I’ve made this nomination for the Monster Kid Hall of fame each of the past two years, but I'll probably keep making it until he gets elected... I nominate William Gaines for the Hall of fame.
After inheriting his father's floundering comic book company Bill Gaines changed the direction of the company and steered it headlong into horror, turning Educational Comics into the EC comics we all know and love. If William Gaines was the general of the EC army, then Al Feldstein would be his field marshal. Al was right there with Bill, writing and drawing comics in addition to helping Bill plot EC’s financial decisions. In fact, a case could be made that the two should be inducted simultaneously, as they worked hand in hand to turn Entertaining comics into a successful business.
Crypt of Terror, Haunt of Fear, Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Shock Suspenstories, etc. probably had more to do with my becoming a horror host than any other single source. I didn't read Famous Monsters that much as a kid (but I sure would have liked to!), but by golly I sure loved my horror comics! Whether EC comics themselves, reprints, or cheap imitations - I loved them all!
They weren’t officially the first horror comic (see http://www.watt-evans.com/theotherguys.html for a great article on other horror comics of the 40s – 50s), but they were the best. They were a visual representation of the old radio horror tales. Caught in the censorship crossfire of the congressional hearings, thanks to Dr. Frederic Wertham (who should win some kind of Anti-Rondo award), EC eventually was forced to fold. But even that was short lived, as EC crawled from the grave and is more popular today than ever. The Crypt Keeper is a star baby! I actually encouraged Curtis Prather, the webmaster of the website www.horrorhosts.com and one of the founding members of the Horror host Underground, to add the Cryptkeeper to the website of current horror hosts, which he did.
They may be cheap, tawdry, and crass - but they are also entertaining, funny (in a dark sense), and almost always pack a morality tale. They also had some of the most amazing art in comic book history, with contributions from the likes of Jack Davis, Ghastly Graham Ingels, Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman, Johnny Craig - the list goes on and on! These comics probably had as big an influence on the horror community, (writers, artists and fans alike) as any other single source. Long live EC comics, and here’s to Bill Gaines, Al Feldstein, and all the artists and writers of EC comics!!