Censorship and Horror Comics
A lot of people do not like censorship. In fact, I’ve often heard arguments against even having ratings to designate whether movies are appropriate for children or adults (G, PG, R, etc.) But censorship doesn’t just stop with movies.
Back in the mid-50s, horror comics had reached an incredible height of gruesomeness the silver screen had yet to even dream of. There were images in these comic pages of terror and fright that at the time could only be summoned by the pens of the truly depraved (and awesome) artists.
Unfortunately, as is common with all forms of art, there were people who didn’t really…appreciate these comics as they deserved. Some people treated inked pages of zombies and screaming blondes as if they were akin to fluoridating our water supply. Which is apparently bad if you’re absolutely insane and uninformed about proper dental health.
At the time concern began to arise, there were an awful lot of unregulated comics on the market from both minor and major publishers, and it was a goldmine of the good and the bad. Then ‘Seduction of the Innocent’ came about, and because people didn’t think they had enough to complain about, they decided to read it. This was a book written by Fredric Wertham, a psychiatrist too lazy to properly investigate the neuroses of his patients…so he just blamed it all on comics with their dirty words and pictures. One thing led to another as the panic train snowballed, and that’s how we got the ‘Comics Code Authority’, which ultimately decimated the field of horror comics.
But any horror addict knows there’s no scratching that itch you get when you really want something to scream at. Artists continued to work, oftentimes even working without putting their names on their comics. Horror comics didn’t die completely, they were just giving way to the more family-friendly resurgence of super heroes and fantasy.
Thankfully today nobody really pays attention to the dangers of the written word if there’s no political message. They’d rather focus all of that fear on video games and television. The golden age of our beloved horror comics may have passed on into the realms of the beyond, but as I’m sure all of my readers know…you can’t keep a good ghoul down. Horror comics have returned, and they’re ‘worse’ than ever.