The Daily Comic Book Coffee, number 53: Today’s artwork is penciled by Jack Kamen, inked by Johnny Craig, written by Al Feldstein, lettered by Jim Wroten, and colored by Marie Severin, from Crime SuspenStories #13, published by EC Comics with an Oct-Nov 1952 cover date.
Beautiful, ambitious Rita has married Frank Reardon for one reason: he’s incredibly wealthy. Frank is also completely deaf, having lost his hearing in the military. While Rita plays the role of dutiful, loving wife she mockingly tells him things like “From here on in, your my meal ticket” and “If it wasn’t for your dough I’d walk out on you tonight” knowing he can’t hear a single word she says.
Rita begins an affair with Vance Tobin, a business associate of Frank. The lovers try to figure out a way be together without Rita losing Frank’s money. Then one day Frank stumbles into the house, dazed & disheveled, having nearly died in a car accident outside. Inspiration strikes Rita, and in front of the deaf Frank she suggests to Vance a plan to poison her husband and forge a suicide note.
Rita retrieves some potassium cyanide from the garden shed. Serving coffee to the two men, Rita tells Vance not to drink the cup on the right s it contains the poison. A few minutes later, though, it is not Frank but Vance who abruptly drops dead on the spot, much to Rita’s horror. Wrong coffee cup, Vance! You can probably guess the twist ending, but I won’t spoil it.
“Hear No Evil” is a real EC rarity, in that is one of the few stories not drawn solely by a single artist. Instead, we have two EC mainstays collaborating, Jack Kamen on pencils and Johnny Craig on inks. They work well together, effectively illustrating Feldstein’s tale of infidelity and homicide.
Following the demise of EC Comics in 1955, Kamen went into the advertising field, where he had a very successful career. He briefly returned to comic books in the early 1980s to draw the cover of the graphic novel adaptation of Stephen King’s EC Comics-inspired Creepshow, as well as the artwork featured in the actual movie. Kamen passed away in 2008.
Johnny Craig remained in comic books, but he found only limited success at both Marvel and DC, due to his style not aligning with the dynamics needed for superhero stories, as well as to his meticulous approach to drawing leading to difficulty in meeting deadlines. By the 1980s he had moved into a creative field where he was much more comfortable, drawing private commissions for fans of his now-classic EC Comics work. Craig passed away in 2001.