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Friday, June 13, 2008

Crime, Horror, and Gore – The Comic Book Controversy

By: Liz Monte (Little_personView Profile)

Before the rise of the television, comic books were one of the most widespread forms of entertainment. Between 1945 and 1954, distribution and readership soared; in particular, the horror, crime, violence, and sadism genres became widely popular. While the fantastical stories pleased young readers (who could purchase them for ten cents), they worried parents, politicians, and doctors, who felt that exposure to these gory topics was a cause of juvenile delinquency.

One of the most outspoken critics was the psychiatrist Frederic Wertham, who attacked comics in the book Seduction of the Innocent. Based on his work (and public opposition), in the early 1950s, the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency accused the comic book industry of negatively influencing youth. The industry was forced to change; horror, terror, and violent comics were shelved.

But were the books really that bad? You can judge for yourself by checking out some of the more gruesome covers, which offer some insight as to the contents within.

Entertaining Comics (previously known as Educational Comics) was a leader in the horror and crime field, and was well regarded for its artistic skill and creativity. After the ban on horror comic books, EC went on to publish the hugely popular MAD magazine.

Photo source: costa.lunarpages.com

Violence against women was a common theme in the crime and horror genres …

Photo source: www.crimeboss.com

Photo source: www.samuelsdesign.com

… as was the severed woman’s head.

Photo source: www.watt-evans.com

Methinks a married man wrote this one.

Photo source: www.samuelsdesign.com

Photo source: www.samuelsdesign.com

But the violent and macabre wasn’t limited to women.

Photo source: ublib.buffalo.edu

Photo source: www.bookpalace.com



Photos source: www.bookpalace.com

Comics—like this 1952 Harvey Comics series—sometimes dealt with real issues, such as teenage drug addiction. Dope fiends sure look different than they used to.

Photo source: www.crimeboss.com

Original here


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