William Gaines

William Maxwell Gaines (/ɡeɪnz/; March 1, 1922 – June 3, 1992), was an American publisher and co-editor of EC Comics. Following a shift in EC's direction in 1950, Gaines presided over what became an artistically influential and historically important line of mature-audience comics. He published the satirical magazine Mad for over 40 years.

He was posthumously inducted into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame (1993) and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame (1997). In 2012, he was inducted into the Ghastly Awards' Hall of Fame.

William Gaines
William Gaines
BornWilliam Maxwell Gaines
March 1, 1922
Brooklyn, New York
DiedJune 3, 1992 (aged 70)
NationalityUnited States
Area(s)Writer, Editor, Publisher
Notable works
EC Comics

Early life

Gaines was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish household.[1] His father was Max Gaines, who as publisher of the All-American Comics division of DC Comics was also an influential figure in the history of comics. The elder Gaines tested the idea of packaging and selling comics on newsstands in 1933. In 1941, Max Gaines accepted William Moulton Marston's proposal for the first successful female superhero, Wonder Woman.


Senate Subcommittee investigation

With the publication of Dr. Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, comic books like those that Gaines published attracted the attention of the U.S. Congress. In 1954, Gaines testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency.[2][3] In the following exchanges, he is addressed first by Chief Counsel Herbert Beaser, and then by senator Estes Kefauver:

Beaser: "Is the sole test of what you would put into your magazine whether it sells? Is there any limit you can think of that you would not put in a magazine because you thought a child should not see or read about it?"
Gaines: "No, I wouldn't say that there is any limit for the reason you outlined. My only limits are the bounds of good taste, what I consider good taste."
Beaser: "Then you think a child cannot in any way, in any way, shape, or manner, be hurt by anything that a child reads or sees?"
Gaines: "I don't believe so."
Beaser: "There would be no limit actually to what you put in the magazines?"
Gaines: "Only within the bounds of good taste."
Beaser: "Your own good taste and saleability?"
Gaines: "Yes."

Kefauver: "Here is your May 22 issue [Crime SuspenStories No. 22, cover date May]. This seems to be a man with a bloody axe holding a woman's head up which has been severed from her body. Do you think that is in good taste?"
Gaines: "Yes sir, I do, for the cover of a horror comic. A cover in bad taste, for example, might be defined as holding the head a little higher so that the neck could be seen dripping blood from it, and moving the body over a little further so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody."
Kefauver: "You have blood coming out of her mouth."
Gaines: "A little."
Kefauver: "Here is blood on the axe. I think most adults are shocked by that."

End of EC Comics and conversion of Mad format

Gaines converted Mad to a magazine in 1955, partly to retain the services of its talented editor Harvey Kurtzman, who had received offers from elsewhere. The change enabled Mad to escape the strictures of the Comics Code. Kurtzman left Gaines' employ a year later anyway and was replaced by Al Feldstein, who had been Gaines' most prolific editor during the EC Comics run. (For details of this event and the subsequent debates about it, see Harvey Kurtzman#Departure from Mad.) Feldstein oversaw Mad from 1955 through 1986, as Gaines went on to a long and profitable career as a publisher of satire and enemy of bombast.[4]

Although Mad was sold in the early 1960s for tax reasons, Gaines remained as publisher until the day he died and served as a buffer between the magazine and its corporate interests. In turn, he largely stayed out of the magazine's production, often viewing content just before the issue was shipped to the printer. "My staff and contributors create the magazine," declared Gaines. "What I create is the atmosphere."

1960 - 1992

Gaines was devoted to his staff, and fostered an environment of humor and loyalty. This he accomplished through various means, notably the "Mad trips." Each year, Gaines would pay for the magazine's staff and its steadiest contributors to fly to an international locale. The first vacation, to Haiti, set the tone. Discovering that Mad had a grand total of one Haitian subscriber, Gaines arranged to have the group driven to the person's house. There, surrounded by the magazine's editors, artists and writers, Gaines formally presented the bewildered subscriber with a renewal card. When the man's neighbor also bought a subscription, Gaines declared the trip to be a financial success because the magazine had doubled its Haitian circulation. The trips became a more elaborate annual event, and the staff would eventually visit six of the world's continents.[5]

Despite his largesse, Gaines had a penny-pinching side. He would frequently stop meetings to find out who had called a particular long-distance phone number. Longtime Mad editor Nick Meglin called Gaines a "living contradiction" in 2011, saying, "He was singularly the cheapest man in the world, and the most generous." Meglin described his experience of asking Gaines for a raise of $3 a week; after rejecting the request, the publisher then treated Meglin to an expensive dinner at one of New York's best restaurants. Recalled Meglin: "The check came, and I said, 'That's the whole raise!' "And Bill said, 'I like good conversation and good food. I don't enjoy giving raises.'"[6]

In his memoir Good Days and Mad (1994), Mad writer Dick DeBartolo recalls several anecdotes that characterize Gaines as a generous gourmand who liked practical jokes, and who enjoyed good-natured verbal abuse from his staffers.[7]

Frank Jacobs paints a similar picture in The Mad World of William M. Gaines (1972), a biography published by longtime friend Lyle Stuart. c. 2008, director John Landis and screenwriter Joel Eisenberg planned a biopic called Ghoulishly Yours, William M. Gaines, with Al Feldstein serving as a creative consultant.[8][9] The film, however, did not subsist past pre-production.

One of his last televised interviews was as a guest on the December 7, 1991 episode of Beyond Vaudeville.

Personal life

Gaines' first marriage was arranged by his mother. He was married to his second cousin, Hazel Grieb. They announced their plans to divorce in August 1947.[10] According to Completely Mad: A History of the Comic Book and Magazine by Maria Reidelbach, Gaines married Nancy Siegel in 1955. They had three children, Cathy (1958), Wendy (1959), and Christopher (1961). They divorced in 1971. In 1987 he married Anne Griffiths. They remained married until his death in 1992.[11]

Gaines was an atheist since the age of 12; he once told a reporter that his was probably the only home in America in which the children were brought up to believe in Santa Claus, but not in God.[12]


  1. ^ https://13thdimension.com/the-13-most-influential-jewish-creators-and-execs-part-3
  2. ^ Kihss, Peter. "No Harm in Horror, Comics Issuer Says". New York Times, April 22, 1954, p. 1.
  3. ^ Nyberg, Amy (February 1, 1998). Seal of Approval: The Origins and History of the Comics Code, Volume 1. University Press of Mississippi. pp. 61–63. ISBN 0-87805-974-1. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  4. ^ Winn, Marie (January 25, 1981). "Winn, Marie. "What Became of Childhood Innocence?", The New York Times, January 25, 1981". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-02-02.
  5. ^ Barron, James (June 4, 1992). "William Gaines, Publisher of Mad Magazine Since '52, Is Dead at 70". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "The Mad, mad world of Al Jaffee". CNN. December 14, 2011.
  7. ^ DeBartolo, Dick (1994). Good Days and Mad: A Hysterical Tour Behind the Scenes at Mad Magazine. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press. ISBN 978-1-56025-077-7. OCLC 30668068.
  8. ^ Adler, Tim (May 16, 2010). "CANNES: John Landis Developing Biopic of 1950s EC Comics Crusader William Gaines". Deadline London.
  9. ^ "Worley, Rob M. Feldstein consulting on Gaines biopic", April 14, 2008". Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  10. ^ Hajdu, David (2008). The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 90. ISBN 9780374187675.
  11. ^ Barron, James (June 4, 1992). "William Gaines, Publisher of Mad Magazine Since '52, Is Dead at 70". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Jacobs, Frank (1972). The Mad World of William M. Gaines. Secaucus: Lyle Stuart. OCLC 639071.


External links

1988 Pulitzer Prize

The following are the Pulitzer Prizes for 1988.

1995 Washington Redskins season

The 1995 Washington Redskins season was the franchise's 64th season in the National Football League the team improveed on their 3–13 record from 1994, but missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

1997 Washington Redskins season

The 1997 Washington Redskins began with the team trying to improve on their 9–7 record from 1996. This was the Redskins' first season playing in their new stadium, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium, that would be later called FedExField.

Dean Baquet

Dean P. Baquet (; born September 21, 1956) is an American journalist. He has been the executive editor of The New York Times since May 14, 2014. Between 2011 and 2014 Baquet was managing editor under the previous executive editor Jill Abramson. He is the first black American to serve as executive editor.In 1988, Baquet won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Journalism, leading a team of reporters that included William Gaines and Ann Marie Lipinski at the Chicago Tribune which exposed corruption on the Chicago City Council.

EC Comics

Entertaining Comics, more commonly known as EC Comics, was an American publisher of comic books, which specialized in horror fiction, crime fiction, satire, military fiction, dark fantasy, and science fiction from the 1940s through the mid-1950s, notably the Tales from the Crypt series. Initially, EC was owned by Maxwell Gaines and specialized in educational and child-oriented stories. After Max Gaines' death in a boating accident in 1947, his son William Gaines took over the company and began to print more mature stories, delving into genres of horror, war, fantasy, science-fiction, adventure, and others. Noted for their high quality and shock endings, these stories were also unique in their socially conscious, progressive themes (including racial equality, anti-war advocacy, nuclear disarmament, and environmentalism) that anticipated the Civil Rights Movement and dawn of 1960s counterculture. In 1954–55, censorship pressures prompted it to concentrate on the humor magazine Mad, leading to the company's greatest and most enduring success. By 1956, the company ceased publishing all of its comic lines besides Mad.

El Dorado (Iron Maiden song)

"El Dorado" is the second track from English heavy metal band Iron Maiden's 2010 album The Final Frontier. The song is the band's forty-first single, and the only one from the album. It was made available as a free download on the band's official site at 00:01 on 8 June 2010 (UTC), one day before the album's supporting tour began. The cover art was created by Anthony Dry and is based on the covers of the EC Comics published by William Gaines that were popular in the 1950s. Regarding the early online release of the song, vocalist Bruce Dickinson explained, "El Dorado is a preview of the forthcoming studio album. As we will be including it in the set of our Final Frontier World Tour, we thought it would be great to thank all our fans and get them into The Final Frontier mood by giving them this song up front of the tour and album release."Dickinson explained that the lyrics are a cynical critique of the financial crisis of 2007–08, comparing the bankers responsible with the people who sold the myth of El Dorado:

[El Dorado] has a cynical lyric about the economic crap that's been happening. It seemed a bit like a perfect storm; people were borrowing money like crazy. I thought, "This is really going to screw people up" and sure enough, we're all in deep doo-doo! And that's what El Dorado is about, it's about selling somebody the myth that "The streets are paved with gold" and them asking, "Where do I sign up?"

"El Dorado" won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance in 2011. It is the band's first win following two previous nominations ("Fear of the Dark" in 1994 and "The Wicker Man" in 2001).The song's guitar solo, which lasts from about 3:42 to 4:23, is a trade-off divided into three parts; the first is played by Adrian Smith (3:42-3:53), the second by Dave Murray (3:53-4:06), and the third, which segues into the verse riff again, by Janick Gers (4:06-4:23).

Gaines (surname)

Gaines is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Brian R. Gaines, British systems scientist and engineer

Cassie Gaines (1948–1977), American singer; backup singer for Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, and sister of fellow band member Steve Gaines (below)

Charles Gaines, Pumping Iron, Stay Hungry

Chris Gaines, fictional alter ego of American country music singer Garth Brooks

Chris Gaines (gridiron football) (born 1965), American football player

Clarence Gaines (1923–2005), American basketball coach

Corey Gaines (born 1965), American basketball player and coach

David Gaines (basketball), retired American professional basketball player

David Gaines (race car driver), NASCAR Limited Sportsman Division race car driver

Edmund P. Gaines (1777–1849), United States Army officer, brother of George Strother Gaines

Ernest J. Gaines (born 1933), African American author

George Gaines (set decorator), Academy Award winner for Best Art Direction

George Strother Gaines (1784–1873), American leader in the Mississippi Territory, brother of Edmund P. Gaines

Jacques Gaines, Canadian singer, lead singer of Soul Attorneys

John P. Gaines (1795–1857), Governor of Oregan Territory

John W. Gaines (1860–1926), U.S. Congressman from Tennessee

Lloyd L. Gaines, (born 1911, disappeared 1939), pioneering American civil rights litigant

Max Gaines (died 1947), pioneering American comic book publisher, father of William Gaines

Randal Gaines (born 1955), American politician

Reece Gaines (born 1981), American professional basketball player

Richard Gaines (1904-1975), actor

Rowdy Gaines (born 1959), American swimmer

Roy Gaines (born 1934), American blues guitarist

Sheldon Gaines (born 1964), American football player

Steve Gaines (1949–1977), American musician, guitarist and songwriter for Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd

William Gaines (1922–1992), American publisher of EC Comics, founder of Mad magazine

William E. Gaines (1844-1912), United States Representative (Republican), Civil War veteran

William Gaines (professor), Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and professor of journalism

Jackson Chapel

Jackson Chapel is a historic A.M.E. church in Washington, Georgia. It is more than 150 years old. It located at 318 Whitehall Street, formerly known as Freedmen Road. The church was built in 1867 by former slaves including those owned by Robert Toombs. Family members of William Gaines and his brother Wesley John Gaines continue to be active in the church.

List of comics and comic strips made into feature films

This is a list of comics or comic strips that have been made into feature films. The title of the work is followed by the work's author, the title of the film, and the year of the film. If a film has an alternate title based on geographical distribution, the title listed will be that of the widest distribution area.

Where noted with "char" or "concept", the character(s) or concepts from a work have been used, but the script may have been original and not based on a specific work.

Mad (magazine)

Mad (stylized as MAD) is an American humor magazine founded in 1952 by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines, launched as a comic book before it became a magazine. It was widely imitated and influential, affecting satirical media, as well as the cultural landscape of the 20th century, with editor Al Feldstein increasing readership to more than two million during its 1974 circulation peak. From 1952 until 2018, Mad published 550 regular issues, as well as hundreds of reprint "Specials", original-material paperbacks, reprint compilation books and other print projects. The magazine's numbering reverted to 1 with its June 2018 issue, coinciding with the magazine's headquarters move to the West Coast.

The magazine is the last surviving title from the EC Comics line, offering satire on all aspects of life and popular culture, politics, entertainment, and public figures. Its format is divided into a number of recurring segments such as TV and movie parodies, as well as freeform articles. Mad's mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, is typically the focal point of the magazine's cover, with his face often replacing that of a celebrity or character who is lampooned within the issue.

Psychoanalysis (comics)

Psychoanalysis was a short-lived comic book published by EC Comics in 1955 the fifth title in its New Direction line. The bi-monthly comic was published by William Gaines and edited by Al Feldstein. Psychoanalysis was approved by the Comics Code Authority, but newsstands were reluctant to display it. It lasted a total of four issues before being canceled along with EC's other New Direction comics.

Terror Illustrated

Terror Illustrated was a black-and-white magazine published by EC Comics in late 1955 and early 1956. Part of EC's Picto-Fiction line, each magazine featured three to five stories. The format alternated blocks of text with several illustrations per page.

The first issue appeared with a cover date of November–December 1955, but the second issue was the last. A third issue existed but was not printed by EC. The Picto-Fiction magazines lost money from the start, and the line was cancelled when EC's distributor went bankrupt.

Terror Illustrated was edited by Al Feldstein. As with EC's comics, Feldstein was the most prolific writer of the title, and generally wrote up to three stories per issue. In addition to the stories credited to him, Feldstein also wrote under the pseudonyms Maxwell Williams and Alfred E. Neuman. Feldstein included multiple retellings of previous stories, a move suggested by publisher William Gaines. This included "The Basket" and "The Gorilla's Paw" in the first issue and "Horror in the Freak Tent" and "Reflection of Death" in #2. Other contributing writers included Jack Oleck (who had worked as a writer on EC's earlier publications) and John Larner.Featured illustrators included Reed Crandall, Joe Orlando, George Evans, Graham Ingels, Johnny Craig, Charles Sultan and Jack Davis.

In 2006 Terror Illustrated was reprinted along with the other Picto-Fiction magazines by publisher Russ Cochran (with Gemstone Publishing) in hardbound volumes as the final part of his Complete EC Library. The reprint volume included the previously unpublished third issue of Terror Illustrated.

Two-Fisted Tales

Two-Fisted Tales is an anthology war comic published bi-monthly by EC Comics in the early 1950s. The title originated in 1950 when Harvey Kurtzman suggested to William Gaines that they publish an adventure comic. Kurtzman became the editor of Two-Fisted Tales, and with the advent of the Korean War, he soon narrowed the focus to war stories. The title was a companion comic to Frontline Combat, and stories Kurtzman wrote for both books often displayed an anti-war attitude. It returned to adventure-themed stories in issues #36 through #39, co-edited by John Severin and Colin Dawkins, with a cover-title change to The New Two-Fisted Tales.

The bimonthly title ran 24 issues, numbered 18–41, from 1950 to 1955. In 1952, EC published Two-Fisted Annual which had no new stories but instead bound together past issues of Two-Fisted Tales with a new cover by Kurtzman. The same procedure was repeated in 1953 for an annual with a new Jack Davis cover.

Years after its demise, Two-Fisted Tales was reprinted in its entirety and was adapted to television.

United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency

The United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency was established by the United States Senate in 1953 to investigate the problem of juvenile delinquency.

Wally Wood

Wallace Allan Wood (June 17, 1927 – November 2, 1981) was an American comic book writer, artist and independent publisher, best known for his work on EC Comics's Mad and Marvel's Daredevil. He was one of Mad's founding cartoonists in 1952. Although much of his early professional artwork is signed Wallace Wood, he became known as Wally Wood, a name he claimed to dislike. Within the comics community, he was also known as Woody, a name he sometimes used as a signature.

In addition to Wood's hundreds of comic book pages, he illustrated for books and magazines while also working in a variety of other areas – advertising; packaging and product illustrations; gag cartoons; record album covers; posters; syndicated comic strips; and trading cards, including work on Topps's landmark Mars Attacks set.

EC publisher William Gaines once stated, "Wally may have been our most troubled artist ... I'm not suggesting any connection, but he may have been our most brilliant".He was the inaugural inductee into the comic book industry's Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1989, and was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1992.

William Gaines (American football)

William Albert Gaines (born June 20, 1971) is an American former college and professional football player who was a defensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL) for four seasons during the 1990s. Gaines played college football for the University of Florida, and thereafter, he played professionally for the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins of the NFL.

William Gaines (disambiguation)

William Gaines (1922–1992) was an American publisher, notably of Mad magazine.

William Gaines may also refer to:

William E. Gaines (1844–1912), U.S. Representative from Virginia

William Gaines (professor) (1933–2016), American journalist and professor

William Gaines (American football) (born 1971), American footballer

Bill Gaines (basketball) (born 1946), retired basketball guard

William Gaines (minister and community leader), a freed slave who was a minister and community representative during the Reconstruction Era in Georgia

William Gaines (minister and community leader)

William Gaines (1824 – 1865) was a freed slave, minister, and community representative in Savannah, Georgia. He was one of the church leaders who met with the Secretary of War and Major General William Tecumseh Sherman in Savannah in April 1865, 3 months after the end of the American Civil War.Gaines was born into slavery in Wilkes County, Georgia. He was owned by Robert Toombs, who served in the U.S. Senate, and his brother Gabriel Toombs. Gaines was freed by the Union Army during the American Civil War.Gaines was a preacher at the Methodist Episcopal (M.E.) Church (Andrew's Chapel). He later moved to the A.M.E. church with split off over the issue of slavery. As of 1865, he had ministered for 16 years and was 41 years old. Fellow A.M.E. church leader and bishop Wesley John Gaines was his brother. He was involved in the foundation of Jackson Chapel, and family members have continued to live in the area.

William Gaines (professor)

William C. Gaines (November 1, 1933 – July 20, 2016) was an American journalist and professor of journalism. Gaines was a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He retired from the paper in 2001 and taught in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign until his retirement and designation as an emeritus faculty member in 2007. He died July 20, 2016 at the age of 82.

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