Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2008 by Hunter Stephenson
I’m not sure how much play this post will get in the comments, but to me this is a very cool and very important project. Director John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Coming to America) is set to helm a feature biopic on the life of EC Comics publisher and personality Bill Gaines, nicely entitled Ghoulishly Yours, William M. Gaines.
In the early 1950s EC Comics became renown amongst adults, sneaky young people and creative-types for its rebelliously imaginative and professionally illustrated sci-fi, war and horror comics, with landmark titles that included Tales From the Crypt and Weird Science. Of course, EC also birthed Mad magazine, and the influence of that publication on American pop culture can never be overlooked, just like the ears and missing tooth of its prep-addled mascot Alfred E. Neuman. Gaines’s publishing house basically never recovered when Gaines testified, rather bullishly, at a U.S. Senate subcommittee in 1954 on whether or not his comics contributed to juvenile delinquency in America. A national witch hunt, censorship, the Comics Code, and general apathy for what EC stood for notoriously drove it out of business, but Gaines went on to publish Mad until he died in 1992.
Landis has suffered magnificent, almost beautifully so, bombs as a director (Blues Brothers 2000, The Stupids) and then there’s what happened on his segment of The Twilight Zone: The Movie, but I love how he’s stuck to his guns for an entire career. You’ll catch him now and then in an interview and when he discusses his love of the horror genre, I dunno, he’s like that oft-imaginary super cool uncle who’s cooler than you. He’s in it for the love. This material is perfect for him, and I imagine he’s envisioned putting this inspirational life on a film for quite a while.
Joel Eisenberg is penning the screenplay, and no word on a release date or casting. Gaines had the Jerry Garcia look down in his later years, and no specific actor comes to my mind. Maybe…Daniel Day-Lewis, in a million years, I know. Any suggestions?
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