Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Farewell to EC Horror books

This was a neat book I ran across on ebay a little over a year ago. I wasn't really looking for it - but it fell in my lap cheaper than I thought it would. I made a low-ball bid offer and won it.

No one was more surprised than me. This is the 2nd to last issue of  EC's venerable Tales from the Crypt series. It is a low distribution issue.

What I found most interesting about the book was what was printed on the inside front cover.

Following the publication of Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent , horror and other violent comics had come under very intense scrutiny by parents, schoolteachers, clergymen, psychologists, and others who viewed the material as dangerous to the well-being of children and a significant contributor to the juvenile delinquency crisis in America. Think of it as McCarthy-ism for comic books.

Matters came to a head in April and June 1954 with a highly publicized Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. Hearings targeted violent comic books—which fared poorly in the proceedings. While the committee stopped short of blaming the comics industry for juvenile delinquency, they did suggest it tone down the product. Publishers were left reeling. They could see the writing on the wall and recognized that the end of their industry was at hand if they didnt band together and DO something as a collective group. What they did was the Comics Code Authority.

The Code was essentially self censorship. It was meant to appease the groups giving them grief. It was a last ditch effort to stay afloat and keep the doors open.

This Tales from the Crypt #45 book and in particular the inside cover - marked a farewell to EC Horror titles

The letter on the inside cover acknowledged all of EC's woes, put them on the table and said "Eff ewe" to a certain extent. They had effectively been driven out of business and gave up in a very public statement that very few people saw, because of the limited distribution.

I thought it was quite powerful, poignant and understated given the circumstances.

R.I.P. EC. Horror.

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