On April 21 1954, William M. "Bill" Gaines, publisher of Entertaining Comics, spoke at the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency to defend his comic books against accusations of indecency and the perversion of minors. Some say as a direct result of his testimony, comic books were irreparably damaged. But no matter the result, Bill Gaines should be applauded simply for being willing to stand up and be counted.
Horror. Crime. Science Fiction. War. Suspense. Oddball humor. Incisive writing. Eye-popping art. These are the elements that made EC Comics irresistible to readers of the 1950s. Their titles were produced by some of the finest creators the comic industry has ever seen.
When the bubble burst, and EC's line of comics fell before a squalling mob of censors, Senators, sinister psychiatrists and simple-minded puritans, one series managed to escape, transform itself into a full-size black-and-white magazine, and go on to turn American culture upside-down with its cleverly absurd approach to humor. And through it all, there was one constant figure lurking behind the scenes: publisher, co-editor, troubleshooter, troublemaker, and visionary William M. Gaines.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund booth is always a necessary stop at Comic-Con. Their table is covered with great comics signed by great creators, and purchases go to a very important cause. They also always boast an impressive list of exclusives and other items, and this year is no different. If you swing by the CBLDF table, you can pick up an exclusive Adventure Time cover by regular AT contributor Chrystin Garland, a print of a graphic from Super Graphic author Tim Leong detailing why certain comic books are banned in libraries, and a "Bill Gaines Was Right" t-shirt, depicting the legendary EC editor who famously defended First Amendment rights in his testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954. You can check out all three below.