Media Release — Joel Eisenberg and Timothy Owens’ EMO Films has formed a specialty division, EC Film, Radio and Television, Ltd., in association with rights-holder William M. Gaines Agent, Inc., to exploit the notorious EC comics library in all related media platforms. Titles included in the deal are “Tales From the Crypt” (based on the original works, as opposed to the HBO intellectual property version), “Vault of Horror,” “Haunt of Fear,” “Weird Fantasy,” “Shock SuspenStories,” “Two-Fisted Tales” and the remaining horror, science fiction, crime, humor and dramatic library, with the exception of “Mad Magazine,” presently owned by Time-Warner.
Deal was brokered by Eisenberg and Cathy Gaines-Mifsud, the daughter of EC publisher William M. Gaines, representing William M. Gaines Agent, Inc. Corey Mifsud, Cathy’s son, has been assigned VP of Development for the new company.
William Maxwell Gaines is widely considered one of the most influential figures in comic book history. Gaines’ father, M.C. (Max) Gaines, was the publisher of Educational Comics (EC), offering such parent-friendly fare as “Picture Stories From The Bible.” When the elder Gaines died in 1947 as a result of a freak boating accident, the younger Gaines, who was studying to become a chemistry teacher, unwillingly took over the family business. Losing most of the old guard and hiring an anti-establishment band of writers and artists, Bill canned the educational titles, changed the E in EC to Entertaining, and focused his efforts on maintaining a primary line of horror, crime and science fiction books. The new EC was an immediate though short-lived smash.
By 1955 a festering backlash against comics, spearheaded by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, had picked up steam. Though Wertham argued that comic book violence led to juvenile delinquency, the EC brand was not all blood and guts. Stories about racism, substance abuse and war crimes were glossed over, however, by the lurid imagery of the line’s most successful titles. A Senate investigation followed, which led to the end of the classic EC era.
“This is a phenomenal opportunity for EMO Films,” says Eisenberg. “The amount of source product here is staggering, and we look forward to both developing projects in-house and setting up the material with outside entities.”
EMO Films’ recent release, the Columbine-themed “April Showers,” has set sales records on its digital release platforms.