Director John Landis is currently lining up financing for his next film a bio-pic about EC Comics publisher William Gaines. Entitled Ghoulishly Yours, William Gaines, the film will tells Gaines’ rise as publisher of such horror comics as Tales From The Crypt and Vault Of Horror to his appearance before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 that hoped to link juvenile crime to comic books to him getting his revenge on uptight society by founding the satirical Mad Magazine.
From what I know of Gaines, he certainly strikes me as a character with a life rich in material for a bio-pic. Gaines certainly didn’t win himself any fans when he answered matter-of-factly and without kowtowing to the committee. (You can read a transcript of his testimony here.) In the backlash that followed, Gaines saw his company’s line of comics specifically targeted by industry self-regulation designed to put him out of business. He would get the last laugh though, when he retooled his humor comic Mad into a magazine in 1955 to avoid the restrictions of the newly created Comics Code Authority and it would go on to be one of t he most successful magazines of its type for decades.
I have to admit that I see Landis’s interest in the project. Like Gaines, Landis has dabbled in both horror and humor, creating classics that are still enjoyed today. And if you’ve ever read any of the old EC horror comics, you may detect a trace of black comedy that obviously informs Landis’s An American Werewolf In London.