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Johnny Craig (American, 1926-2001)

Comic Book Art

Johnny Craig (American, 1926-2001): was a well-known comic book artist, writer, and editor for EC Comics in the 1950s. John Thomas Alexis Craig was born in Pleasantville, New York, and raised in the Washington Heights area of New York City. At an extremely young age, Craig began working in comics as an assistant to Harry Lampert. The young artist worked with Lampert at All-American Comics until Craig joined the Merchant Marines and later the Army during World War II.

After his discharge in 1947, Craig started his career at Entertaining Comics, beginning with penciling and inking Moon Girl and the Prince #1. After his work on Moon Girl, he drew for Saddle Justice and Gunfighter, two popular western titles, as well as the crime comics, Crime Patrol and War Against Crime. Apart from EC, Craig also did minor work early on in his career for Magazine Enterprises, American Comics Group, and Eastern Color.

As EC transitioned into more thrilling content, Craig transitioned right along with them. Johnny Craig really found a home in the horror genre. He understood how to create suspense and build up anticipation. The talented artist focused more on what was left out of the panels rather than what was included. He was more concerned with the reaction to violence as compared to the action itself. The storylines Craig created captured the emotions behind the heinous acts of rage and vengeance by depicting wide-eyed horror in the character’s eyes accompanied with chilling dialogue.

EC’s success in the realm of horror and suspense would end up haunting them in a poetic justice of sorts. At the Senate Subcommittee of Juvenile Delinquency, the cover of Crime SuspenStories #22 would be the tipping point for the entire investigation. As a result of the hearings, the Comics Code Authority was created, and EC abruptly faded into the past. Craig continued drawing and writing for EC’s final days, and then retired from the comics industry aside from dabbling in titles such as, Eerie and Creepy a couple of decades later.

After his comic career was halted, Craig went into advertising, where he was an art director and later vice president for a firm in Pennsylvania until 1963. He would go on to do minor work for DC and Marvel until the early 1980s, as well as EC-related commissions for fans.

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