EC Comics Online History and Price Guide
by Gary Watkins and Ashley Cotter-Cairns
Entertaining Comics, commonly known as EC Comics, is a popular comic book publisher of horror, crime, military, satire, and science fiction, particularly through the 1940s and 1950s.
Notable for the humorous MAD Magazine and creepy Tales from the Crypt comic book, EC was founded by Max Gaines, the former editor of All-American Publications.
Gaines died in 1947 and left his comics business to his son William, who would go to start several new books featuring military fiction, science fiction, and horror.
He also worked with several prominent freelance artists, including Jack Davis, Will Elder, Graham Ingels, and Joe Orlando.
EC Comics was known for being one of the first comic book companies to connect with fans through a letters to the editor section in each book. It also encouraged its artists to not only develop their own style, but sign and promote their artwork. The company even published a one-page biography of each artist in their comic books.
With an eclectic line of comics, EC developed familiar themes and storylines. Among them included ironic plot twists, Siamese twins (oddly, the company published numerous stories involving the odd human phenomenon), and political plots, including police corruption and lynchings.
The easiest way to have your EC books valued is to send us details for a free appraisal.
Here are key comics. Condition is vital of course, so please read our article on comic book grading before you get too excited.
We'll be adding detailed price guides for each individual series as time allows, so come back again to Sell My Comic Books soon.
Record sale: $24,000
Record sale: $1,750
Record sale: $4,750
Record sale: $11,950
Record sale: $6,900
Record sale: $7,400
Record sale: $6,600
Record sale: $15,500
Record sale: $3,500
Record sale: $8,900
Record sale: $2,600
Minimum value: $200
This list is courtesy of Wikipedia.
Click any link to find current values for these comics.
Animal Fables (1946–1947) #1-7
Animated Comics (1947) #1
Blackstone the Magician Detective Fights Crime (1947) #1
Crime Patrol (1948–1950) #7-16 (continued as The Crypt of Terror)
Dandy Comics (1947–1948) #1-7
Fat and Slat (1947–1948) #1-4 (continued as Gunfighter)
Gunfighter (1948–1950) #5-14 (continued as The Haunt of Fear)
Happy Houlihans (1947) #1-2 (continued as Saddle Justice)
International Comics (1947) #1-5 (continued as International Crime Patrol)
International Crime Patrol (1948) #6 (continued as Crime Patrol)
Land of the Lost (1946–1948) #1-9
Modern Love (1949–1950) #1-8
A Moon, a Girl... Romance (1949–1950) #9-12 (continued as Weird Fantasy)
Moon Girl (1947–1949) #2-6 (continued as Moon Girl Fights Crime!)
Moon Girl and the Prince (1947) #1 (continued as Moon Girl)
Moon Girl Fights Crime! (1949) #7-8 (continued as A Moon, a Girl... Romance)
Picture Stories from the Bible (1944–1946) #1-3 (New Testament edition, Old Testament edition published by DC Comics)
Picture Stories from American History (1945–1947) #1-4
Picture Stories from Science (1947) #1-2
Picture Stories from World History (1947) #1-2
Saddle Justice (1948–1949) #3-8 (continued as Saddle Romances)
Saddle Romances (1949–1950) #9-11 (continued as Weird Science)
Tiny Tot Comics (1946–1947) #1-10
War Against Crime! (1948–1950) #1-11 (continued as The Vault of Horror)
The Vault of Horror (April/May 1950)
The Haunt of Fear (May/June 1950)
Weird Fantasy (May/June 1950)
Weird Science (May/June 1950)
Crime SuspenStories (October/November 1950)
Two-Fisted Tales (November/December 1950)
Frontline Combat (July/August, 1951)
Shock SuspenStories (February/March 1952)
Mad Magazine/Comic (October–November 1952)
Panic (February-March 1954)
Weird Science-Fantasy (March 1954)
Piracy (October/November 1954)
Impact (March/April 1955)
Valor (March/April 1955)
Extra! (March/April 1955)
Aces High (March/April 1955)
Psychoanalysis (March/April, 1955)
M.D. (April/May 1955)
Incredible Science Fiction (July/August 1955)
Under pressure from government censors in the 1950s, it began to focus on its popular magazine MAD, which is still published today and has become a cultural icon.
EC Comics eventually was sold to Kinney Parking Company, which later bought National Periodicals, later known as DC Comics.
Among the most popular books published by EC Comics were The Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear, and Tales from the Crypt, which was adapted into a motion picture and cable network television series.
At the height of EC Comics' popularity, its horror comics — Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear — were extremely popular with young men.
However, they were often criticized by parents, politicians, and school officials for their graphic content, and were blamed as the cause of illiteracy and high rates of juvenile delinquency at the time.
In fact, a Congressional subcommittee in 1954 on the allegedly harmful effects of comic books on children led EC Comics to cancel its entire line of horror comic books, as well as crime and science fiction books.
In the late 1950s, the Comics Code Authority was established to monitor and regulate the content of comic books. William Gaines fought vigorously with the self-governing body over a number of stories, but none were perhaps more famous than the science fiction story "Judgment Day", which was printed in Incredible Science Fiction #33.
In that story, an astronaut from the Galactic Republic visited the planet Cybrinia to consider the planet for membership into the Republic. Cybrinia was occupied by two races of robots — one orange, the other blue.
The astronaut noticed that one of the robot races has fewer rights and privileges than the other. Because of their bigotry, the astronaut recommended that the Republic not invite Cybrinia into its ranks.
At the end of the story, the astronaut removed his helmet, revealing himself to be black.
Censors demanded that the color of the astronaut had to be changed. Gaines ultimately refused to back down and published the story as it was originally intended.
Founded in 1952 by Harvey Kurtzman and William Gaines, MAD is the sole surviving book of the EC Comics line and a significant part of its legacy and success.
Printed in a comic book format for the first 23 issues, MAD switched to a magazine format in 1955, which ultimately removed it from the regulations of the Comics Code Authority. It was well-known for its biting commentary on various aspects of American politics and pop culture.
The face synonymous with Mad is that of Alfred E. Neuman, whose face first appeared on the cover of MAD Magazine #30 in November 1954. Over the years, his face and likeness has been altered to ridicule celebrities, politicians, and other notable public people.
MAD magazine reached its peak in the 1970s when it had a readership of more than two million. Though initially advertising-free, Mad abandoned that policy in 2001 when it began printing paid advertisements among its pages. Initially printing only eight issues annually, Mad changed its print schedule several times over the decades before finally setting on six issues annually in 2010.
Throughout the course of its publishing history, the magazine has been involved in several United States Supreme Court cases. The most infamous and impactful was Irving Berlin et al. v. E.C. Publications, in which Mad was sued for $25 million due to alleged copyright infringement.
The plaintiffs claimed that Mad’s parody song collection "Sing Along With Mad", which was published by the magazine and meant to be "sung to the tune of" popular songs of the time, violated copyright law.
The plaintiffs alleged that only the song's writers were entitled to parody it. The Supreme Court largely ruled in MAD's favor, setting a precedent for future parodies of pop songs.
After World War II, horror comics became popular with young men tiring of standard crime stories. Notably, Eerie Comics, published in 1947, is considered the first horror comic.
A bi-monthly anthology series that pioneered the horror comic genre, Tales from the Crypt was first published in 1950. In EC Comic's Crime Patrol, Al Feldstein wrote a story titled "Return from the Grave!"
The story featured the Crypt-Keeper, the beloved character that is synonymous with Tales from the Crypt.
This is widely considered to be the origin of the Crypt series. The Crime Patrol series was later renamed Tales from the Crypt, starting with issue 20.
Ultimately the comic book industry created the self-governing Comics Code Authority, which banned the use of the words "terror" and "horror" in comic book titles.
It also banned the depiction of werewolves, zombies, and other morbid characters. This ultimately led to the demise of Tales from the Crypt and other horror comics.
Some of the storylines from Tales from the Crypt have been reprinted in other books, and others were used for the cable television series of the same name.
Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat, both notable war comics, were known for not only tackling controversial political and social issues of the time, including American culture, sex, and drugs, but providing a substantive view of war.
Prior to Two-Fisted Tales, many books took a rather unrealistic view of war, only depicting fight scenes in which the hero won or was concocting a plan to foil the enemy.
Two-Fisted took an honest, no-holds-barred approach to war, focusing on the atrocities experienced by innocent people. A number of its stories took place in other historical wars, including the Civil War and the Revolutionary War.
Though it ended in 1955, its storytelling legacy influenced many comics of the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Two-Fisted Tales was ultimately adapted for television.
Frontline Combat, written by Harvey Kurtzman, was first published in 1951 and served as a companion piece to Two-Fisted Tales. It ended in 1954.
Like Two-Fisted, it expressed a realistic viewpoint of war instead of glamorizing it like many other war comics did.
There have been various reprints of the EC titles over the years. Most have limited value.
You can tell the reprints because EC titles were Golden Age comic books, which had a 10c cover price.
Any issue you have with a different cover price is a reprint. Though there are collectors of reprints, they will not pay more than a few bucks for mint reprints, so don't expect much for your books.
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Value of MAD Magazine/Comics
The world-famous MAD Magazine is still much collected. Discover the values of key issues in our detailed article.
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Value of Weird Science Comics
Famously made into a B-movie classic in the 1980s, these fun comic books are very collectible today. See their value here.