Monday, October 12, 2020
Number 2459: Johnny Craig on the EC frontier
Later on, as EC grew in popularity and sales, biographies were published of the individual artists. The biography of Johnny Craig on the last page of “Colorado Rose” looks to be a warm-up for the later biographies. (I can’t tell you if this was the only one from the early, pre-horror comics EC, because I am too lazy to look it up. How is that for not doing my homework?)
Craig was a good artist, but according to even Craig himself, he was slow. Later on he both wrote and drew, showing his talent at both, and even took over as editor of The Vault of Horror. Except for the sharp illustrations, “Colorado Rose” seems like a standard early EC story, which followed the trends of the rest of the comic book industry with a Western comic to go along with a couple of crime comics and even a love comic.
I appreciate the artist biographies more now, because those were the days when comic books were under siege by Dr Wertham, teachers and parents, and later even the Congress of the United States. Guys like Johnny Craig, as well as the rest of the gang, could have chosen to remain anonymous, but they signed their work. Considering the times, I think Craig and his fellow artists were brave.
From Saddle Justice #5 (1949):