Specialist books publisher Taschen – whose recent comic-related releases include the Jamie Hewlett – 40th Anniversary Edition, Robert Crumb Sketch Books and Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse. The Ultimate History – is releasing The History of EC Comics next month, by Grant Geissman. With more than 1000 images and rarities, there’s something new here in this collector’s edition for even the most die-hard EC fan-addict.
In 1947, Bill Gaines inherited his legendary father M.C. Gaines‘ fledgling publishing company, EC Comics. Over the next eight years, he and a “who’s who” of the era including Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman, and Wally Wood would reinvent the very notion of the comic book with titles like Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science and MAD.
EC – which began as “Educational Comics” – delighted in publishing gory, morbid horror and crime comics that had snap, ironic endings – but they also pioneered the first true-to-life war comics, the first “real” science-fiction stories, and a series of tales about such then-taboo subjects as racism, bigotry, vigilantism, drug addiction, police corruption, and anti-Semitism.
Too good to last, they were eventually caught up by various 1950s guardians of morality, who were convinced that EC’s often over-the-top content was causing juvenile delinquency. A year or so after a full inquiry investigating horror and crime comics, the incredible EC Comics were no more.
The History of EC Comics presents the full, fascinating story of this fabled company, written and expertly curated by EC-authority Grant Geissman, a book that offers plenty of material from the Gaines family archives, including more than 100 rarities that have never seen print.
Many of the cover images featured are reproduced from Gaines File Copies, which are widely regarded as the best surviving copies of the EC Comics.
Gathering more than 1,000 illustrations that include the rarest and most notorious covers, interior pages and panels, photos, vintage original artwork, and some of the most celebrated stories ever to be printed in four colours for a dime, Taschen has declared its The History of EC Comics as “the ultimate EC Comics compendium and a must-have for any comics enthusiast or pop culture historian” – and from the preview pages, it looks hard to challenge the claim!
Grant Geissman is one of the world’s leading experts on EC Comics and MAD magazine, and the author and designer of four books on the subject, including Foul Play: The Art and Artists of the 1950’s E.C. Comics and Feldstein: The Mad Life and Fantastic Art of Al Feldstein, three of them nominated for an Eisner Award. He is also an Emmy-nominated guitarist and composer who co-wrote the music for the hit television series Two and a Half Men and Mike & Molly, and played guitar on the theme tune for the detective series, Monk.
He has fourteen albums released under his own name, including the jazz trilogy Say That!, Cool Man Cool, and BOP! BANG! BOOM!
• The History of EC Comics by Grant Geissman is published by Taschen on 19th August 2020 | Hardcover, 29 x 39.5 cm, 5.22 kg, 592 pages | ISBN 978-3-8365-4976-9 | Pre-order direct from Taschen | Pre-order it here from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)