Aces High

Published by Gemstone, 1999

Artists - George Evans, Wally Wood, Bernie Krigstein, Jack Davis.

EC was at the forefront of the controversy over comic book, instigated by Fredric Wertham's comics-bashing book Seduction of the Innocent and continued by Kefauver's Congressional hearings. Though William Gaines actually won his case in the hearings, he decided to take EC in a different direction, so in 1955 EC brought out its "New Direction" publications. The fourth title in that group was Aces High. In a letter to its readers, the magazines editors stated:

In "Aces High", we will fly once more in the fabric and wood craft that opened the door to modern aerial warfare. But we will see the difference between then and now, when it was the man at the controls who was the fighter, not the machine. We will ride beside World War I aces, both fictional and non-fictional, who climbed into the clouds each day to do battle under a code of ethics and a sense of fair play and combat chivalry that has long disappeared from the skies. We will scream earthward in flaming Fokkers, Spads, Albatrosses and De Havilands. We will dogfight with Sopwith Camels and Niuports. And, most important of all, we will learn to know and love and respect the men, both Allied and Enemy, who flew them. And we will do it all in the cherished tradition of EC.
Certainly, the artwork lived up to that promise, especially that of George Evans. Evans had a life long interest in the aircraft and aerial battles of World War I, and it really showed in his work. The other artists who worked on Aces High were no slouches. Many of them became legends in comics illustration. Unfortunately, the stories did not measure up to the work of the artists. Mostly recycled plots from the earlier pulp magazines, they were not of the same quality that had distinguished EC's other titles. Aces High folded after ten issues.

Fortunately, the entire EC line was reprinted within the last few years by Gemstone and the Aces High books are readily available as individual issues or as a collected edition.

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