Crime SuspenStories 22, 1954

Crime SuspenStories 22

Another EC classic from artist Johnny Craig. This controversial cover holds a special place in the history of the formation of the Comics Code. I've borrowed the following commentary from Richard Wolfe's excellent crime comic cover website- Crimeboss
[This cover] wins the contest for "most notorious cover illustration" hands down. When the Senate Committe of the Judiciary to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency began hearings in New York City in 1954, this particular cover caught the eye of Senator Estes Kefauver. William Gaines, the publisher of E.C. Comics, was put in the awkward position of having to defend the cover:

"Here is your May issue. This seems to be a man with a bloody axe holding a woman's head up, which has been severed from her body. Do you think that's in good taste?" asked Kefauver.
"Yes, sir, I do...for the cover of a horror comic. A cover in bad taste, for example, might be defined as holding the head a little higher so that blood could be seen dripping from it, and moving the body over a little further so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody," replied Gaines.
"You've got blood coming out of her mouth."
"A little."

By the end of the day, William Gaines had achieved nationwide notoriety and crime comics had been pronounced guilty of corrupting the youth of America.