Saddle Romances was a short-lived EC Pre-Trend title. It ran for three issues from 1949 - 1950. It featured the art of later renowned EC stalwarts such as Al Feldstein, Graham Ingels and Wally Wood (in collaboration with Harry Harrison). The title's numbering was continued from Saddle Justice. After only three issues, EC's acclaimed science fiction title Weird Science picked up with #12.
Saddle Romances #9, Nov-Dec 1949. Cover art by Graham Ingels.
Saddle Romances #10, Jan-Feb 1950. Cover art by Al Feldstein.
Saddle Romances #11, Mar-Apr 1950. Cover art by Al Feldstein.
A new book on Reed Crandall has been announced from TwoMorrows Publishing. The author is an expert on Crandall and has been working on it for a long time. I'm sure it will be an excellent resource on an artist too often overlooked by today's fans.
From the publisher's website: "From the 1940s to the ’70s, Reed Crandall brought a unique and masterful style to American comic art. Using an illustrator's approach on everything he touched, Crandall gained a reputation as the “artist’s artist” through his skillful interpretations of Golden Age super-heroes Doll Man, The Ray, and Blackhawk (his signature character); horror and sci-fi for the legendary EC Comics line; Warren Publishing’s Creepy, Eerie, and Blazing Combat; the THUNDER Agents and Edgar Rice Burroughs characters; and even Flash Gordon for King Features. Comic art historian Roger Hill has compiled a complete and extensive history of Crandall’s life and career, from his early years and major successes, through his tragic decline and passing in 1982. This full-color hardcover includes never-before-seen photos, a wealth of rare and unpublished artwork, and over eighty thousand words of insight into one of the true illustrators of the comics."
Bernie Wrightson's run on Swamp Thing is some of the most reprinted art of that era. The muck monster has been particularly popular in Europe, with many foreign language publications of the saga. This point will highlight a few, but by no means all of them.
The cover on the right is from one of my favorite editions. They were published in Denmark by Rune Press. These were the first foreign Swamp Thing comics I bought. They are large, magazine-sized and the first album reprints the first issue and the origin story from House of Secrets #92. The next two volumes, Patchwork Manden and Varulvens Nat reprint the next four issues. The books are printed in black and white with glorious reproduction, every fine line and twist of the brush shows up. These must have been printed from the original negatives or first generation stats. I don't know if the series continued to reprint the rest of Wrightson's run on the title. The only possible drawback to this edition would be if they did not reprint all of Wrightson's issues of Swamp Thing. Below is a panel from Swamp Thing #4.
The French publisher Les Editions du Fromage printed a beautiful set of Wrightson's complete run in two volumes. These boast the same superior reproduction of the Dutch editions but are slightly smaller in size, they measure 7.25" x 10.5". The first volume reprints the story from House of Secrets #92 and the first five issues of Swamp Thing, the second volume the remaining issues #6-10.
They were published sometime in the late-1970's and worth the sometimes hefty price if you really appreciate Wrightson's fine linework. Short of an IDW Artist Edition, this is the best presentation you will see of this historic run. Below are a couple panels from this edition.
Next up is a set of two German volumes: Das Ding Aus Den Sumpfen and Die Nach Der Fledermaus. These both measure a little over 6" x 10" and are printed in color. They were printed in 1990 by the publisher Carlsen Verlag.
The coloring in them as the same as DC's The Roots of the Swamp Thing reprint series from 1986. The first volume reprints issues #1-5 and the second volume reprints the remaining issues and the Swamp Thing story from House of Secrets #92.
Another German offering is Die großen Phantastic-Comics #57 - Sumpfding - Ein Leben für die Ewigkeit. This magazine sized issue sports the front half of Bernie's painting for the cover of The Roots of the Swamp Thing #1 and reprints the first two issues of the comic. Again, the coloring is the same as 1986's The Roots of the Swamp Thing. I couldn't find any references to any subsequent issues of Swamp Thing in this series. The cover is pictured below.
Last is a bizarre little Spanish volume: La Cosa Del Pantano published by Toutain Editor. There is no publication printed in it. This is magazine size and utilizes Wrightson's Swamp Creature from his Color the Creatures coloring book as a cover.
This reprints the origin story from House of Secrets colored by someone who favors yellow and pastel hues. A shot of some of the interior pages is below. The colors are actually much more washed out than the photo shows. It also reprints the first four issues of the comic in black and white. The reproduction is serviceable, but nowhere close to quality of the French of Dutch editions discussed above. I don't have any more information about this, I don't know if they published subsequent issues or not.
I hope you've enjoyed this little tour around the world with Swamp Thing. When I first ordered the Dutch editions from a catalog in the pre-internet 1980's I wasn't even sure what I was getting. But now with resources like the Grand Comics Database and being able to order from European eBays and Amazons the hunt is much easier but still a challenge. I can promise if I find anymore foreign Swamp Things, you'll see them here!