Tales from the Crypt: From Comic Books to Television (2004)

crypt200566-04_1118048169The one downfall about “From Comic Books to Television” is that realistically a documentary about EC Comics should be longer than an hour. I mean this is EC Comics, one of the biggest influences for many horror icons, and it deserves more than fifty six minutes for audiences. EC Comics is a powerful force in horror and continues to spawn horror fans to this day. That said, “From Comic Books to Television” is a nice and entertaining look at the legendary run of EC Comics. Beginning life as Educational Comics and eventually transforming in to Entertaining Comics, “From Comic Books to Television” explores the creative explosion of EC Comics, and how it managed to change the comic book medium for better or for worse.

EC was born from the creative minds of folks who loved horror and destroyed by people who feared creativity and unabashed fearless storytelling during a time where the status quo was enforced with great severity.  The death of EC wasn’t so much about trying to look out for the minds of America’s youth, but from trying to create new ideas in the minds of America’s youths. EC didn’t just strive to shock and awe, but it also aimed to inspire, stimulate and present ideas that were much too ahead of their time for anyone to really accept. The youth were open minded to these new narratives, and more so would have probably used these ideas as a spring board for their own changing of the world.

And the government sadly feared that. Once the psychiatric dinosaur Fredric Wertham came along and began casting aspersions toward this new influential media, the government surely latched on to him using him as an excuse to eliminate these unique and profound stories that were intent on doing much more than delivering gore and grue to its readers. EC was unfortunately the sacrificial lamb, the big dog in the yard that the government eventually put down in front of its inferiors. Through its death, the ideas and content through other popular companies were eventually controlled and comic books took another thirty year step back. It then reverted back again in to a medium for children that allowed no real thinking beyond cartoon frolicks and conventional characters.

Thankfully, like any good horror story, EC Comics rose back from the grave and has been more powerful than ever showing that EC was simply created in the wrong time and has now shaped minds to think outside the box. I wish this was only one case of iconoclasts being destroyed by the system for daring to challenge conventions. I would really like the production company to go back and extend this chronicle of EC Comics from an hour to at least three and show how the creative process worked for EC Comics and the full extent of its influence in time, but as a brief introduction, “From Comic Books to Television” is an entertaining glimpse at the legacy of EC Comics and a sad exploration at how new ideas can frighten those horrified of change.