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Love and Death

1949 HC Printing of Love and Death. The only exterior text is on the spine.
1949 SC Printing of Love and Death.
1963 Printing of Love and Death

Love & Death, by Gershon Legman, was published in 1949, a full five years before Seduction of the Innocent. Like SOTI, L&D criticized the comics of the day, especially crime comics, and listed some specific examples of comics the author thought to be harmful to children.

There were five different editions of Love & Death:

  • Love & Death 1st Edition/1st Printing Red Hardcover w/DJ (1949) Legman had these printed in VERY limited quantity (it has been suggested 50 or fewer) to either give or sell to admirers. This is by far the rarest edition of L&D.
  • Love & Death 1st Edition/1st Printing Red Softcover (1949) Identical to the above EXCEPT in soft wraps.
  • Love & Death 1st Edition/2nd Printing Red Softcover (1949) Same as 1st SC printing EXCEPT for 8 pages of advertising in the rear of book. (Normally this might indicate that this edition was the 1st print, with the ads cut from later editions, but as the HC version has no ads AND Legman indicates the ad version is 2nd, the conclusion is strong here.)
  • Love & Death 2nd Edition Orange Hardcover w/DJ (1963) Identical to 1st Edition/1st Printing EXCEPT for covers and "2nd Printing" note.
  • Love & Death 2nd Edition Orange Softcover (1963) Identical to 1st Edition/1st Printing EXCEPT for covers and "2nd Printing" note AND a list of the publishers who originally rejected the book in 1948/49 + reviews on the inside rear cover.
Legman had participated with Dr. Wertham in the 1948 symposium "The Psychopathology of Comic Books", and later published an essay of the same name in Neurotica #3 in 1948. This became the basis for the comic book section of Love & Death, titled "Not for Children".

Additional criticism of comics by Legman can be found in:

  • Neurotica 3 (1948) "The Psychopathology of the Comics"
  • Neurotica 6 (1950) Follow-up to Legman's initial criticism of comics. Legman notes the shift in focus of comics publishers from crime comics to romance comics, and lists the romance comics of 1948-49. Legman credits his earlier writings as being the catalyst for the change in subject matter of the comics.
  • The COMPLEAT Neurotica 1st Edition (Orange) Hardcover w/DJ (1963) This book reprints all 9 issues of Neurotica, including both the original essay from 3 and the follow-up from 6.

Thanks to eBayer FunniesInk for contributing information about the editions of Love & Death and Neurotica.

Comic Books Referenced in Love & Death per Overstreet
Title Issue  
  ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN   103   Mentioned in Love and Death
  CLAIRE VOYANT   3   Used in Love and Death
  CRIME MUST PAY THE PENALTY   33   "Dell Fabry- Junk King" drug story used in Love and Death
  DONALD DUCK FOUR COLOR   199   Mentioned in Love and Death
  FIGHT COMICS   48   Used in Love and Death
  JEANIE COMICS   16   Used in Love and Death
  JUMBO COMICS   94   Used in Love and Death
  SADDLE JUSTICE   3   Used in Love and Death
  UNDERWORLD   4   Used in Love and Death


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