....and, after a good 20 minutes worth of pacing around Cosmic Comics, mentally "me-vs-myself" debating over whether this would be money well spent or not, I opted for "yes," and now I'm pleased. 24 stories all in one hardcover shell, meaning 24 ironic twist endings and 24 marriages of shocks and messages. Divine.
As was the older guy who owns and runs the nerd-heaven of West 23rd Street, Cosmic Comics. The girl working the cash register seemed to be about my age, dressed in stereotypically-geek-ish blue hoop earrings, a green-and-black-striped sweater, and hair dyed with streaks of dark blue. Quite the friendly, excitable gal, she greeted my EC Comics Archives purchase with an unexpected dose of glee. "Oh my God, I have to go get my boss!" she immediately blurted. "He's going to be so impressed!"
Like that, she disappeared into some backroom for a good three minutes, leaving me to wonder, "Should I be scared?" You never know, right? Not that I was intimidated, in the slightest; just that, the ecstatic facial expression she beamed with caught me totally off-edge, and brought with it uncertain possibilities. Better judgment told me to "chill the fuck out," though, and by the time the older, white-haired, four-eyed fanman came out front, I had a great feeling of what was about to go down.
"She tells me that you're buying some EC Comics Archives....that's so great!" You could tell that these EC Comics volumes aren't exactly top-sellers at his shop, which surprises me, truthfully. "The only people that I've ever seen buy these are my age or only slightly younger. You can't be older than 25, right?" I'm actually 27, I informed the man, but thanks for keeping me even further away from the big 3-0. After chuckling, he told me that he is 58 and that the EC Comics arsenal was, and still is, the main reason why he became such a massive comic book head, and when EC released these newly-restored prints of their beloved 1950s-issued classics, he felt like his life come full circle. So seeing somebody as young as myself showing enough interest in his cherished EC product to shell out 50 cool ones filled him with "so much joy."
I must say, this was a pretty profound experience. I've always felt like I'm a bit beyond my years as far as storytelling-preferences go, but this pretty much solidified the hunches. I went on to tell him how at least once a week I wish I could've grown up at least 30 years earlier, when my love for conscious genre fiction and exploitation cinema would've fit like a much more-snug glove. And how as a kid I'd watch the old British horror anthology films that were directly inspired and adapted from the EC standards: Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror, especially included. And then we went off on a "That one scene was my favorite" tangent, all while the blue-haired girl listened in. Maybe it's a bit chauvinistic on my part to think, but I swear that she was feeling me something wicked, and, if I were in the mood to, I could've scored her digits and we could've read Scott Pilgrim comic books together under a scenic tree, in Central Park. But nope, not my type. Nice girl, though.
All in all, a rather rewarding and enlightening trip to Cosmic Comics. Money well spent, and nostalgia well absorbed and nicely delivered.