Up Next:The Atomic Age (1949-1956) - Overlapping the end of the Golden Age.
EC Comics started in 1944 publishing Pictures Stories from the Bible, at that point in time EC stood for "Educational Comics". After World War II the popularity of superheroes started to decline and comics about crime, horror, science fiction, and war started to gain in popularity. In 1949/1950 EC started publishing comics to meet that demand and their titles soon became top sellers with more mature stories that did not talk down to the readers and top notch creative talent. At this point EC sttod for "Entertaining Comics".
As these types of comics became more popular, so too did the controversy surrounding comics contributing to juvenile delinquency, which came to a head with the publication of Seduction of the Innocent and Senate hearings on juvenile delinquency in 1954. Although no correlation between crime/horror comics and juvenile delinquency was ever proven, the comic book industry took a hit. As a result of the hearings the Comics Code Authority (aka CCA) was created, ostensibly to prevent the spread of juvenile delinquency due to "objectionable" comics material.
In reality, many authorities on comics history believe the CCA was created by mainstream publishers of the day with an explicit intent to put EC Comics out of business, essentially eliminating a competitor who was outselling their tamer books handily. EC tried to re-tool with a focus on more acceptable topics like doctors and newspaper reporters (which they called their "New Direction"). This was unsuccessful and after trying a few "picto Fiction" books, essentially illustrated stories, EC was reduced to their humor comic Mad, which was changed to the magazine format we are familiar with today, mostly because as a magazine it was exempt from the CCA.
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