In 1944, All-American Publications merged with DC Comics and its former editor, Max Gaines retained rights to the comic book Picture Stories from the Bible, and began his new company (known as Entertaining Comics) with a plan to market comics about science, history and the Bible to schools and churches. You see, a decade earlier, Gaines had been one of the pioneers of the comic book form, with Eastern Color Printing's proto-comic book Funnies on Parade, and with Dell Publishing's Famous Funnies: A Carnival of Comics, considered by historians the first true American comic book [check out my long running sidebar over there on the upper left side of this page].
EC Comics enjoyed great success with its fresh approach and the company pioneered in forming relationships with its readers through its letters to the editor and its fan organization, the National EC Fan-Addict Club. While their innovative stories were sensational, the art itself was also highly regarded. In fact, superior illustrations of stories with surprise endings became EC's trademark. They tackled real world topics such as racism, sex, drug use and perceptions of the American way of life in titles as diverse as Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear, Weird Fantasy, Weird Science, Crime SuspenStories, Two-Fisted Tales, Frontline Combat, Piracy and Shock SuspenStories.
As everyone knows, in the late 1940s, the comic book industry became the target of mounting public criticism over the content of comic books and their potentially harmful effects on children. In 1954, the publication of Dr. Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent and a highly publicized Congressional hearing on juvenile delinquency cast comic books in an especially poor light. At the same time, a federal investigation led to a shakeup in the distribution companies that delivered comic books and pulp magazines across America. Sales plummeted, and several companies went completely out of business.