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Hajdu Sparknotes (2-3 PM Section)

1. Society Iss Nix (Taylor Giordonello and Jasmine Torain)

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 is the point before comics become popular. They started off by writing them in newspapers. They began with political cartoons. Mostly kids were in the strips. The popularity of the strip Yellow Kid led to more strips being made. Comics offered their audience a parodic look at themselves.

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

Protective citizens began to have an issue with what was being placed in Sunday’s paper. They began censoring many of the articles being produced. Magazines were saying comics were “infantile, brutal, unsophisticated, and subliterate” (12). Sunday was considered the Christian Sabbath, so people objected to comics running in that paper.

2. It Was Work (Rachel Helfrich and Sarah Porter)

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)

-Superheroes becoming major in comic books, seen as acutely patriotic – a simple, democratic, home-grown symbol of American might and surety of purpose (pg 47)

-Emergence of Eisner’s “Spirit” character, began the process of change from good vs. evil superhero comics to those of more violent crime

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

-Sold next to the candy on newsstands/drugstore racks, comic books were generally thought of as another nutrient-free but essentially harmless confection for kids (pg 35)

-Those directly affected by the popularization of comics such as Sterling North (a children’s author) and Librarians, first to jump on anti-comic bandwagon (p 44)

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. 

-”Unless we want a coming generation even more ferocious than the present” already viewing each generation “worse off” than the prior (pg 41)

-Many Americans still very conservative in politics, unsettled by any “left-leaning” activity such as comics’ portrayal of the weak having power (p 41)

3. Crime Pays (Daniela Hernandez, Brandee Glass)

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)

1) Change in the character of the protagonists from being mischief-makers, to being good citizens (usually superheroes) fighting crime. Good always prevailed over evil.

2) Then crime comic books changed again. Now the focus is NOT on the heroes and enforcers of the law, but rather on the criminals (usually gangsters) and their actions.

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

The audience of these “Crime Does Not Pay” comics are young adults and military men. He does not explain much about the moral panic other than it is more accepted than others. He quotes to buy these comics and “Show it to Dad, he’ll love it.”

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. 

1) WWII created a panic over communism, fascism, and the Axis. This influenced crime comic books. Superheroes stopped fighting traditional crime to focus on spies, saboteurs, and scientists working for the Axis. This can be seen as an attempt, on behalf of the comic book makers, to express a sense of patriotism.

2) J. Edgar Hoover’s war on crime also influenced crime comic books, and made comic books more appealing to the public. They portrayed criminals in a negative way, and got Hoover’s approval.

4. Youth in Crisis (Sam Suarez and Charlie Peskowitz)

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 comics: educational and more racy comics

-Catholics were trying to censor comics and make them more educational. They claimed superheroes were too “god-like.” Catholic Church called upon parents to stop kids from reading comics.

-women portrayed in more sexual way (Wonder Woman)

-Superhero comics declined in demand

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

-Catholic Church pamphlets

-Youth in Crisis film

-J. Edgar Hoover speaks out in influential news articles

-Suicides and violence blamed on comics

-Zoot Suit Riots – example of juvenile delinquency

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. 

-World War II

-Fear of communism

-Revitalized influence of Catholic Church

5. Puddles of Blood (Perri Watts and Nick Lewis)

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)

-Story themes switched from superheroes and their adventures to crime comics

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

-Courts becoming involved in anti-comic moral panic (Supreme Court ruled them not valuable to society, but overturned Winters v. New York)

-New York Times publishes “Puddles of Blood” (article about psychological effects of comic books and increased juvenile delinquency)

-Comic books banned in 1956 in certain states

-People are against comic books because of mental health issues (Wertham and Lafargue)

6. Then Let Us Commit Them (Joonyong Park and Emmanuel Salter)

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

-Bonfires after comics were collected

-More intelligent students rally against comic readers, going door to door getting families to pledge not to read anymore

-Catholic churches exchange bibles for comics

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. 

Televisions became more prominent in homes. Supreme Court ruled TV shows must censor so TV programs pushed for related industries to receive the same censor judgement.

7. Woofer and Tweeter (Kelsea Hoffman and Lorin Wilson)

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)

-Horror story comics: because the debate was over crime comics, they could go under the radar

-More violence and gore: “The primary appeal of comics to the juvenile mind lies in their goriness and violence” (p 143)

-Wrong causation of juvenile delinquency: wartime kept them occupied and comic books did not correlate

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

-Feinberg law – shot down in NY, passed in Canada

-Cub Scouts burn comics

-Success in Canada in comic regulation

-Students only burned books b/c of parental pressure (150)

-Battle of the Psychiatrists – some need the exposure vs. violence – delinquency

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. 

-Feinberg law denies people with communist associations teaching positions in public schools

8. Love…LOVE…LOVE!! (Nicole and Tayler)

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 trend is romance comics. Exposing risky love scenarios, homosexuality, and sexual maturation

-First graphic novel, instead of the comic book

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

-The relaxation around the concept of crime comics

-Upset that there was an adult, and distorted, image of love

-Youth conference in Chicago disperses thought about correlation b/t youth violence and comics

9. New Trend (Jake Leitner-Zieff and Annamaria White)

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 “New Trend” was about Horror. Hajdu discussed “The Crypt of Terror” and the “Vault of Horror.” There are lots of issues with violence and scary stories in this chapter. Gaines became more creative with his writing in this chapter. They wanted more material out there. so they put out a call in Readers’ Digest looking for writers.

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

The City of New York announced a voluntary ban on a dozen crime comics. It became a misdemeanor to publish or sell comic books that deal with fictional crime, bloodshed, or lust that could drive the youth to violence. However, a month later it was vetoed by the governor. In Maryland, if you sold comics like this you could face a $200 fine or up to a year in jail.

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.

Hajdu discusses the discovery by the US that the Soviet Union had tested an atomic bomb on Sept 13, 1949.

10. Humor in a Jugular Vein (Kaitlin Moran and Hunter Goulden)

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)

-Comics of the early 1950s grew more gruesome and lurid

-Stanley P. Mores: “Nobody complained, so we gave the people what they wanted”

-Wertham: “Horror, crime, sadism, monsters, ghouls, corpses dead and alive…addressed to and sold to children”

-Kurtzman introduced humor and marketed it to young adults; portrayed Korean War realistically in comics, realism

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

1952: US Children’s Bureau reported 10% increase in national juvenile delinquency annually

1953: Three bills were proposed to the Pennsylvania State Legislature to regulate comics for reasons entwining morality and law

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. 

-Korean War

-People growing cynical towards war and skeptical of American rightness

11. Panic (Kelsey Sutton and Gina Chen)

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)

-More juvenile delinquency

-Sex appeal of bad behavior became more prominent

-”Mad”: Parodies of all comics, aimed at adult society, mocking American culture

-”Panic” – imitation of “Mad” – eventually banned

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

-Communism/anti-Communism

-Public anxiety over juvenile delinquency

-Juvenile crime was at its highest peak since WWII

-Brainwashing of GIs in Korea made Americans believe its youth could be contaminated

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. 

-McCarthy – communism witchhunt

-Korean War (brainwashing of GIs)

12. The Triumph of Dr. Payn (Meagan 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)

-An emergence of Superman – children are no longer idolizing their hard-working parents

-Sex and violence becoming more of a problem

-Most numerous and widely read comic books include violence, sadism, and cruelty

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

-Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent criticized all the sexuality and violence, constantly pushed the idea that innocent children were being harmed by these terrible people (comic artists)

-Seduction of the Innocent was another proof for critics that comic books were ruining children, the authors had terrible intentions

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. 

-Connected Superman’s philosophy to Hitler. “The early wartime interpretation of Hitler’s despotic fantasies of master-race supremacy. With the big S on his uniform – we should be thankful that it is not an S.S.”

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