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EC Comics

If you are a fan of comic books, you probably already know about EC Comics. EC stood for Entertaining Comics, and they lived up to that name. The first EC Comics were published by M.C. Gaines, who basically "invented" the format of the modern comic book in 1933. During the years that Max Gaines published the comics, the EC stood for Educational Comics.

After the elder Gaines died in an accident, his son William M Gaines took over the family business and in 1948 he made radical changes to all the EC comics, introducing western, crime, and romance themes. These were called the "Pre-Trend" EC comics, and were all published between 1948 and 1950. In 1950 Bill Gaines introduced his "New Trend" line of comic books, including the most popular title Tales from the Crypt. Bill's horror comics, science-fiction comics, war comics, and "SuspenStories" comics were published from 1950 through 1955 until they were all outlawed by the Comics Code Authority, whose mission was to "clean up" comic books and remove all objectionable comic books from the newsstand. Bill was forced to cancel all his "New Trend" comics and tried briefly to comply with the CCA with a new line he called "New Direction" comics, which were CCA-approved. They didn't sell well, and after 4 or 5 issues, each of the "New Direction" comics died.

Bill continued by changing his MAD comic book into a 25-cent magazine, which became very successful, and is still being published by DC/Warner. All of the "New Trend" and "New Direction" comics were some of the best-written comics ever published, and the best comic artists in the business did their best work for these titles.