas, there was but one time-travel story, “The Pioneer” in number 24 (Jun 1954), about which EC’s site says A man attempts to be the first to successfully time travel, but there are some casualties on the way. . . .. By the way, the whole run of EC comics would be 4 stars, but it gets an extra ½ star because of Al Williamson’s adaptation of “The Sound of Thunder” in Weird Science-Fantasy 24 and the beautiful Frank Frazetta cover on the final issue (number 29) of Weird Science-Fantasy. The third image to the left is is that Frazetta did of that cover in 1972, with a bonus vamp in the bottom right corner. The cover had a gladiator fighting cave men, but it was not a time-travel story.
In 1955, the Comics Code Authority banned the word “Weird,” so the title became Incredible Science Fiction with number 30 (Jul/Aug 1955). The four-issue run had only one time-travel tale (“Time to Leave” by Roy G. Krenkel in number 31).
I just stepped off the path, that’s all. Got a little mud on my shoes! What do you want me to do, get down and pray?