Comic Code

Jun 29, 2009

“I have known many adults who have treasured throughout their lives some of the books they read as children. I have never come across any adult or adolescent who had outgrown comic book reading who would ever dream of keeping any of these “books” for any sentimental or other reason.”

Frederic Wertham – Seduction of the Innocent


“What th..?”

Superman – Action Comics

comic book stamp of approval

Books about comics have become far more than just lists of titles and artists. This one delves deeply into the changes in society as a whole that brought about the comic code and the potential destruction and then re-birth of the industry.

seal of approval book

Once to do research I had to visit a library in person. Now a few mouse clicks achieves far more. Wikipedia fills in many gaps and usually points you to further material.  My favourite Blog “I’m learning to Share”  seems to reach all the other parts that Wikipedia doesn’t.  It is there you can find this in-depth article written by Mr Wertham (before his infamous book “Seduction of the Innocent”) and originally printed in the “Ladies Home Journal”. (I hope Mr In Crowd of Learning to share doesn’t mind that I have actually shared it !!!).  I can imagine this article having an immediate impact on the mothers and housewives of the day….. far more so than any subsequent news coverage that would be generated on radio/tv/newsreels (?) over the next year or so.

what parents don't know about comic books

As with Wikipedia, another place that will become more important as time goes on is the “Internet Archive”. Loads of stuff appears here, most of which is classified as “public domain” (although I’m sure some stuff isn’t).  It is here that you can “roll back” Websites and see how they looked years ago.  They also have things available for download like this 326 page transcription of the Juvenile Delinquancy (Comic Books) Senate hearings of 1954. If you like to fill your hard-drive with old junk you can download everything you never knew you needed to hear or see from old radio shows and ancient Betty Boop cartoons to hundreds of hours of live music by the Grateful Dead !!