Hello all you pulpeteers out there! Now we all know that New Pulp Tales is the premier spot on the internet for all things pulp. We’ve got stories, we’ve got reviews, we’ve got ideas and
Hello all you pulpeteers out there! Now we all know that New Pulp Tales is the premier spot on the internet for all things pulp. We’ve got stories, we’ve got reviews, we’ve got ideas and rants, psychos and mad scientists, zombies, and blood-thirsting fiends, but enough about my fellow staff and me. Consider me your friendly neighborhood Pulp Keeper. I’ll be scouring the corners of the internet to find the best sites, apps, and other services out there so that you can get your pulp on strong.
I’m like most pulp fans in that I love comics. Superheroes, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, it doesn’t matter the genre. If there are panels on a page with ink and a story, chances are I’m going to check it out. Only, I’m a little different than your typical pulp fan/writer. I live in Thailand and getting a hold of English comics can be difficult. Sometimes getting an app to work in Thailand can be a problem (looking at you DC Universe). Also, I’ve recently begun a side-career writing horror stories for the Dr. NoSleep and SCP Experience podcast (shameless self-plug). And that means I need a steady source of dark and deprived tales to feed my sinister imagination so I can keep readers shivering long into the night.
Now my go-to app is Marvel Unlimited. And honestly, for the price, it’s all a comic fan-boy needs. For a low cost, you can regale yourself with countless tales from Marvel’s Golden Age all the way up until comics that just dropped six months past. As much as I love the app, the one thing it lacks is a variety of horror options, and I wanted to get more of that in my comic diet. So, I was experimenting around and came across the Darkhorse Comics app.
Darkhorse is one of the top publishers in the United States, distantly following the Big 2 of Marvel and DC, but with a dedicated fanbase and quality comics. They’ve been around thirty years or so and tackle a lot of different genres. You name it, Darkhorse has it, humor, horror, science fiction, superhero, action/adventure, crime, all the things every pulpeteer needs in their lives. That’s what got me looking at the app, and since I’m here for the scares, naturally, I clicked on horror. And then I got even more excited when I discovered that they have The EC Archives.
For those not in the know (i.e., those of you who went on dates in high school probably), EC Comics was a publisher of horror, science fiction, and horror comics. For a literal drop of a dime, a kid could pick up a fat mag filled with disturbing pictures and grizzly tales of comeuppance and moral lessons. Well, assuming the lesson is don’t be a criminal or don’t chop up your neighbors and sell them at the butcher’s. You ever hear about Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of Innocence and the US Congressional hearings on comic books? EC Comics was front and center for those and directly led to the Comic Book Code Authority that set guidelines for what was deemed unsuitable for impressionable minds.
These comics are legends, but I haven’t really had a chance to explore them before. So I picked up a free sample of Choke Gasp to get a glimpse of these fabled comics, both to test out the Darkhorse app and to seduce my innocence…well, what’s left of it.
Choke Gasp contains four different self-contained stories from EC titles Impact, Shock Suspense Stories, Tales from the Crypt, and Weird Fantasy. Sometimes when you read old comics, they can be a pain on the eyes, especially when you’re an aging geek like myself whose eyeballs are well-past their prime. These comics came out when panels and layouts weren’t standard for publishers. Artists and writers often just tried to fit as many images and words on the page as possible. This was doubly so for EC, who encouraged creativity and originality in their writers and artists and didn’t have a uniform layout for each issue.
Darkhorse’s guided views alleviated most problems that might have existed with these comics. The guided view is one of the best I’ve ever seen in any comic reader. I’d put it up there with Marvel Unlimited or Comixology Unlimited. Occasionally, I would be thrown off because the top portion of the narrative in the lower panel would appear in the one I was reading. Still, once I realized that EC (or anyone) doesn’t do narrative text on the bottom of the page, I quickly adjusted to this slight issue.
The stories provided also offered satisfying tales that contained the hallmark of EC Comics. Horror stories focusing on comeuppance like Taint The Meat…It’s the Humanity and science fiction stories that questioned the social injustice of the ’50s, like in Judgement Day. It left my brain salivating for more, more, more!
Overall, I consider the app an excellent option…considering you know what it offers. Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe offer you a massive chunk of their nearly century-long history for a monthly price. Darkhorse hasn’t been around as long, so they don’t have as many titles to offer. As such, they forego any attempt to compete with the Big 2 on this level. Instead, they offer the app as a way to purchase their comics and read them at your leisure. There are a few free issues and samplers provided, but this is an app you have to pay for the pleasure with every pop.
But if you have the money to spare and enjoy a wide variety of comics, I can’t think of a better way to purchase and view comics. In fact, it’s tempted me so much that I’m going to dive in and see what more tales of terror the EC Archives have to offer (foreshadowing). And if you have any suggestions for comics on the Darkhorse app I should check out, drop a comment, and I’ll check it out and give it a review.
Until next time, happy reading, and keep your pulp strong!