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Not so outstanding is Mike Carlin’s tale about Batgirl and Poison Ivy, drawn by Archie artist Dan DeCarlo. It really sucked the serious drama out of the book.

A nice extra to the title, even though it smacks too much of marketing, is a visual gallery of DC Direct statues based on the “Black and White” series and in the style of some of the heavy-duty artists — such as Paul Pope, Jim Lee and Tim Sale — who contributed to the books over the years.

Tales From the Crypt, No. 1 (Papercutz, $3.95)

A welcome revival of the classic horror EC Comics format from the 1950s arrives in bimonthly, two-story doses, but its inaugural issue falls a bit flat for its targeted audience.

The beauty of publisher William Gaines’ horror anthology comic in the 1950s was that it pushed the limits of censorship and always had a pretty slick surprise ending to give the readers a chuckle or something to digest.

‘Tis not the case with the latest venture, spearheaded by former Marvel editor Jim Salicrup in a first issue written for the 10-year-and-older crowd.

Unfortunately, Mr. Salicrup’s idea of a 10-year-old must be drawn from the 1970s, as the material is way too tame for the horror fan or today’s youth, thrilled with television’s “Supernatural” or media from R.L. Stein’s “Goosebumps.”

Children are a bit more sophisticated today, and the telescoped endings, along with timid illustrations of the stories, just do not cut it.

Take the tale “Body of Work.” Neighbors find out that an artist lives next door and that his abundant masterpieces are worth millions. He goes out of town and the nosy, greedy neighbors get more than they bargained for.

The art of a Mr. Exes (no first name) is just not scary enough to accommodate the potent punch later in the ending.

In the second story, “For Serious Collectors Only,” a man who lives with his mom loves action figures, and when he cannot buy the latest Japanese import he steals the cash to make his dreams come true. But dreams have a funny way of turning into nightmares.

It was too easy to see where the story was going, and although it had potential, much like a television episode of “Night Gallery,” the ironic ending was just silly.

The best part of the 48-page issue are the introductions by the Crypt Keeper, drawn with appropriate creepiness by Rick Parker.

Zadzooks! is on the Web. Read an extended version of his column that includes a review of Jack Kirby’s Silver Star on Call 202/636-3016; fax 202/269-1853; e-mail jszadkowsk i@washingtontimes .com; or write to Joseph Szadkowski, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20002.