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The 1950s are often portrayed as a period of social cohesion, why is this misleading?

Despite the common thought that there were little to no social problems in the US during the 1950s, there was a very ardent debate over the content of comic books and their effect on the youth of the nation. During the early part of this era we were just coming out of World War II and had no opposition in the world since we, at least for the time being, were the only nation with the technology of nuclear bombs. Since the war was over, the soldiers came home, which gave way to the Baby Boom generation. As these Baby boomers were growing up, it became the first time that children and teenagers were seen as a vast consumer market and comic books were what this market of consumers were buying and wanted, although comic books did have a very wide age ranged audience. The comic books that started becoming more and more popular during this period were crime and horror comics. These crime comics were different from previous comics that were about crime; they showed crimes in a more detailed way and reserved the punishment of the crimes, if punished at all, until the very end of the story and sometimes the very last frame in the book. In the same style the new genre of horror comics were exactly what the name describes, these stories ranged from very grotesque and detailed murders to the walking dead, and in the same manner as the crime comics kept the punishment of murders for the very end of the book if the murderer didn’t get away with it. Despite only making up about twenty percent of the hundred million comic books that were published each month these comic books brought about great controversy. A psychologist named Fredric Wertham was fervent advocate of the case against comic books. He criticized that the violent and gruesome imagery that these comic books contained were dangerous and harmful to the development of children. Wertham raised so many criticisms of comic books that he sparked an inquiry by the US Congress. This Congressional inquiry led to the comic’s code of 1954, which banned and/or restricted many of crime and horror stories that were very popular at the time.


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