Al Feldstein was a groundbreaking comic book editor and artist, and one of the mainstays of EC Comics. Born in Brooklyn, New York as the son of a Russian immigrant father and American mother, Feldstein was encouraged by his mother to pursue his artistic ambitions. After attending the High School of Music and Art, he began his career in the comic book field at Jerry Iger's shop in 1941.
Tales from the Crypt #23
Through the shop, he drew for companies like Fiction House (a.o. 'Sheena', 'Kayo Kirby'), Quality (Dollman, etc.), Fox and Aviation Press, while taking night classes from the Art Students League. He was in the air force during World War II, and created the comic strip 'Baffy' for the Blytheville Air Force base newspaper. After the war he went back to Iger and worked as an artist and packager for companies like Fox ('Junior', 'Sunny', 'Meet Corliss Archer').
Feldstein joined EC in 1947, and stayed with this company until his retirement in 1985. He drew for EC's love, crime and western strips, before the company took on its famous line of horror, science-fiction and suspense comics, also known as "The New Trend". He dropped most of his drawing activities during the 1950s, and became one of The New Trend's most prolific and innovative writers. Co-editing the line with Bill Gaines, he continued to do an occasional science-fiction cover however.
cover for The Crypt of Terror
When EC launched MAD magazine, edited by Harvey Kurtzman, Feldstein and Gaines came up with Panic, an imitation of their own title. When the market of horror titles collapsed, Feldstein briefly went freelance and wrote scripts for features like 'Yellow Claw' for Stan Lee at Atlas. He eventually returned to EC and became the editor for MAD, by now a magazine, and he remained in this position for many years. Under his editorship, many of the magazine's classic features came to life, such as Dave Berg's 'Lighter Side', Al Jaffee's fold-ins, Mort Drucker's movie parodies and Antonio Prohias's 'Spy vs. Spy'.
After his retirement in 1984, he spent his time painting in Wyoming and Montana, specializing in depicting Western life. He briefly came back to the field of comics in 1997 to draw covers for the comic book series 'Tomb Tales', published by Cryptic Comics. Al Feldstein passed away at the age of 88 in his home in Livingston, Montana, on 29 April 2014.
Seven Seas (1940s)