|Occupation:||Comic Book Author|
|Birth Day:||March 1, 1922|
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He trained as an Army Air Corps photographer and later trained as a teacher at New York University.
Gaines was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Jewish household. His father was Max Gaines, who as publisher of the All-American Comics division of DC Comics was also an influential figure in the history of comics. The elder Gaines tested the idea of packaging and selling comics on newsstands in 1933, and Gaines accepted William Moulton Marston's proposal in 1941 for the first successful female superhero, Wonder Woman.
Gaines' first marriage was arranged by his mother. He was married to his second cousin, Hazel Grieb. They announced their plans to divorce in August 1947. According to Completely Mad: A History of the Comic Book and Magazine by Maria Reidelbach, Gaines married Nancy Siegel in 1955. They had three children, Cathy (1958), Wendy (1959), and Christopher (1961). They divorced in 1971. In 1987 he married Anne Griffiths. They remained married until his death in 1992.
With the publication of Dr. Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, comic books like those that Gaines published attracted the attention of the U.S. Congress. In 1954, Gaines testified before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. In the following exchanges, he is addressed first by Chief Counsel Herbert Beaser, and then by Senator Estes Kefauver:
Gaines converted Mad to a magazine in 1955, partly to retain the services of its talented editor Harvey Kurtzman, who had received offers from elsewhere. The change enabled Mad to escape the strictures of the Comics Code. Kurtzman left Gaines' employ a year later anyway and was replaced by Al Feldstein, who had been Gaines' most prolific editor during the EC Comics run. (For details of this event and the subsequent debates about it, see Harvey Kurtzman's editorship of Mad.) Feldstein oversaw Mad from 1955 through 1986, as Gaines went on to a long and profitable career as a publisher of satire and enemy of bombast.
Despite his largesse, Gaines had a penny-pinching side. He would frequently stop meetings to find out who had called a particular long-distance phone number. Longtime Mad editor Nick Meglin called Gaines a "living contradiction" in 2011, saying, "He was singularly the cheapest man in the world, and the most generous." Meglin described his experience of asking Gaines for a raise of $3 a week; after rejecting the request, the publisher then treated Meglin to an expensive dinner at one of New York's best restaurants. Recalled Meglin: "The check came, and I said, 'That's the whole raise!' "And Bill said, 'I like good conversation and good food. I don't enjoy giving raises.'"
Currently, William Gaines is 100 years, 5 months and 16 days old. William Gaines will celebrate 101st birthday on a Wednesday 1st of March 2023.
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