From what we’re hearing it’s going to be a rough year in the business end of comics– the herd will be thinned. And here’s one that’s lagging behind as the hyenas circle: Russ Cochran is one of the survivors of the pre-direct market days as an independent publisher, specifically known for his extensive reprinting of the EC comics long before classic comics reprints were commonplace. His publishing company was purchased by Diamond in 1993, and formed the foundation of much of the Gemstone line of EC and Disney reprints. While Gemstone’s actual publishing has been shut down (after running up hefty printing bills), Cochran continues to put out his own line of EC reprints, licensed through the Gaines Estates. However, according to a recent mailer, even that modest business is in trouble:

I’m going to have to be completely honest with you now. My business, which has been in existence since 1971…that’s FORTY YEARS…is in financial trouble, and unless something changes soon, I will be closing my doors before 2011 is over.

I’ve already had to terminate my oldest employee, Chris Rock, who was with me for 35 years. Chris worked on all the EC projects with me, he went to NYC with me to photograph the EC art for the EC portfolios, and it was very difficult for me to tell him that he was being laid off. This leaves only two other employees, Angie Meyer and Judy Goodwin, and right now my monthly sales through my website, eBay, and Amazon are not enough to cover their salaries.

I’m hoping to get permission from the Gaines Estate to continue publishing the EC ARCHIVES series, but unless this comes soon, my publishing days will be ended. With no new products to offer you, all I can do is to offer special deals on the items I do have in inventory. I would rather sell them to you, my faithful customers, at a lower price than to wholesale them to dealers and booksellers.

There are indeed some good deals. If you were thinking of buying some Cochran projects, now might be the time. In addition to the EC books, he also published well regarded volumes on classic musicians Les Paul and Chet Atkins. Cochran also sells very rare comics art by Herriman, Caniff and others of that caliber, like the already-sold Charles Biro BOY page above.


  1. Gemstone still exists, barely.
    They still publish the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.

    They reported that the limited edition of Overstreet sold out, which will help pay the bills. No idea what the sales are, when the Internet is offering more current information, and sites such as the Grand Comics Database offer a wider listing of titles.

  2. Russ Cochran deserves an award for his service to comics history and fans in keeping the EC comics available in affordable editions, and for seeing the Complete EC library through. To anybody who is on the fence about purchasing any of his EC reprints: They all have great reproduction, and were packaged by a man who truly loves the material. Give them a try.

    I personally like the Balck and white EC library (reproduced from the original art!), but he has also produced individual issues, and “annuals” collecting six issues at a time. Wonderful, wonderful stuff.

  3. Thanks for the heads-up. I just picked up another EC Archives from the company’s site; they’re wonderful volumes of some of the world’s best comics.

  4. Russ is one of the true gentlemen in comics. I really hope he pulls through. And if you haven’t bought one of his EC Archives, DO SO NOW. You’ll be glad you did!

    Lance Roger Axt
    The AudioComics Company

  5. That’s really hard to read, back in the late 80s early 90s it was Russ’s reprints that turned me on to a lot of books and stories that I’d heard about but never actually read. He certainly is a true gentleman and all ofhisendevours have been labours of love, you can see that in how the reprints have been packaged and how they are sold. I really hope he can pull this through.

  6. That (wonderful) Boy comics cover reminds me – I need to find a Crimebuster expert. Any out there?
    My dad recalls a certain Crimebuster story from when he was a kid and I’d love to find that particular issue for him.

    Thanks for any leads!