By Leonard Maltin | Leonard Maltin December 31, 2009 at 1:06AM
DARK HORSE ARCHIVES; Introduction by Sara Karloff
In 1960, Boris Karloff was recruited to host a weekly anthology show called Thriller. It was an obvious attempt to emulate the success of a not dissimilar show hosted by another movie figure with a “brand name,” Alfred Hitchcock. It lasted only two seasons, although Stephen King has called it the best series of its kind, which is no small compliment.
As it so often did, Dell Comics created a tie-in comic book series which featured an image Karloff on the cover and usually, in caricature form, in the introductory panel of each interior story. After two issues the publisher changed the title of the comic to Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery. Under that name, it outlasted the TV show and outlived Karloff, continuing for a total of eighteen years under the Gold Key imprint.
This hardcover collection from Dark Horse includes the Thriller comics and the first two Tales of Mystery. Today they’d be considered graphic novels, I suppose, and while they aren’t nearly as bold or visually arresting as the best examples of that field, they do tell their stories well. Small wonder: they were the work of some of the best and the brightest in the comic book field. Among the people who worked on the series were such notables as Alex Toth, Joe Orlando, Mike Sekowsky, Frank Thorne, José Luis Garcia-López, Arnold Drake, Len Wein, Al Wiliamson, Jerry Robinson, Dan Spiegle, and the incredibly prolific Tom Gill (who drew 135 consecutive issues of The Lone Ranger for Dell) and Paul S. Newman, who wrote more than four thousand stories for over 360 different comic book series.
These entertaining comics, vividly reproduced in color (and looking much better on coated paper stock than they ever did in newsprint) may have only a tenuous Hollywood connection, but without the branding of Boris Karloff they wouldn’t have existed in the first place.(Dark Horse)