The Ten-cent Plague
The Great Comic-book Scare and How It Changed AmericaBook - 2008
From the critics
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The final issues of EC's horror and suspense titles included an editorial note under the headline "In Memoriam": As a result of the hysterical, injudicious, and unfounded charges leveled at crime and horror comics, many retailers and wholesalers throughout the country have been intimidated into refusing to handle this type of magazine. Although we at EC still believe, as we have in the past, that the charges against horror and crime comics are utter nonsense, there's no point in going into a defense of this kind of literature at the present time. Economically, our situation is acute. Magazines that do not get onto the newsstand do not sell. We are forced to capitulate. We give up. WE'VE HAD IT! Naturally, with comic magazine censorship now a fact, we at EC look forward to an immediate drop in the crime and juvenile delinquency rate of the United States. We trust there will be fewer robberies, fewer murders, and fewer rapes!
Comic books are definitely harmful to impressionable people, and most young people are impressionable," said the psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, author of an incendiary tract, Seduction of the Innocent, which indicted comics as a leading cause of juvenile delinquency. "I think Hitler was a beginner compared to the comic-book industry.
On the stories accepted, Murphy's censors enforced the minutiae of the Code fastidiously… For an issue of 'Love problems and Advice Illustrated’, the opening "splash page" art for one story, "Love Flirt," was published with the head of an attractive young woman floating in a full page square of solid black; the character’s entire body had been brushed over with ink. Throughout the tale to follow, black patches covered sections of panels, and word balloons had cryptic blank spaces where dialogue had been whited-out—censored like letters from prison, as if comic-book artist and writers really were convicted gangsters, mailing their stuff from Sing Sing. A young man, approaching a woman at a party in “Love Flirt,” said, “Come on” –blank space—“Let’s dance”—sizable blank space. The whited-out areas ended up suggesting unspeakable, mysteriously titillating thoughts
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