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Hajdu Sparknotes (1-2 PM Section)

1. Society Iss Nix (Allison Funchess and Jane Maher)

What are the major changes in the comics industry discussed in the chapter? (New kinds of comics, trends in story themes, violence/sex becoming more or less prominent)

-The popularity of comics like the Yellow Kid led to the creation of news cartoons and strips

-In the first 2 decades of the 20th century comics and funnies grew wilder, freer, and more varied in subject matter

-Rise of funnies became a more popular form of literature

-During the Depression (1929-1934) comics shifted to more adventure stories that appealed more to adolescent boys and working-class men

-After the Depression funnies were turned into comic books that produced issues monthly

-Superman was created in 1930s, starting the superhero genre

-Opening of comic studios after the Depression

What major events in the anti-comics moral panic are discussed in the chapter?

-As comic strips began to sprout, protective citizens noticed this unclassified species from lower Manhattan and set out to uproot it

-”American watch-dogs” worried that the Sunday funnies threatened to devalue the US’ emerging status as a civilized world power in post-Victorian years

Note any other larger pieces of US history that Hajdu cites in this chapter as being relevant to the evolution of the anti-comics moral panic.

-As World War 1 began, the fuss over comics took a back seat in the media

-After WWI, Europe became more interested in American culture and the popularity of funnies grew

-During the Depression the funnies were the lower classes’ version of art

-The Depression was a very influential time for the comic industry

-Superman spoke directly to survivors of the Depression

2. It Was Work (Morgan Manuel, Javier Pastor)

What are the major changes in the comics industry discussed in the chapter? (New kinds of comics, trends in story themes, violence/sex becoming more or less prominent)

-Industry went “gangbusters.” People didn’t really care about the content, they just read comics because they enjoyed the activity.

-Comic “gold rush.” Loose standards, limited accountability, widespread content.

-Low expectations allowed very unfiltered content (ie, sex, violence, gaining prominence)

-Comics began to “defy norms.” Writers looked for things outside the ordinary; ideas that would “excite” readers.

-Comics readers prized the “exclusivity” of their newfound club.

-Prevalence of mayhem, murder, torture, and abduction as the key elements of appeal.

-”Voluptuous females in scanty attire” began to be found on almost every page.

 What major events in the anti-comics moral panic are discussed in the chapter?

-Comics become viewed as “candy” – no nutritional value, pretty much junk but nevertheless widely consumed and enjoyed.

-Comics seen as harmless

-”A National Disgrace (and a Challenge to American Parents)” – publication of article outlining sexual and violent imagery in comics; said dime novels looked like classic lit comparatively

3. Crime Pays (Sabrina Bigelow and Anna Bennett)

What are the major changes in the comics industry discussed in the chapter? (New kinds of comics, trends in story themes, violence/sex becoming more or less prominent)

Transition from newspaper strips to crime comics. “Crime Does Not Pay” was first substantial crime comic. Creation of Eisner and Iger studio and the different people who worked there. Comics start being marketed to young adults as opposed to young children. Charles Biro’s comics were becoming more violent and realistic. Crime comics were an update of true-crime pulp magazines, which were geared towards adults. Crime comics were the kid version of this.

 What major events in the anti-comics moral panic are discussed in the chapter?

Mainly talks about why it appeals to kids. In “What Books for Children,” expert Josette Frank stated that reading comics instills violence in kids.

4. Youth in Crisis (Rachael Gaydos, Robert Burigo)

What are the major changes in the comics industry discussed in the chapter? (New kinds of comics, trends in story themes, violence/sex becoming more or less prominent)

Gaines was trying to teach the youth about the Bible because he found out they didn’t have enough religious training, so he made comic books with stories from the Bible put into pictures. This was ironic because the church was against comic books and had a forbidden comic books list.

What major events in the anti-comics moral panic are discussed in the chapter?

The Catholic church was against comic books because they thought that people who were associated with comic books were communists. They also didn’t like how superheroes were portrayed as similar to religious characters. For example they didn’t like how more kids viewed Superman as like God than actually knew about God. Bishop John Francis Woll wrote a column about comics. J. Edgar Hoover also published stats that correlated juvenile delinquency with comics. William Becher, a 12-year-old boy, died while trying to re-enact a scene from a comic book by accidentally hanging himself.

5. Puddles of Blood (Lea Edwards and Zarina Munoz)

What are the major changes in the comics industry discussed in the chapter? (New kinds of comics, trends in story themes, violence/sex becoming more or less prominent)

-Debate over how comics are too violent

-Superheroes were discontinued in favor of crime comics.

-Business was still booming – the industry didn’t really care yet about the supposed consequences

-In 1946 crime comics were only 3% of the industry, whereas by 1948 the percentage rose to 14%

-They discontinued some of the old classics like Green Lantern and Captain America to move toward the new crime comics like Crime Does Not Pay

What major events in the anti-comics moral panic are discussed in the chapter?

-The violence in comics was leading to more violence in real life

-Different cities like Detroit and NY were beginning to crack down because of the violence in comic books in the early 1950s

-Anti-comic protestors and a lot of America attributed various crimes and fatalities to comic books – 2 boys shot a brother and 3 boys tortured a friend, for example

-Frederic Wertham pressed for legislation to ban comic books that had criminal or “sexually abnormal” ideas

-LA outlawed the sale of crime comics to minors (1948)

Note any other larger pieces of US history that Hajdu cites in this chapter as being relevant to the evolution of the anti-comics moral panic.

-House Un-American Activities Committee began hearings on Alger Hiss case (finger-pointing, paranoia)

6. Then Let Us Commit Them (Jose A. Fernandez and Anthony Peregoy)

What are the major changes in the comics industry discussed in the chapter? (New kinds of comics, trends in story themes, violence/sex becoming more or less prominent)

A small group of comic publishers put together the Association of Comic Magazine Publishers and through that they established a Comics Code to urge the members not to put the most explicit content in the comic. This did not work because they did not have much support.

What major events in the anti-comics moral panic are discussed in the chapter?

Student David Moore went around collecting comics and had a bonfire at his high school. This concerned people because of the recent memory of Nazi book-burnings. Locations of the book-burnings were St. Patrick Academy in Binghamton, NY; St Peter University and Paul Elementary in Auburn, NY.

7. Woofer and Tweeter (No names!)

What are the major changes in the comics industry discussed in the chapter? (New kinds of comics, trends in story themes, violence/sex becoming more or less prominent)

The popularity of funny-teenager comics was on the descent, and around the same time Gaines & Feldstein decided to venture into a new genre for comic books, horror.

What major events in the anti-comics moral panic are discussed in the chapter?

-in 1949 the National Parent-Teachers Association called for a “national housecleaning” of comic books

-1949 – action taken in many cities across America (ie Baltimore, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Sacramento, St Louis, etc) to ban controversial comics (esp crime-filled ones)

-Benjamin F. Feinberg proposed comic-book legislation that would establish a comic-book division of the Department of Education that would be able to approve  or reject comics based on their content.

-Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and other groups of students participated in comic-book burnings across the country.

8. Love…LOVE…LOVE!! (James Balagia and Melanie Lopez)

What are the major changes in the comics industry discussed in the chapter? (New kinds of comics, trends in story themes, violence/sex becoming more or less prominent)

This chapter discusses the decrease in popularity of crime comics and the increase of romance comics. These romance comics expanded appeal to teens/young adults, these were not for children, but directed to the more adult individual. Additionally, after the war, people viewed sex as a more natural activity, and it became something more widely accepted and “chicly scientific.”

What major events in the anti-comics moral panic are discussed in the chapter?

-Crime comics viewed as “unconstitutional”; parents were against the effect they had on their children; romance comics became more popular in response to this.

-Connection between juvenile delinquency and crime comics was replaced by the connection between j.d. and the effects of war (juvenile arrests leveld off)

-Artist Milton Caniff explained the “comics called attention to what was good” by displaying the struggle b/w good and evil; most kids side with the good guy.

9. New Trend (Andrew Martinez, Mira Dickey)

What are the major changes in the comics industry discussed in the chapter? (New kinds of comics, trends in story themes, violence/sex becoming more or less prominent)

-New horror comics on the rise (“Three Clues to TERROR”; “The Crypt of Terror”)

-More mystery comics

-More theatrical plot to stories with “dramatic timing”0

-By 1952, 1/3 of comics were in the “horror” genre

-A change at EC allowed artists to retain their “own” styles

What major events in the anti-comics moral panic are discussed in the chapter?

-Comics were portraying family and marriage life as “unbearable torment”

-There were no “happy couples”

-People believed that reading crime comics made children “sadistic and masochistic” are “interfering” with the normal development of sexual habits in children

-Regulating content of comic books through the Dept of Education in the year 1952

-Banning comic books that deal with “crime, bloodshed, and lust”

Note any other larger pieces of US history that Hajdu cites in this chapter as being relevant to the evolution of the anti-comics moral panic.

-Discovery of the USSR having an Atomic Bomb

-Cold War

10. Humor in a Jugular Vein (Austin Miller)

What are the major changes in the comics industry discussed in the chapter? (New kinds of comics, trends in story themes, violence/sex becoming more or less prominent)

-Realism

-War books

-Editors refused to romanticize combatants or glamorize battle

-Mad was a book full of humor in the form of four comics: one horror, one crime, one science fiction, one Western

-Horror and suspense comics of the early 1950s became more graphically violent

What major events in the anti-comics moral panic are discussed in the chapter?

-Korean War

-More and more kids were driving to other friends’ houses in automobiles, allowing them more freedom

-December 1, 1952 House of Reps began hearings for violent comics

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