African American Studies Director and English professor Qiana Whitted has just written and released her latest book “EC Comics: Race, Shock and Social Protest.”
Comics used to be a genre that mainly entertained, sometimes with a moral message buried somewhere within the funny pages.
But, these days, comics are tackling, up front, the heavy issues of the day – social justice, race, the many forms of social discrimination. Whitted’s book focuses on a controversial comic book publisher widely remembered for producing horror, crime and science fiction comics in the late 1940s and 1950s.
Publisher Rutgers University Press writes, “Entertaining Comics Group (EC Comics)
is perhaps best-known today for lurid horror comics like ‘Tales from the Crypt’ and for a publication that long outlived the company’s other titles, ‘Mad’ magazine. But during its heyday in the early 1950s, EC was also an early innovator
in another genre of comics: the so-called “‘preachies,’” socially conscious stories
that boldly challenged the conservatism and conformity of Eisenhower-era America.
Putting these socially aware stories into conversation with EC’s better-known horror stories, Whitted discovers surprising similarities between their narratives, aesthetics, and marketing strategies.
The first serious critical study of EC’s social issues comics, this book will give readers a greater appreciation of their legacy. They not only served to inspire future comics creators, but also introduced a generation of young readers to provocative ideas and progressive ideals that pointed the way to a better America.”
Reviews of Whitted’s book have brought great praise.
"Qiana Whitted’s insightful book “‘EC Comics’” thoughtfully weaves together carefully researched historical context, keen analysis of the discourse communities surrounding EC, and meticulous close readings of the comics, ultimately building a powerful argument for the decisive role the company and its comics played in combating social injustices of the day while advocating for a better, more inclusive society in the future."
--Susan Kirtley, co-author of Lynda Barry: Girlhood through the Looking Glass