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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 8
death rattle v1n1 _ death rattle 2 _ death rattle v1n1
Death Rattle vol. 1 #1
Death Rattle vol. 1 #2
Death Rattle vol. 1 #3
Death Rattle, Volume 1

1972-1973 / Kitchen Sink Enterprises

The underground comic book era's golden age was replete with homages and tributes to the pre-Code EC comic book era of the early 1950s. Bogeyman was one of the first and Skull Comics was one of the most successful (six solid issues in less than three years). A few months before Last Gasp published the last issue of Skull in the fall of 1972, Kitchen Sink launched Death Rattle, which produced three issues in its first year before fading away. The title was revived for a second volume by Kitchen Sink Press in 1985 for a sweet 18-issue, three-year run. Seven years later, Kitchen Sink dug up the old favorite for a third volume of five issues.

But it all began with the first volume of Death Rattle in June, 1972, with a stunning Richard Corben front cover and five short stories, including two from Tim Boxell and one each from John Pound, Richard Corben and Peter Poplaski. The second and third issues featured more Tim Boxell and John Pound, as well as contributions from Mike Vosberg, Tom Veitch, Mike Roberts and W. E. Hayden.

Death Rattle lived up to the EC horror comic tradition with its gruesome tales, but it also leveraged the new liberties won by the underground comic revolution, freely infusing nude images throughout each issue. But the comic creators were clearly focused more on horror than eroticism, so the nudity was only occasionally gratuitous and more often used as a plot device or to provide a stylistic component to narration.

The first volume of Death Rattle, with fine contributions from some of the better underground comic creators, provides some entertaining reads, a few clever plot twists and more than a bit of laughter.