1954 April 21

Danger! Comic Books!


A U. S. Senate committee held hearings on this day in New York City on the alleged dangers of comic books. The hearings were part of a nationwide panic over comics contributing to juvenile delinquency. Further hearings were held on April 22nd and June 4th. The major result was the Comics Code Authority, an exercise in self-censorship by the major publishers, on October 26, 1954.

The Comic Book Code paralleled the more famous Motion Picture Production Code adopted by the film industry on June 13, 1934, and which exerted a heavy hand of voluntary censorship over American movies from that date until the mid-1960s. The panic over comic books in the 1950s also resembled the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s

Learn more about the national panic over comic books and delinquncy: David Hajdu, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America (2008)

Learn more about the cultural impact of the comics: William Savage, Comic Books and America, 1945–1954 (1990)

Visit the digital comic books museum: http://digitalcomicmuseum.com/

Learn more at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: http://cbldf.org/

On the continuing effort to protect children from alleged indecency: Marjorie Heins, Not in Front of the Children: “Indecency,” Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth (2001)

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