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The History of EC Comics

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In 1947, Bill Gaines inherited EC Comics, a new venture founded by his legendary father M. C. Gaines, who was responsible for midwifing the birth of the comic book as we know it during his tenure at All-American Comics, bringing the likes of Wonder Woman and Green Lantern to the world. Over the next eight years, Bill Gaines 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, Crime SuspenStories, Weird Science, and MAD.

EC 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.

TASCHEN presents the full, fascinating story of this fabled company, written and expertly curated by EC-authority Grant Geissman. Even the most die-hard EC Fan-Addicts will find something new within these pages, with the Gaines family archives providing more than 100 rarities that have never seen print. Many of the cover images 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 colors for a dime, this is the ultimate EC Comics compendium and a must-have for any comics enthusiast or pop culture historian.

The Author

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, 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. 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 - Hardcover Book

EC Comics Ghoulunatics
Comic Book Pop Culture

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Product Size
Height: 18.58" (47.2 cm)
Width: 12.99" (33 cm)
Depth: 2.95" (7.5 cm) *

Box Size
Height: 4.00" (10.2 cm)
Width: 15.00" (38.1 cm)
Depth: 20.00" (50.8 cm) *

Shipping Weight
15.00 lbs (6.8 kg) *

* Size and weight are approx. values
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Item shown is a prototype. When shipped, the final production piece may differ in appearance.


1 Review
An amazingly-exhaustive effort.
December 10, 2020  |   Karl R.
5 star review

An essential tome for those who appreciate the richness of History & what it teaches us. My 2nd Taschen book (the first being H.R. Giger).

Simply put, TASCHEN does amazing work. This book is so full of fascinating information regarding EC Comics. I guarantee you will not be able to go thru this massive book in one, two or even seven sittings. So much to look at & study and learn about. Personally, I've always appreciated art forms in their infancy before they "grow up", "go corporate" and in many cases, becoming bland & boring in the end. Ironically, EC Comics didn't get a chance to really grow-up and for that I'm actually grateful.