Writers and artistsEdit
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 adaptationsEdit
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:
Crime SuspenStories has been reprinted numerous times over the years. Ballantine Books reprinted selected stories in a series of paperback EC anthologies in 1964-66. The magazine was fully reprinted in a series of five black-and-white hardbacks by publisher Russ Cochran as part of the The Complete EC Library in 1983. Between November 1992 and May 1999, Cochran (in association with Gemstone Publishing) reprinted the full 27 individual issues. This complete run was later rebound, with covers included, in a series of five softcover EC Annuals. In 2008, Cochran and Gemstone began to publish hardcover, re-colored volumes of Crime SuspenStories as part of the EC Archives series. One volume (of a projected five) was published before Gemstone's financial troubles left the project in limbo. But the project may soon be revived under a new publisher. GC Press LLC, a boutique imprint established by Russ Cochran and Grant Geissman, announced in a press release dated September 1, 2011 that it is continuing the EC Archives series, with the first new releases scheduled for November 2011.