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Why blame comics for societal failure?

Comic books have always been the target for criticism, especially after World War II. It became easy for society to blame comic books after the war because society did not need a hero archetype anymore, therefore new types of comic books were created. Not only did the creation of new comic books stirred controversy, but the fact that after the war comic books were the main source of media. Television and the movies were not as influential and prominent in Americans' lives therefore it became easy for Americans to blame comic books when they started to explore new themes, such as violence and sex. In my opinion, one of the biggest things that led to controversy was the creation of numerous horror comics. Although looking back at these comics, it may seem ridiculous that controversy ever existed because those comics seem harmless in nature in today's perspective. I can see how some of these comics may have caused worry to some parents because of their emphasis on gore and violence, especially the one where a needle is poking the eye of someone. I do not, however, see the reason why the controversy reached the level it did with the horror comics. Although some are gory and do emphasize violence, they are not the cause of societal problems nor a negative influence on children. If it were compared to today's world, these comic books would not even be prominent in the blame for societal problems. Children today through movies and television are exposed to worse things than the gore depicted in the those comic books. The controversy got so out of hand that codes were created that made the creators obligated to follow.

These comic book codes did not really help the younger audiences and it especially did not help the creators, since they were now limited to what they write. As they years past, the codes got more specific. The 1954 code dealt mostly with violence and moral issues. This particular code demonstrated how America wanted good, perfectly moral citizens. These codes not only hurt the creators, but they impacted the comic book publishing industry. America and the government thought that these comic books were demoralizing children. It was evident in videos from the fifties that exaggerated negative child behaviors, and demonstrated acts of violence done by the youth. Since there became a lot of publicity on the negative impact brought on by comic books, it became easier for society as a whole to blame comic books for societal failures. Although other media can become the center of controversy today, comic books are still looked down upon and are stereotyped. The comic book publishing industry became a media easily targeted for the failures of society.


Bill Svitavsky said…
You mention that today children are exposed to worse violence, gore, etc. through the media than they were in 1950s comic books. It could be argued that this is a result of the social decline caused by comics. The children ruined by the horror comics grew up to create even more harmful media as adults, and the children who grew up on those things continued the process of decay. How would you respond to that line of logic?

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