Thursday, March 27, 2008

No Fun Comics

sg I'm in the middle of David Hajdu's excellent book, The Ten-Cent Plague, which documents comic books' early formative years, the people that made them, the kids that read them, and then the stunning societal movement to censor them. The book is heartily recommended to anyone who reads this blog.

I just got to a very chilling part, where the author talks about the students of St. Patrick's Catholic School, in Binghampton, NY, where the students formed their own self-censoring group, and took it upon themselves to go to any store that carried comics and demand they stop selling the ones they objected to.

That's bad enough, but then he talks about how the student body--399 of them--would stand outside these stores in protest, showing the shop owners just how many customers they were making mad by selling those evil evil comics.

Then, at one point, the one sole kid from St. Patrick's who wasn't part of the ban walked out of the store, reading a comic! Several members of the group then took it upon themselves to beat the kid up.

First off, boy, it had to have taken real guts to be the only kid in your whole school not going along with the ban, and what do you wanna bet that, of all the kids, it was Kid #400 who was the cool one to talk to, instead of the other 399 mindless little automatons?

Secondly, the book describes a comics burning party that actually got nationwide attention, the photo of which made it all over the country's newspapers. After listening to the description, I realized it was this photo:
...the very one sent to me(and posted here) a few weeks ago by my friend Tommy of The Bat-Blog.

Hearing the back story makes this photo all the more chilling to me. The country had just defended the world from a horde of goose-stepping fascists, and here was a group of American kids doing their best to imitate everything the country had just fought against.


Anonymous said...

Whaddaya expect? Every generations has it's share of mindless morons.

Anonymous said...

I think I need to read this book....(sigh)

Swinebread said...

very scary and very sad

what might have been :(

rob! said...

the ironic thing is, had they saved those comics, they probably would've been worth enough $$ to send their kids to college and buy themselves big new houses.

instead, i hope they all stayed in their little podunk town, missing everything cool and wondering why their lives suck so much.

still kinda angry about this.

Rick L. Phillips said...

If any of those books are worth enough money today to send a kid to college then you have to thank those who burned them or threw them away. It was part of what made them rare and now worth so much.

Shamus said...

rick speaks truth