Wednesday, November 12, 2008

EC Sampler

Writers: Bill Gaines & Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig
Artists: Al Feldstein, Alex Toth & Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig, Wally Wood
Publisher: Gemstone Publishing
Published: May 2008

E is for EC!

This comic is a free comic, picked up on one of the greatest days besides X-Mas: FREE COMIC BOOK DAY! What a great idea. The goal of free comic book day is to generate some business and spread the word, which it does. The selection of comic choices has gotten progressively better over the years. 2008 was a particularly good year for me. I went to 2 different shops in St. John's NL and was able to pick up 13 comics for free between the two. The EC sampler was one of them.

EC was a major producer of horror/suspense/action/science fiction comics during the 40s and 50s. However, the day Dr. Fredric Wertham dropped his bomb shell book titled Seduction of the Innocent, this pretty much spelled the doom of EC. His book was an attack on crime comics and horror stories, which he accused to be directly correlated with juvenile delinquecy. This book's attack on the producers of comics led the industry to create the Comic Code Authority through self-censorship. However, EC was not one to bow down to censorship, and the battle raged. Eventually EC would lose and close shop, and focus on it's humor line such as MAD.
Moving on, the EC sample is just that, a sampling of various stories from the EC archives. The first tale concerns an unidentified blob that is unstoppable in its destruction of all it touches. The second tale follows a grandfather who questions the value of his blind grandson's decision to join the revolution. The third tale involves a man who has to come to terms with his werewolf affliction, and finally, the last tale is about a journalist who sticks his nose where it doesn't belong, right up the KKK's arse, and now has to pay the price.

If it weren't for this sampler, I would have been introduced to these type of tales. My first reaction, considering the past and reasons for ECs fall, is that it just doesn't seem to make sense. Yes, the stories depicted violence, horror, murder, and other seedy elements, but each tale has a moral at its core, or at least a fantastical element that tells you not to take it too seriously. I think EC was just the victim of a Salem witch style hysteria, which is too bad. It would be interesting to see where comics could have gone if they weren't restricted or branded evil without proper judgment.

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