I received a press release today from the Hero Initiative about the release of this book in digital format. If you are interested in learning about the early days of Mad and the life and times of the eccentric Mr. Gaines (1922-1992), download this great (and historical) book. It has been out of print for many, many years, so this release presents a great opportunity to read this book without breaking the bank. How you can you go wrong for $7.99? Cheap. Your purchase will be for the benefit of author Frank Jacobs, who is recovering from recent surgery. I downloaded this book today directly into the Kindle app on my iPad and it worked flawlessly and the print is easy to read in this format. It can also be read with any PDF reader on most popular pads and smart phones and directly from the WOWIO site with your browser.
Here’s the full press release from The Hero Initiative, including a link to the download at WOWIO:
CLASSIC “MAD” BOOK BACK IN PRINT
RELIVE MAD’S GLORY YEARS
Frank Jacobs’ masterpiece The Mad World of William M. Gaines available digitally from Wowio.com
LOS ANGELES, CA (May 21, 2012) – After decades out of print, one of the most popular books chronicling a classic era of American satire is finally back.
WOWIO is proud to release The Mad World of William M. Gaines by Frank Jacobs as an eBook, priced at $7.99, and available for PC, MAC, iPad, Kindle, and eBook readers at http://www.wowio.com.
The Mad World of William M. Gaines is a hilarious and definitive history of Mad magazine and its founder, Bill Gaines. The book has been out of print for decades, and original copies often sell for hundreds of dollars. “Part of our philosophy is to make hard-to-find, out of print books available to new audiences,” said WOWIO CEO and President, Brian Altounian. “By offering a low-cost digital eBook, we’re offering an affordable way to introduce Frank Jacobs’ masterpiece to a new readership.”
Praise for The Mad World of William M. Gaines includes:
“The Mad World of William M. Gaines is one of the classic biographies of comic book history, and helped set the standard for those to follow. Frank Jacobs’ book richly deserves to be kept in print.”
—Roy Thomas, co-founder and editor, Alter Ego magazine
“I learned more about writing from Mad magazine than would be seemly to admit, and Frank Jacobs was my favorite writer in its stable, so it’s no surprise his bio of the Great and Powerful Gaines was an instant classic to me. But it’s the world beyond—and before—Mad magazine, the dark world of E.C., of pulp, horror, and censorship that made it indelible, and a book not just for Mad fans but for everyone.”
—Joss Whedon, Avengers director and Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator
“I read The Mad World of William M. Gaines when I was a kid. It’s a book I treasured and read over and over again until it literally fell apart and was thrown away. I’m thrilled to be able to read it again…and to my kids.”
—Scott Dunbier, special projects editor, IDW Publishing
“This amazing book helped rekindle my childhood love for Mad magazine…and turned me into a major Bill Gaines fan.”
—Jim Halperin, co-chairman, Heritage Auctions
“Bill was somethin’ else! And Frank was, and still is, a GREAT writer!”
—Jack Davis, E.C. Comics and Mad artist
The Mad World of William M. Gaines has been released through WOWIO via special arrangement with the Hero Initiative, the charitable organization dedicated to helping veteran comic creators in medical or financial need. Now is a perfect time to download a copy of the book, as Frank is recovering from arterial surgery.
The Mad World of William M. Gaines is available directly at:
About The Hero Initiative
The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book artists and craftsmen in need. Hero Initiative creates a financial safety net for yesterday’s creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.
Since its inception, The Hero Initiative has had the good fortune to grant over $500,000 to the comics veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today. For more information, visit www.heroinitiative.org or call 626-676-6354.
About WOWIO, Inc.
WOWIO.com is one of the first and the longest-standing eBook distribution sites on the web, and is part of the Studio W family of digital entertainment sites. Studio W specializes in the creation and monetization of rich media content developed from books, comics and original published material. WOWIO, Inc. is an Alliance Acquisitions, Inc. portfolio company headquartered in Los Angeles, CA.
Like most people who celebrate Christmas, I prefer “Christmas” over the abbreviated “X-Mas”. Nevertheless, Fawcett published some very cool Christmas themed comics in the Golden Age with the title, X-Mas Comics. These comics featured stories with Fawcett’s stars, Captain Marvel, Bulletman, Spy Smasher, Ibis the Invincible and many others. Of course, Santa was also featured prominently on most of these covers.
The series began in 1941 (#1) and the first issue was a whopping 324 pages! It carried an equally impressive 50 cent price tag. The contents are the same as Whiz Comics #21, Captain Marvel Adventures #3, Bulletman #2, Wow Comics #3 and Master Comics #18.
The following year, Fawcett did not disappoint and produced another 324 page issue of X-Mas Comics (#2) with a 50 cent cover price. This is my favorite cover of the series. Captain Marvel, Bulletman, Spy Smasher and others were back for this issue.
The first two issues of the series were the last of the war years. I don’t know why Fawcett temporarily stopped publication of the title with the 1942 issue, but the title did not reappear until 1947. It’s possible that the efforts to conserve paper during the war led Fawcett to stop publishing this title. It’s also possible that the 50 cent cover price was simply too much. In any event, Fawcett relaunched the series in 1947. Unlike the previous two issues, this version was only 132 pages and featured Fawcett’s funny animal stars on the cover and in the stories. This comic book was half the price of the previous issues. This comic is numbered “7″ (for calendar year 1947?) and issues three through six were never published between 1942 and 1947.
After another year passed without an issue of X-Mas Comics, Fawcett brought back the series in 1949. With this iteration of the title (which lasted until 1952), Fawcett again featured Captain Marvel and other Fawcett stars on the cover of each issue (the 1952 issue only featured Captain Marvel on the cover), including many of their western stars not featured in these comics before. They also added a gimmick. Each cover contained green or red felt covering Santa’s suit (1949 & 1951)), the Christmas Tree (1950) and the stocking (1952). A very cool effect! These comics were also smaller than the original two issues, and topped out at 196 pages. The cover price was back to 50 cents. Curiously, the 1949 issue is numbered “4″ and the following issues are sequentially numbered through #7. This fits with the total number of issues printed between 1941 and 1952, but does not explain the number “7″ assigned to the 1947 comic.
Here are the cover for the final four issues of the series.
I hope you have enjoyed this look back at Fawcett’s X-Mas Comics series from the Golden Age of Comic Books. Merry Christmas!