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Artist: Johnny Craig (All)

25 Comments  -   6,484 Views  -   1 Like




Artwork Details

Artist: Johnny Craig (All)
Media Type: Pen and Ink
Art Type: Cover
For Sale Status: NFS
Views: 6,484
Likes on CAF:
Favorited on CAF: 3
Comments: 25
Added to Site: 1/20/2011
Comic Art Archive:


Crime Suspenstories #22 original cover art by Johnny Craig - Classic and infamous decapitation cover used in Senate investigation on juvenile delinquency (EC, May 1954)

From William M. Gaines' New York Times obituary:

Maria Reidelbach wrote in "Completely Mad: A History of the Comic Book and the Magazine" (1991) that Mr. Gaines volunteered to testify. "The truth is that delinquency is the product of the real environment in which the child lives and not of the fiction he reads," he said.

Under questioning, he defended what he published as being in good taste. Senator Estes Kefauver asked if a cover showing an ax-wielding man holding a decapitated human head met that standard. Mr. Gaines replied that a cover would be in bad taste if the man had been "holding the head a little higher so the neck would show with the blood dripping from it." But even Mr. Gaines had his limits. He had rejected the artist's first design as too gory.

A few months later, bloodthirsty goings-on were banned under the Comics Code Authority, modeled on motion-picture production rules. But Mr. Gaines suspended publicaton of his horror comics, a decision that eventually drove him Mad. The magazine had begun when Harvey Kurtzman, a cartoonist who had been interviewing Korean War veterans for combat comic books, came down with jaundice and decided to create something that he could write from his sickbed. Mr. Gaines gave him the go-ahead.

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James Halperin
Premium Gallery Owner
Joined: August 2007
Ebay Id: lewiswaynegallery

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MIKE SHARPE wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
NO WAY!!!! You own a piece of comics history! Serious congratulations! Some comics don't even go this far in this day age - unless it's from Avatar Press.. Congrats!
Posted on 1/20/2011

Dries Dewulf wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
That looks unhealthy.
Posted on 1/20/2011

Marvel Two-in-One 76 Guy wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
I can't believe that this actually exists. What a memorable image.
Posted on 1/20/2011

matthew  reed wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
"you should be ashamed of yourself sir" says Dr Fedric Wertham (circa 1954)
Posted on 1/20/2011

Nick Katradis wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
James, the Holy Grail in EC Horror, as far as I'm concerned! congrats for a superb acquisition! now please throw it up on Heritage and lets see who gets it!
Posted on 1/20/2011

John Butler wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
Posted on 1/20/2011

Mike W wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
Definitely a Grail!!! Congratulations!!!
Posted on 1/20/2011

steve  staszower wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
As historic and iconic as it is deliciously gruesome!!
Posted on 1/21/2011

Mark Levy wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
Posted on 1/21/2011

F M wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
That cover is one of the best/most effective 10 covers ever published imo. Huge huge congrats :)
Posted on 1/21/2011

Drake Tungsten wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
This has entered the cultural consciousness... well, ours at least... to such a powerful extent that it's easy to forget how brilliant and effective Craig's actual design and draftsmanship are for the cover itself. Thanks for sharing!
Posted on 1/21/2011

Bill C wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
WOW... easily one of the most important EC covers.
Posted on 1/22/2011

Anthony F wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
Thanks for sharing and including the testimony! Easily one of the most recognized covers ever.
Posted on 1/22/2011

Timothy Finney wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
This is a museum piece in more ways than one. We often use the word historic, but this one really is a part of American political history.
Posted on 1/23/2011

Carlos DS wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
The stuff of dreams...superb.congrats !!
Posted on 1/23/2011

Black Adler wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
As John said, Wow. Just Wow. Scratch that, Double-Wow.
Posted on 1/23/2011

J L wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
Historical and fantastic too!!!! Congrats as always Jim!!!!
Posted on 1/24/2011

Lloyd White wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
Blown away.
Posted on 1/28/2011

Phillip R wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
Holy Crap! This is so cool! Such a classic cover!
Posted on 12/19/2011

Daniel Moran wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
A HORROR MASTERPIECE!!!!!!! Huge congrats!!!!!!!
Posted on 3/16/2013

Tom Coker wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
Sticks in your mind, like tar on your heal at the beach. Fantastically gruesome and awesome!
Posted on 4/7/2013

Daniel Casoria wrote:     [ Quote & Reply ]
"Infamous"! The actual cover that helped to create "The Comics Code"?? Even as I look upon the original art for this cover, I still find it hard to believe. Beyond the art itself, the signifigance of the rich history behind this piece makes it priceless. This just blows my mind.
Posted on 4/28/2013

James Meeley wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
Comic book history made manifest in pen and ink! Congrats on owning one of the legendary pieces in all comicdom! Wow!
Posted on 5/18/2013

Lance Suarez wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
love this EC cover!
Posted on 2/27/2014

Phillip Hester wrote: Paid Member    [ Quote & Reply ]
The poster of this cover adorned the walls of my dorm room for a year. I should have been arrested.
Posted on 12/20/2016

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