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Came The Dawn

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Came The Dawn by Frank Frazetta


The “Came the Dawn” story first appeared in EC comics’ ShockSuspense Stories #9 (1953), where it was illustrated by the legendary artist Wally Wood. Soon after, in 1954, William “Bill” Gaines commissioned Frank Frazetta to illustrate the same story “Came For Dawn” for one of his PICTO-FICTION magazines, Shock Illustrated #4. Tragically it was never published due to a series of unfortunate events.

Came The Dawn published in EC comics’ ShockSuspense Stories #9 (1953) by Wally Wood 


Bill Gaines was the son of Max Gaines, who, as the originator of the four-color, saddle stitch newspaper pamphlet, was one of the most influential men in the creation of comics. Bill Gaines inherited the publishing house “Educational Comics”  after his father died in a freak boating accident. Gaines renamed the company “Entertaining Comics” and proceeded to make some of the greatest comics of the 20th Century. The comics published by EC between 1949 and 1954 are still held as brilliant examples of illustrated storytelling. Gaines enlisted some of the finest illustrators in the field’s history to breathe life into stories that could stand shoulder to shoulder with popular film and radio stories within the science fiction, horror, crime and war genres. He was also notable for establishing the satirical comic series Mad under the editorial stewardship of Harvey Kurtzman. In 1954, the  comic industry was brought down by  the Comic Magazine Association of America, which instituted the Comics Code Authority, a censorship code that thoroughly sanitized the content of comics for years to come.
Bill Gaines visiting the Frazetta Art Museum in the early 1980s

Gaines was forced to close down his legendary line-up of EC comics. He was left with only MAD magazine and a small backlog of unpublished art and stories, which were used in his PICTO-FICTION books. Unfortunately, even these magazines were forced to close and Frazetta never got a chance to finish the story and see it published, which was a damn shame because Frazetta's style perfectly complemented the story.

Came The Dawn is a story about a man who returns to his cabin after a day of hunting to find a woman making herself at home. She was a was a vision of loveliness…the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. She explained to the hunter that she was lost and innocently believed she was in her own cabin. He accepted her story and they shared an evening of romance together. As she slept, the hunter listened to a radio broadcast about an escaped homicidal woman roaming in the area. The description fit that of the blonde in his cabin. He panicked, woke her up and threw her out of his cabin. She begged him to reenter as she banged on his door, scared for own life.  Soon after he heard her let out a scream of terror. When he opened the door he found the girl had been stabbed to death. She wasn’t the escaped killer after all.

Frazetta's work for Came The Dawn was arguably some of his best work that he did in his career. He used a lot of close-ups to emphasize the intimacy of the cabin and the attraction between the hunter and the girl. The background elements added depth and life to the overall atmosphere. Frazetta’s use of light and dark was absolutely genius. The character, Bob Ames, is an obvious Frazetta self-portrait, which only added to the appeal.

Years later, Frazetta commented on his work for Came the Dawn: “I was trying something new in that story. I was using a lot of strong inks. The story would have been filled with mood and atmosphere. I think it really would have been my best work if I had finished it.” After the project fell through, Bill Gaines gave Frazetta the opportunity to get paid for the unfinished job and surrender the originals to Gaines, or forgo payment and allow Frazetta to keep the originals. Frazetta chose to keep the art. His plan was to someday finish the job, which sadly, also never happened. Frazetta decided to sell the unfinished story in 1994.









"William Gaines & EC Comics." CBLDF  Copyright © 2022 Comic Book Legal Defense Fund



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