From: US Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Juvenile Delinquency.
1955-6. Library of Congress Catalogue Card Number 77-90720
Committee on the Judiciary
Harley M. Kilgore, West Virginia, Chairman
James O. Eastland, Mississippi
Alexander Wiley, Wisconsin|
William Langer, North Dakota
William E. Jenner, Indiana
Arthur V. Watkins, Utah
Everett KcKinley Dirksen, Illinois
Herman Welker, Idaho
John Marshall Butler, Maryland
Thomas C. Hennings, Jr. Missouri
Olin D. Johnston, South Carolina
William Langer, North Dakota|
Alexander Wiley, Wisconsin
Note- Former Senator Robert C. Hendrickson, New Jersey, served as chairman of
this subcommittee until December 13, 1954.
Senator Johnston and Senator Wiley did not participate in this report, having been appointed to the sub-committee on February 7, 1955.
I. Introduction-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1
A PART OF THE INVESTIGATION OF JUVENILE DELINQUENCY IN THE UNITED STATES
Mr. Kefauver, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the following
1. This estimate is slightly different from the estimate prepared by the staff of the subcommittee prior to the New York hearings on April 21 and 22, 1954.
2. See Hearings Before subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency (Comic Books) of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 83d Cong., 2d sess., pp.12-23, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1954
3. No accurate figures are available. Many of the newer publishers of comic books do not report to the Audit Bureau of Circulations nor to the Controlled Circulation Audits, the two firms that compile circulation figures. The subcommittee, in making the above estimate, took the most conservative estimate. It assumed that 300,000 copies of each comic-book title were printed, even though information given to the subcommittee indicated that is a minimum print order and that some print orders are close to the million mark. It was also assumed that one-half of the comic books printed were sold, even though information given was to the effect that the "break-even" point for the average publisher would more likely be closer to 65 percent. And finally it was assumed that one-half of all the comic books were published monthly and that the remainder were published bimonthly, even though information furnished by the publishers themselves indicate that more than one-half of the comic books were published monthly. See McNickle, Roma K., Policing the Comics, Editorial Research Reports, 1205 19th street NW., Washington E.C. , vol. I, 1952, pp. 229-330. See also N. W. Ayer & Son's Directory of Newspapers an Periodicals for the Years 1945 through 1953.
4. Listing of publishers and titles shown on Pp.39-44 of appendix to this report.
[Webmasters note: WHOO HOO! I wanna read some of these!]
Story No. 2Frisco Mary (Ace Comics)
Story No. 5Orphan (Entertaining Comics)
Story No. 6Heartless (Story Comics)
Story No. 7Stick in the Mud (Story Comics)
1. Character, plot, and setting
5 Acknowledge for this section on methods of portraying violence in comic books is due Mrs. Marilyn Graalfs of the department of sociology of the University of Washington who prepared A Survey of Comic Books in the state of Washington (mimeographed), Seattle, 1954. This was a report made to Washington State Council for Children and Youth, having been prepared in cooperation with the research and statistics section of the department of public institutions.
6. See Wertham, Frederic, Seduction of the Innocent, New York; 1954.
*** it may be said that no acceptable evidence has been produced by Wertham or anyone else for the conclusion that the reading comic magazines has, or has not, a significant relation to delinquent behavior.
A summarization of Professor Threasher's contention is that in 1949, the case against comic books had not been proved pro or con. His presentation points out the need for more study and research that subject which has not yet been done.
7 Thrasher, Frederic M., The Comics and Delinquency: Cause of Scapegoat, in the Journal of Educational Sociology, December 1949, pp. 195-905.
8 See Peck, Harris, testimony in hearings before the Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 83d Cong., 2d sess., pp. 63-69, Washington: Government Printing Office 1954.
They might well be instructive in the techniques of criminal activity and the avoidance of detection. 9
9 Hearings before the subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency Comic Book of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 83d Cong., 2d sess., p.11, Washington: Government Printing Office 1954.
*** I had no idea how one would go about stealing from a locker in Grand Central, but I have comic books which describe that in minute detail and I could go out and do it.
10 It should be pointed out that there are innumerable stories of this nature. But in stories containing 32 picture panels, the criminal often lived splendidly off the fruits of his crimes. It is not until the last panel that he met his doom at the hands of a fantasy character or by some stupid mistake.
11 Ruch, Carl H., letter in hearings before the subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency Comic Book of the Committee of the Judiciary, U. S. Senate, 83d Cong., 2d sess., pp. 162-164, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1954.
superman character struggling against half-human colored Mongolian tribesmen who has been recruited by the Communists to raid American hospitals in Korea and drink the plasma in the blood banks. In every picture they were portrayed with yellow skins, slanted eyes, hideous faces, and dripping jaws.
At the climax of the story, their leader summoned his followers to and attack on American troops. "Follow me, blood drinkers of Mongolia," he cried. "Tonight we dine well of red nectar." A few panels later he is shown leaping on an American soldier with the shout, "One rip at the throat, red blood spills over white skins. And we drink deep."
Ambassador Bowles commented:
13 Bowles, Chester, Ambassador's Report, New York, 1954, p. 297.
13 Musial J. W., in Public Relations Journal, November 1951
14 The text of the code of the National Cartoonists Society appears on p. 35 of the appendix of this report
views as unwarranted any additional legislative action that is intended to censor printed material.
*** We are left above all with the fact that for many thousands of children comic books, whether bad or "good," represent virtually their only contact with culture. There are children in the schools of our large cities who carry knives and guns. There are children who reach the last year of high school without ever reading a single book. Even leaving aside the increase in juvenile crime there seems to be lager numbers of children than ever before who, without going over the line into criminality, live almost entirely in a juvenile underground largely out of touch with the demands of social responsibility, culture, and personal refinement, and who grow up into an unhappy isolation where they are sustained by little else but the routine of the working day, the increasingclamor of television and the jukeboxes, and still, in their adult years, the comic books. This is a very fundamental problem; to blame the comic books, as Dr. Wertham does, is simple minded. But to say that the comics do not contribute to the situation would be like denying the importance of the children's classics and the great European novels in the development of an educated man. 15
15. Warshow, Robert; Paul, The Horror Comics and Dr. Wertham in Commentary, June 1954.
16 See Hearings Before the subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency (Comic Books) of the Committee on the Judiciary, U. S. Senate, 83d Cong., 2d sess., p.256, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1954.
17 See evaluations of comic books by that committee in Hearings Before the subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency (Comic Books) of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 83d Cong., 2d sess., pp.36-53, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1954
So the next time some joker gets up at a PTA meeting, or starts jabbering about "the naughty comic books" at your local candy store, give him the once-over. We are not saying is his a Communist. He may be a dupe. He may not even read the Daily Worker. It is just that he's swallowed the Red bait- hook, line and sinker.
18 Hearings Before the subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency (Comic Books) of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, 83d Cong., 2d sess., pp.36-53, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1954
19 Listings of comic book distributors by groups and publishers appears in the appendix of this report, pp.44-50.
The self-policing, in an industry that has been meeting a growing criticism from educators' and parents' groups, marks only the first step in a plan for raising the moral tone of comic magazines ***.
19 See the code of the Association of Comic Magazine Publishers, p. 35 in the appendix of this report.
Some of them felt that they should not be associated with some of the elements in the industry that they felt were publishing products inferior to theirs and there is also, in passing, a great deal of internecine warfare in this industry, a lot of old difficulties which mitigated a strong, well-knit attempt to organize. In addition, other publishers such as William Gaines resigned from the association rather than meet the standards of the code.
the defections became so bad we could not afford to continue *** (the) precensorship arrangement and that has been discarded. Today we do no self-regulation at all except as it may exist in the minds of the editors and they proceed in their daily work ***. The association, I would say, is out of business and so is the code.
21 See the code of the Comics Magazine Association of America, pp. 36-38 in the appendix of this report.
Senate Resolution 89
(83d Cong., 1st sess.)
Senate Resolution 190(83d Cong., 2d sess.)
General Standards - Part A
General Standards - Part B
General Standards - Part C
NOTE. - It should be recognized that all prohibitions dealing with costume, dialogue, or artwork applies as specifically to the cover of a comic magazine as they do to the contents.
Marriage and Sex
Committee On Evaluation of Comic Books,
Cincinnati, Ohio, November 4, 1954.
Mr. Ham Fisher,
Jesse L. Murrell.
Committee on Evaluation of Comic Books.
Cincinnati, Ohio, November 8, 1954.
"Jesse L. Murrell, Chairman,"
Jesse L. Murrell
A.A. Wyn, Inc. 23 West 47th Street, New York, N.Y. (Ace):