Panic is a series of comic books published by EC Comics in USA in 1954. The bi-monthly humor comic published parody comic strip stories, with the series running for 12 editions, coming to an end in 1956.
Entertaining Comics (or EC Comics as the publishing house is commonly known), was established by Max Gaines in the US in 1944. EC Comic mainly published horror fiction, crime fiction, satire, military fiction, dark fantasy, and science fiction, with one of their most popular titles being ‘The Tales from the Crypt’ series.
In 1947, Max Gaines died unexpectedly in a boating accident, with his son William Gaines taking over the company, with a shift for EC Comics to publish more mature stories, delving into genres of horror, war, fantasy, science-fiction, adventure, and others. Publications produced were of a higher quality and unique in their socially conscious and progressive themes, anticipating the Civil Rights Movement and dawn of 1960s counterculture.
By the mid-1950s, censorship pressures prompted EC Comics publishers to concentrate on the highly popular humor magazine Mad. By 1956, the company ceased publishing all of its comic lines except Mad.
Panic edition number 6 features the Phantom as a parody, published in the bi-month period of December/January, 1955. It contains 32 pages, in full color measuring 7″ x 10″. See below front and back cover of Panic number 6.
Cover art is not present, just a simple red asterisk. At the base of the front cover, we see that the red asterisk represents ‘this cover, the result of hours of conference, is E.C.’s final answer to the comic book controversy, designed to offend no one, it is blank!’
The various comic strip stories found within Panic number 6 are:
- Phantom Parody – ‘The Phansom’ with story and art by Al Feldstein and Bill Elder, 6 pages.
- Executive Suites – ‘Executive Seat’ with story and art by Al Feldstein and Wally Wood, 7 pages.
- Various comic-strip-style Advertisements – ‘Comic Strip Advertising Dept.’ with story and art by Al Feldstein and Joe Orlando, 6 pages.
- Popular Mechanics – ‘Popular Mecpanics Magazine’ with story and art by Al Feldstein and Jack Davis, 7 pages.
The 6 page parody comic strip of the Phantom, titled ‘The Phansom’ can be seen below.
Every time Dinah (parody of Diana Palmer) gets the Phansom into a position to propose marriage to her, she ends up getting kidnapped, and the Phansom is helpless because he is stuck under the masthead’s logo. He frees himself and saves her, but when it comes to proposing, the Phansom reveals to Dinah that she is actually a girl!
Script: Nick Meglin (story); Al Feldstein (script)
Pencils/Inks: Bill Elder (also as Willie McElder, signed)
Letters: Jim Wroten
The 12 edition Panic series was reprinted by Gemstone Publishing in USA in 1998. The front and back cover were altered from the original 1950s parody comics.