The truth about comics
With this tasty title over a drawing of a spider’s web adorns this disturbing 8-page American booklet, which I gather was published in the early to mid-1950s and warns of the dangers of comic books.
This scary tale begins by saying that approximately 90 million comic books are sold every month and that most of these magazines are about crime and sex and are bought by children and young people.
You can imagine who might be behind this discourse, yes, the usual.
The text goes on to point out that, “according to the Wall Street Journal, 840 million copies are in circulation each year, 20% more than four years ago”.
It adds that juvenile delinquency has increased (blessed coincidence) by approximately 20% and that the worst part of this is that young people and children are involved in violent crime.
Many of these magazines offer, in text and pictures, a detailed description of how to steal and kill. And children can rob a candy as well as a bank.
From here they begin to point to comics, and those who sell them, as the cause of all children’s ills and misfortunes and call on Christians to take action to stop them being sold and read.
To illustrate this, they draw on alarming and dramatic events recounted in a few texts by Dr Fredric Whertham in 1953.
His best known book was The seduction of the innocent (1954), he succeeded in getting a commission of enquiry organised in the US Congress against the comics industry and laid the foundations for the creation of the Comics Code.
The events chosen to exemplify his theory of chaos caused by comic books could not be more grim.
Three boys between the ages of six and eight catch a seven-year-old boy and hang him naked from a tree with his hands tied and burn him with matches.
The police investigation concludes that the comics were, of course, to blame. They had recreated a scene he had seen in a comic book.
An 11-year-old boy kills a woman during a robbery, and when they go to arrest him they find him surrounded by comic books.
His 20-year-old brother said: “if you want to know the cause of all this, there it is: it’s those rotten comics”
A thirteen-year-old boy commits the lustful” murder of a six-year-old girl. After being arrested, in prison the boy asked for… comic books. The Sheriff refused to give them to him, of course. It would be good.
Another 13-year-old boy, who wasted most of his time reading comics, committed sexual murder of a four-year-old girl.
The rest of the text of this absurd booklet is not to be missed, it makes an apocalyptic portrait of American society punished by the terrible influence of comics and calls for action against publishers and sellers of comics in local shops and for prayer, among other things.
Sourcei found the magazine in Comic Book Plusi never tire of recommending this site.
Update 4 September 2014: