al feldstein ec ecomics

One of the last living EC Comics titans has passed away: Al Feldstein has died at age 88. Feldstein was one of the main architects of the EC Comics legend, writing some of its signature stories and editing Mad Magazine for 28 years after the departure of founder Harvey Kurtzman.

Feldstein still recreated artwork from his EC days and until his health began to fail was a frequent guest at shows — and he had a prolific mailing list where he opined on various political topics from a liberal point of view.

As a writer, Feldstein was responsible for a lot of EC’s output—while the famed stable of artists gets most of the fame these days, it’s hard to underestimate Feldstein’s contributions, which I’m sure will be much discussed in the new few days.



  1. Al Feldstein brought chills and enjoyment to us all for so many years. And I always liked his signature, so carefully rendered every time.

  2. It could be argued that Al Feldstein was one of the handful of comics creators who had the greatest influence on American culture. If it could be said that there would have been no Saturday Night Live or Monty Python without Harvey Kurtzman, by the same token there would have been no John Carpenter or Stephen King without Al Feldstein. Think about it. Without Tales From the Crypt, Stephen King might have wound up writing children’s books instead. Good Lord! (Choke!)
    RIP, Mr. Feldstein.

  3. The bloodless corpse of Jarvis Edwards lay on the cold marble table. and over him, the weird machine with the metal arms and the spinning scalpel and the clutching claws and the hoses and jars and pumps and needles hummed and clicked and finished off the embalming job it had started at 6.30 P.M… a job that Jarvis Edwards himself would have considered “a work of art”…
    (Carl Wessler – Haunt of Fear 28)

    And then some idiot turned out the lights!
    (Al Feldstein – Tales From The Crypt 46)

  4. Harvey Kurtzman was the crazy uncle of American comedy, dabbling in a lot of various projects over the years.

    Al Feldstein, who took over editing MAD Magazine after Kurtzman’s departure, is the godfather of American comedy in the last half of the Twentieth Century, pushing MAD to even more critical satirical analysis of American culture.

    Fueled by the Vietnam War, MAD directly influenced National Lampoon and the comics underground, hitting a circulation peak in the early 1970s. (MAD also supported early observational comedians, running pieces by many famous individuals in the first decade of the magazine.) From there, came independent comics and anti-establishment humor on Saturday Night Live on NBC and Sunday evenings on CBS (pioneered by the Smothers Brothers and Laugh-In), as well as via HBO comedy specials and Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show.

    Monty Python sprang from the British University revue tradition, influenced by surreal humor of The Goon Show. (Quite possibly the best thing to come out of World War II.) When PBS stations began broadcasting Monty Python in 1974, that’s when the Pythons (and other British comedians) directly influenced American comedy.

  5. William Gaines said that covers drawn by Feldstein sold better than anyone else’s. Better than Wood’s, Severin’s, or anyone’s. Feldstein’s art had a direct, blunt style that must have jumped off the newsstands.

    Along with Gaines and the artists, he tried to elevate comics in the ’50s, tried to aim at a more mature audience. He will be missed.

  6. I met Al at a small show near Chicago back in 2000. He was as nice as could be. During his panel, he told all sorts of great stories including one about the image of Alfred E. Neuman. (He claimed that the A.E.N. image is not a protected copyright unless it has the What Me Worry tagline…because EC originally “borrowed” the image from another business.) I think Al gets the credit for creating/naming the character.

    I remember that show vividly because my local comic shop owner couldn’t use his “dealer” pass, so I got to go into the show about an hour before the doors opened. That in itself is pretty amazing for a fanboy but as I walked the empty floor, there he was, sitting alone quietly waiting for the doors to open. I nearly fell over when I saw who it was. After chatting for a few minutes, I asked if he was doing any commissions or sketches. (how often do you get a chance to ask a legend?) He said he didn’t do that anymore, “the hands don’t work as well as they used to.” Despite this, it was still just about the coolest experience I’ve had at a comic show. After ten minutes, I thanked him for chatting with me and said goodbye. I got about 5 steps away when I heard him call after me, “waitaminute, give me that sketch book!” He drew a very quick sketch of one of his famous space-scapes (like the cover of Weird Science #7). I have hundreds of original con sketches but that is easily my most cherished. What a sweet guy. RIP Mr. Feldstein…we remain, MADly yours.

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