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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 3
total score 8
Skull Comics 1 _ Skull Comics 2 _ Skull Comics 3
Skull Comics #1
Skull Comics #2
Skull Comics #3
REVIEW SCORE: 8
REVIEW SCORE: 8
REVIEW SCORE: 8
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Skull Comics 4 _ Skull 5 _ Skull 6
Skull Comics #4
Skull Comics #5
Skull Comics #6
REVIEW SCORE: 8
REVIEW SCORE: 8
REVIEW SCORE: 10
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keyline
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Skull Comics
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1970-1972 / Rip Off Comix - Last Gasp Eco-Funnies
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Of all the pop culture reference points that influenced underground comic creators and publishers, none were greater than EC Comics, which flourished during the childhoods of the forefathers of the underground. It seemed inevitable that underground artists would pay tribute to EC Comics, especially the horror and crime titles that broke new ground in depictions of terror and gore. Sure enough, Rip Off Comix launched Skull Comics just two years after Zap Comix enabled the type of content that EC once revelled in.

Though horror and violence had already surfaced in some undergrounds (e.g., Bogeyman), nothing compared to Skull Comix #1, which featured the decapitation of a naked woman and zombies on peyote, and those were mere harbingers of what was to come. Skull explored all manner of the horror genre, from interpreting the classic writings of Edgar Allan Poe to modern elucidations and hallucinations.

Skull
didn't venture quite so extensively as its spiritual compatriot Slow Death, so it might not be considered as broadly entertaining, but it mined the traditional horror genre unlike any other anthology in the underground. The macabre tales of H.P. Lovecraft were prominently featured in the fourth and fifth issues of the series. The series finale in issue #6 featured a gruesome, marvelous full-length epic of horror by Tom Veitch, illustrated in two parts by Greg Irons and Richard Corben.

Skull published its last four issues in a flurry of productivity over the course of twelve months spanning 1971 and '72. Then, after sales suddenly flagged for the title (from 80,000 copies for #3 to 10,000 copies for #5), Last Gasp put out the final issue. The brilliant story in #6 forced a second printing, but the title was laid to rest anyway.

If it had to end, it had to end, but Skull Comics produced six little gems of comic book horror and (for an underground comic) had a successful run.
You can't go wrong with any of the issues, but if you want to start with the most pungently horrific, get the third and sixth issues. Keep a paper bag handy for retching!