EC Comics vs. the US Air Force: was Weird Science-Fantasy #26 payback? (comic-book video)

In the heady days of the 1950s, the war between EC Comics and the US Air Force was waging in the most unlikely of battlefields – the pages of Weird Science-Fantasy. You see, issue #26 of this EC anthology comic wasn’t your typical dose of science-fiction and fantasy. No, this issue took a hard stance on a topic that had the Air Force brass squirming in their boots – the reality of UFOs.

The man behind this daring move was none other than Al Feldstein, the brilliant editor of EC’s line of sci-fi and horror comics. Feldstein, a voracious reader of science fiction, had been following the growing controversy around unidentified flying objects with great interest. So when the opportunity arose to devote an entire issue of Weird Science-Fantasy to the topic, he seized it.

Feldstein enlisted the help of Major Donald Keyhoe, a former marine pilot who had become the leading popular writer on UFOs. Together, they crafted an issue that delved into the most credible UFO sightings and encounters of the time, complete with eyewitness accounts and detailed illustrations. It was a bold move, considering the Air Force’s official position that UFOs were nothing more than misidentified natural phenomena or classified military aircraft. But was this issue of Weird Science-Fantasy more than just an attempt to educate the public? Some have speculated that it was Feldstein’s way of getting back at the Air Force for their heavy-handed tactics against EC Comics. You see, the infamous Comics Code Authority, which had effectively neutered the more mature content of EC’s titles, was widely believed to be the result of intense pressure from the military and other government agencies.

By devoting an entire issue to UFOs, Feldstein was essentially calling the Air Force’s bluff. If they truly had nothing to hide, why were they so adamant about dismissing the growing body of evidence? The issue became a sort of rallying cry for those who dared to question the official narrative, and it’s no surprise that it quickly became a sought-after collector’s item.

Of course, the Air Force didn’t take kindly to Feldstein’s brazen challenge. They responded with a flurry of denials and public relations maneuvers, but the damage was done. Weird Science-Fantasy #26 had struck a chord with readers, and it remains a testament to the power of comics to tackle even the most controversial of topics.

So the next time you find yourself lost in the fantastical worlds of EC Comics, remember the epic battle that unfolded between the creators of Weird Science-Fantasy and the mighty US Air Force. It’s a story that proves that even in the face of overwhelming opposition, a little bit of weird science-fantasy can go a long way.


Colonel Frog is a long time science fiction and fantasy fan. He loves reading novels in the field, and he also enjoys watching movies (as well as reading lots of other genre books).

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