Lot 111 of 500:
PICTURE STORIES FORM THE BIBLE: New Testament #2 * Early EC  

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Lot closed - unsold
Estimate:
$60 - $90

Title:
PICTURE STORIES FROM THE BIBLE: NEW TESTAMENT EDITION No. 2

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Date:

Description:

All-American Publications (Indicia: Educational Comics, Inc.). 1945. Good- (1.8). Chips, splits and tape repair to spine. Tiny chip to bottom right corner of front cover, dog-ear and 2" tear to back cover, edges of covers toned. Staples quite pulled but cover still attached. Cream pages, edges tanning. Text by Montgomery Mulford (with revisions by Edward L. Wertheim). Art by Don Cameron and S. Harrison.

"My Father worketh and I work—the Son can do nothing of himself, but what things he seest the Father doest—these, also doeth the Son likewise!" -Jesus, Picture Stories from the Bible.

Two years after the release of this comic, publisher M.C. Gaines died in a boating accident and his son, William M. Gaines, took over his father's failing comic book business. Bill Gaines had a lousy relationship with his domineering, belittling father, who routinely told Bill that he'd never amount to anything. "How the hell can I run a business when I couldn't even make it as the old man's stockroom boy," Bill worried, according to Frank Jacobs' The MAD World of William M. Gaines. "Worst of all was the recurring dream that disturbed Bill's sleep, a quasi-nightmare in which Max would appear and tell his son that he wanted the business back."

Frank Jacobs describes how Bill's father's editor, Sheldon Mayer, told Bill he wouldn't make it as a publisher until he stopped treating it like a big gag: "'I got the feeling that Bill went into the business as a joke, to see if he could screw up things, change them for his private amusement, and still manage to make money doing it,' Mayer remembers.... Maybe Mayer's theory is right. Maybe Bill did have a lot of rebellion to get out of his system. Years earlier, when he worked as Max's editor, Mayer had set down a list of taboos to be observed to the letter by all of Max's writers and artists. Among them:

"Never show anybody stabbed or shot.

Show no torture scenes.

Never show a hypodermic needle.

Don't chop the limbs off anybody.

Never show a coffin, especially with anybody in it.

"Less than four years after taking over his father's business, Bill would have punctured every taboo on the list."

Bill continually advertised his father's bottom-selling Picture Stories From The Bible series in his horror, suspense, sci-fi and war mags throughout most of the New Trend era, long after the line was discontinued... why? Was he merely hoping to unload stale inventory, or did keeping the memory of his dad's mags alive provide Bill with some sort of emotional comfort? Was it a calculated move to deflect suspicion that the EC line was godless and evil? Or did Gaines sincerely believe his dad's Bible mags were a quality product deserving a wider audience?

EC research ace Philip Smith observes that the centerfold ads for the Picture Stories books were dropped in late 1953: "This might correlate with the arrival of Lyle Stuart as business manager." Lyle Stuart was a Svengali-like character described by Al Feldstein as "a manipulator." Frank Jacobs suggested that Stuart was a father figure to Gaines. If Stuart's assumption of business manager duties precipitated the removal of the Picture Stories ads—the last remaining vestige of M.C. Gaines—what might this reveal in psychological terms? When asked about this, Mr. Smith replied, "That is interesting—Stuart sort of Oedipally attacking Max to have Bill to himself.... This reinforces my general sense that one must really have access to original copies to understand EC as a business. The physical organization of the books, including all ads, is relevant to understanding what was going on at the time of publication."

A limited edition of 100 softcover and 15 hardcover catalogues are available. Over 200 pages, fully illustrated. Fun reference, great keepsake. Softcovers $40, dust-jacketed hardcover with limitation plate $200. To order, contact [email protected] or visit: https://www.pbagalleries.com/content/comics/.

R. Crumb says, "I found [PBA's catalogue] so interesting that I am saving it for the texts that accompany the comics which were put up for auction. This is some of the best commentary I’ve yet seen on the quality of the content of comic books. I especially enjoyed the reviews of the post-war horror comics. Great. Priceless."

Consignments welcome for PBA's Spring 2021 Comic Book sale. Pre-Code Horror, Golden Age and Silver Age comics, original art and ephemera sought. Send inquiries to [email protected].

Lot Amendments

Condition:


 
Item number:
316959
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