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As they began co-plotting the bulk of EC’s stories together, they changed tack, moving in a boldly impressive new direction.
Their publishing strategy, utilising the most gifted illustrators in the field, was to tell a “New Trend” of stories aimed at older and more discerning readers, not the mythical semi-literate 8-year-old all comicbooks ostensibly targeted.
She lived life well and grew old and content, but one day a selfish thought flashed idly through her mind.As detailed in the comprehensive closing essay of this superb graphic compilation (by author, editor, critic and comics fan Ted White), Max’s son William was dragged into the company by unsung hero and Business Manager Sol Cohen who held the company together until initially unwilling Bill Gaines abandoned dreams of being a chemistry teacher and transformed the ailing educational enterprise into the EC we all know and love…After some tentative false starts and abortive experiments mimicking industry fashions, Gaines took advantage of multi-talented associate Al Feldstein, who promptly graduated from creating teen comedies and westerns to become Gaines’ editorial supervisor and co-conspirator.A return to baroque grisly giggles is seen in (Haunt of Fear #12, March/April) as two greedy partners in a fast food franchise decide to cut the genius who created the phenomenon out of the profit-equation before Davis demonstrates his speed in a new occasional features – “EC Quickies”.
These were linked 4-page tales on a shared theme and begins with a pair from Crime Suspen Stories #11 (June/July): an examination of how con men dupe suckers beginning with (Shock Suspen Stories #3, June/July) follows fur trappers in the far north who use ferocious bear traps to make a profit – and remove rivals – after which Davis delineates one of Feldstein’s most visceral and innovate tales in (Haunt of Fear #13, May/June).
This 16 volume of the Fantagraphics EC Library gathers a mind-boggling selection of Feldstein’s stories – mostly co-plotted by companion-in-crime Gaines – and all illuminated by the company’s most versatile illustrator: a young hopeful who literally walked in off the street with his portfolio and walked away with the first commissions of a stellar career.