Home / Featured / Jay Stephens Honors EC Comics’ Greatest Icons With Homage Variants

Jay Stephens Honors EC Comics’ Greatest Icons With Homage Variants

EC Comics

Following on from an announcement that rocked the comic book industry just a few short weeks ago – the return of the legendary EC Comics with an all-new line of, never-before-seen titles for summer 2024 – Oni Press, in partnership with William M. Gaines Agent., presents a look ahead at what awaits for the year’s most unexpected resurrection with a new, continuing line of incentive variant covers from Eisner Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning artist Jay Stephens (Dwellings). 

Slated to first debut on EPITAPHS FROM THE ABYSS #1 in July and CRUEL UNIVERSE #1 in August, Stephens’ subset collection of “EC Homage” variant covers will continue into the future with a new distinct piece re-interpreting an all-time classic EC cover image across every new EC release from Oni Press. In addition to his ongoing work as with the “EC Homage” line of incentive covers, Stephens will also be prominently featured as a writer in several of Oni’s upcoming EC series, including EPITAPHS FROM THE ABYSS, CRUEL UNIVERSE, and more yet to be announced. 

“EC Comics were dead and buried long before I was born,” said Jay Stephens, ”But when Stephen King and Tobe Hooper’s Creepshow dropped in 1982, shivers ran up my spine that weren’t caused by the delightfully deranged shorts themselves. This… felt… familiar. Like I’d always been here amongst the walking corpses. In the old 1974 copy of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide I’d acquired from a yard sale, small black and white reproductions of EC horror and sci-fi covers littered the margins of the pages. Nothing more… just enough to KNOW. I didn’t have to wait TOO much longer for a better look… by the time 1990 rolled around, Tales from the Crypt was on TV and the Gladstone EC reprints were choking up my local comic shop shelves. The subversive… shocking… transgressive… banned… and burned-at-the-stake EC horror was back, and I was finally home. Now we get to do one better and dress this cadaver in some new flesh. What could be more fun?”

Jay Stephens is an Emmy Award-winning and Eisner Award-nominated long-time cartoonist and animator at the forefront of comics culture– with three decades of experience in the alt-comics scene he is no stranger to the strange. Stephen’s hit horror series Dwellings, called “genuinely disturbing” by The Toronto Star, is full of murder, possession, and demonology portrayed in a sickeningly sweet style. All three issues of the bloodcurdling bestseller debut May 7th in a gruesome hardcover collection.

“As anyone who has glimpsed his work on DWELLINGS knows, Jay Stephens has a genius-like mastery and understanding of comic book storytelling, art, and design. Small surprise then that he’s also – like many of us at Oni HQ – a fellow EC Comics obsessive,” said Oni Press President & Publisher Hunter Gorinson. “In its heyday, EC produced – through the visionary talents of impossibly huge legends like Johnny Craig, Jack Davis, Frank Frazetta, Wally Wood, and so many more – some of the best and iconic covers to ever emerge from the comics medium.  So when it came time to pay tribute to the original EC masters in the pages of EPITAPHS FROM THE ABYSS and CRUEL UNIVERSE, Jay was the only natural choice, and he’ll be reinventing these seminal images will charm and style all his own for many issues to come.”

Oni Press’ first two new EC titles – EPITAPHS FROM THE ABYSS #1 and CRUEL UNIVERSE #1, a pair of horror and science anthologies in the classic EC mold – will debut in July and August 2024, respectively, before the publisher introduces more series in genres and formats that will expand the scope and scale of the EC publishing line in ways never before attempted. 

In addition to Stephens, Oni’s curated line of EC titles – which will include at least two series on a monthly basis from July 2024 onward in the genres of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and more – will feature contributions from a rotating cast of high-profile comics talents that includes writers Jason Aaron (ThorSouthern Bastards), Brian Azzarello (Batman: Damned100 Bullets),Rodney Barnes (Killadelphia), Corinna Bechko (Invisible Republic), Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun), Christopher Cantwell (Briar), Cecil Castellucci (Shade the Changing Girl), Chris Condon (That Texas Blood), Joshua Hale Fialkov (The Bunker), J. Holtham (AMC’s The Handmaid’s Tale), Jeff Jensen (HBO’s Watchmen, Green River Killer), Matt Kindt (BRZRKRMind MGMT), Sean Lewis (King Spawn), Stephanie Phillips (Grim), Zac Thompson (Cemetery Kids Don’t Die), Ben H. Winters (CBS’ Tracker), and more; artists Kano (Gotham Central,Immortal Iron Fist), Peter Krause (Irredeemable), Leomacs (Rogues), Malachi Ward (Black Hammer: The End), Dustin Weaver (AvengersPaklis), and more; designer Rian Hughes (TheMultiversity); alongside covers from Lee Bermejo (A Vicious CircleBatman: Damned), Greg Smallwood (The Human Target), J.H. Williams III (Sandman: OverturePromethea), and more to be revealed in the weeks and months ahead.