Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Russ Cochran 1937 - 2020

EC Comic enthusiast, and early publisher of EC Comics reprints, Russ Cochran, passed away on February 23rd at the age of 82.

To many of us, me included, he was the guy who told us younger people to look at these amazing EC Comics from the 1950s. He fell in love with them in the 1950s, and even started up a local chapter of the EC Fan-Addict Club. In 1964, he acquired a Ph.D and began teaching at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He became chair of the Physics Department.

From TCJ:

"'On sort of a whim I decided to write Bill Gaines. My letter said something to the effect that of the members of our chapter, EC Fan-Addict Club number three, one of us is a teacher, one is a minister, one is a doctor, one is a lawyer, and not an axe murderer in the bunch. I thought he would get a kick out of knowing that the influence of the ECs had not been detrimental to us. Anyway, he got a big kick out of the letter and wrote me back and said, 'Next time you’re in New York, or if you’re ever in New York, give me a call and we’ll go out to dinner.' Fortunately for EC fans, Cochran followed up on Gaines’ invitation and the two became fast friends, meeting over dinner and wine many times over the next few years."

This friendship was instrumental in Cochran's urge to reprint portfolios of the classic artwork from the 1950s EC Comics. His reprint efforts were so successful, that he left his position at Drake after ten years, and ventured into the publishing world.

Image from MyComicShop

From Bleeding Cool:

"The reprints were compiled primarily from copies of the original artwork pages, which were owned by EC Publisher William Gaines. Cochran befriended Gaines and also handled the resale of the original artwork to collectors via mail-auction catalogues during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.

"From 1978 to 1996, The Complete EC Library project reprinted almost every EC comic in 66 hardbound volumes contained in 17 slipcases. The complete issue was reprinted in black-and-white with colour covers, including house ads, letters pages, text stories, and editorial content, as well as content prepared but never published. These volumes included annotations and commentary by various comics historians, including John Benson, Max Allan Collins, Martin Jukovsky, Bill Mason, Bill Spicer and Bhob Stewart."
He would go on to reprint classic comic strips, a classic hardcover series of books of Disney comic book artwork, and the Edgar Rice Burroughs Library of Illustration, a collection of art associated with the Tarzan and John Carter books through the decades.

He was a lover of comics who followed his passion.


TCJ obit
Daily Cartoonist

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