Yesterday, Russ Cochran passed away, aged 82. His daughter Sylvia Cochran Hershenson and his brother Mike Cochran posted notices on social media last night.
Russ Cochran is best known as a comic book art dealer and publisher of EC Comics reprints, but also MAD Magazine, Disney comics and books on Hopalong Cassidy, Chet Atkins, Les Paul and vacuum tubes. A publisher for over 30 years, he left his job as a physics professor to collect, curate and archive comic book history. Working with Another Rainbow Publishing, Gladstone Publishing and Gemstone Publishing, his EC Comics reprints include the black-and-white The Complete EC Library, the four-color EC Annuals, and the full-color hardcover EC Archives.
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.
From 1990-1991, Cochran worked with Gladstone Publishing to reprint individual issues, moving to Gemstone Publishing and in 2006, for the EC Archives , a series of full-color hardcover books, each containing six issues of the comic. The series continues under the Dark Horse imprint since 2013. And in 2011, Cochran launched a new monthly publication, The Sunday Funnies, reprinting vintage Sunday comic strips in a 22"x16", full-color newspaper-insert-style format.
Many people have been posting fond memories of the man and his legacy.
Russ Cochran, July 3, 1937 – February 23rd, 2020