For the first time in decades fans will finally be able to collect the iconic horror, crime and sci-fi stories of E.C. Comics in black and white collections from Fantagraphics starting in 2012. According to The Comics Reporter, Fantagraphics announced the acquisition of the E.C. Comics library from William M. Gaines Agent, Inc. Rather than collecting the material by title, Fantagraphics will publish work around specific creators, splitting up titles like Tales From the Crypt, Weird Fantasy and others between prolific talent. First up are Corpse On The Imjin And Other Stories reprinting the work of Harvey Kurtzman, Came The Dawn and Other Stories spotlighting Wally Wood, plus a horror collection by Jack Davis and a sci-fi collection Al Williamson with titles to-be-announced.In an interview with TCR, Fantagraphics co-publisher and series editor Gary Groth explained his excitement for introducing EC Comics' stories to new readers:

"I assume there's a generation of comics readers out there that are either unfamiliar with EC Comics or only dimly familiar with them," Groth said of his decision to re-purpose the material into author-driven books, which he says was part of his original proposal. "I want to introduce EC Comics to a generation of readers."

The cancelation of E.C.'s comics in 1956 (although they continued publishing magazines) is largely blamed on the antagonism Dr. Fredric Wertham and The Comics Code Authority, which ruled that no comic title could contain the words "horror" or "terror" or "weird" on its cover in 1954 -- effectively killing a number of its most popular titles. The straw that broke the camel's back, however, was the CCA's objection to E.C. printing the story "An Eye For an Eye," because it starred a black astronaut. Here in 2011 the CCA is as good as dead and E.C. stories are being revived. It's a shame it took this long, but comics win again.

Fantagraphics plans to publish four E.C. collections a year until its targeted collectors have been featured.

[Via TCR]