Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

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Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:28 pm

Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency (Comic Books) of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 83rd Congress, 1954
April 21, 22, and June 4, 1954




[This report was typed up by Jamie Coville, http://www.thecomicbooks.com/1954senatetranscripts.html]




APRIL 21, 22, AND JUNE 4, 1954

Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary



WILLIAM LANGER, North Dakota, Chairman
HARLEY M. KILGORE, West Virginia
JAMES O. EASTLAND, Mississippi
OLIN D. JOHNSTON, South Carolina


ROBERT C. HENDRICKSON, New Jersey, Chairman
HERBERT J. HANNOCH, Chief Counsel 1

1. Herbert Wilton Beaser succeeded Herbert J. Hannoch as Chief Counsel to the subcommittee on May 1, 1954.

Table of Contents:

• Day One: Wednesday April 21st, 1954.
o Morning Session:
 Mr. Richard Cledenen - Executive Director, US Senate Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency.
 Dr. Harris Peck - Director of the Bureau of Mental Health Services, Children's Court, New York, N. Y.
 Henry Edward Schultz - General Counsel, Association of Comic Magazine Publishers, Inc., New York, N. Y.
o Afternoon Session:
 Dr. Fredric Wertham - Author of Seduction of the Innocent.
 Mr. William Gaines - Publisher of EC Comics.
 Testimony of Walt Kelly, Milton Caniff and Joseph Musial - The National Cartoonist Society.
• Day Two: Thursday April 22nd, 1954.
o Morning Session:
 Gunner Dybwad - Executive Director of the Child Study Association of America.
 Mr. William Friedman - Small comic book publisher with some horror books.
 Dr. Laura Bender - Psychiatrist working for DC Comics
o Afternoon Session:
 Mr. Monroe Froehlich Jr. - Business Manager of Magazine Management Co. (Marvel Comics).
 Mr. William Richter - News Dealers Association of Greater New York.
 Mr. Alex Segal - President, Stravon Publications.
 Samuel Roth - Publisher.
 Testimony of Mrs. Helen Meyer and Mr. Matthew Murphy - Vice President and Editor of Dell Publications.
• Day Three: Friday June 4th, 1954.
o Morning Session:
 Hon. James A. Fitzpatrick, Chairman, New York State Joint Legislative Committee To Study The Publication Of Comics.
 Mr. Benjamin Freedman - Chairman of the Board, Newsdealers Association of Greater New York and America.
 Mr. Harold Chamberlain - Circulation Director of Independent News Co.
 Mr. Charles Appel - Owner, Angus Drug Store.
 Mr. George B. Davis - President Kable News Co.
o Afternoon Session:
 Hon. E. D. Fulton - Member of the House of Commons in Canada.
 Mr. Samuel Black - Vice President Atlantic Coast Independent Distributors Association.
 Mr. William A. Eichhorn - Vice President of American News Co.
 Mr. J. Jerome Kaplon - Chairman Juvenile Delinquency Committee, Union County Bar Association.
• Senate Interim Report, by Sen. Kafauver, 1955

Table of Contents:

• Statement of Fulton, Hon. E.D., Member, House of Commons, Canada
• Statement submitted by --
• Eichhorn, William A., executive vice-president, American News Co., New York, N. Y.
• Fiske, Joseph J., education director, Cartoonics, New York, N.Y.
• Kaplon, J. Jerome, chairman, juvenile delinquency committee, Union County Bar Association, Union County, N.J.
• Testimony of ---
• Appel, Charles, proprietor of Angus Drug, St. Paul, Minn
• Bender, Dr. Lauretta, senior psychiatrist, Bellevue Hospital, New York, N.Y.
• Black, Samuel, vice president, Atlantic Coast Independent Distributors Association, Springfield, Mass
• Chamberlain, Harold, circulation director, Independent News Co., New York, N.Y.
• Clendenen, Richard, executive director, United States Senate Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency
• Davis, George B., president, Kable News Co., New York, N.Y.-
• Dybwad, Gunnar, executive director, Child Study Association of America, New York, N.Y.
• Eichhorn, William A.,. executive vice president, American News Co., New York, N.Y.
• Fitzpatrick, Assmblyman James A., chairman, New York State Joint Legislative Committee To Study the Publication of Comics
• Freedman, Benjamin, chairman of the board, Newsdealers Association of Greater New York and America
• Friedman, William K., attorney and publisher New York, N.Y.
• Froehlich, Nomroe, Jr., business manager, Magazine Management Co., New York, N.Y.
• Gaines, William M., publisher, Entertaining Comics Group, New York, N.Y. -
• Kaplon, J. Jerome, chairman, juvenile delinquency committee, Union County Bar Association, Union County, N.J.
• Kelly, Walt, artist, creator of Pogo, president, National Cartoonists Society, accompanied by Milton Caniff, artist, creator of Steve Canyon and Joseph Musial, educational director, National Cartoonists Society, New York, N.Y.
• Meyer, Mrs. Helen, vice president, Dell Publications, accompanied by Matthew Murphy, editor, Dell Publications, New York, N.Y.
• Peck, Dr. Harris director, bureau of mental health services, children's court, New York City count of domestic relations, New York, N.Y.
• Richter, William, counsel, News Dealers Association of Greater New York, N.Y.
• Roth Samuel, publisher, New York, N.Y.
• Schultz, Henry Edward, general counsel, Association of Comics Magazine Publishers, Inc., New York, N.Y.
• Segal, Axel, president, Stravon Publications, New York, N.Y.
• Wertham, Dr. Frederic, psychiatrist, director, Lafargue Clinic, New York, N.Y.
• [Number and summary of exhibits]
• 1. Letter of Dr. Robert Felix, director of the Institute of Mental Health, addressed to Mr. Richard Clendenen, executive director, Senate Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency
• 2. Survey made by the Library of Congress on Crime Movies, Crime Comic Books, and Crime Radio Programs as a Cause of Crime
• 3. Copy of article The Comics and Delinquency: Case of Scapegoat, appearing in December 1949 issue of the Journal of Educational Sociology
• 4a. New York State Legislative Document (1951) No. 15, Report of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee To Study the Publication of Comics
• 4b. New York State Legislative Documents (1952) No.64, Report of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee To Study the Publication of Comics
• 4c. New York State Legislative Documents (1954) No.37, Report of the New York State Joint Legislative Committee To Study the Publication of Comics
• 5. Copy of Brain Washing: American Style
• 6a. Publishers whose comic books have been evaluated by the Committee on Evaluation of Comic Books, Cincinnati, Ohio
• 6b. An Evaluation of Comic Books, July 1953, printed by the Committee on Evaluation of Comic Books, Cincinnati, Ohio
• 7. 555 Comic Magazines Rated, reprint from Parent's magazine
• 8a. Letter of Association of Comic Magazine Publishers, Inc., addressed to all publishers of comic magazine alleging that comic magazines are communistic
• 8b. Copy of Are You a Red Dupe?
• 9. Comics Code adopted by the Association of Comics Magazine Publishers
• 10a. What Parents Don't Know About Comic Books, reprint from Ladies' Home Journal of November 1953
10b. Comic Books -- Blueprints for Delinquency, an article appearing in the Readers Digest, May 1954
• 10c. Bound Copy of Seduction of the Innocent by Dr. Frederic Wertham
• 11. Copies of educational comic books published by Entertaining Comics Group
• 12. Copies of crime and horror comic books published by Entertaining Comics Group
• 13. Code of the National Cartoonists Society
• 14. Comic Books Help Curb Delinquency, an article appearing in The New York Times, April 17, 1954
15. Looking at the Comics: A Survey by the Children's Book Committee of the Child Study Association, reprint from Child Study
• 16. Chills and Thrills in Radio, Movies, and Comics, reprint from Child Study
• 17. What About the Comic Books?, reprint from Woman's Day
• 18. Looking at the Comics -- 1949, reprint from Child Study
• 19. List of Child Study publications available to the public
• 20. Information concerning the names of the board of directors, the contributors, and the members of the Child Study Association of America
• 21. Code of the National Comics Publications, Inc.
• 22. Letter of Dr. Carl H. Rush, executive assistant, American Psychological Association, addressed to Mr. Richard Clendenen, executive director, Senate Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency
• 23. Copies of crime and horror comic books published by Magazine Management Co.
• 24. List of books published by Stavon Publications
• 25. Printed material submitted by Mrs. Helen Meyer
• 26. Bound copies of several 35-cent novels
• 27. Brochure listing titles of books
• 28. Names of magazine wholesalers who have refused to accept crime and horror comics
• 29. Documents submitted by Mr. Charles Appel
• 30. Samples of ads appearing in magazines distributed by Kable News Co.
• 31. Window display and pledge card of the New Jersey News Dealers Association
• 32. Copy of interim report, juvenile delinquency committee of the Union County Bar Association of New Jersey -
• 33. Depravity for Children, a group of articles appearing in the Hartford Courant from February 14 to April 25, 1954
• 1. On file with the subcommittee.
• 2. Printed in the record.


Librarian's Comment:

Seduction of the Innocent, by Fredric Wertham wrote:And so it went. The writers discussed the "problems," the public thought comics were getting better, the industry flourished. One day in the Queens General Mental Hygiene Clinic I was visited by an older and very influential professional friend. After some friendly preliminaries he hesitated and cleared his throat.

"You know," he said, "you do it all wrong. Why do you have to keep on doing this work with comic books? The research is all right. But why do you have to talk about practical solutions? That is bad for your reputation. It is petty. You have stated your results. Now if you do absolutely nothing, the people will come to you for advice. But you go on and want to change something. You have written articles about comic books. Why do you have to ask for a law and get into the fight? If you keep on acting like this, you'll be marked."

It really seemed for quite a while that Superman had licked me. But then, as so often happens, things took a new turn. It came in the form of a telephone call from Washington. Would I be willing to confer with the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee to Investigate Organized Crime on the subject of crime and juvenile delinquency? I agreed to do so and a few weeks later the senator came to my apartment, for what turned into a long conference. He told me that while his committee was mainly interested in organized crime in interstate commerce, he was concerned about children. He had inquired in Washington whom to consult and several high officials had given him my name. He added that President Truman had urged him especially to look into the childhood roots of criminal behavior.

I had on my desk a speech President Truman had made a short while before in which he asked for "prevention and cure" and for "wholesome recreation." "If those children," the President had said, "have the proper environment at home, and educationally, very, very few of them ever turn out wrong.... I am particularly anxious that we should do everything in our power to protect the minds and hearts of our children from moral corruption .... We must not permit the existence of conditions which cause our children to believe that crime is inevitable and normal."

"You know, Senator," I said, "there is a strong organized force in our society which does exactly the opposite of what the President wants. It provides unwholesome recreation, it claims that many children will go wrong whatever influences they are exposed to, it exposes them to moral corruption and leads them to believe that crime is normal. Why not investigate this force, the crime-comic-book industry?"

"Oh, I've heard about them," he replied. "Those horror books that describe the perfect murder or some other crime, ostensibly for educational purposes."

The senator combined a certain dignity with what seemed to be a sincere homespun friendliness, and he seemed eager to do something for children. I told him that for a number of years I had been making clinical investigations on the subject in three different clinics.

"Can you show me some of your material?" he asked. I showed him comic books, clinical records, converted toy guns. We spent some time going critically over the evidence in a manner that reminded me that he was a lawyer.

He explained to me the tremendous power that his committee had. They could subpoena anybody and anything, question witnesses under oath, trace business transactions and scrutinize whole industries. What could the committee do about this? Was there anything the Federal Government could do?

"The Federal Government does not even have accurate statistics on murders and violent acts committed by children," I said. "Any child who can write his name can order a dangerous switchblade knife from comic books' advertisements. With these knives countless children have been threatened and coerced and injured. The Federal Government seems to be the only agency with the power to ascertain the truth. How many crime comic books are there that glorify crime? I don't mean guesses and propaganda figures, but actual printing-orders, sales, shipments abroad, and so on."

"Could something be done with interstate commerce?" he asked.

"That has been suggested," I said. "For example, Nevada has passed a resolution requesting Congress to regulate comic books by law." And I explained that I thought the evidence would show the necessity for a law -- possibly on an interstate commerce basis -- that would prevent the sale and display of crime comic books to children under fifteen.

Then and there he appointed me as psychiatric consultant to his committee. I made my co-operation dependent on some conditions: that the far-flung propaganda of the industry would be scrutinized; that there would be a careful legal investigation of tie-in sales, juvenile drug addiction and childhood prostitution; that the recruiting of children for work with adult gangs and racketeers be investigated; that illustrations from comic books would be used.

He agreed to all that, reiterating the enormous powers he had and his paramount wish to do something for children. His final inquiry was whether I thought the public would be interested in such an investigation.

Soon afterwards he wrote to thank me, sent me messages and conferred with me by telephone from Washington. Aides of the committee came to me and I outlined for them in detail preliminary steps. I can't say that I expected this to lead to a curb of the industry, but I did think that there would be at least some kind of an investigation.

Questionnaires went out to a number of people. Then the whole thing stopped abruptly -- or maybe it was just that it took a different direction.

I was on vacation when I got a wire saying that the committee contemplated publication of a report on juvenile delinquency and wanted a written contribution from me for inclusion in the report. Of course I refused, replying that such a hasty publication without investigation was certainly not in the interests of the public.

The next thing I heard was a news broadcast from Washington: "Crime Comic Books have nothing to do with juvenile delinquency, Senator Kefauver reported today." Next day there were front-page headlines: STUDY FINDS DOUBT COMICS SPUR CRIME, and: COMICS DON'T FOSTER CRIME, and: FBI HEAD DISCOUNTS HARMFUL EFFECTS OF CRIME COMIC BOOKS. Editorials elaborated. The Times editorial stated that the majority opinion of child-guidance experts was "that there is no direct connection between the comic books dealing with crime and juvenile delinquency"; that "the facts show that some comic books are read more by adults than by children" (it did not mention whose "facts"); and that "it is the emotional make-up the child brings to his life experiences that conditions his reactions to them" (in other words, it's all the child's own fault again).

The Sunday News editorial commented: "It's a pleasure to pass along the news that Senator Estes Kefauver's Senate Crime Investigating Committee has now gone deeply into the subject of the crime comic books and has brought up a mass of testimony which ought to spur the earnest souls to look around for something else to worry about.... The Kefauver Committee took its testimony largely from unprejudiced sources. . . . The verdict of the majority gave a clean bill of health to the comics. So we hope that the public has heard the last of this earnest-soul gripe."

Why is it a front-page story that comic books do not have any effect?

Ironically enough, it was I who had inadvertently given the crime-comic-book industry the biggest advertising it had ever had!

I got hold of the published report of the Senate Crime Investigating Committee and studied it. At the taxpayers' expense it prints statistical charts on the frequency of juvenile delinquency prepared by -- the comic-book industry! It reprints the whole comic-book issue of the scientific journal edited by one expert for the defense, with contributions by three experts for the defense (and one article entirely devoted to newspaper comic strips, which has nothing at all to do with comic books) and with one article devoted only to attacking me. It contains unchecked statements by crime-comic-book publishers, some of whom brazenly defy the most modest requests made by the committee: "Our organization has published hundreds of titles and issues of comic magazines during the past ten years, and it would be an impossible task to begin to answer .... " (this in reference to questions about circulation and income from comic books). There are no illustrations, although I had been assured there would be.

The report gives the opinions of eight "child guidance experts." Two of them are not and do not claim to be child-guidance experts. Both are lawyers. One of the other experts is designated editorially in the report as a doctor, although she is not, and as a psychiatrist, which she is not either. Five of the eight experts, according to the report itself, are or have been employed by the comic-book industry -- some for as long as ten years! It is these five experts who say that comic books are all right. The three independent experts condemn comic books severely. The division is clear-cut: Those connected with the comic-book industry defend comic books; those independent of the industry consider them harmful. It needed no Senate inquiry to tell us this.

The report also contains replies to a questionnaire from probation officers and other officials, most of whom had never thought of studying the influence of crime comic books. They had not even asked prisoners or children in their charge about comic-book reading. Some of them speak unblushingly about "the consistent decrease" of juvenile delinquency. There are some condemnations of crime comics, including the case example of the little boy comic-book reader who leaped from a telephone pole believing himself to be Superman.

The report bristles with all the cliches and platitudes that have ever been uttered in defense of comic books: that they are too simple an explanation; that the children would do it anyhow; that comic books are here to stay; that they give release of aggressive instincts; that children who do something wrong have "definite antisocial tendencies" in the first place; that only unstable children become unstable and comic books have "no effect on the emotionally well-balanced boy or girl"; that a judge calmed a child witness down by handing him a pile of comic books; that comic books make an impression only on "impressionable minds"; and so on and on. And all this is published without comment, without analysis, without any investigation whatsoever, and with only a minimum of editing -- and that mostly wrong.

Omitted from the report are items that would have belonged there. For example, the answer to their inquiry by the president of the Newport Council of Social Agencies, a psychiatric social worker with a great deal of experience with children, which states that from her contact with children in Washington, D.C. and in Rhode Island she had become increasingly aware of the link between comic books and delinquency and had had "contact with non-delinquent minors whose cultural background seemed solidly rooted in this literature." Omitted also is the testimony before the committee of one of the most experienced criminologists and penologists in the country, Mr. James V. Bennett, secretary of the Criminal Law Section of the American Bar Association and director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He had told the committee that crime comic books are connected with crime and asked for an investigation into the business of crime comic books, "the traffic in which now amounts to seventy million copies a month ... " (this was in 1950).

After the report was published one of the senator's aides telephoned me that the senator wanted me to know that "his whole statement had been twisted in the press," that I "should have faith in him" and that "he's determined to do it the way he said to you." That was the last I ever heard.

A few weeks after the report was out I received a letter from a prominent member and committee chairman of the American Bar Association. "I was very much disappointed," he wrote, "in the publication of the Kefauver report. And I think a serious mistake has been made in its publication. It is unfortunate that so much of it is from media sources and from persons in the employ of or under obligation to the media."

As for me, I learned a great deal from this report. It taught me that comic books really are a test of the reaction of a society not only to children's literature but to children themselves. Assume for a moment that a senate committee with such unlimited powers had investigated the raising of hogs. Would they not have informed themselves and the farmers a little better?

The further history of the Kefauver Committee's crime investigation is well known. It was referred to in television circles as "the biggest hit of the season." Arthur Miller wrote that he was struck by "the air of accomplishment among the people that is really not warranted by the facts." I do not entirely agree with this. I think these hearings actually did accomplish something: They demonstrated not only the link between politics and crime, but also the link between politics and crime investigation.

I kept on with my studies as before. There were always new comic books and always new children. I was not in the mood to participate in any more investigations. But my telephone rang again: The New York State Legislature had appointed a Joint Legislative Committee to Study the Publication of Comics. Would I collaborate with them as a psychiatric expert, help them in their investigation and testify on the effects of comic books on children?

I had become a little skeptical of investigating committees. Superman always seemed to get the best of them. So I asked to be excused. But later on when the committee got in touch with me again I changed my mind and agreed. I had convinced myself that this committee had gone at its work seriously and sincerely. They wanted to get at the facts and in all fairness had given the comic-book industry every break. They started with the premise that no law was necessary and gave the industry more than two years' time to make some kind of improvement by self-regulation.

During one of the first conversations I had with members of this committee to study comics, one of them said to me, "The general counsel of the Association of Comics Magazine Publishers said to me, 'Somewhere right now a little boy has a gun and reads crime comics. That boy will be president some day: What do you say to that?"

"All I can say," I answered, "is that that is precisely what I would like to prevent."

I testified for the committee, at length and under oath, on two separate occasions separated by an interval of a year. With many examples from comic books and children's cases I testified to what I had seen and found, what I had done and thought. The main bad effect of crime comic books on children, I said, is on their ethical development. I made it clear that I was not saying this as a moralist, but as a doctor who believes that orientation as to what is right and wrong is part of normal mental health. I explained that juvenile delinquency is only one part of the crime-comic-book question, although a very serious one. The greatest danger of crime comic books is to the normal child.

I answered the counterarguments of the industry, like the one about law and order winning. A typical crime story has this ending: "And so the story ends in blood, as it began in murder."

What about the crime comic books, I was asked, that are educational and teach children not to commit delinquencies? I have never seen one, I answered. If you find one, I shall be glad to return and modify my statements.

When I testified the second time the committee had convinced itself that the proclaimed self-regulation of the industry had completely failed and some legal control was necessary. On that occasion, again under oath, I pointed out that the cover of the comic book draws the child's attention to a crime, the text describes one, the pictures show how it's done and the advertisements provide the means to carry it out.

For years I had been seeing children who get into trouble with switchblade knives. I had bought several of these knives, signing a child's name on the order, in answer to comic-book advertisements. When I testified before this committee for the second time, I produced one of them quickly, as I was talking, flashing open its blade. A switchblade knife is a good symbol of the crime-comic-book industry as a whole. Then I outlined my idea about a public-health law against the threat comic books offer to the general mental health of children. The law is not concerned with what doctors think, but with what they can prove. Many comic-book stories are nothing but perverse and violent fantasies of adults and it is these perverse fantasies that are sold to children. Censorship legislation requires a "clear and present danger." My idea of a public-health law is totally different. Anything clear or unclear, present or future, which under any circumstances may cause damage or harm to health, can be controlled by legislation. There is only one question: Is it harmful or not? Such a law could enlighten the public, just as laws about hoof and mouth disease enlighten farmers about livestock. I am not a lawyer, but from a medico-legal point of view I would suggest that the sale and display of crime comic books to children under fifteen be forbidden.

The committee, which had taken the testimony of sixty-two witnesses, accepted my findings and my suggestions. They issued altogether three reports. In the first "Interim Report," before I testified, they made this important observation: "It is strange but true that the questions heretofore propounded to individuals charged with greater or lesser crimes by probation officers have not touched upon the question of the reading of comics." (Compare with the Kefauver committee which published unanalyzed the uninformed opinions on crime comics of just such probation officers.)

The second report concludes that crime comic books "impair the ethical development of children" and are "a contributing factor leading to juvenile delinquency." It states that "the comics which sell best are crime comics."

The third report contained the committee's legislative proposals. The chairman, Assemblyman Joseph F. Carlino, stated that the bills were the result of the failure of the comic-book industry to "realize their public responsibility and, in the cause of common decency, take up the necessary steps to set up self-regulatory provisions."

The committee's report states: "The publishers and their representatives ... completely rejected and refused to recognize the reality that children are influenced and stimulated by what they read, see and hear in the same way in which adults are influenced or stimulated."

It calls crime comic books "a threat to the health of children" and concludes that the committee "has been obliged to recommend the adoption of legislative controls. It had no more choice in doing so than it would have in suppressing disease-causing acts which were found to be a threat to the public health or safety."

Before the law proposed by the committee was voted on by the legislature, it was publicly opposed by the Association of Comics Magazine Publishers, the New York State Council of Churches, the Mystery Writers of America, the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations.

The technical aspects of the bill had been worked out most carefully by the committee. They had done research on the Winters case, the Los Angeles County case, the Chicago case and other legal cases having a bearing on such a law. Their legal consultant was Reuben A. Lazarus, an authority on constitutional law and on bill drafting. He had drafted more bills affecting the City of New York than any other person, living or dead, and is responsible for the present New York City charter. So if there was any legal authority to judge the constitutionality of the proposed law, it was this comics committee's legal consultant. The committee's bill was drafted and redrafted in many conferences; the head of the New York State Legislative Bill Drafting Committee, Theodore E. Bopp, participated and members of his legal staff passed on it.

When the crime-comic-book control bill came before the Assembly, they voted for it: 141 to 4. The Senate voted for it, too, unanimously.

So it really seemed that a step forward had been made. But Governor Dewey attended to that. He vetoed the bill, giving as his reason that "it fails to meet fundamental constitutional requirements." Superman has many disguises.

This decision was strange. When Columbia University Press published its educational comic book Trapped which deals with juvenile drug-addiction, Governor Dewey stated: "It is a superb job. I hope millions of copies are distributed." (They could not distribute more than 30,000.) If the governor thinks that a single "good" comic book can do so much good, should he not have refrained from interfering with the democratic will of the parliamentary majority which believed that hundreds of millions of bad comic books can do so much harm?

When I discussed this outcome with my associates in the comic-book research I was pleased to note that they were not discouraged by it. Nor was I. But I was bothered by something else. I had lunch one day with Henrietta Additon, an authority on delinquency and penology for whom I have the greatest admiration. She had another guest, the head of a civic committee on children and a woman with great influence in such matters. In the course of lunch I asked this guest what she thought about crime comic books. She answered, "I know there are people for them and people against them. I don't take any side. I am absolutely neutral."

At that moment it became clear to me for the first time that I was defeated. This business of not taking sides on the part of those who could help to make conditions easier for the young to grow up, was more deadly than Kefauver's desertion or Dewey's veto. Neutrality -- especially when hidden under the cloak of scientific objectivity -- that is the devil's ally.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 7:35 pm


The subcommittee met at 10 a.m. pursuant to call, in room 110, United States Courthouse, New York, N.Y., Senator Robert C. Hendrickson (chairman of the subcommittee), presiding.

Present: Senators Hendrickson, Kefauver, and Hennings.

Also present: Herbert J. Hannoch, chief counsel; Herbert Wilson Beaser, associate chief counsel; and Richard Clendenen, executive director.

The CHAIRMAN. This meeting of the Senate Subcommittee Investigating Juvenile Delinquency will now be in order.

Today and Tomorrow the United States Senate Subcommittee Investigating Juvenile Delinquency, of which I am the chairman, is going into the problem of horror and crime comic books. By comic books, we mean pamphlets illustrating stories depicting crimes or dealing with horror and sadism. We shall not be talking about the comic strips that appear daily in most of our newspapers.

And we shall be limiting our investigation to those comic books dealing with crime and horror. Thus while there are more than a billion comic books sold in the United States each year, our subcommittee's interest lies in only a fraction of this publishing field.

Authorities agree that the majority of comic books are as harmless as soda pop. But hundreds of thousands of horror and crime comic books are peddled to our young ones of impressionable age.

You will learn during the course of these hearings that we shall also not be speaking of all crime comic books. Some of the types of crime and horror comic books with which are concerned have been brought into the hearing room for your attention.

I wish to state emphatically that freedom of the press is not an issue in this investigation. The members of this Senate subcommittee ─ Senator Kefauver, Senator Hennings, and Senator Langer ─ as well as myself as chairman, are fully aware of the long, hard, bitter fight that has been waged to achieve and preserve the freedom of the press, as well as the other freedoms in our Bill of Rights which we cherish in America.

We are not a subcommittee of blue nosed censors. We have no preconceived notions as to the possible need for new legislation. We want to find out what damage, if any, is being done to our children's minds by certain types of publications which contain a substantial degree of sadism, crime, and horror. This, and only this, is the task at hand.

Since last November the subcommittee has been holding many public hearings into the various facets of the whole problem of juvenile delinquency. The volume of delinquency among our young has been quite correctly called the shame of America. If the rising tide of juvenile delinquency continues, by 1960 more than one and a half million American youngsters from 10 though 17 years of age, will be in trouble with the law each year.

Our subcommittee is seeking honestly and earnestly to determine why so many young Americans are unable to adjust themselves into the lawful pattern of American Society. We are examining the reason why more and more of our youngsters steal automobiles, turn to vandalism, commit holdups, or become narcotic addicts.

The increase in craven crime committed by young Americans is rising at a frightening pace. We know that the great mass of our American children are not lawbreakers. Even the majority of those who get into trouble with our laws are not criminal by nature.

Nevertheless, more and more of our children are committing serious crimes. Our subcommittee is working diligently to seek out ways and means to check the trend and reverse the youth crime pattern.

We are perfectly aware that there is no simple solution the complex problem of juvenile delinquency. We know, too, that what makes the problem so complex is its great variety of causes and contributing factors. Our work is to study all these causes and contributing factors and to determine what action might be taken.

It would be wrong to assume that crime and horror comic books are the major cause of juvenile delinquency. It would be just as erroneous to state categorically that they have no effect whatsoever in aggravating the problem. We are here to determine what effect on the whole problem of causation crime and horror comic books do have.

From the mail that we received by the subcommittee, we are aware that thousands of American parents are greatly concerned about the possible detrimental influence certain types of crime and horror comic books have upon their children.

We firmly believe that the public has a right to the best knowledge regarding this matter. The public has the right to know who is producing this material and to know how the industry functions.

This phase of our investigation is but the first of several into questionable, or, should I say, disturbing phases of the mass media fields.

At a later date, the subcommittee will be attempting to determine what negative effects, if any, upon children, are exerted by other types of publications, by the radio, the television, and the movies. This is not to say that juvenile delinquency is wholly or even substantially the result of certain programs and subject matters presented by the mass media. But there can be no question that the media plays a significant role in the total problem.

I will now ask the assistant counsel to call the first witness.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Chairman, before we call the first witness, I want to compliment the chairman upon a very excellent statement of the purposes of this subcommittee and of this hearing here.

I would like to reemphasize that I feel the congressional hearings must be related to something that the Federal Government has jurisdiction of. This subcommittee is looking into the violations of various federal laws, such as the Dyer Act, Mann Act, violations of the interstate commerce, and in connection with the subject matter under investigation we, of course, do have a postal statute which prohibits the mailing or using the mails for the distribution and dissemination of indecent and scurrilous literature which will be a part of the subject matter of this hearing.

The CHAIRMAN. That is correct, Senator.

Senator KEFAUVER. I think it is also important to point out that Mr. J. Edgar Hoover's report of yesterday shows that whereas the increase in population last year was 5 percent, crime had gone up 20 percent and the particularly large increase was in connection with burglary and stealing of automobiles.

The interesting point is that a large part of the burglaries was committed by juveniles. Also juveniles, according to the FBI report, comprise 53.6 percent of those arrested for stealing automobiles.

As the chairman said, we do not have all the answers, but I think that it is important to look into the various matters which Mr. Hoover and other experts do bring out in connection with the increase in juvenile delinquency; and certainly as to the horror and crime comics, not the good kind as the chairman said, but the various small part, most all the witnesses do have something to say about these.

We are not going into this hearing with the idea of condemning anybody or censoring the press or impairing the freedom of the press and bringing out in relation to a Federal statute something so that all of these experts on juvenile delinquency are talking about.

That is my understanding.

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Tennessee is entirely correct and the Chair wishes to congratulate and commend the Senator for his contribution.

Now, will the counsel call the first witness?

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Richard Clendenen.

The CHAIRMAN. Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give before the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?


The CHAIRMAN. The Chair with pleasure announces the presence of the distinguished Senator from Missouri, Senator Hennings.


Mr. BEASER. For the record will you state your name, your address, and your present occupation?

Mr. CLENDENEN. My name is Richard Clendenen, 1445 Ogden Street NW., Washington, D.C.

I am executive director of the Senate Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Clendenen, will you outline briefly your education and experience in the field of juvenile delinquency?

The CHAIRMAN. Before Mr. Clendenen answers that question, I would like to say that the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency feels that we have a very able staff director.

Mr. CLENDENEN. Thank you.

Prior to coming to my present position I had worked in the United States Children's Bureau for a period of 7 years, and held there the position of Chief of the Juvenile Delinquency Branch.

Prior to that time I had served in administrative capacities in institutions for emotionally disturbed children and delinquent children and also have had experience as a probation officer in a juvenile court.

Mr. BEASER. You are a trained social worker?


Mr. BEASER. Speaking on behalf of the staff, have you conducted an investigation into the comic-book industry?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes sir; we have. Our investigation into the comic-book industry has been almost exclusively limited to those comics which themselves center about horror and crime.

The particular type of comics to which I refer present both pictures and stories which relate to almost all types of crime and in many instances those crimes are committed through extremely cruel, sadistic, and punitive kinds of acts.

Now, in connection with that question, I should like to make it perfectly clear that our investigation has not been concerned with other types of comics, many of which all authorities seem to agree represent not only harmless, but many times educational entertainment.

I should also add that even within that type of comic books known as the horror crime comics, there are gradations within this group, too. That is, some are much more sadistic, much more lurid, than others in the same class or category.

Now, although our investigations have been limited to this particular segment of the comic-book industry, we should not give the impression that this is a small portion of the comic-book industry.

According to estimates which were provided us by the Audit Bureau of Circulations and the Controlled Circulation Audits, the two firms that publish circulation figures, there were about 422 different kinds of comic or comic-book titles on the newsstands in March 1954.

About one-fourth were of the crime and horror variety.

Now, as far as all comic books are concerned, although exact figures are lacking, most authorities agree that there are probably somewhere between 75 million and 100 million comic books sold in this country each month.

If one-quarter of these are of the crime variety of comics, this means that there are some 20 million comic books, crime comic books placed on the newsstands of this country each month.

Mr. BEASER. When you say crime and horror comics could you be more specific in describing what you are talking about?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Well, we have prepared a certain number of slides which show pictures taken from comic books of the type to which we have addressed ourselves.

Now, I would like, for the purpose of illustration, to relate very briefly in summary fashion 6 stories, together with pictures illustrating these 6 stories which will give you a sampling of the type of comic books that we are talking about here.

Now, in presenting these I would like to say that while it is not a random sampling actually it is a deliberate sampling in trying to present the various types of stories and pictures that appear.

These are not typical, rather they are quite typical of the stories and pictures which appear in this type of publication. The first such crime comic is entitled "Black Magic."

This is a picture showing the cover or title page of this comic. Now, one story in this comic is entitled "Sanctuary," and the cover shots relate to this particular story.

You will note that this shot shows certain inhabitants of this sanctuary which is really a sort of sanitarium for freaks where freaks can be isolated from other persons in society.

You will note one man in the picture has two heads and four arms, another body extends only to the bottom of his rib. But the greatest horror of all the freaks in the sanctuary is the attractive looking girl in the center of the picture who disguises her grotesque body in a suit of foam rubber.


The final picture shows a young doctor in the sanitarium as he sees the girl he loves without her disguise.

The story closes as the doctor fires bullet after bullet into the girl's misshapen body.

Now, that is an example of a comic of the horror variety.

The next slide, the second story, is the cover shot of a comic entitled "Fight Against Crime."

One story in this particular issue is entitled "Stick in the Mud". This is a story of a very sadistic schoolteacher who is cruel to all of the children in her classroom with only one exception. The one exception is the son of a well-to-do man who has lost his wife. Through her attentions to the son the teacher woos and weds the father.

The following picture shows the school teacher as she stabs her husband to death in order to inherit his money. She then disguises her crime by dragging his body into a bullpen where his corpse is mangled and gored.

The small son, suspecting his stepmother, runs away so that she will chase him into the woods where a bed of quicksand is located.

Our last picture shows the stepmother sinking into the quicksand and crying for help. The small son gets the stepmother to confess that she murdered his father by pretending he will go for help if she does so.

After her confession he refuses to go for help and stays to watch his stepmother die in the quicksand.

The next comic is entitled "Mysterious Adventures." This particular issue of which this is a cover shot contains a total of 6 stories in which 11 people die violent deaths.

One story, I think, in this particular issue, has to deal with a confirmed alcoholic who spends all his wife can earn on alcohol.

As a result their small son is severely neglected. On the day this small son is to start in the first grade in school the mother asks his father to escort him to the school. Instead the father goes to his favorite bootlegger and the son goes to school by himself. En route he is struck and killed by an automobile.

Informed of the accident, she returns to find her husband gloating over his new supply of liquor.

This next picture shows the mother kill her alcoholic spouse with an ax. She then cuts up his body into small pieces and disposes of it by placing the various pieces in the bottles of liquor her husband had purchased.

If you will look at the picture in the lower right-hand panel, you will see an ear in one bottle, an eye in another, and a finger in another, and so forth.

Senator HENNINGS. I wonder if Mr. Clendenen has any figures on the relative circulation or sale of this character of things as against the more innocuous kind of comics? To what extent, in other words, do these appeal to the children to a greater or less degree than the kind we are more or less familiar with, the harmless comic strips?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Well, about one-forth of the total comic-book titles, that is the different comic books are the crime and horror variety.

Now, perhaps not all of those are as rough as some of these that are shown.

On the other hand, this does constitute a not insubstantial segment of the comic-book industry.

Mr. BEARER. It is about 20 million a month, Senator Kefauver suggests.

Mr. CLENDENEN. That is right; 20 million a month of the crime and horror variety.

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Tennessee.

Senator KEFAUVER. Do I understand, Mr. Chairman, the 20 million per month is the number sold or placed on sale? How do you get that figure, Mr. Clendenen?

Mr. CLENDENEN. That is a circulation figure which refers to sales.

The CHAIRMAN. Distribution and sales?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. Is that from the industry itself?

Mr. CLENDENEN. No, sir; those figures, Senator, are from Audit Bureau of Circulations and the Controlled Circulation Audits.

The two organizations are companies that collect and issue data on circulations of various kinds of magazines.

Senator KEFAUVER. Thank you, Mr. Clendenen.

The CHAIRMAN. Does the Senator from Missouri have any more questions?

Senator HENNINGS. I just wanted to ask Mr. Clendenen another question and I do not want to break into his fine presentation of this ─ The Yellow Kid was the first comic strip, was it not?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, sir.

Senator HENNINGS. Then we went into the Happy Holligan and Katzenjammers and the ones we used to think were funny as youngsters.

At any rate, the funnies we knew were really funny, there were things in them that were calculated at least to amuse. The daily papers throughout the country nowadays carry more and more of the so-called serials, whether they deal with crime or whether they deal with romance or whether they deal with one thing or another, they are more stories now and less of the old comic-strip variety.

Have you any material on that transition and any observations to make as to why obviously that must appeal to the public, or they would not run these syndicated strips in the papers as they do.

What is your view of that, Mr. Clendenen? Why has the public taste changed so apparently? Are we advancing or progressing in that sort of thing, or is it the obverse?

Mr. CLENDENEN. There really, or course, are not research base data on which an answer to your question could be founded. I am not sure whether the public taste has changed or not.

Certainly the comic-book industry which was born in and of itself during the depression years of the thirties, the latter thirties, represented perhaps rather than reflected any change in the taste of the public, represents a new idea, that is, to put the comics up in book form of this kind.

Just exactly why you have had a transition from the type of comics - and now I refer to comic strips, which appeared in an earlier day and on which each separate day represented a separate episode and were funny to the serious type of strip ─ I don't have any idea and no opinion on it.

I am not at all sure I said, and if I failed to say, I would like to say, that our investigation has not pertained at all to the comic strips appearing in the daily newspapers rather the comic books.

Senator HENNINGS. Thank you.

Mr. CLENDENEN. The next slide, the next comic that we would like to present to you is entitled "Crime Must Pay the Penalty". This particular comic has 4 stories in which 27 people meet a violent death. One story in this particular issue called "Frisco Mary" concerns an attractive and glamorous young woman who gains control of a California underworld gang. Under her leadership the gang embarks on a series of holdups marked for their ruthlessness and violence.

Our next picture shows Mary emptying her submachine gun into the body of an already wounded police officer after the officer had created an alarm thereby reduced the gang's take in a bank hold up to a mere $25,000.

Now, in fairness it should be added that Mary finally dies in the gas chamber following a violent and lucrative criminal career.

Now, this is strictly of the crime variety.

The next comic is entitled "Strange Tales" and has five stories in which 13 people die violently. The story actually begins with a man dying on the operating table because the attending doctor is so absorbed in his own troubles that he pays no attention whatsoever to his patient.

It develops that this is the story of a promising young surgeon who begins to operate on wounded criminals to gain the money demanded by his spendthrift wife.

After he has ruined his professional career by becoming associated with the underworld, the criminal comes to get help for his girl friend who has been shot by the police. When the girl is placed upon the operating table the doctor discovers that the criminal girl friend is none other than his own wife.

This picture shows the doctor, first of all, as he recognizes his wife, and as he commits suicide by plunging a scalpel into his own chest.

His wife also dies on the operating table for lack of medical attention.

The next comic, The Haunt of Fear, has 4 stories in which 8 people die violently. One story entitled "Head-Room" has to do with a spinster who operates a cheap waterfront hotel. The renter of one room is a man she would like to marry.

To win his favor she reduces his rent by letting his room, during daytime hours, to an ugly and vicious appearing man. This shot shows her renting the room to that individual.

Meanwhile there are daily reports that a murderer is loose in the city who cuts off and carries away his victim's heads.

The hotelkeeper suspects the vicious appearing daytime roomer and searches his room where she discovers six heads hanging on hooks in the closet.

She is discovered there by her favorite roomer who is returning to the hotel for the night.

It develops that he is the murderer and the next picture shows the hotelkeeper's head being added to the closet collection.

From a psychological point of view, however, there is another story in this same issue which is really even more perturbing. This is the story of an orphan boy who is placed from an orphanage to live with nice-appearing foster parents.

The foster parents give excellent care and pay particular attention to his physical health, insisting that he eat nourishing food in abundance.

A month later the boy discovers the reason for their solicitude when they sneak into his room at night and announce they are vampires about to drink his rich red blood.

It might be said that right triumphs in the end, however, since the boy turns into a werewolf and kills and eats his foster parents.

The final story is one entitled "Shock Suspense Stories." It contains 4 stories in which 6 persons die violently.

One particular story in this issue is called "Orphan." This is the story of a small golden-haired girl named Lucy, of perhaps 8 or 10 years of age, and the story is told in her own words.

Lucy hates both her parents. Her father is an alcoholic who beats her when drunk.



Her mother, who never wanted Lucy, has a secret boy friend. The only bright spot in Lucy's life is her Aunt Kate, with whom she would like to live.



Lucy's chance to alter the situation comes when the father entering the front gate to the home meets his wife who is running away with the other man. Snatching a gun from the night table, Lucy shoots her father from the window.


She then runs out into the yard and presses the gun into the hands of her mother who has fainted and lies unconscious on the ground.


Then through Lucy's perjured testimony at the following trial, both the mother and her boy friend are convicted of murdering the father and are electrocuted.

This picture shows, first, "Mommie" and then "Stevie" as they die in the electric chair.

The latter two pictures show Lucy's joyous contentment that it has all worked out as she had planned and she is now free to live with her Aunt Kate.



The last two comic books I mentioned are published by the Entertaining Comic group and I mention it because the publisher of Entertaining Comic group will be appearing here later this morning.

Now, that completes the illustration of the type of comics to which we are addressing ourselves.

Mr. BEASER. Just one point, Mr. Clendenen. In talking about the child who is placed in a foster home, turned into a werewolf, you said that psychologically that was disturbing. Why do you say that?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Let me refer back to the time that I was operating an institution for emotionally disturbed children. Any child who is not able to live, continue to live, with his own family and who is disturbed and goes into an institution and then later is facing foster-home placement has a great many fears both conscious and unconscious regarding the future. That is, he is very much afraid, very fearful about going out and living with the family.

He has met them, to be sure, but he does not know them and he is very insecure individual to begin with. This is the type of material that I myself would feel greatly increase a youngster's feeling of insecurity, anxiety, and panic regarding placement in a foster-family home.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Clendenen, you produced a number of comic books with different titles. Are they all, each one of them, produced by a different company?

Mr. CLENDENEN. No, they are not. The organization of the publishers in the comic-book industry is really a very complex type of organization.

I would like to refer here to the Atlas Publishing Co., or Atlas Publishing group as an example. Atlas represents one of the major publishers in the comic-book field and, incidentally, there will be a representative of the Atlas Co. appearing also at these hearings. The Atlas Co. is owned by a man-and-wife team, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Goodman.

Now the Atlas Publishing Co, Publishes between 49 and 50 different comic titles. However, this number of comic titles, the 45 or 50 comic titles, are produced through no less that some 25 different corporations.

The Atlas organization also includes still another corporation through which it distributes its own publications. This particular exhibit shows 20 of the different groups of crime and weird comics they produce through 15 corporations.

Now, although several of the other publishers who are in the business of publishing comic books are smaller, the patterns of organization are essentially the same.

In other words, many times they organize themselves in forms of 2, 3, 4 or more different corporations. The end result of this type of corporation is that while there are many corporations involved in the publishing of comic books, the entire industry really rests in the hands of relatively few individuals.

Mr. BEASER. When you say they organize into different companies, do they organize into companies that produce nothing but comic books or do they produce other types of literature?

Mr. CLENDENEN. No, they also produce other types of literature. Many of them produce different kinds of magazines in addition to producing comics.

Now, not only may a particular organization be engaged in producing comics, both comic and magazines, but many times they will produce both comics and magazines through one individual corporation within the group.

In this exhibit, for example, this particular comic, which is produced once again by Atlas ─ and we are using Atlas merely as an example ─ these particular publications are not only both produced by the Atlas, but they are produced by a single corporation within the Atlas group.

Mr. BEASER. You say Atlas group. That is a trade-mark?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, all their publications carry the Atlas trademark.

Mr. BEASER. In the course of your investigation has your staff had occasion to review scientific studies which have been made on the effect of crime and horror comics upon children and the relationship to juvenile delinquency?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, we have. This is, we have reviewed virtually all of the surveys and studies that have been made; that is, we have reviewed all that we have been able to find.

I might say that it probably is not too surprising that the expert opinions and findings of these studies are not wholly unanimous. That is, there is certain diversity of opinion regarding the effects of these materials on youngsters even among these individuals whom we might properly qualify as experts.

Now, in this connection, I would like to submit to the subcommittee a few items here which relate to this matter of effects of these materials upon youngsters. One of these is a survey that was made at our request by the Library of Congress which summarizes all of the studies that they could locate having to do with the effects of crime comics upon the behavior of youngsters.

The CHAIRMAN. Is it your desire that this material be put into the record, or made a part of the subcommittees files?

Mr. CLENDENEN. The latter, I believe.

The CHAIRMAN. I think that would be preferable.

Mr. CLENDENEN. I also would like to submit a letter which we received from Dr. Robert Felix, Director of the Institute of Mental Health, to whom we submitted samples of these materials and this is his reply to us indicating his feelings on the effects of these materials.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that will be made a part of the record. Let that be exhibit No. 1.

(The document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 1," and reads as follows:)



Bethesda, Md., April 8, 1954.


Executive Director, Subcommittee To Investigate Juvenile Delinquency,
United States Senate, Washington, D.C.

DEAR MR. CLENDENEN: Your letter of March 23, 1954, requested an opinion concerning the effects of comic books upon children. You made it clear that your interest does not really include all comic books, but the rather sensational kinds of which you sent samples.

I think it is fair to say at the outset that there are not many data from experimental sources which answer the question at hand. Let me first cite some rather old analogical evidence. A study was made several years ago on the effects of movies upon the behavior of children and it was concluded that motion pictures have a deleterious influence on 10 percent of males and 25 percent of females. It has also been shown that movie attendance by children results in disturbed sleep, as indicated by increased motility during sleep. This effect sometimes perseveres for 2 or 3 nights. It can therefore be concluded that viewing motion pictures is not neutral event in the case of children. In the absence of similar studies concerning comics, I am included to extrapolate by saying that I believe reading comics may well have similar influences upon children to those that have been demonstrated for the movies.

One can approach this problem also by attempting to indicate what the comics really represent. It is clear that they represent stories about people and their relationships. It is also clear that the relationships are not tranquil, that they are in effect aggressive and hostile. However, children view aggressiveness and hostility in many of their daily experiences, and they themselves show aggressiveness and hostility. The comics of the kinds discussed here are exclusively preoccupied with relationships of this kind, and exclusive reading of the material is therefore a kind of unbalanced intake for a child. It should be noted, however, that all literature, including children's fairy tales, are characterized by treatment of the aggressive and hostile, and that the comics perhaps distinguish themselves only in their rather exclusive interest in situations portraying this kind of behavior.

It has been suggested by some psychiatrists that comic books may have some value in that they represent a sources of fantasy material to the child, and children use fantasy to work out some of their problems and some of their feelings toward other persons. Working out these feelings through fantasy may not be as undesirable as working them out through misbehavior or open acts of impression that there are other ways of working through problems, such as other kinds of reading, play activities with one's peers, activities with adults and the like. It seems preferable that the child at least utilize several of these methods. There probably is some cause for concern if the child devotes himself in a rather excessive manner to comic books as a source of fantasy.

Comic books may well also be significant with respect to psychological difficulties the child already possesses. Hostile feelings towards his parents, for instance, may be brought to the surface through the reading of these books, releasing the children's anxiety, and this result is not desirable. Furthermore, since the violent behavior of the comic books is not limited to the villain of the piece, the child may feel that he secures some sanction from this sources for the open statements can be interpreted as meaning that the pathology of the child is necessarily initiated or caused by the comic book, but that there is a significant relationship between the child's problems and how he reacts to them and the content of these materials. It is perfectly fair to say that this is not always salutary result.

In your letter you ask several specific questions which I shall attempt to give answers. One question deals with the reactions of comic of the disturbed versus the normal child. The emotionally disturbed child may show a greater reaction to comic books of this type than will the normal child. Perhaps it would be better to say that the emotionally disturbed child may show a greater tendency to read books of this kind than will the normal child. The child with difficulties may find in these books representations of the kinds of problems with which he is dealing, and they will therefore have a value for him which will be nonexistent or minimal in the case of the child who is relatively free of these troubles. In other words, it might be suggested that the kinds of comic books a child chooses could provide to the child psychiatrist some clues with respect to the kinds of problems faced by the child.

Your letter also asked about differential effects of the comics upon delinquents and nondelinquents. I doubt that the comic books can be blamed for originating delinquent trends as such in children, but they might well be instructive in the techniques of delinquency and criminality since they do portray techniques of criminal activity and of the avoidance of detection.

It is not my feeling that the solution to delinquency or emotional disturbances in children is to be found in the banning or elimination of comic books. Rather, I feel that parents do have a responsibility for remaining alert to the kinds of reading material and viewing material, including the comics, being utilized by their children. The wise parent will exercise some discretion and some authoritative control in this connection. The truly wise parent may realize the symptomatic importance of a strong and persistent interest in lurid material and will perhaps seek guidance or therapy for his child. In summary, I should like to add that comics must be viewed as only a part of the total experience of the child and that the same principles of guidance which parents must exercise in all realms of the child’s experience must apply in this area.

The above comments leave many questions unanswered, but I hope that the committee may find this letter of some value in dealing with this difficult problem.

Sincerely yours,


Director, National Institute of Mental Health.

Senator KEFAUVER. Does that go for the first memorandum, too? I think the people would like to read the compilation by the Library of Congress.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that will be made a part of the record. Let it be exhibit No. 2.

(The document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 2," and reads as follows:)





(Prepared for the use of the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate juvenile delinquency)

(Note.- This report on the effect of crime comic books, crime movies, and crime radio programs upon delinquency includes quotations from research studies and opinions, as well as critiques of several studies.)

In the past 30 years, from time to time, discussion have arisen, centered around first, crime movies, and in later years the crime radio programs, and more recently crime comic books with respect to their connection with the causation of crime. Opinion have been voiced on this subject by sociologists, criminologists, juvenile court judges, psychiatrists, psychologists, and parents' groups, and in some instances, research studies have been made.

Some authorities feel that a realistic appraisal of these forms of entertainment indicates that, while there are delinquent cases in which they may be important, on the while their direct influence on the juvenile is either almost nil or serves only to aggravate already existent attitudes and personality traits.1 Herbert Blumer and Phillip Hauser found in their study over 17 years ago that motion pictures were one of the factors that was important in only about 10 percent of the delinquent males and 25 percent of the delinquent girls. 2

Present evidence seems to indicate that the process of acquiring conduct norms, both unconventional and conventional, is primarily through intimate association with others and personal experiences of a face-to-face nature. Delinquents who have already had association through companions with unconventional behavior may be further stimulated by crime motion pictures, by certain radio programs, or by comic books. In a study made of 1,313 gangs in Chicago, Frederic M. Thrasher found that comic strips influenced these groups and their activities. Not only did many of the gangs obtain the names from the comic strip, but suggestions for vandalism and other destructive activities were directly traceable to this source. 3

1. Edwin J. Sutherland, Principles of Criminology, p. 184.

2. Herbert Blumer and Phillip M. Hauser, Movies, Delinquency and Crime, p. 198.

3. Frederic M. Thrasher, The Gang, p. 113.

To date, there have been few truly scientific investigations of the influence of such forms of entertainment on juvenile delinquency. There has been limited investigation of the millions of nondelinquent juveniles who avidly attend crime movies, listen nightly to several radio broadcasts dealing with criminal cases, and read one or two crime comic books a week.

The present report was prepared after a survey of the available materials in the Library of Congress. The basis for choosing articles and studies to be included were the background of the author, his standing and experience in his field of specialty; and in the case of the critiques, the author's recognized authority to judge the studies. This material is presented in chronological order (except where there is a critique of a specific study) with a note about the author, and a statement of the purpose of the study.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

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HERBERT BLUMER, AND PHILLIP M. HAUSER. Movies, Delinquency, and Crime.

New York: the Macmillan Company. 1933. 233 p. [PN19995.5.B53]

(Herbert Blumer at the time of this study was associate professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, and Phillip M. Hauser was an instructor in sociology at the same university.)

The following statement is from the preface of the above book and gives background material on the reason for the study:

"The history of [these] investigations is brief. In 1928 William H. Short, executive director of the Motion Picture Research Council, invited a group of university psychologists, sociologists, and educators to meet with the Members of the Council to confer about the possibility of discovering just what effect motion pictures have upon children a subject * * * upon which many conflicting opinions and few substantial facts were in existence. The university men proposed a program of study. When Mr. Short appealed to the Payne Fund for a grant to support such an investigation, he found the foundation receptive because of its well-known interest in motion pictures as one of the major influences in the lives of modern youth."

The investigation extended over a period of 4 years (1929-32). The purposes was to study the role of motion pictures in the lives of delinquents and criminals of both sexes; and the effects of motion pictures shown to them in prisons and reformatories; and the effect of movies on nondelinquents.

Data was secured by two methods: Questionnaires and autobiographical accounts. The authors give the following "word of caution" at the beginning of their report:"

"These statistical data are based on questionnaire tabulations and must be interpreted with great care. They should not be taken as definitely proven measurements of different forms of motion-picture influences but rather as rough approximations suggestive of a likely extent of such influences * * * questionnaire responses are in the nature of opinion and judgement and are subject to the uncertainty and instability which attend such kinds of response." 4

The reader is cautioned to regard the statistical results as "merely distributions of replies roughly suggestive of the extent of different kinds of motion-picture influence." 5

Summary of findings

"* * * motion pictures were a factor of importance in the delinquent of criminal careers of about 10 percent of the male and 25 percent of the female offenders studied * * *. In addition to these readily traced influences, motion pictures or lead individuals to various forms of misconduct.

"Several important indirect influences disposing or leading persons to delinquency or crime are discernible in the experience of male and female offenders. 6

"On the other hand, movies may redirect the behavior of delinquents and criminals along socially acceptable lines and make them hesitant about, and sometimes deter them from, the commission of offenses. 7

"It is evident that motion pictures may exert influences in diametrically opposite directions. The movies may help to dispose or lead persons to delinquency and crime or they may fortify conventional behavior. 8\

4. Herbert Blumer and Phillip M. Hauser, op. cit., p. 9

5. Ibid., p. 10

6. Ibid., p. 198

7. Ibid., p. 199

8, Ibid., p. 201

"* * * the forms of thought and behavior presented by the movies are such as to provide material and incentive to those sensitized to delinquent and criminal suggestion.

"Motion pictures play an especially important part in the lives of children reared in socially disorganized areas. The influence of motion pictures seems to be proportionate to the weakness of the family, school, church, and neighborhood. Where the institutions which traditionally have transmitted social attitudes and forms of conduct have broken down, as is usually the case in high-rate delinquency areas, motion pictures assume a greater importance as a source of ideas and schemes of life. 9

MORTIMER ADLER. Art and Prudence. New York: Longmans, Green & Co., 1937. 686 pp. [PN1995.5A4]

(The author at the time of writing was associate professor of the philosophy of law at the University of Chicago.)

Dr. Adler gives the following explanation for writing this book:

"As results of their reading of Crime, Law and Social Science, representatives of the motion picture producers asked me to review for them the recent empirical investigations specifically concerned with the influence of motion pictures on human behavior - to make, in short, a similar analysis of the problems, methods and results of research." 10

He specifically discusses the Blumer and Hauser study in the following statements:

"All through these pages in which case histories are reported, figures cited, and similar may-or-may-not conclusions drawn, there is no recognition on the part of the investigators that they are proceeding without control groups. For all they know, if non-delinquents and non-criminals were made to write their autobiographies under the same type of guidance [as the delinquents], they might find exactly the same kind of items reported as having been impressive in or memorable from the motion pictures they had seen. One would then be entitled to presume that there may be an unconscious connection in their lives between motion pictures and law-abiding behavior, or perhaps the opposite - maybe they were law-abiding in spite of motion pictures.

"Considering the admitted worthlessness of their statistical data and the admitted unreliability of questionnaire responses, how are Blumer and Hauser able to conclude the chapter on female delinquents with the statement: 'It seems clear from the statistical data and from the autobiographical accounts * * * that motion pictures are of importance, both directly and indirectly in contributing to female delinquency.' 11

"As I have said before, research of this sort does not warrant the amount of critical attention I have given it. It could be dismissed in terms of authors' direct or implied admissions of the inadequacy of their method, the unreliability of their raw materials and the insignificance of their numerical data.

"But there are good reasons for exhibiting this piece of research in such a way that all of its defects are plain to anyone. For one thing, the work of Blumer and Hauser has been cited by laymen who are bent upon reform, as a scientific demonstration that the movies are a cause of crime. For another, this type of work is considered creditable by some social scientists." 12

Dr. Adler has the following comment to make about the reliability of scientific research in the study of human behavior:

"Little of what has been accomplished by research in the field of criminology has improved upon the state of common and expert opinion - the "unscientific" opinion of men experienced in dealing with criminals. At best, research has been confirmatory of our doubt about any factor or set of facts as causative of crime.

"In the light of speculative standards, the attempt of scientific investigation in the field of human behavior should always be praised, even when its achievements are of no practical significance. To be practically significant, science must definitely alter the state of existing opinion; but ever when it fails to do this, the same probability is better held as a matter of scientific knowledge than as a matter of opinion. * * * The intrinsic weakness of the study of human behavior as science is further complicated by the methodological incompetence of most of the attempts which have been made." 13

9. Ibid., p. 202

10. Mortimer Alder op. cit., xi.

11. Ibid., p. 280-281.

12. Ibid., p. 255.

13. Ibid., p. 283.

WILLIAM HEALY, and AUGUSTA F. BRONNER. New Light on Delinquency and Its Treatment. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1936. 226p. [HV9069.H37]

(William Healy, physician and psychologist, was at the time of this study director of the Judge Baker Guidance Center, Boston, and Augusta Bronner was associated with him at the center.)

This study presents the results of a research project conducted for the Institute of Human Relations at Yale University. The research was conducted simultaneously in three American cities (Boston, New Haven, and Detroit). Five hundred and seventy-four individuals of one hundred and thirty-three families were studied.

Only brief mention is made of the role of crime motion pictures as an ingredient of delinquent behavior. The authors report that:

"Interest in the movies was exhibited much more by the delinquents than the non-delinquents. Regular attendance once or twice a week was the habit of 88 of the delinquents as against 42 non-delinquents. Only a few delinquents, however, stated that they had derived ideas from gangster or other crime pictures upon which they definitely patterned their own delinquencies." 14

EDWIN H. SUTHERLAND. Principles of Criminology. Philadelphia: J. P. Lippincott Company. 1939. 639 p. [HV6025.S83]

(The author at the time of publication was professor of sociology, Indiana University.)

In the preface Dr. Sutherland says the purpose of this book is "to show some development of criminology toward science." He also states that "A science of criminology is greatly needed at present both for satisfactory understanding and for adequate control. The existing criminology is inadequate: It has consisted of obviously unsound theories of criminal behavior, of scattered and unintegrated factual information, and unwarranted application of that knowledge to practical problems."

Among the other institutions which relate to crime, Dr. Sutherland says:

"The motion pictures are unquestionably an extremely important agency in determining the ideas and behavior of people, and especially of children. * * * In view of this significant effect produced by the pictures on conduct, the content of the pictures is highly important. * * * Children play as gangsters after seeing the pictures and are influenced in other ways. Within a month after "The Wild Boys of the Road" was presented as a motion picture in Evanston, Illinois, during the Christmas holiday of 1933, fourteen children ran away from home. Four of these were apprehended by the police and three of the four stated that the freedom depicted in the picture had appealed to them. One of these was a girl fifteen years of age and she was dressed in almost identically the same fashion as the girl who had taken the feminine lead in the picture. 15

"In fact, the general tendency seems to be that the children who reside in areas where delinquency rates are high are influenced more significantly by the crime and sex pictures than are those who live in areas of low delinquency rates. * * *
Upon people who already have a fairly stable scheme of life, as adults and as children in good residential areas do, the influence of the motion pictures is less harmful than young people whose habits are less definitely formed and whose environment is more distinctly limited. 16

HOWARD RODLAND. "Radio Crime Dramas". Educational Research Bulletin. November 15, 1944, pp. 210-217 [L11.E495]

This study analyzes recording made of 20 radio crime dramas.

"By and large, radio crime dramas offer no realistic portrayal of the influences which produce criminals. Only three of the programs based upon the activities of law-enforcement officers made any attempt to explain the background of the offenders.

* * * There is some evidence that children from delinquent areas listen to crime programs proportionately more than children from nondelinquent areas. This does not mean, however, that listening to crime programs necessarily is a cause of delinquency. Instead, it is more probably that the same economic and cultural factors which produces delinquency also produce a greater number of young people who enjoy crime drama more than other types of programs. 17

14. William Healy, and Augusta Bronner, op. cit., p. 72

15. Edwin H. Sutherland, op. cit., p. 192.

16. Ibid., p. 193.

17. Howard Rowland, op. cit., p. 213.

"Children undoubtedly need a certain amount of excitement and aggression in their drama, but there must be a point beyond which the law of diminishing returns begins to operate. Crime and violence in drama lose their cathartic value when there is a constant habituation to overdoses of these ingredients which not only results in jaded taste in children but may contribute to those frustrations which bring about aggressive behavior. If this premise is correct, it follows that the producers of crime dramas help bring about some of the aggression which these dramas are supposed to relieve." 18

HANS VON HENTIG. CRIME CAUSES AND CONDITIONS. NEW YORK: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 1947. 379 p. [HV6025.H45]

(The author at the time of publication was Professor of Criminology at the University of Kansas City.)

Dr. Von Hentig, in his preface, says:

"Crime, being a pattern of social disorganization, has a multiplicity of causations that rest on defects and obstructions in the working order of society * * *. The statistics that complement personal observations and the lessons to be drawn from the many case studies herein have been brought up to date as of 1940 and 1941.

"* * * In its presentation the book goes it own way. Theoretical views and hypotheses are regularly supported by concrete facts as contributed by judges, district attorneys, police officers, wardens, prison doctors, criminals and victims. * * * Whatever theory is proposed or upheld, it is based on realities and exact observation.

"When movies and radios produce those long-drawn-out slugging scenes in which the hero finally downs the bad man, the G-man, the gangster, or the sheriff, the cattle rustler, we think that the moral outcome should be enough to immunize the aggressive spirit. There will, however, always be some spectators or hearers who are by disposition in a tense readiness for violence, From hearers they turn into doers, today or tomorrow when adequate incentives arise. * * * Some children have an inordinate craving for movies; so have many adults. Burt found this inclination in more than 7 percent of his delinquent boys. 19 The movie has achieved tremendous results in reducing drinking and gambling and thereby cutting down delinquency; yet it may cause misconduct as well.

"There are three sources of possible danger, ably discussed by Burt. While some films do not teach crime, they describe criminal techniques. Before the law starts its triumphal march, wickedness has to be demonstrated; it has to be nearly successful before being smashed. On this phase a good film advertises crime and its technical procedures. 20

JUDITH CRIST. "Horror in the Nursery." Coller's, March 27, 1948. pp. 22-23. [AP2.C65]

(The author quotes extensively from Dr. Frederic Wertham who was formerly the chief resident psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University. He was, at the time of the writing of the article, director of the psychiatric service at Queens General Hospital.)

Dr. Wertham * * * said" "The comic books, in intent and effect, are demoralizing the morals of youth. They are sexually aggressive in an abnormal way. They make violence alluring and cruelty heroic. They are not educational but stultifying."

With 11 other psychiatrists and social works, Dr. Wertham, senior psychiatrist for the New York Department of Hospitals and authority on the causes of crime among children, has spent 2 years studying the effect of comic books on youngsters. His findings [are] published here for the first time. * * *

The purpose of the study was to find "not what harm comic books do," Dr. Wertham said, "but objectively what effect they have on children. So far we have determined that the effect is definitely and completely harmful. * * * We do not maintain that comic books automatically cause delinquency in every child reader. But we find that comic-book reading was a distinct influencing factor in the case of every single delinquent or disturbed child we studied."

Dr. Wertham does not believe that comic books alone can cause a child to become delinquent.

Dr. Wertham feels that a local enforcement of the penal codes by district attorneys, or license commissioners could stop circulation of the most offensive books.

18. Ibid., p. 214.

19. Cyril Burt, The Young Delinquent, D. Appleton-Century Co., Inc., New York, 1925. p. 137.

20. Hans Von Hentg, op. cit., pp. 323-324.

FREDERIC M. THRASHER, "The Comics and Delinquency : Cause or Scapegoat", The Journal of Educational Sociology, December 1949, pp. 195-205.

(The author at the time of writing this article was a professor at New York University. He is also an associate editor of the Journal or Educational Sociology and author of the Gang, a study of 1,313 gangs in Chicago. 1927.)
Dr. Thrasher says that the controversy over motion pictures as a major cause of delinquency closely parallels the present controversy over the role of comic books in the causation of antisocial behavior.

"Delinquent and criminal careers can be understood only in terms of the interaction of many factors. Evaluation of their relative influence demands research based upon more rigorous sampling and control, and requires the utmost objectively in the interpretation of the data the research yields.

"After surveying the studies dealing with the influences of comics we are forced to conclude such research do not exist. The current alarm over the evil effects of the comic books rests upon nothing more than substantial than the opinion and conjecture of a number of psychiatrists, lawyers, and judges.

"Reduced to their simplest terms, these arguments are that since the movies and comics diet is made up of crime, violence, horror, and sex, the children who see the movies and read the comics are necessarily stimulated to the performance of delinquent acts, cruelty, violence, and undesirable sex behavior.

"As an example, let us examine the position of the leading crusader against the comics, New York's psychiatrist Frederic Wertham. [He] disclaims the belief that delinquency can have a single cause and claims to adhere to the concept of multiple and complex causation of delinquent behavior. But in effect his arguments do attribute a large portion of juvenile offenses to the comics. More pointedly he maintains that the comics in a complex maze of other factors are frequently the precipitating cause of delinquency.

"We may criticize Wertham's conclusions on many grounds, but the major weakness of his position is that it is not supported by research data. In Collier's March 27, 1948, his findings are said to be the result of 2 years' study conducted by him and 11 other psychiatrists and social workers at the Lefarge Clinic in New York's Harlem. In this article the claim is made that numerous children both delinquent and nondelinquent, rich and poor were studied and that the results of these studies led to the major conclusion that the effect of comic books is 'definitely and completely harmful'."

Wertham's major claims rest only on a few selected and extreme cases of children's deviate behavior where it is said the comics have played an important role in producing delinquency. Although Wertham has claimed in his various writings that he and his associates have studied thousands of children, normal and deviate, rich and poor, gifted and mediocre, he presents no statistical summary of his investigations. He makes no attempt to substantiate that is illustrative cases are in any way typical of all delinquents who read comics, or that delinquents who do not read the comics do not commit similar types of offenses. He claims to use control groups (nondelinquents), but he does not describe these controls, how they were set up, how they were equated with his experimental groups (delinquents) to assure that the differences in incidence of comic book reading, if any, was due to anything more than a selective process brought about by the particular area in which he was working.

"On the basis of the material presented by Wertham with reference to children's experience with the comics, it is doubtful if he has met the requirements of scientific case study or the criteria for handling life history materials. He does not describe his techniques or show how they were set up so as to safe guard his findings against invalid conclusions. * * * Unless and until Wertham's methods of investigation are described and demonstrated to be valid and reliable, the scientific worker in this field can place no credence in his results.

"In conclusion, it may be said that no acceptable evidence has been produced by Wertham or anyone else for the conclusion that the reading of comic magazines has or has not a significant relation to delinquent behavior."

"LOOKING AT THE COMICS - 1949" (a survey by the children's book committee of the Child Study Association). Child Study, fall 1949, pp. 110-112.

"In the hope of providing an answer * * * the children's book committee of the Child Study Association some years ago surveyed about a hundred comic magazines and published in Child Study a critique of these for the guidance of parents and others working with children. The enormous growth of these publications in the years since this has prompted a resurvey which reveals some important changes, not only in their quantity but in the kinds of material that are being offered in picture-strip magazines.

"The most regrettable change since the earlier survey has been the increased number of these magazines dealing with 'real' crime, and those featuring sexually suggestive and sadistic pictures. These are presumably not addressed to children ─ are perhaps not even attractive to many of them. Nevertheless, they are available at 10 cents for young people to purchase, and are prominently displayed on newsstands. Some of these are about as uncouth and savage pictures and stories as can be found anywhere."

JOSETTE FRANK. Comics, Radio, Movies ─ and Children. New York: Public Affairs Committee, Inc. (Pamphlet Publication No. 148). 1949. 32 p. [HQ784.A6F7]

(The author is educational associate in charge of children's books and radio on the staff of the Child Study Association of America.)

In discussing crime and the comics, Josette Frank indicates that a number of juvenile court judges have cited the evidence of children brought before them who declared that they had "done it because they read it in the comics." Such evidence is discounted by others ─ criminologists and psychologists ─ who point out that children in trouble can hardly be expected to understand their own behavior, much less explain it. The causes of behavior, they insist, are deep and complex. "In studying the causes of behavior problems of children for many years," wrote Dr. Mandel Sherman, professor of educational psychology at the University of Chicago, "I have never seen one instance of a child whose behavior disturbance originated in the reading of comic books, nor even a case of a delinquent whose behavior was exaggerated by such readings. A child may ascribe his behavior to a comic he has read or a movie he has seen. But such explanations cannot be considered scientific evidence of causation." 21

21 Josette Frank, op. cit., p. 7.

CAVANAGH, JOHN R. The Comics War. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern University School of Law) volume XL, June 1949.

(Dr. Cavanagh is the senior medical officer and psychiatrist, United States naval disciplinary barracks, Portsmouth, N. H.).

"Little factual evidence has been produced that the comics are harmful. A small number of cases have been produced in which comic-book reading has preceded or accompanied the commission of a crime. Actually does this prove anything? * * * If it is true as we are told, that 40 million comic books circulate each month and that each one has several readers, should not their harmful effects, if any, be more evident? Emotionalism sells better than intellectualism, and makes better copy.

* * * * * *

"If the comics are as bad as we hear they are, something should be done about them. What we need, however, are fewer exclamations and more facts. Up to the present there have been more references to the harmful effects of the comics in the popular press than in the professional literature. * * * My plea is to investigate first why children like comics and secondly to determine, if possible, how harmful they really are.

* * * * * *

"* * * the normal aggressive reactions find release In the phantasies stimulated by the comic books which thus become the means by which children are able to work off their hostility toward their parents and others without the development of guilt which they might otherwise feel. They may thus displace onto the characters in the comic books the aggression which would otherwise be too dangerous to show overtly or even to imagine. Many have commented on the quieting effect of the comics, the "marijuana of the nursery," usually in the belief that this is harmful. It seems more likely that the child is merely projecting himself into the story and releasing his aggression in the realm of phantasy rather than finding it necessary to be noisy, troublesome, or to indulge in other overt aggressive behavior. For the normal child such conduct is not harmful or detrimental. For the neurotic child it could be detrimental but not necessarily so, and in any case he will be equally harmed by radio or movies.

* * * * * *

"The prevalent attitude seems to be that all comics are objectionable This is certainly not the case, and if you read the 'fine print' almost everyone who writes about the comics admits this. Unfortunately, the average reader is not concerned with the ordinary work-a-day writings. His attention must be caught and retained. * * * in order to retain an audience it is necessary to highlight the unusual, the bizarre, the sensuous, the anxiety-producing factors. The facts are there, but the usual, the ordinary have slight sales value and consequently must be softened in the interest of the stimulating, unusual items.

"There are comics which are undesirable. These are in the minority. The group known collectively as 'jungle adventure comics,' typify this class. Within the group all of the features are displayed which have been considered objectionable. Here are found the scantily clad females, the chained females, and the sexually suggestive situations Which are the comics' most objectionable feature. However, such pictures and situations become significant principally when viewed through the repressions of the viewer and seem to arouse little anxiety in the well-adjusted reader.


The committee reported in 1951 the following findings, which are condensed:

"1. The entire comic-book industry is remiss in its failure to institute effective measures to police and restrain the undesirable minority of stubborn, willful, irresponsible publishers of comics whose brazen disregard for anything but their profits is responsible for the bad reputation of the publishers of all comics.

"2. Comics are a most effective medium for the dissemination of ideas and when such a medium is used to disseminate bad ideas which may leave deep impressions on the keen absorptive minds of children, the unrestricted publication and distribution of comics becomes a matter of grave public concern.

"3. Comics which depict crime, brutality, horror, and which produce race hatred impair the ethical development of children, describe how to make weapons and how to inflict injuries with these weapons, and how to commit crimes have a wide circulation among children.

"4. The New York State Joint Legislative Committee states flatly as follows:

Crime comics are a contributing factor leading to juvenile delinquency.

"5. Instead of reforming, publishers of bad crime comics have banded together, employed resourceful legal and public-relations counsel, and so-called educators, and experts in a deliberate effort to continue such harmful practices and to fight any and every effort to arrest or control such practices.

"6. The reading of crime comics stimulates sadistic and masochistic attitudes and interferes with the normal development of sexual habits in children and produces abnormal sexual tendencies in adolescents.

"A disturbing feature of this situation is that publishers of completely wholesome and acceptable comics have come out squarely in support of publishers of the objectionable type, even though the latter are making serious competitive inroads in their field. One reason given is that all publishers, both good and bad, fear any governmental imposition of regulation and possible censorship of their publications."

The New York State committee grouped objectionable comic books under these descriptions:

1. Those which depict brutality, violence, and crime.

2. Those which depict ways of inflicting bodily injury, plans for commission of crime, and unlawful breakings.

3. Those which are sexually suggested and in some instances depict semi-hidden pornography.

The New York committee concluded that governmental regulation should be undertaken as a last resort and only after the industry itself has shown an inability or incapacity to do it, or has failed or refused to do it.' 22

22 U. S. Congress. House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials. Report pursuant to H. Res. 596. Washington, U. S. Government Printing Office, 1952, pp. 27─28 (82d Cong., 2d sess., H. Rept. No. 2510).

MALTER, MORTON The content of current comic magazines. Elementary school journal (Chicago) v. 52, May 1952: 505─510.

(Dr. Malter is assistant professor of education at Michigan State College, East Lansing).

"The major purpose of this study is to determine whether or not this impression is valid. This is accomplished through an analysis of the comic magazines. proffered by the publishers during the 2-month period in 1951."

Mr. Malter wrote to the 22 comic-book publishers listed In the 1950 edition of N. W. Ayer & Son's Directory of Newspapers and Periodicals. In return he received 185 comic magazines from 17 of these publishers. One published no longer put out comic books and four publishers did not answer his request.

Two of his conclusions follow:

"1. Various writers have maintained that crime stories dominate the comic magazines, while humorous content is restricted. The results of this study indicate that this criticism is not valid. Rather, the data suggests (a) that the percents of pages devoted to humor and crime are approximately equal and (b) that approximately one-third of all comic-story content is devoted to humor.

"2. The writer concludes that general attacks on the comic magazines are unwarranted. Unquestionably, It is desirable for persons to graduate from reading comic magazines to the reading of more sophisticated material. However, it seems unreasonable to blanket all comic magazines under the heading unacceptable"; for, as in all other areas, good and bad examples are to be found. In attempting to improve reading habits, It seems desirable (a) to eliminate unacceptable comic magazines by teaching children to be selective in their reading and (b) to make available to readers other books within their experiences.

WILLIAM W. BRICKMAN. Causes and cures of juvenile delinquency. School and society (New York) v. 75, June 28, 1952, p. 410.

(Dr. Brickman is professor of education at New York University and the editor of School and Society Magazine).

"As one reads the professional literature and the lay expressions of opinion about juvenile delinquency, one becomes aware of differences of emphasis and of opinion regarding causes, treatments, cures, and preventive work. There are those who put their eggs in the basket of comic books, television programs, narcotics, or other features of our society. While a trend is in the making along the lines of multiple causation and therapeutics, there does not exist sufficient recognition of it in public circles. Some still snipe at the old-fashioned school for its supposed role in the making of delinquents, while others are equally unreasonable in attributing all behavioral ills to progressive education."

LEVERETT, GLEASON. In defense of comic books. Today's health (Chicago) v. 30, Sept. 1952: 40─41.

(Mr. Leverett is the former president, Association of Comics Magazine Publishers).

"Well over 75 percent of all children between 4 and 19 are regular readers of comics magazines. Sales total between 60 and 70 million copies a month. More than 400 different comics magazines are on sale today. They constitute more than a third of all the newsstand reading matter in this country. The influence that this part of the reading diet has en children has become an important consideration for parents, educators, sociologists, doctors and, in fact, the entire population.

* * * * * * *

"The effect of brutality, sex, sadism, and cruelty in children's reading matter is self-evident. No comic book which includes such matter can ever be acceptable. The strict code of ethics set up by the Association of Comics Magazine Publishers has brought about the elimination of such scenes from the magazines published by association members. Every issue of the magazines put out by members is examined before it is printed by an arbiter retained by the association.

LEWIN, HERBERT S. Facts and fears about the comics. Nation's Schools (Chicago). v. 52, July 1953: 46─48.

(Mr. Lewin is a clinical and child psychologist in New York City.)

"Governors, legislators, parents, and professional educators find themselves In a still growing debate over the reputed psychological menace to millions of children, a threat that sems to lurk between the covers of many comic books.

"Some zealous experts demand that these booklets be outlawed. Considering the widespread demand for the controversial comics, such a move might well result in a new source of revenue for enterprising citizens interested in bootlegging or blackmarketing the 'hot goods.'"

* * * * * * *

"Before discussing our belief that the harmful influence of the comics has been overrated, let us give some attention to the thinking that has led to objections to them. Many persons concerned with juvenile delinquency and problems of mental hygiene believe that there is a direct relationship between the reading of undesirable literature and improper behavior. They argue that juvenile delinquency frequently occurs alongside of excessive comic-book reading. They feel that the continuous stress on the excitement and glamor of crime might poison the thoughts and emotions of children, and, in certain cases, might cause them to become delinquents"

* * * * * * *

"The danger seems to be great, it is of crucial importance to find out whether comic-book reading really has the feared due outcome.

"To answer the questions as to whether the reading of comics actually results in antisocial behavior, the following experiment was made recently. Nearly 260 city boys of average intelligence and between the ages of 12 and 13 were closely investigated as to their reading habits and interests."

* * * * * * *

"Apparently comic-book reading in itself is not the cause of maladjustment and similar studies with respect to the effects of radio and television programs confirm the findings. * * *

"One thing seems to be certain: Excessive comic-book reading can be a symptom of maladjustment but it is rarely, if ever, its cause. For example, a habitual young thief has been found to be an ardent comic-book reader. Has this reading caused him to become a thief? Scarcely. We feel safe to say that his reading is a symptom of a long-standing personality problem but not the cause of his delinquency. This is true just as we know now that alcoholism is a symptom of an emotional disturbance but not its cause."

* * * * * * *

"We must attack delinquency and emotional disturbances at their roots. Yet we cannot overlook the fact that occasionally comics may be the vehicles of maladjustment. We can change the character of many comic books in a wholesome fashion; at the same time we do not have to remove from the books much that makes them attractive to our youth."

* * * * * * *

"Many comic-book stories, too, contain an extremely harsh and punitive view with respect to their villains. * * * Frequently no motives for their acts are given but the basest and rudest ones. Stories of this kind do not frighten a potential delinquent. However, they can unnecessarily increase the anxiety of young people who are worried about their minor misdeeds. Moreover, such stories tend to blunt the sense of justice and the spirit of forgiveness and thus they play the game of authoritarian philosophers."

* * * * * * *

"Comics have many faults but their damaging influence has been overrated. Official prohibition will not solve the problem because legislation would be virtually unenforceable it would encourage illegal distribution and put a premium on reading the least desirable strips just because they are 'forbidden fruit.' Neither will censorship improve the state of affairs, quite apart from the undesirability of all legal intervention in the field of literature. Only public pressure on comic-book publishers and editors will bring about a change for the better. Parents, teachers, ministers, child-welfare workers, and psychologists could successfully exert this pressure."

N. E. A. Research Bulletin. Schools help prevent delinquency (Wash.) v. 31. Oct. 1953. P. 107─108

"From time to time crime depicted in comic books as well as on radio and television programs has been charged with directly contributing to juvenile delinquency. Conclusive evidence on the subject is not available. Reputable authorities are lined up on both sides of the question.

"The number of comic books in circulation in recent years has skyrocketed as compared with about 10 million copies a month in the last 3 prewar years, the 1947 rate was 60 million copies a month. An estimated 40 percent of the purchasers are young folks between the ages of 8 and 18. No estimate is readily available of the number of comic books concerned with sadistic crime and horror stories.

"Other mass mediums of communication also offer a strong diet of violence. On the four major radio networks, programs that embodied violence or threat of violence were transmitted for a total or more than 85 separate time periods in 1 week (1950). Television has a similar record. On 7 stations in the New York area the listener had the pick of more than 75 periods a week when a taste of life outside the law could be had.

No acceptable evidence to date has shown these factors to have a significant relation to delinquent behavior. To be sure, in isolated instances judges have reported commissions of youth where comic books have been named as the source of the idea. But upon further investigation such youngsters were found to need help beside and beyond scrutiny of their reading and listening habits.

"The foregoing statements do not condone the cultivation of low tastes nor condemn the legitimate realization that some persons gain from an occasional detective story. Regardless of such considerations, the development of good communication tastes is an educational goal that can stand on its own merits."

WERTHAM, FREDERIC. What parents don't know about comic books. Ladies home journal (Philadelphia) Nov. 1958.

(Dr. Wertham is a psychiatrist and in this article refers to his research work at the Lafargue Psychiatric Clinic in New York City and the Queens Mental Hygiene Clinic.)

In this article the author presents vivid illustrations from many crime comic books being read by children and adults. He contends that:

"Juvenile delinquency is not just a prank, nor an emotional illness. The modern and more serious forms of delinquency involve knowledge of techniques. By teaching the technique, comic books also teach the content."

* * * * * * *

"What is the relationship of crime-comic books to juvenile delinquency? If they would prevent juvenile delinquency there would be very little of it left. And if they were the outlet for children's primitive aggressions, this would be a generation of very subdued and controlled children. After all, at times the output of comic books has reached 950 million a year, most of them dealing with crime. The whole publicity-stunt claim that crime comics prevent juvenile delinquency is a hoax. I have not seen a single crime-comic book that would have any such effect. Nor have I ever seen a child or young adult who felt that he had been prevented from anything wrong by a comic book. * * *

"The role of comic books in delinquency is not the whole nor by any means the worst harm they do to children. It is just one part of it. Many children who never become delinquent or conspicuously disturbed have been adversely affected by them.

"My investigations and those of my associates have led us, very unexpectedly at first, but conclusively as the studies went on, to the conclusion that crime comics are an important contributing factor to present-day juvenile delinquency. Not only are crime comics a contributing factor to many delinquent acts, but the type of juvenile delinquency of our time cannot be understood unless you know what has been put into the minds of these children. It certainly is not the only factor, nor in many cases is it even the most important one; but there can be no doubt that it is the most unnecessary and least excusable one."

Dr. Wertham also discusses the elusiveness of some comic-book publishers who go out of business under one name and reappear as new publishing firms. He says, "This is why I have called crime-comic books 'hit-and-run publications.'"

"Crime comics create a mental atmosphere of deceit, trickery, and cruelty. Many of the children I have studied have come to grief over it. How best to summarize the attitudes most widely played up in crime comics? One might list them in some such way as this: assertiveness, defiance, hostility, desire to destroy or hurt, search for risk and excitement, aggressiveness, destructiveness, sadism, suspiciousness, adventurousness, nonsubmission to authority. Anybody could make up such a list by going over a thousand comic books. Actually, though, this is a literal summary of the traits of typical delinquents found by the famous criminologists Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck in a study of 500 delinquents when compared with 500 nondelinquents. In other words, the very traits that we officially wish to avoid we unofficially inculcate."

* * * * * * *

“Legal control of comic books for children is necessary not so much on account of the question of sex, although their sexual abnormality is bad enough, but on account of their glorification of violence and crime. In my attempts to formulate the principles of a crime-comic-book law I realized that it is necessary to introduce more public-health thinking for the protection of children's mental health. * * *

"Laws in the service of public health do not necessarily deal with criminal intent. They cope with what the lawyers call public-welfare offenses dealing with food, drugs, and sanitation. What I wanted to accomplish was to add mental health to these categories.

* * * * * * *

"I have seen many juvenile delinquents who were predisposed to achieving good things in life and were deflected from their course by the social environment of which comic books are a part. We would not by law permit people to sell bad candy with poisonous ingredients because the manufacturer guarantees that it will not hurt children with strong stomachs and will sicken only those children who are inclined to have stomach upsets in the first place. In public health we also have little sympathy with the claim that we don't have to prevent illness because if we rule out one factor people would get sick sooner or later anyhow, if not with this disease, then with something else. Yet that is how the comic-book industry reasons."

SOLOMON, BEN. Why we have not solved the delinquency problem. Federal probation (Washington) v. 27, Dec. 1958: 11─19.

(Mr. Solomon is editor of Youth Leaders Digest, Putnam Valley, N. V.)

This writer contends that the only way to solve the delinquency problem among youngsters is through prevention. He also holds that there are nine "fallacies" which are generally believed by persons who are concerned over the problem.

He has this to say about fallacy No. 2:

"Comics create crime. It is common practice to blame the comics, TV, the radio, and movies for much of our delinquency. It is pointed out that some youngsters are highly 'suggestible' and that through these media they might learn the methods of crime and how to skillfully avoid detection. Maybe so, but I'd like to point out that all children listen to the radio, see TV, and the movies, and read the comics, and that 99 percent of them don't get into any kind of trouble. And it might further be pointed out that we've had lots of delinquency long before these things came into being."

Mr. CLENDENEN. I also have a compendium of the Journal of Educational Sociology which shows the result of comics on delinquency by Dr. Thrasher, who is a noted criminologist connected with the University of Chicago.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that will be made a part of the record. Let that be exhibit No. 3.

(The article referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 3," and reads as follows:)
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

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Frederic M. Thrasher

Expert students of mankind have always tried to explain human behavior in terms of their own specialities. This is particularly true in the field of adult and juvenile delinquency, where anthropologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, and sociologists have been guilty of a long series of erroneous attempts to attribute crime and delinquency to some one human trait or environmental condition. These monistic theories of delinquency causation illustrate a particularistic fallacy which stems from professional bias or a lack of scientific logic and research, or both.

Most recent error of this type is that if psychiatrist Fredric Wertham who claims in effect that the comics are an important factor in causing juvenile delinquency. 1 This extreme position which is not substantiated by any valid research, is not only contrary to considerable current psychiatric thinking, but also disregards tested research procedures which have discredited numerous previous monistic theories of delinquency causation. Wertham's dark picture of the influence of comics is more forensic than it is scientific and illustrates a dangerous habit of projecting our social frustrations upon some specific trait of our culture, which becomes a sort of "whipping boy" for our failure to control the whole gamut of social breakdown. 2

1 Wertham, Who is a prominent New York psychiatrist, has stated his position on the comics in the following articles: The Comics─Very Funny, Saturday Review of Literature, May 29, 1948; What Your Children Think of You, This Week, Oct. 10, 1948; Are Comic Books Harmful to Children?, Friends Intelligencer, July 10, 1948; the Betrayal of Childhood: Comic Books, Proceedings of the Annual Conference of Correction, American Prison Association, 1948; the Psychopathology of Comic Books (a symposium), American Journal of Psychotherapy July 1948; and What Are Comic Books? (a study course for Parents), National Parent Teacher Magazine, March 1949.

2 Cf. Katherine Clifford, Common Sense About Comics, Parents Magazine, October 1948.

One of the earliest of these monistic errors was that of Lombroso and his followers of the so-called Italian School of Criminology, 3 who asserted there was a born criminal type with certain "stigmata of degeneracy" which enabled the criminal to be distinguished from normal people. These included such characteristics as a cleft palate, a low retreating forehead, a peculiarly shaped head, nose, or jaw, large protruding ears, low sensitivity to pain, lack of beard in males, obtuseness of the senses, etc. These "criminal traits" were explained as due to a reversion to a hypothetical "savage" (atavism), or to physical and nervous deterioration. Accompanying the physical divergencies in some unexplained manner always went a predisposition to delinquency. Exponents of this theory in its extreme form have even claimed that different types of criminals exhibit different sets of physical anomalies.

3. Lombroso first stated his theory in a brochure in 1876 and this was expanded later into three volumes. See Cesare Lombroso, Crime: Its Causes and Remedies. Translated by H. P. Horton. Boston: Little, Brown, 1918.

More rigorous investigators shortly discredited this naive theory. One of these was England's distinguished Charles Goring. He rejected Loinbroso's conclusion because it was based upon an inadequate sample of the criminal population, chiefly the inmates of an institution for the criminally insane. As Von Hentig Succinctly points out, only "minute sections of crime are found in court or in prison, a certain proportion in institutions for the criminally insane. Crime's most numerous and dangerous representatives are never seen by a judge, a warden, or a psychiatrist."4 No valid conclusion concerning delinquents and criminals as a whole can be drawn from the small proportion of their number appearing in clinics or found in institutions.

4. Hans Von Hentig, Crime: Causes and Conditions. New York: McGraw Hill, 1947.
Goring rejected Lombroso's theory further, and more importantly, because it ignored the possibility that the traits to which delinquent and criminal behavior were attributed might be as prevalent among law-abiding citizens. Goring was an exponent of the elementary scientific technique which insists on the use of a control group, a simple yet essential statistical maneuver designed to protect the scholar and the public against fallacious conclusions about human behavior. The use of the control group as applied to the study of the causation of delinquency simply means that the investigator must make sure the trait or condition to which he ascribes delinquency is not as prevalent among nondelinquents as among delinquents.

When Goring studied not merely the inmates of prisons, but a representative sampling of the unincarcerated population, he found "stigmata" to occur no more frequently among prisoners than among people at large. 5 Lombroso's theory was knocked into a cocked hat.

5. Charles Goring, the English Convict. London: Stationery Office, 1918.

Students of delinquent and criminal behavior were slow, however, to heed the lesson implicit in the collapse of Lombroso's theory. Continuing to seek a simple monistic explanation of antisocial behavior, repeating Lombroso's errors of inadequate sampling and lack of control, they have attributed the bulk of delinquency to mental deficiency, to focal infections, to lesions of the nervous system, to psychopathic personality, to poverty, to broken homes, to one after another of the characteristics of the delinquent or his environment.

More rigorous sampling and control have forced the abandonment of these one-sided explanations. The assertion of Tredgold and Goddard, 6 for example that mental deficiency is the major cause of antisocial behavior was based on institutional samples of the delinquent population. It should be reiterated that such samples are highly selective, since more intelligent criminals are less frequently found in institutions or other groups available for testing. Indeed adequately controlled studies, such as those of Carl Murchison, 7 E. A. Doll 8 and Simon H. Tulchin 9 have conclusively shown that low intelligence of itself is not an important factor in producing delinquency.

6. A. F. Tredgold, Mental Deficiency, New York: William Wood, 1914; and Henry H. Goddard, Feeblemindedness: Its Causes and Consequences. New York: Macmillan, 1914.

7. American White Criminal Intelligence, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, August and November 1924.

8. The Comparative Intelligence of Prisoners, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, August 1920.

9. Simon H. Tulchin, Intelligence and Crime. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939.

Sociological studies have shown marked correlations between poverty and delinquency. But again the sample is selective, biased by the fact that official statistics fail to record the large number of delinquencies committed in more prosperous sections of time community; and again one is given pause by the necessity of accounting for the large numbers of children in the most dire economic need who do not become delinquent. As for broken homes, the studies of Slawson 10 in New York, and of Shaw and McKay 11 in Chicago, have shown that time broken home in itself cannot be considered a very significant factor in explaining delinquency.

10. John Slawson, the Delinquent Boy. Boston: Badger, 1926.

11. Clifford R. Shaw and Henry D. McKay, Social Factors in Juvenile Delinquency. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1931, pp. 261─284.

More recently it has been asserted that motion pictures are a major cause of delinquency. The controversy over the truth of this assertion closely parallels the present controversy over the role of comic books in the causation of anti-social behavior. The Motion Picture Research Council, with the aid of a research grant from the Payne Fund, and in cooperation with a number of universities, undertook a series of objective studies of time question.12

12. For a history of this controversy, the results of the Payne Fund Studies, and a critical evaluation of them, see: Henry James Furman, Our Movie Made Children, New York, Macmillan, 1933; Martin Quigley, Decency in Motion Pictures, New York, Macmillan, 1935; Frederic H. Thrasher, Education Versus Censorship, Journal of Educational Sociology, January 1940; W. W. Charters, Motion Pictures and Youth : A Summary, New York, Macmillan, 1933; Mortimer J. Adler, Art and Prudence, New York, Longman's Greene, 1937.

The most conclusive of these studies as it bears upon the relationship of the motion picture to the causation of delinquency, was conducted at New York University by Paul G. Cressey.13 Cressey's findings, based upon thousands of observations under controlled conditions, showed that the movies did not have any significant effect in producing delinquency in the crime-breeding area in which the study was made. Cressey readily admits that boys and young men, when suitably predisposed, sometimes have utilized techniques of crime seen in the movies, have used gangster films to stimulate susceptible ones toward crime, and on occasion in their own criminal actions have idealized themselves imaginatively as possessing as attractive a personality, or as engaging in as romantic activities as gangster screen heroes.14 Cressey is careful to follow this statement, however, with the explanation that he does not mean that movies have been shown to be a "cause" of crime, that he does not mean that "good" boys are enticed into crime by gangster films, that he merely means what he has said that boys and young men responsive to crime portrayals have been found on occasion to use ideas and techniques seen at the movies. This type of analytical thinking is largely absent from the findings of such critics of the comics as Fredric Wertham.

13. Paul G. Cressey, The Role of the Motion Picture in an Interstitial Area. (Unpublished manuscript on deposit in the New York University library.)

14. Paul G. Cressey, The Motion Picture Experience as Modified by Social Background and Personality, American Sociological Review, August 1938, p. 517.

Furthermore Cressey found that urban patterns of vice, gambling, racketeering, and gangsterism, including large components of violence, were so familiar to the children of this district that movies seemed rather tame by comparison. That this section of New York is typical of the thousands of other delinquency areas in American cities cannot be doubted.15 It is from these areas that the large proportion of official juvenile delinquents come and there is no reason to doubt that the role of the motion picture in producing delinquency is any greater in these areas in other American cities than it was found to he in New York.

15. See Clifford R. Shaw and Henry U. McKay, Report on Social Factors in Juvenile Delinquency, National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (No. 18, vol. II), Washington: Government Printing Office; ─, Delinquency Areas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1929; and---, Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1942.

The behavior scientist has learned that the causes of antisocial behavior─like the causes of all behavior─are complex. Delinquent and criminal careers can be understood only in terms of the interaction of many factors. Evaluation of their relative influence demands research based upon the most rigorous sampling and control, and requires the utmost objectivity in the interpretation of the data the research yields.

Let us now turn to researches dealing with the influence of comics. After surveying the literature we are forced to conclude such researches do not exist." The current alarm over 'the evil effects of comic books rests upon nothing more substantial than the opinion and conjecture of a number of psychiatrists, lawyers and judges. True, there is a large broadside of criticism from parents who resent the comics in one way or another or whose adult tastes are offended by comics stories and the ways in which they are presented. These are the same types of parents who were once offended by the dime novel, and later by the movies and the radio. Each of these scapegoats for parental and community failures to educate and socialize children has in turn given way to another as reformers have had their interest diverted to new fields in the face of facts that could not be gainsaid.

16. There is the possible exception of the study of Katherine M. Wolfe and Marjorie Fiske at Columbia University. The Children Talk A bout Comics, published by Paul F. Lazarsfeld and Frank Stanton, Communications Research, 1948─49, New York: Harper, 1949. This study, which was based on a small number of cases, was inconclusive.

As an example, let us examine the position of the leading crusader against the comics, New York's psychiatrist Fredric Wertham.17 Wertham's attitude and arguments in condemning the comics are very similar to those of the earlier critics of the movies. Reduced to their simplest terms, these arguments are that since the movies and comics are enjoyed by a very large number of children, and since a large component of their movie and comics diet is made up of crime, violence, horror, and sex, the children who see the movies and read the comics are necessarily stimulated to the performance of delinquent acts, cruelty, violence, and, undesirable sex behavior. This of course is the same type of argument that has been one of the major fallacies of all our monistic errors in attempting to explain crime and delinquency in the past.

17. Wertham's position was stated in some detail in an article by Judith Crist, Horror in the Nursery, Collier's, March 27, 1948. See also material by Wertham cited earlier in this article.

Wertham's reasoning is a bit more complicated and pretentious. His disclaims the belief that delinquency can have a single cause and claims to adhere to the concept of multiple and complex causation of delinquent behavior. But in effect his arguments do attribute a large portion of juvenile offenses to the comics. More pointedly he maintains that the comics in a complex maze of other factors are frequently the precipitating cause of delinquency.

We may criticize Wertham's conclusions on many grounds, but the major weakness of his position is that it is not supported by research data. His findings presented for the first time in Collier's magazine 18 are said to be the result of 2 years' study conducted by him and 11 other psychiatrists and social workers at the Lafargue Clinic in New York's Negro Harlem. In this article the claim is made that numerous children both delinquent and nondelinquent, rich and poor, were studied and that the results of these studies led to the major conclusion that the effect of comic books is "definitely and completely harmful."

18. Loc. cit., pp. 22, 28, 95─97.

That Wertham's approach to his problem is forensic rather than scientific is illustrated by the way in which his findings are presented in the Collier's article. Countering his claim that the effect of comics is definitely and completely harmful are statements in this article that comics do not automatically cause delinquency in every reader, that comic books alone cannot cause a child to become delinquent, that there are books of well-known comics which "make life better by making it merrier" and others "which make it clear even to the dullest mind, that crime never pays," and that there are "seemingly harmless comic books," but "nobody knows with any degree of exactness what their percentage is.”

A further illustration of this forensic technique is the way in which he introduces extraneous facts and statements which by implication he links with his thesis that the comics are a major factor in causing delinquency and emotional disturbance in children. An example is New York's Deputy Police Commissioner Nolan's statement that "the antisocial acts of the juvenile delinquents of today are in many instances more serious and even of a more violent nature than those committed by youth in the past." Even if this statement could be proved, there is not the slightest evidence, except Wertham's unsupported opinion, that the increase is due to the reading of comic books. Wertham then cites a series of sensational child crimes headlined in the press (not his own cases), which he imputes to the comics without any evidence at all that the juvenile offenders involved ever read or were interested in comic books. A final example of the improper use of extraneous material is the statement in the Collier's article that "Children’s Court records show that delinquent youngsters are almost 5 years retarded in reading ability," and Wertham is quoted as saying that "children who don't read well tend to delinquency." These statements are
unsupported, but even if true, there is not a scintilla of evidence that the reading retardation or disabi1ity of delinquents is due to reading comics. It is quite likely that the percentage of reading disability among delinquents was equally high or higher before the comic book was invented. As a matter of fact there are in this article no data which could be accepted by any person trained in research without documentation.

Wertham asserts that the content of the comics is almost universally one of crime, violence, horror, "emphasis of sexual characteristics" which "can lead to erotic fixations of all kinds," and "sadistic-masochistic mixture of pleasure and violence." Of the millions of comic books which Wertham claims deal with crime and brutality, he is content to rest his case on the selection of a few extreme and offensive examples which he makes no attempt to prove are typical. No systematic inventory of comic book content is presented, such as that compiled by Edgar Dale for the movies in 1935. 19 Without such an inventory these conjectures are prejudiced and worthless.

19. Edgar Dale, The Content of Motion Pictures, New York: Macmillan, 1933.

Wertham's major claims rest only on a few selected and extreme cases of children’s deviate behavior where it is said the comics have played an important role in producing delinquency. Although Wertham has claimed in his various writing that he and his associates' have studied thousands of children, normal and deviate, rich and poor, gifted and mediocre, he presents no statistical summary of his investigations. He makes no attempt to substantiate that his illustrative cases are in any way typical of all delinquents who read comics, or that the delinquents who do not read the comics do not commit similar types of offenses. He claims to use control groups (nondelinquents) but he does not describe these controls, how they were set up, how they were equated with his experimental groups (delinquents) to assure that the difference in incidence of comic-book reading, if any, was due to anything more than a selective process brought about by the particular area in which be was working.

The way in which Wertham and his associates studied his cases is also open to question. The development of case studies as scientific data is a highly technical procedure and is based on long experience among social scientists in anthropology, psychology, and sociology. 20 An adequate case study, which involves much more than a few interviews, gives a complete perspective of the subject's biological, psychological, and social development, for only in this manner can a single factor such as comic-book reading be put in its proper place in the interacting complex of behavior-determining factors. 21 On the basis of the materials presented by Wertham with reference to children's experience with the comics, it is doubtful if he has met the requirements of scientific case study or the criteria for handling life history materials. He does not describe his techniques or show how they were set up so as to safeguard his findings against invalid conclusions.

20. See Paul Horst et al., The Prediction of Personal Adjustment. New York: Social Science Research Conncil, 1941 especially The Prediction of Individual Behavior From Case Studies, pp. 183─249; Gordon W. Allport, The Use of Personal Documents in Psychological Science, New York: Social Science Research Council 1942; and Louis Gottschalk, Clyde Kluckholm and Robert Angell, The Use of Personal documents in History Anthropology and Sociology. New York: Social Science Research Council. 1945.

21. Examples of case studies are to be found in the earlier studies of William Healy end Augusta F. Bronner in Case Studies, Series I. Nos. 1─20, Boston; Judge Baker Foundation, 1923, and in the more complete Studies of Clifford R. Shaw et al., The Jackroller, The Natural History of a Delinquent Career, and Brothers in Crime. Chicago: University of Chicago. 1930, 1931, and 1938

Were the subjects he interviewed studied with the same meticulous care employed by a Healy or a Shaw? Did he get complete data on them? Were the circumstances surrounding the interviews such that the subjects gave honest answers to the questions asked by Wertham and his associates? Were safeguards set up to control individual differences in the interview techniques of the eleven different investigators? Even if it is assumed that such subjects will or can give a correct picture of the role of the comics in their lives, how are we to be sure that the interviewers' did not ask leading questions and stimulate the responses of the subjects to reply along a preordained line of thinking or imagining? Unless and until Wertham's methods of investigation are described, and demonstrated to be valid and reliable, the scientific worker in this field can place no credence in his results.

In conclusion, It may be said that no acceptable evidence has been produced by Wertham or anyone else for the conclusion that the reading of comic magazines has, or has not a significant relation to delinquent behavior. Even the editors of Collier's in which Wertham's results were first presented are doubtful of his conclusions, as is indicated by a later editorial appearing in that magazine in which, they say:

"Juvenile delinquency is the product of pent-up frustrations, stored up resentments and bottled up fears. It is not the product of cartoons or captions. But the comics are a handy, obvious uncomplicated scapegoat. If the adults who crusade against them, would only get as steamed up over such basic causes of delinquency as parental ignorance, indifference and cruelty, they might discover that the comics are no more a menace than Treasure Island or Jack the Giant Killer" 22

22. The Old Folk, Take It Harder Than Junior, Collier's, July 9, 1949.

The danger inherent in the present controversy, in which forensic argument replaces research, is that having set up a satisfactory whipping boy in comic magazines, we fail to face and accept our responsibility as parents and as citizens for providing our children with more healthful family and community living, a more constructive developmental experience.

Frederic M. Thrasher is professor of education at New York University, member of the Attorney General's Conference on Juvenile Delinquency, former secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Crime, on the board of directors of the National Board of Review, and author of The Gang.

Mr. CLENDENEN. I also have three different reports from the New York State Joint Legislative Committee to study comics. These contain not only their own recommendations, but also contain quotations from a large number of experts whom that committee consulted and secured opinions from.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that will be made a part of the subcommittee's files. Let it be exhibits Nos. 4a, 4b, and 4c.

(The three reports were marked "exhibits Nos. 4a, 4b, and 4c," and are on file with the subcommittee.)

Mr. CLENDENEN. Finally, I have two items here. One is an item entitled "Brain Washing: American Style," which was really a joint sponsorship. It was sponsored jointly by a group in West Virginia and then a Judge Hollaren, who is president of the Minnesota Juvenile Court Judges Association participated in the development of the material.

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, that will be made a part of the record. Let that be exhibit No. 5.

(The booklet referred to was marked "exhibit No. 5," and reads as follows:)



Every parent, every responsible adult, should be shocked by the prediction of 400,000 juveniles in court as delinquents during 1954. This represents a 33 percent increase over 1948, just as 350,000 in court during last year was 19 percent higher than prior years. Delinquency is on the march, ever increasing, ever destroying our youth.

Crimes previously associated with hardened criminals or the mentally depraved are now committed by children. We found boys and girls in gangs, carrying "snap-blades," setting out to inflict sadistic revenge upon fellow girls and boys of their community.

Burglary was common. Mugging a victim for cash was termed a "small-fry" act. Narcotics became the fad along with the moral breakdown which follows its use. Nonvirgin clubs sprang Up, with boys breaking up fixtures of a drugstore in Des Moines, Iowa, because the proprietor objected to the open peddling of flesh in his place of business.

In the Twin Cities we had the senseless killing of a man for $10.85 by youths. In Michigan, we were shocked by the brutal murder of a nurse by boys. They were just average teen-agers of the neighborhood.

Cases too numerous to mention proclaim the moral breakdown of our youth, disintegration of the family, and the lack of concern for the general welfare of youth.

Why are 400,000 delinquents slated for 1954? It cannot be attributed to an overnight personality change, it is not a population factor alone. The war upset has leveled off greatly. Then why these dreadful crimes by teenagers in such large numbers?

Narcotic peddling is one cause, but it is not universal.

There is a destructive factor that is universal. It is the arrogant, defiant publishing and distribution of thousands upon thousands of filth-drenched pocket books and magazines of the girlie-gag variety.

This printed poison drips with astounding ads, sadistic rape-murder stories which mask as true reporting. These perverted magazines contain instructions in crime, narcotic uses, and sex perversions and moral degradation.

This evil literature floods each community by the truckload. It is produced in corruption as maggots are produced and made available to your children.

This brazen effrontery to the decency of our communities was highlighted by J. Edgar Hoover in his letter of April 8, 1952: "I am indeed gratified to learn of the steps being taken by the Minnesota Juvenile Court Judges Association toward Preventing the sale and distribution of obscene literature in Minnesota. I have been most vigorously opposed to such materials, for I sincerely believe that its availability to youth is one of the principal causes of delinquency."


To act effectively, parents must first recognize and understand the situation. Many magazines have endeavored to enlighten us.

In the November 1951 issue of The Woman's Home Companion is an article entitled "The Smut Peddler Is After Your Child." The Christian Herald, May 1952, carried an article, entitled "Smut on the Newsstands."

In October 1952 Reader's Digest gave results of the national survey of smut as conducted and reported by Margaret Cuikln Banning. This information was presented to the Gathings House Committee to Investigate Indecent Publications.

The November, 1953, Issue of Ladies Home Journal featured "What Parents Don't Know About Comics." Reprints of this article, available at 2 1/2 cents each, are a must for every PTA. Address Mrs. Betty Kidd, Ladies Home Journal, Philadelphia 5, Pa.


This alarm has awakened a few parents but not nearly enough of them. The invasion has neither ceased or diminished. Rather it has flourished under the unscrupulous eyes of certain factions.

So-called "liberal, advanced thinkers" support and encourage "expression of thought"' on the part of racketeers of rot. It is hard to know what satisfaction they find in exposing millions of children to the moral poison which is the, formula of a great many comics.


Many parents will ask why this distribution of obscene publications goes unchecked. The answer to that question is a simple and ancient one. Money! Big money in this case.

It is a multi-million dollar racket and the kind that has a way of fighting. It can buy and control and hire those who will cry "censorship" but never at any time show concern over what is happening to youth.

The racket pokes fun at censors, those who have a care for youth. It is an old trick, which works. Encouraged by such hirelings, this giant corrupter of youth exerts pressure in every village, town and city.

This new 1954-model racket has clever ways and means also of avoiding the law. It hauls its "literature" into your community in privately owned trucks to avoid postal inspection.

Nor can the FBI interfere because such trucks are not common carriers for hire and subject to interstate commerce rules. The giant works outside the law yet he begs for protection under the first amendment.

Sales of obscenity increased from 62 million units In 1946 to 712 million units in 1952. Roughly, an increase of 1,000 percent in sales. Where is our civic vigilance?

How can you be sure that one of your children will not be numbered among the 400,000 delinquents during 1954? What do parents say when they are suddenly summoned into court? "I can't believe it's my Jimmy!" is the familiar expression which a judge hears. But, why not Jimmy? What makes him immune to the influence of the peddlers of smut and indecent publications which can be bought as easily as candy in dozens of places?


A. Every State should have a law hitting the distribution of indecent publications. The very act of bringing such printed matter into a community should be the principal or primary crime.

Any sale by a retailer should automatically involve the distributor who trucked that article into the community for sales purposes. These distributors are the real criminals because they deliberately plan the whole overt act.

Your local retailer does not order any of the materials trucked to him by these distributors. The truckers bring the bundles twice weekly and the material in those bundles is selected by the distributors.

You must understand that the distributors are actually happy when the local druggist is arrested for sale of such printed poison. The result means publicity for the distributor's smut.

Meanwhile the distributor is out of the county's jurisdiction and sits back and laughs at the local fight which is putting cash in his pocket. He will hire lawyers to yell "censorship," and keep the fight alive.

B. There should be a local board set up by ordinance which will check the materials coming into a community. Usually, the obviously dirty publications are kept out if such a board exists.


In the city of Detroit the police department operates with such a board and does a grand job of checking before materials get out to the stands. In cases of dispute between the board and the distributor, a review of the material is given to the prosecuting attorney along with reasons why the Board feels it is against the law and should be prosecuted.

The board is not the final authority and it should not be. The courts must be the last authority. But an amazing amount of rot can be stopped in this first instance by the screening board.

The State of Michigan has an average good law. But in its application, no law any better than the courage of the parents and the civic authority of a given community.

Thomas Jefferson was so right when he wrote in 1787: "The people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

Any preventive measure will bring a cry of "censorship" from the racketeers. However, let's examine the real situation. First and foremost, the stuff is not ordered. It is selected by the publishers and distributors for its sexy content and mockery of morals and is presented on these "merits." These are the two culprits who decide what your children are to read.

Isn't it more reasonable that a cross section of substantial citizens decide what reading matter should be admitted to a community?

Isn't it government in the very nature of our Founding Fathers for parents to act as Minute Men and women; Isn't it proper for them to heed the alarm and detect and prevent a sneak attack on their children? Should they not seek its prosecution by lawful authorities? Or better still, should they not seek cooperation from conscientious retailers? Such dealers want to know if reading matter on their stand is harmful to youth.

This parents' board is not, however, to have the final authority; rather it is to act as a bulwark for the protection of the children of the community. But parents can aid the prosecuting attorney, they can be the first line of vigilance to detect evil literature coming into the village or city and name the offending distributors.

The law and the courts are the final authority. But to ask one court to act on scores of obscene publications is like asking the, village plumber to stop a Mississippi flood. This is why there is need for a community board.


While we are speaking of courts, let it be said on the side of truth that the decision of one judge as to whether or not a book is obscene is purely a personal standard of that judge. It is not a case law decision. It is the same thing as asking a judge "what is blue" and another 'what is red."

True, there are some decisions on the definition of words like obscene or lewd but the application to a publication in question is the personal reaction of the presiding judge. That same judge could very well consider a strip-tease act on the village square a work of art. His decision might be based on "advancement" over common decency.

On the other hand, If a chief of police on his own, or a board on its own, assumes final authority over a publication, the judge ruling on the case would have to state that such assumed authority was unconstitutional; and he would have "case law" to back him up.

The essence of good government is to have the mayor who is invested with civic authority appoint a board so that they can assist him in law enforcement.

Sometimes the opposition forces make a big thing out of a decision by a liberal judge. But keep in mind that this judge, either by environment and/or relationship and culture, may have been tied to a powerful publisher when pronouncing certain books an "expression of thought" when they should have been labeled "obscene." Don't let anyone tell you that there was any legal magic involved.

We repeat that it is the avalanche of filth and not simply one book which demands community action on the part of parents. It is difficult to write a law against an evil which, in this case, is an abuse of the noble art of printing. But criminal forces are using mass infiltration tactics, and, therefore, it has to be met by drastic measures.


Mathematically there are not enough courts in the world to handle the mass infiltration of 259 million pocket books annually, of the 90 million comics monthly, and the innumerable sadistic-girlie magazines of various types. Court action on each would result in a ridiculous situation.

This factor is another reason why parents must act in each community and assist their prosecuting officers and civic authorities in cleaning up their town with the preventive measures previously suggested.

We all hate the taking away of any true inalienable rights of man, but certainly this spreading of indecency, of dangerous information, and of criminal teachings cannot come under the title of inalienable rights.

As Thomas Jefferson put It: "Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are a gift of God?"

By what stretch of the imagination, or of the law, can we contend that publications totally repulsive to the idea of God, can be said to be his gift to a free people?

If this Nation was founded on the principles of religion and freedom and a trust in God, and upon the inalienable rights of man coming from God, under His natural law, then that which would destroy God's moral code cannot claim protection under those freedoms He ordained for us as a free people.


The loudest cry of the opposition, and a clever one shouted: "New Law Will Take Bible Out Of Home." The papers carried that headline. Some uninformed parents fell for it. The trickery behind that strategy even made the house committee of the legislature hesitate.

But it is not true that the Minnesota Legislature turned down a new law. Here are the facts: The proposed law was presented to the senate's general legislation committee by Senator B. Grottum and that committee composed of veterans of long service passed the bill from the committee at the first hearing.

But a companion bill, presented to the house crime prevention committee by Representative Gordon Forbes, was held up because about 75 persons, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, appeared in opposition. This house committee was composed of several freshman legislators, with strong Twin City membership, who fell for the sensational Bible-Shakespeare tactics. By postponing hearings, they pigeonholed the bill.

Therefore, the Legislature of the State of Minnesota never had a chance to vote on the bill. A poll showed that 85 percent of the people of Minnesota favored an even stronger bill than the one proposed and letters to that effect deluged the legislature.


The opposition argues heatedly for the "whole content" rule, which asserts that a book must be totally obscene in content and intent before it is stopped. The alternate "single passage” rule maintains a stricter stand. If filthy passages are planted even scatter-fashion in the book, a few redeeming chapters do not succeed in exempting it from disapproval.

There is some merit in the "whole content" rule, but it has become the weapon and protection of clever publishers. They plant repugnant, "rock-bottom" scenes, then whitewash the remaining chapters and proceed to get by on the "whole content" rule.

The same strategy is utilized by the publishers of many comics. They depict, portray, and suggest the most sadistic patterns imaginable, insert once "Crime does not pay" and thus claim an excuse for their wanton disregard for decency.

The publication world is well aware that by holding to the "whole content" rule and by other clever manipulations, they can render the law useless. This is why they continue to fight the real teeth found in the "single passage" rule, and why they dislike parent boards.


Somehow, the publication racket has managed to dupe parents as well as children. The sales mount at an alarming increase of 1,000 percent between 1946 and 1951. Comics have soared from 50 to 90 million per month since 1951. Figures are facts and these facts are staggering.

Parents are alarmed when presented with the actual printed pulp. They become outraged and irate upon the realization of their innocent ignorance. They desire action but rely necessarily upon the cooperation of all parents. Positive and immediate action requires unity. The unified demand for protective legislation by parents can positively outlaw the rape of the minds and welfare of our youth.


We judges know that there is no one cause for delinquency. There are several factors which lead a child into delinquency, some predominate more than others. We know that there are hidden causes in many cases which are not so apparent as a home broken by divorce, for example.

But let's examine the records and be practical about the matter. You name any type of crime which youth committed in 1953 and you will find appalling crimes which were not associated with youth in the past.

For every one you name and cite the action thereof, a pocket book, crime magazine or comic can be produced with blueprints telling the youth just how to commit that crime. Details are given in the rotten literature which tell youth how to commit sadism, theft, robbery, perversion, and how to operate teenage sex clubs and dope rings. These "blueprints" are available to youth on newsstands.

In This Week magazine, April 20, 1947, J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI stated, "High in the ranks of contributors to juvenile delinquency are the vicious and unscrupulous peddlers, producers and printers of obscene literature. They are as responsible as the sex fiends they incite by their wares. After one brutal rape murder case the killer told police, 'It was them magazines ─ the ones with sex pictures in them'.”

Another victim: "14-year-old Walter was arrested after a woman reported that someone was walking on the roof of her house. The youth carried a bottle of chloroform, a pad of cotton, a billy club and leather shoelaces in his pockets. He openly admitted his intentions to use the chloroform and club for assault, commit the sex act and tie her up with the shoestring. Walter came from a good family. Hidden under the mattress of his bed was a bundle of obscene pictures and magazines. From them Walter had formulated his vicious plan."

Again: "Don't the comic books always tell you at the end that you can't win?" a police officer asked a 15-year-old gang leader, "Sure," was the answer, "but we never read the end─just how." This youthful gang slugged a taxi driver to death.

Magazines of this caliber frequently carry innocent "western" titles, or something to suggest "Crime does not pay." But the poison is there in spite of the sugarcoating.

In the November 9, 1958, Newsweek, the FBI listed: "Availability of salacious literature and entertainment glorifying crime," as factors concerned with the terrifying increase in juvenile delinquency for 1953.

Bear In mind, since Mr. Hoover made his first Statement in 1947, the crime publications and rot books have increased 1,000 percent.


Now let's get down to real facts and plow under these "rationalizations" of the hired journalists and hybrid educators.

In l952, Judge Mulholland of the New York domestic relations court sent certain literature to several educators, psychologists and psychiatrists for their opinions. (See Gathings Committee Report.)

The boy involved in this case was sent to Dr. Joseph Manno, psychiatrist in charge of King's County Hospital. "I find that the child had read page 26 of one book before he committed the crime. It is my opinion that the antisocial act was precipitated by the reading of this book. It is obscene, provoking and detrimental to the healthy emotional growth of young people. It unwisely stimulates and excites the sexual urges of young boys while they are still in the state of increased suggestibility. It would be wise if such books were prohibited by law to minors."

Dr. Ernest Harms, editor of The Nervous Child stated, "If I had anything to say about it, such books would be kept out of juvenile hands."

Dr. Richard Hoffman of New York stated: "There are some phases of life that are not for the youngsters. Exposing juveniles to trashy muck under the name of literature, produces the kind of effect in the potential delinquent as to light a torch for their lust. For this reason, such books should be condemned."

Dr. Frederic Wertham, psychiatrist of Queens Hospital, New York, said, “From pages 28 to 31 of one book, It described an episode where a group of boys pay a girl for having intercourse with them all, and then take the money away from her by violence. I have examined a number of boys who did just that─and this book should be a good primer for teaching it to those who haven't had the idea yet."

In answers to the advocators of facts of life, Superintendent of New York Schools, Dr. Frank D. Whelan, stated: "Will a step-by-step description of how to jostle a young girl in a subway train diminish delinquency, or a detailed catalogue of the sex possibilities of a cellar club head youngsters to shun them? You don't put out a fire by fanning the flame."

J. Ritchie Stevenson, New York Vocational School: "The books are obscene and serve no good purpose. There is a tendency for the adolescent to imitate the characters portrayed in the books. I would never recommend these filthy books to anyone. In fact, I feel these books are dangerous in the hands of the adolescent boy and girl."

There is more detailed testimony about the effect of such books; but the direct quotations from cross sections of responsible men should serve to answer any fake arguments from the opposition.


The Gathings Committee was set up by Congress to investigate the vast infiltration of indecent publications on newsstands across the Nation. In that report it was brought out that some 250 million pocket books were sold each year and that an estimated 90 million comics per month hit the communities of our Nation.

Added to these are the unestimated number of girlie, murder, and smut, variety of which there is no accurate account.

The report also made it clear that a few decent-minded men of the distribution business were deeply concerned. For example, Samuel Elack, vice president of the Atlantic Coast Distributors, in a speech at their convention April 1952, in Florida, said: "Frankly, there is no real excuse for much of the material we distribute. It is imperative that we free ourselves without delay. One wonders what manner of diseased mind can contrive such tripe. Many of the magazines, in addition, carry advertisements, of a nature so objectionable and so personal that we should not, under any circumstances, want our children to be exposed to it."

Mr. O'Connor of the Bantam Books, Inc., was pinned down to this statement: "As a personal opinion, I will say I wouldn't want to give them (the pocket books named) to an adolescent. No, I wouldn't give them to my daughter, for example."

Mr. David Cook of the Cook Publishing Co. said In 1951 that he personally knew of over 50 million comics per month sold. He stated: "Since most children have difficulty in their earlier years, the visual presentation makes it easy for them to understand what is going on. To my mind, the potential damage to impressionable young minds done by this kind of thing is shocking. This naked appeal to sadism, horror and cruelty does a harm which is incalculable."

The independent agency which tabulates comic book distribution points out that in January (1954) there were 412 different comic titles on the stands. Since a publisher cannot afford to print less than 300,000 of a title, you can see that the monthly distribution is close to 100 million.

To insure the 68 percent sale which a comics publisher needs to break even, covers must be progressively lurid. And since profit depends on sales in excess of 68 percent, cover and contents must be tuned to an even lowering degree of the depraved taste which so many of these comics develop.


As funny as any comic is the Report of the Mayor's Committee on Indecent Literature of the City of Minneapolis. The report informs us that Minneapolis does not have the same low-type publications on its newsstands as are found in other cities. And then the report goes on: "There are some bad pocket books on the stands, but the Bible is displayed too, and you wouldn't want to prohibit the sale of the Bible!"

It continues: "There are some objectionable comics but comics are such a stimulant to reading, we believe the good effect outdoes the bad."

For a retort to that ridiculous statement, read the article "What Parents Don't Know About Comics," in the Ladies Home Journal, November 1953.

Your attention is drawn to this particular report on Minneapolis because of its failure to be true and informative. Such reports are not uncommon.

Erie Stanley Gardner, the great mystery writer, speaking before the National Librarians' Convention at Los Angeles, June 22, 1953, called attention to the flood of pornographic literature upon the newsstands. "It must be controlled or it will be necessary to resort to legal censorship." Mr. Gardner went on to say: "Pornographic literature is pouring from the presses of unscrupulous publishers. Young people are developing false ideas of life from the millions of copies of smut publications sold at magazine stands.

"Certain unscrupulous publishers began deliberately to cater to the inflammable and uninformed sex urges of the adolescent," said Gardner. He added: "If libraries were made more attractive to youngsters and teen-agers it would be a constructive force in combating juvenile delinquency."

George E. Sokolsky, noted columnist, stated: "I must say it would cause little damage to our civilization if the pornographic miseries that are being sold to our children on newsstands and in candy stores were burned. Also, some of the mystery stories which substitute filthy expressions for skillful narrative could be burned with little loss to anyone.”

The American Legion at its 1953 St. Louis Convention, condemned the obscenity sold on newsstands and placed the restriction of such sale as a point in its welfare program.

"We heartily concur with your appraisal of the danger to the morals of our youth which exists through the sale of indecent literature," states a letter from Legion headquarters at Indianapolis.

The Legion realizes that the leaders of tomorrow cannot be raised on, nor infiltrated with, the pornographic miseries of today if we wish to remain a great Nation. Once a culture begins to rot from within, the scavengers gather for the spoils.

As Lincoln put it "America will never be conquered from without. If it perishes, it will do so from within."


It was the American Civil Liberties Union and the Twin City newspapers which led the fight against the stronger indecent publications bill as introduced into the house and senate committees of the Minnesota Legislature. (February 1953.)

History repeated itself in this instance. Many innocent people were duped and filled the committee rooms at the house hearings. These no doubt contributed money as well as time. Recall the many innocents who contributed money to the American Civil Liberties Union for the defense of Earl Browder, Harry Bridges, and recently the two Rosenbergs.

Here are some facts: House Report No. 2290, 71st Congress, 3d session, 1931: "The American Civil Liberties Union is closely affiliated with communistic movement in the United States and fully 90 percent of its efforts are on behalf of Communists who have come in conflict with the law. It claims to stand for free speech, free press and free assembly - but it is quite apparent the main function is furthering of Communist work."

Naval Intelligence accuses, 1938: "American Civil Liberties Union─this organization is too well known to need description. The larger part of the work carried on by it and its various branches does undoubtedly materially aid communistic objectives."

California Legislative Report, 1949: "It is obvious that the main function of the American Civil Liberties Union is to protect Communist objectives."

American Legion Convention, St. Louis, 1953: "Be it resolved That the House Un-American Activities Committee, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee be urged to investigate the activities of the American Civil Liberties Union, and if warranted, institute prosecution under the Smith and/or McCarran Acts."

This is the group which professes to be concerned with your liberties; and they, with the Twin City press, shouted: "New Law Will Take Bible Out of Home."

How long and how often can the American people be duped? Parents, wake up! The objective of communism is to despoil your children, to rob them of their respect for law and the teachings of morality, to enslave them with sex and narcotics. When that happens, the Seeds of communism will fall on fertile ground.


Until the time comes when a suitable law is enacted, parents must act and continue to act. Parents can go to their mayor and ask that a parents' committee be appointed from a cross section of service and civic clubs to assist the county or city or State attorney and the police. Parents can be vigilantes for their children and see what muck is coming into the local stands and who sells it. A report of their findings can be made to the mayor and prosecuting attorneys.

Parents could also without belligerence, point out the objectionable materials to the retailers, it is certain many good citizens who would not for the world want to injure the youth of a community, have such materials in their stores.

Retailers do not have time to check and read the products on their stands and would welcome any help in cleaning them up.

When such safeguards are set up there will be no need of censorship. Poison bears a skull and crossbones label but wise parents do not depend on this label; they put rat poison where their children cannot reach it.

The time for action is now. Save your child from the "brain washings" distributed by the racketeers of rot.


"The publisher of books and magazines enjoys the protection of our constitutional guarantee that the freedom to write and publish shall not be curbed. He also has the responsibility not to abuse this freedom." - Minneapolis Sunday Tribune, February 21, 1954.

Mr. CLENDENEN. I also have an item from the Committee on Evaluation of Comic Books in Cincinnati, Ohio, which contains a rather detailed evaluation of comics presently upon their standards, these evaluations are related to a certain criteria which they have developed

in relation to what they believe are the effects of these materials upon youngsters.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, those items will be made a part of the record. Let those be "Exhibits Nos. 6a and 6b."

(The evaluations referred to were marked "Exhibits Nos. 6a and 6b," and read as follows:)
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:27 pm



June 1953

The Committee on Evaluation of Comic Books, Box 1486, Cincinnati, Ohio, has evaluated 418 comic books published, by 106 publishers. These books cover a period of 3 or 4 months' publication and therefore are a larger number than are in publication at any particular time. Since most of them are still in circulation, it is deemed wise to include them here for the guidance of those who seek it. The committee has graded this literature and placed it in the four levels of (A) no objection, (B) some objection, (C) objectionable, and (D) very objectionable. Those books rated A and B are considered safe for use by children and young people.


A. A. 1. Wynn, Inc., 23 West 47th Street, New York, N. Y.; Glamorous Romances (B), Real Love (B), The Hand of Fate (D), Web of Mystery (D).

Ace Magazines, Inc., 23 West 47th Street, New York, N. Y.; Complete Love Magazine (C), Ten-Story Love (B), War Heroes (C), World War III (C).

Ace Periodicals, Inc., 23 West 47th Street, New York, N. Y.; Love Experiences (C).

Allen Hardy Associates, 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.; Danger (C), War Fury (C), Weird Terror (D).

Animirth Comics, Inc., 270 Park Avenue, New York, N. Y.; Battlefield (C), Spellbound (D).

Archie Comic Publications, Inc., 241 Church Street, New York, N. Y.;. Archie Comics (A), Jughead Comics, Archie's Pal (A), Wilbur Comics (A).

Aragon Magazines, Inc., 949 Broadway, New York, N. Y.; Mister Mystery (D).

Arnold Publications, Inc., 578 Summer Street, Stamford, Conn.: Marmaduke Mouse (A).

Atlas News Co., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Lovers (B).

Avon Periodicals, Inc., 575 Madison Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Buddies In the U. S. Army (C), Eerie (D), Fighting Daniel Boone (B), Fighting Under Sea Commandos (B), Merry Mouse (A), Night of Mystery (C), Peter Rabbit (A), Space Mouse (A), U. S. Tank Commandos (C), Wild Bill Hickock, (C), Witchcraft (D)

Bard Publishing Corp., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Patsy Walker (A).

B. & M. Distributing Co., 45 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y.: Dizzy Dames (A), Skeleton Hand (C)

Best Syndicated Features, Inc., 45 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y.: Adventures Into the Unknown (D), Romantic Adventures (A), Spy-Hunters (C), The Kilroys (B).

Better Publications, Inc., 10 East 40th Street, New York, N. Y.: Exciting War (C), Popular Romance (C)

Beverly Publishing Co., 480 Lexington Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Secret Hearts (A)

Broadcast Features Publishing Corp., 485 Madison Avenue, New York, N. Y.: My Friend Irma (B)

Canam Publishers Sales Corp., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Journey Into Mystery (C), War Action (C)

Capitol Stories, Inc., Charlton Building, Derby, Conn.: Crime and Justice (D), Hot Rods and Racing Cars (C), Lawbreakers Suspense Stories (D), Racket Squad in Action (C), Space Adventures (C), Space Western Comics (C), The Thing (D), True Life Secrets (C)

Chipiden Publishing Corp., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Strange Tales (D)

Classic Syndicate, Inc., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Mystic (D), Spy Fighters (C)

Close-Up, Inc., 241 Church Street, New York, N. Y.: Katy Keene (A), Laugh Comics (A), Super Duck Comics (A), Suzie Cornice (A)

Comic Combine Corp., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N: Y.: Men's Adventures

Comic Favorites, Inc., 578 Sumner Street, Stamford, Conn.: Doll Man (C), Gabby (A), Jonesy (B)

Comic Magazines, 847 Madison Avenue, New York, N. Y: Blackhawk (C), Candy (A), Crack Western (C), G. I. Combat (C), G. I. Sweethearts (B), Heart Throbs (B), Ken Shannon (C), Love Confessions (B), Love Letters (B), Love Secrets (B), Plastic Man (C), Police Comics (C), T-Man (C), War Romances (C), Web of Evil (D)

Cornell Publishing Corp., 359 Fifth Avenue,. New York, N. Y.: Girl Confessions (B)

Creston Publications, Inc., 45 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y.: Giggle Comics (A), Ha Ha Comics (A), Soldiers of Fortune (C)

Crestwood Publishing Co., 1790 Broadway, New York, N. Y.: Black Magic (C), Young Love (A)

Cross Industries Corp., 9 West 57th Street, New York, N. Y.: The Perfect Crime (C)

Current Books, Inc., 23 West 47th Street, New York, N. Y.: Crime Must Pay the Penalty (D)

Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 261 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Andy Hardy Comics (A), Andy Panda, Walter Lantz (A), Beetle Bailey (A), Bozo (A), Buck Jones (C), Bugs Bunny (A), Daffy (A), Desert Gold, Zane Grey's (B), Donald Duck, Walt Disney's (A), Double Trouble (A), Duck Album, Walt Disney's (A), Elmer Fudd (A), Flash Gordon (A), Francis, the Famous Talking Mule (A), Gene Autry Comics (B), Gene Autry's Champion (B), Gerald McBoing Boing (A), Goofy, Walt Disney's (A), Henry, Carl Anderson's (A}, Henry Aldrich (A), Howdy Doody (A), Indian Chief (B), Johnny Mack Brown Comics (B), Lassie (A), Little Iodine (A), Little Lulu, Marge's (A), Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies (A), Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney's. (A), New Funnies, Walter Lantz (A), Oswald, the Rabbit, Walter Lantz (A), Petunia (A), Pogo Possum (A), Popeye (A), Porky Pig (A), Raggedy Ann & Andy (A), Rex Allen Comics (B), Rootle Kazootie (A), Roy Rogers Comics (C), Rhubarb, the Millionaire Cat (A), Sergeant Preston of the Yukon (B), Tarzan (A), Tom Corbett, Space Cadet (B), Tom and Jerry Comics (A), Trigger, Roy Roger's (A), Tubby, Marge's (A), The Cisco Kid (B), The Flying A's Range Rider (C), The Little Scouts (A), The Lone Ranger (C), The Lone Ranger's Famous Horse, Hi-Yo Silver (A), The Lone Ranger's Companion, Tonto (A), Uncle Scrooge, Walt Disney's (A), Woody Woodpecker, Walter Lantz (A), Zane Grey's Desert Gold (B), Zane Grey's King of the Royal Mounted (C)

Educational Comics, Inc., 225 Lafayette Street, New York, N. Y.: Mad (C)

Excellent Publications Inc., 30 East 60th Street, New York, N. Y.: Battle Report (D), The Fighting Man (B), The Fighting Man Annual (B), War Report (C), War Stories (C)

Fables Publishing Co., 225 Lafayette Street, New York, N. Y.: Two-Fisted Tales (C),The Haunt of Fear (C),Weird Science (D)

Family Comics, Inc., 1860 Broadway, New York, N. V.: Casper, the Friendly Ghost (A), Paramount Animated Comics (A)

Famous Funnies Publications, 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Buster Crabbe (C), Famous Funnies (C), Movie Love (A), New Heroic Comics (A)

Farrell Comics, Inc., 30 East 60th Street., New York, N. Y.: Haunted Thrills (D), Strange Fantasy (D), The Lone Rider (C)

Fawcett Publications, Inc., 67 West 44th Street, New York, N. Y.: Battle Stories (C), Beware! Terror Tales (D), Bill Battle (C), Captain Marvel (A), Captain Marvel, Jr. (B), Funny Animals (A), Hopalong Cassidy (B), Lash LaRue Western (B), Life Story (C), Master Comics (B), Monte Hale Western (B), This Magazine Is Haunted (D), Nyoka, the Jungle Girl (B), Rocky Lane Western (B), Rod Cameron Western (B), Romantic Story (B), Six-Gun Heroes (C), Soldier Comics (C), Sweethearts (C), Tex Ritter Western (C), Tom Mix Western (B), The Marvel Family (C), Underworld Crime (C), Whiz Comics (D), Worlds of Fear (D)

Fight Stories, Inc., 1658 Summer Street, Stamford, Conn.: Fight Comics (B)

Feature Publications, Inc., 1790 Broadway, New York, N. Y.: Frankenstein (C), Prize Comics Western (B), Young Brides (B), Young Romance (C)

Fiction House, 1658 Summer Street, Stamford, Conn.: Ghost Comics (D)

Gem Publications Inc., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Patsy & Hedy (A)

Gilmore Publications, Inc.: Weird Mysteries (D)

Flying Stories, Inc., 1658 Summer Street, Stamford, Conn.: Man O' Mars (B)

Four Star Publications, Inc., 80 East 60th Street, New York, N. Y.: Fantastic Fears (C), G I in Battle (C), G I in Battle Annual (C), Voodoo (D)

Gilbertson Co., Inc., 826 Broadway, New York, N. V.: Classics Illustrated, David Balfour (A)

Glen-Kel Publishing Co., 1658 Summer Street, Stamford, Conn.: Jungle Comics (C), Kaanga Jungle King (D)

Harvey Picture Magazines: War Comics (C)

Harvey Enterprises, Inc., 1860 Broadway, New York, N. Y: First Love Illustrated (C), Horace and Dotty Dripple Comics (A)

Harvey Picture Magazines, Inc., 1860 Broadway, New York, N. Y.: Little Audrey Comics (A), Warfront (C)

Harvey Publications, Inc., 1860 Broadway, New York, N. Y.: Blondie (A), Dagwood Comics, Chic Young's (A), Daisy and Her Pups (A), Dick Tracy Comics Monthly (C), Jiggs and Maggie (A), Joe Palooka Adventures (B), Katzenjammer Kids (A), Little Max Comics (A), Sad Sack Comics (A), Tomb of Terror (D)

Harwell Publications, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: All True Romance (C), Horrific (D)

Headline Publications, Inc., 1790 Broadway, New York, N. Y.: Headline Comics (C), Justice Traps the Guilty (C)

Hercules Publishing Corp., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Menace (C), Spy Cases (D)

Hillman Periodicals, Inc., 535 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Airboy Comics (B), Dead-Eye Western (D), Frogman Comics (B), Hot Rod and Speedway Comics (B), Real Clue Crime Stories (C), Romantic Confessions (A)

Home Comics, Inc., 1860 Broadway, New York, N. V.: Black Cat Mystery (D), First Romance Magazine (B), Hi-School Romance (C), Love Problems and Advice Illustrated (B)

I. C. Publishing Co.; Inc., 225 Lafayette Street, New York, N. Y.: Tales from the Crypt (D), Weird Fantasy (C)

Interstate Publishing Corp., 270 Park Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Battle Brady (C), Young Men on the Battlefield (C)

Junior Books, Inc., 23 West 47th Street, New York, N. Y.: Fun Time (A)

K. K. Publications, Inc., Poughkeepsie, N. Y.: Red Ryder Comics (B), Walt Disney's Comics and Stories (A)

Leading Magazine Corp., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Kid Colt Outlaw (C)

Lev Gleason Publications, Inc., 114 East 32d Street, New York, N. Y.: Black Diamond (C), Boy Illustories (C), Boy Loves Girl (C), Crime Does Not Pay (C), Crime and Punishment Illustories (D), Daredevil (A), Dilly (A), Lover's Lane (A)
Literary Enterprises, Inc., 10 East 40th Street, New York, N. Y.: Buster Bunny (A), Fantastic Worlds (C), Lucky Duck (A), Peter Pig (A), Sniffy the Pup (A), Supermouse, the Big Cheese (A)

L. L. Publishing Co., Inc., 225 Lafayette Street, New York, N. Y.: Crime Suspense Stories (D), The Vault of Horror (D)

Love Romances Publishing Co., Inc., 1658 Summer Street, Stamford, Conn.: Planet Comics (C)

Magazine Enterprises, 11 Park Place, New York, N. V.: Best of the West (C), Big Town (C), Cave Girl (C), Straight Arrow (C), Tim Holt (C), The American Air Forces (B), The Durango Kid (C), The Ghost Rider (D)

Magazine Publishers, Inc., 737 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Ill.: Mazie (A), Mortie (A), Stevie (A)

Marjean Magazine Corp., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Justice (D)

Marvel Comics, Inc., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Marvel Tales (D).

Master Comics, Inc., 11 East 44th Street, New York, N. Y.: Dark Mysteries (D), Romantic Hearts (A)

Michel Publications, Inc., 45 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y.: Cookie (A), Funny Films (A), Lovelorn (A), Operation: Peril (C), The Hooded Horseman (C)

Minoan Publishing Corp., 17 East 45th Street, New York, N. Y.: Love Doctor, Dr. Anthony King (C), Tales of Horror (D), The Purple Claw (D)

Miss America Publishing Corp., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Miss America (A)

National Comics Publications, Inc., 480 Lexington Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Action Comics (C), A Date With Judy (A), Adventure Comics (B), All American Men of War (B), All Star Western (C), Bat Man (C), Buzzy (C), Comic Cavalcade (A), Detective Comics (B), Flippity and Flop (A), Funny Stuff (A), Gang Busters (B), Here's Howie (A), Hollywood Funny Folks (A), House of Mystery (C), Leading Screen Comics (A), Leave It to Binky (A), Movietown's Animal Antics (A), Mr. District Attorney (B), Mutt & Jeff (A), Mystery In Space (B), Our Army at War (B), Peter Porkchops (A), Real Screen Comics (A), Sensation Mystery (C), Star Spangled War Stories (A), Strange Adventures (C), Superboy (B), Superman (B), The Adventures of Bob Hope (A), The Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (A), The Adventures of Rex, the Wonder Dog (C), The Fox and the Crow (A), The Phantom Stranger (C), Tomahawk (C), Western Comics (B), Wonder Woman (C), World's Finest Comics (C)

Newsstand Publications, Inc., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Lorna the Jungle Queen (D), Man Comics (D)

Official Magazine Corp.: Wendy Parker (B)

Orbit Publications, Inc., 1819 Broadway, New York, N. Y.: Wanted Comics (C)

Our Publishing Co., 1819 Broadway, New York, N. Y.: Love Diary (B), Love Journal (C)

Periodical House, Inc., 23 West 47th Street, New York, N. Y.: Baffling Mysteries (D), Love at First Sight (B)

Parkway Publishing Corp., 11 Park Place, New York, N. Y.: Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders (C)

[Reprinted from Parents Magazine]

Postal Publications, Inc., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.; Patsy & Her Pals (A)

Preferred Publications, Inc., 45 West 45th Street, New York, N. Y.: Forbidden Worlds (D)

Prime Publications, Inc., 850 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Uncanny Tales (D)

Randall Publishers, Ltd., 30 Strathearn Road, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Mysteries (D)

Real Adventures Publishing Co., Inc., 1658 Sumner Street, Stamford, Conn.: Jet Aces (C), Jumbo Comics (C), Long Bow (B), Sheena (C)

Realistic Comics, Inc., 575 Madison Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Cowpuncher (C), Kit Carson (B), Spotty the Pup (A), Women to Love (C)

Ribage Publishing Corp., 480 Lexington Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Crime Mysteries (D), Youthful Romances (C)

Signal Publishing Co., 125 East 46th Street, New York, N. Y.: Girls' Love Stories (A), Girls' Romances (B)

Sphere Publishing Co., 350 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Millie the Model (A)

Sports Action, Inc., 850 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. V.: Combat Casey (C)

Standard Magazines, Inc., 10 East 40th Street, New York, N. Y.: Date With Danger (C), Intimate Love (B), Jetta (C)

Star Publications, Inc., 545 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: All-Famous Police Cases (D), Confessions of Love (C), Frisky Animals (A), Fun Comics (A), Popular Teen-Agers (C), Shocking Mystery Cases (U), Spook (D), Startling Terror Tales (D), Terrifying Tales (D), Terrors of the Jungle (D), Top Love Stories (B), The Horrors (C), The Outlaws (C), True to Life Romances (B), Weird Tales, Blue Bolt (D)

St. John Publishing Co., 545 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Abbott and Costello (A), Anchors, the Salt Water Daffy (B), Atom-Age Combat (C), Authentic Police Cases (C), Basil the Royal Cat (A), Diary Secrets (B), Gandy Goose Comics (A), Heckle and Jeckle Comics, Paul Terry's (A), Little Eva (A), Little Ike (B), Little Joe (A), Little Roquefort Comics, Paul Terry's (A), Mopsy (A), Paul Terry's Comics (A), Paul Terry's Mighty Mouse Comics (A), Pictorial Romances (C), Teen-Age Romances (B), Teen-Age Temptation (B), Terry-Toons Comics (A), True Love Pictorial (C), War-Time Romances (C), Weird Horrors (C), Zip-Jet (C)

Stanhall Publications, Inc., 480 Lexington Avenue, New York, N. Y: G. I. Jane (B), Oh, Brother (A)

Stanmor Publications, Inc., 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Battle Cry (C).

Story Comics, Inc., 7 East 44th Street, New York, N. Y.: Fight Against Crime (D), Mysterious Adventures (D).

Superior Publishers Limited, 2382 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Journey Into Fear (D), Love and Marriage (B), My Secret Marriage (A), Secret Romances (C), Strange Mysteries (D).

Timely Comics, Inc.: Love Romances (B).

Tiny Tot Comics, Inc., 225 Lafayette Street, New York, N. Y.: Frontline Combat (A), Shock Suspen Stories (D).

Toby Press, Inc., 17 East 45th Street, New York, N. Y.: Big Tex (C), Billy the Kid (C), Felix the Cat, Pat Sullivan's (A), Great Lover Romances (C), John Wayne Adventure Comics (C), Monty Hall of the U. S. Marines (C), The Black Knight (C), Washable Jones and the Shmoo (A).

Trojan Magazines, Inc., 125 East 46th Street, New York, N. Y.: Attack! (B).

20th Century Comic Corp., 270 Park Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Astonishing (D), Kent Blake of the Secret Service (B), Mystery Tales (C).

United Feature Syndicate, Inc., 220 East 42d Street, New York, N. Y.; Fritzi Ritz (B), Nancy and Sluggo (A), Sparkle Comics (A), Sparkler Comics (A), The Captain and the Kid (A), Tip-Top Comics (A), Tip Topper Comics (A).

Unity Publishing Corp., 28 West 47th Street, New York, N. Y.: The Beyond (D).

Visual Editions, Inc., 10 East 40th Street, New York, N. Y.: Adventures into Darkness (D), Joe Yank (C), Kathy (A), New Romances (A), The Unseen (D), This Is War (C).

Western Fiction Publishing Co., Inc., 270 Park Avenue, New York, N. Y.: Journey Into Unknown Worlds (C), Wild Western (C).

Witches Tales, Inc., 1860 Broadway, New York, N. V.: Chamber of Chills Magazine (D), Witches Tales Magazine (D).

Wings Publishing Co., 1658 Summer Street, Stamford, Conn., Indians (B), Wings Comics (B).

Youthful Magazine, Inc., 105 East 35th Street, New York, N. Y.: Atomic Attack! (C), Daring Confessions (B), Chilling Tales (U).

Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., 366 Madison Avenue, New York, N. Y.: G. I. Joe (B).



The Committee on Evaluation of Comic Books, P. O. Box 1486, Cincinnati, Ohio, with 84 trained reviewers, has evaluated the 418 comic books available. They are placed in the categories of No Objection, Some Objection, Objectionable, and Very Objectionable. Those in the first two are deemed suitable for use by children and younger teen-agers.

The frequency of publication is indicated by the symbols (M) for monthly, (B) for bimonthly, (Q) for quarterly, and (O) for one-shots.

It is important to know the criteria at the end of this list if one desires to know why the Committee has rated these magazines as it has.
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:28 pm

No objection

Abbott & Costello ─ B
A Date With Judy ─ B
Andy Hardy Comics ─ B
Andy Panda, Walter Lantz' ─ B
Archie Comics ─ B
Basil ─ B
Beetle Bailey ─ O
Blondie Comics Monthly ─ M
Bob Hope, The Adventures of ─ B
Bozo ─ O
Bugs Bunny ─ B
Buster Bunny ─ Q
Candy ─ M
Captain Marvel Adventures ─ M
Casper the Friendly Ghost ─ M
Classics Illustrated-David Balfour ─ M
Comic Cavalcade
Cookie ─ B
Daffy ─ O
Dagwood Comics, Chic Young's ─ M
Daisy and Her Pups ─ B
Daredevil ─ M
Dilly ─ B
Dizzy Dames ─ B
Donald Duck, Walt Disney ─ B
Double Trouble with Goober ─ O
Duck Album, Walt Disney's
Elmer Fudd ─ O
Felix the Cat ─ M
Flash Gordon ─ Q
Flippity and Flop ─ B
Francis, the Famous Talking Mule ─ O
Frisky Animals ─ Q
Frontline Combat ─ B
Fun Comics ─ Q Fun Time ─ Q
Funny Animals ─ B
Funny Films ─ B
Funny Folks
Funny Stuff ─ B
Gabby ─ B
Gandy Goose Comics ─ B
Gerald McBoing Boing ─ Q
Giggle Comics ─ B
Girls Love Stories ─ B
Goofy, Walt Disney's ─ O
Ha Ha Comics ─ B
Heckle and Jeckle Comics ─ B
Henry, Carl Anderson's ─ B
Henry Aldrich ─ Q
Here's Howie ─ B
Hi-Yo Silver, The Lone Ranger's ─ Q
Hollywood Funny Folks ─ B
Horace and Dotty Dripple Comics ─ B
Howdy Doody ─ B
Jiggs and Maggie ─ B
Jughead Comics, Archie's Pal ─ B
Kathy ─ Q
Katy Keene Comics ─ B
Katzenjammer Kids ─ B
Lassie, M-G-M's ─ Q
Laugh Comics ─ B
Leading Screen Comics ─ B
Leave it to Binky ─ B
Little Audrey Comics ─ M
Little Eva ─ B
Little Iodine ─ B
Little Joe
Little Lulu, Marge's ─ M
Little Max Comics ─ B
Little Roquefort Comics, Paul Terry's ─ B
Loony Tunes and Merrie Melodies ─ M
Lovelorn ─ M
Lover's Lane ─ B
Lucky Duck ─ Q
Marmaduke Mouse ─ M
Merry Mouse ─ B
Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney's ─ B
Mighty Mouse Comics, Paul Terry's ─ M
Millie the Model Comics ─ M
Miss America ─ M
Mopsy ─ B
Mortie ─ Q
Movie Love ─ B
Movietown's Animal Antics ─ B
Mutt and Jeff ─ B
My Own Romance ─ M
My Secret Marriage ─ B
Nancy and Sluggo ─ B
New Funnies, Walter Lantz ─ M
New Heroic Comics ─ M
Oh, Brother ─ B
Oswald, the Rabbit, Walter Lantz’ ─ O
Paramount Animated Comics ─ B
Patsy and Hedy ─ M
Patsy and Her Pals ─ B
Patsy Walker ─ B
Paul Terry's Comics ─ M
Pep Comics ─ B
Personal Love ─ B
Peter Pig ─ Q
Peter Porkchops ─ B
Peter Rabbit ─ B
Petunia ─ O
Pogo Possum ─ Q
Popeye ─ Q
Porky Pig ─ B
Raggedy Ann & Andy
Real Screen Comics ─ M
Rhubarb, the Millionaire Cat ─ O
Romantic Adventures ─ M
Romantic Confessions
Romantic Hearts ─ B
Rootie Kazootie ─ O
Sad Sack Comics ─ B
Secret Hearts ─ B
Sniffy the Pup ─ Q
Space Mouse ─ B
Sparkle Comics ─ B
Sparkler Comics ─ B
Spotty the Pop ─ O
Star Spangled War Stories
Stevie ─ Q
Super Duck Comics ─ B
Supermouse, the Big Cheese ─ B
Suzie Comics ─ B
Tarzan ─ M
Terry Toons Comics ─ B
Tip Top Comics ─ B
Tip Topper Comics ─ B
Tom and Jerry Comics ─ B
Trigger, Roy Rogers’ ─ Q
Tubby, Marge’s ─ O
The Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis ─ B
The Captain and the Kid ─ O
The Fox and the Crow ─ B
The Little Scouts ─ O
Uncle Scrooge, Walt Disney’s
Walt Disney’s Comics ─ M
Washable Jones and the Shoos ─ O
Wilbur Comics ─ B
Woody Woodpecker, Walter Lantz’ ─ B
Young Love ─ M

15 or 27%

Some objection

Adventure Comics
All American Men of War
Anchors, the Salt Water Daffy ─ B
Captain Marvel, Jr. ─ B
Darling Confessions
Desert Gold, Zane Grey's ─ Q
Detective Comics ─ B
Diary Secrets ─ B
Dynamite ─ B
Fight Comics ─ Q
Fighting Daniel Boone ─ O
Fighting Underseas Commandoes ─ Q
First Romance Magazine ─ B
Fritzi Ritz ─ B
Frogman Comics
Gang Busters ─ B
Gene Autry's Champion ─ Q
Gene Autry's Comics ─ M
Girl Confessions ─ B
G I Jane ─ B
G I Sweetheart ─ M
Girl's Romances ─ B
Glamorous Romances ─ B
Heart Throbs ─ M
Hopalong Cassidy ─ M Hot Rod and Speedway Comics
Indian Chief ─ B
Indians ─ B
Intimate Love ─ B
Joe Palooka’s Adventures ─ B
Johnny Mack Brown Comics
Jonesy ─ B
Kent Blake of the Secret Service ─ B
Kit Carson ─ O
Lash LaRue Western ─ M
Little Ike
Long Bow
Love and Marriage ─ B
Love Confessions ─ M
Love at First Sight ─ B
Love Diary ─ B
Love Letters
Love Problems and Advice Illustrated ─ B
Love Romances ─ B
Love Secrets ─ M
Lovers ─ M
Lucy ─ B
Man O’ Mars ─ O
Master Comics
Men’s Adventures ─ B
Mr. District Attorney ─ B
Monte Hale Western ─ B
My Friend Irma ─ M
Mystery in Space ─ B
Nyoka the Jungle Girl ─ B
Our Army at War ─ M
Out of the Shadows ─ Q
Prize Comics Western
Real Love ─ B
Red Ryder Comics ─ M
Rex Allen Comics ─ Q
Rex the Wonder Dog ─ B
Rocky Lane Western ─ M
Rod Cameron Western
Romantic Story ─ Q
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon ─ Q
Space Adventures ─ B
Space Western Comics
Spellbound ─ B
Superboy ─ B
Superman ─ B
Teen-Age Romances ─ B
Teen-Age Temptation ─ B
Ten-Story Love ─ B
True-Life Secrets ─ B
Tom Corbett, Space Cadet ─ Q
Tom Mix Western ─ B
Top Love Stories ─ B
True to Life Romances ─ B
The American Air Forces ─ Q
The Cisco Kid ─ B
The Fighting Man ─ B
The Fighting Man Manual
The Kilroys ─ B
The Lone Ranger's Companion, Tonto
Wendy Parker ─ M
Western Comics ─ B
Wings Comic ─ O
Young Brides ─ B

90 or 22%


Action Comics ─ M
All Star Western ─ B
All True Romance ─ B
Atom-Age Combat ─ Q
Atomic Attack ─ B
Authentic Police Cases ─ B
Batman ─ B
Battle Brady ─ B
Battle Casey
Battle Cry ─ B
Battle Stories ─ B
B-Bar-B Riders ─ Q
Best of the West ─ Q
Beware ─ B
Big Tex ─ O
Big Town ─ B
Cave Girl ─ O
Combat Casey ─ B
Bill Battle
Billy the Kid ─ B
Black Diamond Western ─ B
Black Magic Magazine
Blackhawk ─ M
Boy Illustories ─ M
Boy Loves Girl ─ M
Buck Jones ─ O
Buddies of the U. S. Army
Buster Crabbe ─ B
Buzzy ─ B
Complete Love Magazine ─ B
Confessions of Love ─ B
Crack Western
Crime Does Not Pay ─ M
Danger ─ B
Date With Danger
Dick Tracy Comics Monthly
Doll Man
Exciting War ─ Q
Famous Funnies ─ B
Fantastic Fears ─ B
Fantastic Worlds
First Love Illustrated ─ M
Frankenstein ─ B
G I in Battle ─ B
G I in Battle Annual
G I Combat ─ M
Great Lover Romances ─ B
Headline Comics
Hi-School Romance ─ B
Hot Rods and Racing Cars ─ B
House of Mystery ─ M
Jesse James ─ O
Jet Aces ─ O
Joe York
John Wayne Adventure Comics ─ B
Journey Into Mystery ─ M
Journey Into Unknown Worlds ─ M
Jumbo Comics
Jungle Comics ─ Q
Justice Traps the Guilty ─ M
Ken Shannon
Kid Colt Outlaw ─ B
Life Story
Love Doctor, Dr. Anthony King's Love Experiences ─ B
Love Journal ─ B
Mad ─ B
Marvel Tales ─ M
Menace ─ M
Monty Hall of the U. S. Marines
Mystery Tales ─ M
Night of Mystery
Operation: Peril
Out of the Night ─ B
Pictorial Romances ─ B
Planet Comics ─ O
Plastic Man ─ B
Police Comics ─ B
Popular Romances ─ Q
Popular Teen-Agers ─ B
Racket Squad in Action ─ B
Real Clue Crime Stories
Roy Rogers Comics ─ M
Secret Romances
Sensation Mystery ─ B
Sheena, Queen of the Jungle ─ Q
Shocking Mystery Cases ─ B
Six-Gun Heroes ─ B
Skeleton Hand ─ B
Soldier Comics ─ B
Soldiers of Fortune
Space Western Comics ─ B
Spy Fighters ─ B
Spy Hunters ─ B
Straight Arrow ─ B
Strange Adventures ─ M
Tex Ritter Western ─ B
This Is War ─ Q
Tim Holt ─ B
Tomahawk ─ B
True Love Pictorial ─ B
Two-Fisted Tales ─ B
The Adventures of Rex, the Wonder Dog
The Black Knight
The Flying A's Range Rider ─ Q
The Durango Kid ─ B
The Ghost Rider ─ Q
The Hooded Horseman
The Horrors ─ B
The Lone Ranger ─ M
The Lone Rider ─ B
The Marvel Family ─ M
The Outlaws ─ B
The Perfect Crime ─ B
The Phantom Stranger ─ B
Underworld Crime ─ Q
United States Tank Commandos
Wanted Comics
War Action ─ B
War Comics ─ B
Warfront ─ B
War Fury
War Heroes
War Report
War Romances
War Stories
Wartime Romances ─ B
Weird Fantasy ─ B
Weird Horrors
Weird Mysteries ─ B
Wild Bill Hickok
Wild Western ─ B
Woman to Love ─ O
Wonder Woman ─ B
World's Finest Comics
World War III
Young Men on the Battlefield ─ B
Young Romances ─ M
Youthful Romances ─ B
Zane Grey's King of the Royal Mounted ─ Q
Zip Jet ─ B

148 or 34%

Very objectionable

Adventures Into Darkness ─ B
Adventures Into the Unknown
All-Famous Police Cases ─ B
Astonishing ─ B
Baffling Mysteries ─ B
Battle Report ─ B
Beware; Terror Tales ─ B
Black Cat Mystery ─ B
Chamber of Chills ─ B
Chilling Tales ─ B
Crime and Justice
Crime and Punishment ─ B
Crime Mysteries ─ B
Crime Must Pay the Penalty ─ B
Crime Suspen Stories ─ B
Dark Mysteries
Dead-Eye Western ─ B
Eerie ─ Q
Fight Against Crime ─ B
Forbidden Worlds ─ M
Ghost Comics ─ Q
Haunt of Fear ─ B
Haunted Thrills ─ B
Horrific ─ B
Journey Into Fear ─ B
Justice ─ B
Kaanga Jungle King ─ Q
Lawbreakers Suspense Stories
Lorna the Jungle Queen ─ B
Man Comics ─ B
Mister Mystery ─ B
Mysterious Adventures ─ B
Mystic ─ B Shock Suspen Stories ─ B
Shock Mystery
Spook ─ B
Spy Cases ─ B
Startling Terror Tales ─ B
Strange Fantasy ─ B
Strange Mysteries ─ B
Strange Tales ─ M
Tales From the Crypt ─ B
Tales of Horror
Terrifying Tales
Terrors of the Jungle ─ B
This Magazine Is Haunted ─ B
Tomb of Terror ─ B
The Beyond ─ B
The Hand of Fate ─ B
The Purple Claw
The Thing ─ B
The Unseen ─ Q
The Vault of Horror ─ B
Uncanny Tales ─ M
Web of Evil ─ B
Web of Mystery ─ B
Weird Science ─ B
Weird Tales ─ B
Weird Terror ─ B
Whiz Comics ─ B
Witches Tales ─ B
Worlds of Fear ─ B

Total, 418
65 or 16 percent



No objection.

1. Good art work, printing, and color arrangement.

2. Good diction.

3. The overall effect pleasing.

4. Any situation that does not offend good taste from the viewpoint of art or mechanics.

Some objection

1. Poor art work, printing, and color arrangement.

2. Mechanical setup injurious to children's eyes; print too small; art work crowded.

3. Poor grammar and underworld slang.

4. Undermining in any way traditional American folkways.


1. Propaganda against or belittling traditional American institutions.

2. Obscenity, vulgarity, profanity, or the language of the underworld.

3. Prejudice against class, race, creed, or nationality.

4. Divorce treated humorously or as glamorous.

5. Sympathy with crime and the criminal as against law, and justice.

6. Criminals and criminal acts made attractive.

Very objectionable

1. An exaggerated degree of any of the above-mentioned acts or scenes.


No objection

1. An uplifting plot.

2. Wholesome characters.

3. Characters dressed properly for the situation.

4. If crime, when it enters the plot, is incidental.

5. Any situation that does not compromise good morals.

Some objection

1. Criminal acts or moral violations even if given legal punishment.

2. The presence of criminals, even if they are not shown as enjoying their crimes.


1. Women as gun molls, criminals, and the wielders of weapons.

2. Any situation having a sexy implication.

3. Persons dressed indecently or unduly exposed (costumes not appropriate to the occasion).

4. Crime stories, even if they purport to show that crime does not pay.

5. Stories that glamorize unconventional behavior.

6. Situations that glamorize criminals.

7. The details or methods of crime, especially if enacted by children.

8. Thwarted justice.

9. Law-enforcement officials portrayed as stupid or ineffective.

Very objectionable

1. An exaggerated degree of any of the above-mentioned acts or scenes.


No objection.

1. Any situation that does not arouse morbid emotionality in children.

Some objection

1. Overrealistic portrayal of death of villains.

2. Grotesque, fantastic, unnatural creatures.

3. Imminent death of a hero or heroine.


1. The kidnapping of women or children, or the implication of it.

2. Characters shown bleeding, particularly from the face or mouth.

3. The use of chains, whips, or other cruel devices.

4. The morbid picturization of dead bodies.

5. Stories and pictures that tend to anything having a sadistic implication or suggesting use of black magic.

6. Portrayal of mayhem, acts of assault, or murder.

7. People being attacked or injured by wild animals or reptiles.

8. Stories or frames which tend to affect the war effort of our Nation adversely.

Very objectionable

1. An exaggerated degree of any of the above-mentioned acts or scenes.


These criteria are intended to serve primarily as guides and check-points in the evaluation of comic books, rather than as complete standards which must in all cases be applied literally and rigidly.

They should be used by the reviewer in the light of his best judgment and regarding good taste, the intent and the spirit of the story, and the context of the individual frames of the story.

Mr. CLENDENEN. And, finally, I would like to introduce, a reprint from the Parent's Magazine entitled "555 Comic Magazines rated."

The CHAIRMAN. Without objection, the material will be included in the record. Let it be exhibit No. 7.

(The material referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 7," and reads as follows:)
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:37 pm


[Reprinted from Parents' Magazine]




This community went to work and did something about the comics. Here are their recommendations

By Jessie L. Murrell, Chairman, Committee on Evaluation of Comic Books, Cincinnati, Ohio

Many, parents, teachers, communities, are upset about comic books and the influence they are having on children today. But in most cases, although parents, teachers, and communities have done a good deal of talking, they have taken no steps to evaluate the comics now on the market. Not so Cincinnati; that city made up its mind that talk was not enough, so they organized and went into action.

One of the ministers in the Cincinnati metropolitan area is credited with starting the project when he addressed his congregation during National Family Week. In the course of his sermon he mentioned the undesirable influence on the family of certain types of comic books.

That portion of his sermon got into the Cincinnati papers the next day and was talked up by the broadcasting stations. Mail began pouring in and the minister's phone rang incessantly. Whereupon the Council of Churches set up a committee with this minister as chairman and asked it to see what, if anything, could be done about the comics.

The committee approached the organizations in greater Cincinnati that work with and for youth, inviting them to send representatives to a meeting. The response was excellent and the Committee on Evaluation of Comic Books was formed. It immediately went to work.

The organization represented on the committee were the University of Cincinnati, Xavier University, the Women's University Club, the parent-teachers associations (public and parochial), the Boys Scouts, the Girl Scouts, the YMCA, the YWCA, the playground group, the juvenile courts, the Council of Church, the libraries, the private schools, and the three major religious groups ─ Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish. About one-third of the members of the committee were men.

At the outset the committee adopted a policy of attempting to cooperate with publishers and distributors to improve the quality of comic magazines. It decided it would seek no censorship ordinances. If the publishers chose to ignore appeals to make better comics, the committee would then do its best to persuade the public to be more selective in buying them.

Another important decision of the committee was to draw up criteria for determining whether a comic book is good or bad. If a comic book is considered undesirable, why is it so rated? If another comic book is considered good, why is it so rated? An executive committee worked for 3 months to find answers to these questions. The result was "a profile chart" or measuring device to be used by the reviewers in recording their findings. After some months of experimentation, the committee felt that its findings were trustworthy.

A major problem was recruiting and training reviewers who would read all the comic books thoroughly and record on the profile charts their impressions. At every stage they were urged to exercise care in order to be fair to all persons and organizations concerned. Two other members of the committee were assigned the responsibility of studying the work of the reviewers and of making the overall evaluation of each comic book reviewed. Time and results have proved the wisdom of this course.

Every story in each comic book was evaluated in terms of its cultural, moral, and emotional tone and impact. Then the committee's reaction to it was listed as no objection, some objection, objectionable, and very objectionable. If no feature in a comic book received anything lower than the first two ratings, the book was pronounced suitable for children and youth.

At first the Cincinnati committee decided to publish only the list which It considered acceptable. But public demand has led to the publication of the entire list.

Of the 555 comic magazines included in the most recent evaluation, 57.47 percent were judged suitable for children and youth. Only 12.43 percent rated "very objectionable." As a result, the committee feels that wholesale condemnation of comic books is unwarranted. It is also convinced that the general public, the local distributors and many comic book publishers want better comics. But the latter have no way of making their desires effective beyond their respective establishments. One of the youngest industries in America, the business of publishing comic books now includes the publication of more than half of all magazines published in this country. During the past year or so the distribution of comic books has been variously estimated at 60 to 80 million.

In general the contents of comic books may be described as follows:

Adolescent characters such as bobby-soxers with dates─proms and the like─generally wholesome.

Animal characters with their appeal to small children: and these are nearly always harmless.

Adventure comics which include a good deal of wild-west excitement─gun-toting and the like.

Classic comics which brief well known stories with pictures and action.

Crime comics which include a large proportion of the comic books.

Jungle comics which play upon man's battle with beasts and reptiles, often showing women as the principal actors.

True comics which are generally based on historical fact.

Wonder comics which deal with the mysterious or awe-inspiring.

Superman comics which portray the activities of characters that display super-human strength or wisdom.

A rather large number of comic magazines too varied to classify.

Those who consider certain comic magazines harmful give a variety of reasons for their judgment. The more important are:

The comic magazines glamorize unwholesome phases of life and exert a powerful adverse influence upon the uncritical minds of children.

Many comics tend to overstimulate the neurotic or unstable child, and do him harm.

The crime and cruelty which are portrayed in many comic books tend to develop cruelty in children and to accustom them to violence and crime.

The brief treatment of events and the graphic picturization of stories tend to make young people impatient with good literature, thus threatening the literary culture of our society.

Many comic magazines are printed on cheap paper and their artwork, color, drawing and printing are of such quality as to strain children's eyes.

Since children are imitators and tend to identify themselves with characters in the comic books, particularly with heroes, it is dangerous for them to be influenced by the large number of questionable characters paraded in the comics.

Even though some comics do profess to teach that crime does not pay, the children who read them may not get that lesson while they are following and enjoying the exploits of some dashing hero-criminal. Even if they note the preachment in the last-picture or two, some children are apt to say that the character should have been smarter than to get caught.

Some comics tend to stimulate unwholesome sexual and social attitudes.

Many comics show scenes and situations that tend to frighten children and to leave gruesome pictures in their minds, affecting them not only at the moment or soon after, but also creating more lasting phobias and fears.

There is the danger that a child who likes the comics will spend all his time or too large a proportion of it in reading the comics and neglect good books; or read comics when he ought to be active and out of doors.

While it is difficult to trace all the causes for juvenile bad conduct today, it is logical to believe that it may have been accentuated by the reading of some of the comic books.

It must be assumed that comic books are here to stay; therefore, it seems wise to take such steps as will offer the greatest promise of improvement. And the key to improvement is public opinion. If parents and organizations set an example of selective buying, It will soon be felt and heeded by the publishers. That is better than resorting to legal regulations and ordinances.

There are steps which individuals can take to improve the comic book situation.

Parents should know what their children are reading. Forbidding children to read the comics is apt to stimulate their interest in them. There are wiser ways by which parents may advise and influence their children to buy and read the better comics.

Individuals may cooperate in a volunteer organization such as the one in Cincinnati to encourage the reading of better comics. There can and should be such a group in every community.

Here are the methods that are used and standards for evaluating the comic books observed by the Cincinnati committee:


No objection

1. Good artwork, printing and color arrangement.

2. Good diction.

3. The overall effect pleasing.

4. Any situation that does not offend good taste from the viewpoint of art or mechanics.

Some objection

1. Poor artwork, printing, and color arrangement.

2. Mechanical setup injurious to children's eyes; print too small; artwork too crowded.

3. Poor grammar, underworld slang.

4. Undermining in any way traditional American folkways.


1. Propaganda against or belittling traditional American institutions.

2. Obscenity, vulgarity, profanity, or the language of the underworld.

3. Prejudice against class, race, creed, or nationality.

4. Divorce treated humorously or as glamorous.

5. Sympathy with crime and the criminal as against law and justice.

6. Criminals and criminal acts made attractive.

Very objectionable

1. An exaggerated degree of any of the above-mentioned acts or scenes.


No objection

1. An uplifting plot.

2. Wholesome characters.

3. Characters dressed properly for the situation.

4. If crime, when it enters the plot, is incidental.

5. Any situation that does not compromise good morals.

Some objection

1. Criminal acts or moral violations even if given legal punishment.

2. The presence of criminals even if they are not shown as enjoying their crimes.


1. Women as gun molls, criminals, and the wielders of weapons.

2. Any situation having a sexy implication.

3. Persons dressed indecently or unduly exposed (costume not appropriate to the occasion).

4. Crime stories even if they purport to show that crime does not pay.

5. Situations that glamorize criminals.

6. The details or methods of crime, especially if enacted by children.

7. Thwarted justice.

8. Law-enforcement officials portrayed as stupid or ineffective.

Very objectionable

1. An exaggerated degree of any of the above-mentioned acts or scenes.


No objection

1. Any situation that does not arouse morbid emotionality in children.

Some objection

1. Over realistic portrayal of death of villains.

2. Grotesque, fantastic, unnatural creatures.

3. Imminent death of hero or heroine.


1. The kidnapping of women or children or the implication of it.

2. Characters shown bleeding, particularly from the face and mouth

3. The use of chains, whips, or other cruel devices.

4. The picturization of dead bodies.

5. Stories and pictures that tend to upset children.

6. Anything with sadistic implication.

7. Portrayal of mayhem, acts of assault or murder.

8. People being attacked or injured by animals or reptiles.

Very objectionable

1. An exaggerated degree of any of the above-mentioned acts or scenes.


These criteria are intended to serve primarily as guides and check-points in the evaluation of comic books, rather than as complete standards which must in all cases be applied literally and rigidly. They should be used by the reviewer in the light of his best judgment regarding good taste, the intent and spirit of the story and context of the individual frames of the story.

The comic magazine ratings presented here with do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors and publishers of Parents' Magazine. The evaluations by the Cincinnati committee were made partly in the spring and party in the fall of 1949. It is possible that the character of the contents of some of the magazines may have changed since the evaluations.


Approximately 50 trained reviewers have evaluated the following 555 comic magazines, some of which are "one shots" (those appearing only once). Included in the list are some magazines which are perhaps no longer being published at the time this article appears. The magazines were classified in four different groups, identifiable by means of the key letters, A, B, C, and D.

Number of magazines: Ratings and key letter

165 ----------------------- No objection (A)

154 ----------------------- Some objection (B)

167 ----------------------- Objectionable (C)

69 ----------------------- Very objectionable (D)

Abbott and Costello (B)
About People (A)
Ace Comic (C)
Action Comics (A)
Actual Romances (A)
Adventure Bound (A)
Adventure Comics (C)
Adventures in Romance (C)
Adventures In the Unknown (D)
Adventures of Alan Ladd (C)
Aggie Mack Comics (A)
Air Boy (C)
Album of Crime (D)
Al Capp's Dog Patch (C)
Al Capp's Shmoo (B)
Alice in Wonderland (A)
All-American Western (C)
Alley Oop (B)
All-Famous Crime (D)
All Great Confession Magazine (D)
All Humor Comics (A)
All Love Romances (A)
All Star Comics (D)
All-Time Sports Comics (A)
All Top (D)
All-True Crime Cases Comics (D)
All Western Comics (C)
Amazing Mysteries (D)
American's Best Comics (C)
Andy Panda (A)
Animal Antics (B)
Archie Comics (A)
Authentic Police Cases (D)
Awful Oscar (B)
Babe (C)
Babe Ruth Sports Comics (A)
Barker, The (A)
Barnyard Comics (A)
Baseball Comics (B)
Bat Man (D)
Best Love (C)
Big Shot (B)
Billy West (C)
Black Cat Comics (D)
Black Diamond Western (B)
Black Terror, The (C)
Blackhawk (C)
Blaze Carson (C)
Blazing West (D)
Blondie Comics (B)
Blondie Phantom Comics (B)
Blue Bolt (B)
Bobby Shelby Comics (A)
Boots and Her Buddies (A)
Boy Commandoes (D)
Boy Illustrious (B)
Brenda Starr Comics (C)
Brick Bradford (B)
Broadway Romances (B)
Broncho Bill (C)
Brownies, The (A)
Bruce Gentry Comics (C)
Bugs Bunny Super Sleuth (C)
Buster Bunny (A)
Buzz Sawyer (C)
Buzz Sawyer's Pal Sweeney (A)
Buzzy (A) Calling All Kids (A)
Campus Romances (C)
Candy (A)
Captain America (C)
Captain America's Weird Tales (D)
Captain and the Kids, The (C)
Captain Easy (C)
Captain Kidd (C)
Captain Marvel Adventures (C)
Captain Marvel Junior (A)
Captain Midnight (C)
Casey Crime Photographer (C)
Catholic Comics (A)
Charlies Chan (D)
Charlie McCarthy (A)
Christmas with Mother Goose (A)
Cindy Comics (B)
Circus Comics (D)
Clairvoyant (C)
Classics Illustrated (A)
Club 16 Comics (B)
Comedy Comics (A)
Comic Cavalcade (A)
Comics on Parade (A)
Complete Mystery (C)
Coo Coo Comics (B)
Cookie (B)
Cowboy Love (C)
Cowboy Romances (C)
Cowboy Western Comics (C)
Cowpuncher Comics (D)
Crack Comics (C)
Crime and Punishment (C)
Crime Detective Comics (C)
Crime Does not Pay (C)
Crime Fighter (C)
Crime Must Pay the Penalty (D)
Crime Patrol (D)
Crime Reporter (D)
Crimes by Women (C)
Criminals on the Run (C)
Crown Comics (D)
Cupid (A)
Curley Kayoe (C)
Dagar (D)
Dale Evans Comics (B)
Daredevil (C)
Darling Love (B)
Darling Romance (B)
Date With Judy, A (A)
Dead-Eye (C)
Desperado (C)
Detective Comics (B)
Dexter Comics (B)
Diary Loves (A)
Dairy Secrets (B)
Dick Cole (B)
Dick Tracy Monthly (C)
Dick's Adventures (A)
Dixie Dugan (A)
Dog Patch (C)
Donald Duck (B)
Doll Man (C)
Don Winslow (C)
Dotty Dripple Comics (A)
Dudley (A)
Durango Kids, The (B)
Easter with Mother Goose (A)
Egbert (B)
Ella Cinders (C)
Ellery Queen Comics (C)
Elsie the Cow (A)
Enchanting Love (A)
Ernie Comics (B)
Etta Kett (B)
Exciting Comics (D)
Exciting Romances (B)
Exposed (C)
Extra Comics (C)
Fairhair Comics (C)
Faithful (B)
Famous Crimes (D)
Famous Funnies (D)
Fast Fiction (C)
Feature Comics (D)
Felix the Cat (B)
Fight Comics (C)
Fighting Yank, The (C)
Film Funnies (A)
First Love Illustrated (A)
First Romance (C)
Flaming Love (D)
Flash Comics (C)
Flash Gordon (B)
4most (C)
Fraka & Lena (B)
Frankenstein (D)
Freckles and Her Friends (A)
Frisky Fables (A)
Fritzi Ritz Comics (A)
Frontier Romances (B)
Funny Animals (A)
Funny Film (C)
Funny Folks (A)
Funny Stuff (A)
Funny World (B)
Gabby Hayes Western (C)
Gangbusters (D)
Gangsters Can't Win (C)
Gay Comics (C)
Gene Autry Comics (A)
Georgie & Judy (C)
Ghost Breakers (C)
Giggle Comics (B)
Girl Comics (C)
Girls Love Stories (A)
Glamourous Romances (A)
Golden West Love (B)
Goofy Comics (B)
Green Hornet Comics (C)
Green Lantern (B)
Guilty (D)
Gunfighter (C)
Guns Against Gangsters (B)
Gunsmoke (C)
Ha Ha Comics (A)
Hap Hazard Comics (B)
Happy Comics (A)
Headline Comics (D)
Heart Thorbs (B)
Heckle & Jeckle (B)
Heddy Divine Comics (A)
Hedy of Hollywood (B)
Henry (A) Heroes All (A)
Hickory (A)
High School Romances (B)
Hit Comics (D)
Hollywood Confessions (C)
Hollywood Diary (B)
Hollywood Romances (A)
Hollywood Secrets (C)
Hopalong Cassidy (C)
Hubert at Camp Moonbeam (A)
Human Torch, The (A)
Humphrey Comics (C)
Ideal Love and Romance (B)
Intimate Love (B)
Jack Armstrong (B)
Jeanie Comics (A)
Jiggs and Maggie (A)
Jimmie Durante Comics (B)
Jimmy Wakely (C)
Jingle Jangle Comics (B)
Joan of Arc (B)
Joe College Comics (B)
Joe Polooka Comics (B)
Johnny Hazard (D)
Jo-Jo Comics (D)
Joker Comics (A)
Journal of Crime (C)
Juke Box Comics (A)
Jumbo Comics (C)
Jungle Comics (D)
Jungle Jim (B)
Junie from Comics (A)
Justice Comics (C)
Justice Traps the Guilty (C)
Kathy (B)
Katzenjammer Kids, The (B)
Kerry Drake Detective (D)
Kewpies (A)
Kid Colt (D)
Kid Eternity (D)
Kid Zoo Comics (B)
Kilroys (B)
King Cole (D)
King Comics (D)
King of the Royal Mounted (C)
Krazy Komics (B)
Lana (B)
Lash LaRue Western (C)
Laugh (B)
Laurel & Hardy (B)
Lawbreakers Always Lose (C)
Leading Comics (A)
Leave It to Binky (A)
Leroy (C)
Life Story (A)
Li'l Abner Comics (C)
Little Annie Rooney (A)
Little Aspirin (B)
Little Audrey (A)
Little Beaver (B)
Little Bit (A)
Little Iodine (A)
Little Lenny (A)
Little Lizzie (A)
Little Max Comics (B)
Little Miss Muffet (C)
Little Orphan Annie (A)
Lone Ranger, The (B)
Looney Tunes (B)
Love at First Sight (A)
Love Classics (C)
Love Confessions (D)
Love Diary (B)
Love Dramas (B)
Love Experiences (A)
Love Lessons (B)
Love Memories (A)
Love Problems & Advice (A)
Love Romances (B)
Love Secrets (C)
Love Stories of Mary Worth (A)
Love Tales (B)
Loveland (B)
Lovelorn (B)
Lovers (A)
Lovers Lane (B)
Magic Crimes (D)
Mandrake the Magician (D)
March of Crime (C)
Marge's Little Lulu (A)
Margie Comics (A)
Mark of Zorro, The (B)
Marmaduke the Mouse (B)
Marvel Family, The (B)
Marvel Mystery Comics (B)
Master Comics (C)
Mel Allen's Sport Comics (A)
Mickey- Finn (B)
Mickey Mouse (B)
Mighty Atom and the Pixies, The (A)
Mighty Mouse (B)
Millie the Model (B)
Miss America (B)
Miss Beverly Hills of Hollywood (A)
Mr. Anthony's Love Clinic (A)
Mr. District Attorney (C)
Mitzi's Boy Friends (A)
Mitzi's Romances (A)
Modern Comics (C)
Modern Love (B)
Monkeyshines Comics (A)
Monte Hale Western (C)
Moon Girl (D)
Moon Mullins (A)
Mopsy (B)
Murder, Inc. (D)
Mutt and Jeff (A)
My Confession (B)
My Life (D)
My Love Life (C)
My Own Romance (B)
My Past (A)
My Romance (B)
My Secret Affair (A)
My Secret Life (B)
My Secret Story (A)
My Story (C)
Mysterious Traveler (D)
Namore (C)
Nancy & Fritzi Ritz (A)
Nancy & Sluggo (B)
National Comics (B)
Nellie the Nurse (A)
New Funnies (A)
New Heroic Comics (C)
Nyoka the Jungle Girl (C)
Oscar, Oscar (A)
Oswald the Rabbit (A)
Our Gang (A)
Our Love (B)
Outlaws (C)
Ozark Ike (B)
Ozzie & Baba (A)
Ozzie & Harriet (A)
Patsy Walker Comics (B)
Pay Off (C)
Penny (A)
Pep Comics (B)
Peter Porkchops (A)
Peter Rabbit Comics (A)
Phantom, The (D)
Phantom Lady (C)
Pictorial Confessions (A)
Pictorial Love Stories (B)
Pictorial Romances (A)
Picture Stories from the Bible (A)
Pinocchio (A)
Pixies, The (B)
Planet Comics (C)
Plastic Comics (C)
Pogo Possum (B)
Police Cases (C)
Polly Pigtails (A)
Porky Pig (A)
Porky Pig to the Rescue (A)
Popeye (A)
Pride of the Yankees, The (A)
Prize Comics (C)
Prize Comics Western (C)
Public Enemies (C)
Raggedy Ann & Andy (A)
Range Romances (B)
Rangeland Love (B)
Rangers Comics (D)
Real Clue Crime Stories (D)
Real Fact Comics (A)
Real Life Comics (B)
Real Love (C)
Real Screen Comics (A)
Real Secret (B)
Real West Romances (C)
Real Western Hero (B)
Red Dragon Comics (D)
Red Rabbit Comics (B)
Red Ryder Comics (B)
Revealing Romances (B)
Rex Harte (B)
Rocky Lane Western (C)
Romance Diary (B)
Romance Tales (A)
Romance Trail (B)
Romances of Mollie Minton (B)
Romances of the West (C)
Romantic Adventures (B)
Romantic Confessions (A)
Romantic Love (C)
Romantic Secrets (B)
Romantic Story (B)
Romantic Western (C)
Roundup (D)
Roy Rogers Comics (B)
Rulah (D)
Rusty (A)
Sad Sack (A)
Saddle Justice (C)
Saddle Romances (B)
Saint Comics, The (C)
Santa and the Angel (A)
Santa Claus Funnies (A)
Scribbly (A)
Sea Hound, The (B)
Secret Hearts (B)
Secret Loves (B)
Select Detective (C)
Sensation Comics (A)
Seven Dwarfs (A)
Seven Seas (C)
Shadow Comics (D)
Shmoo (B)
Skyman (C)
Slave Girl (D)
Slick Chick (C)
Smash Comics (C)
Smash Hit Sports Comics (C)
Smilin' Jack (C)
Smitty (B)
Smokey Stover (B)
Sniffy the Pup (A)
Sparkle (C)
Sparkle Plenty (A)
Sparkle Comics (A)
Sparky Watts (B)
Spirit of the Border (A)
Sport Stars (B)
Spunky (B)
Spunky Comics (B)
Spy and Counterspy (D)
Star Spangled Comics (C)
Starlet O'Hara (C)
Startling Comics (C)
Steve Canyon Comics (C)
Steve Roper Comics (C)
Steve Saunders Special Agent (B)
Sub-Mariner Comics (C)
Sugar Bowl Comics (B)
Sun Girl (D)
Super Comics (C)
Super Duck Comics (B)
Super Rabbit Comics (A)
Super Mystery (C)
Superboy (B)
Superman (A)
Supermouse (A)
Supersnipe Comics (C)
Suspense (D)
Suzie Comics (B)
Sweet Pea (A)
Sweet Love (A)
Sweetheart Diary (A)
Sweethearts (A)
Target Comics (C)
Tarzan (B)
Teena (A)
Teen-Age Diary (A)
Teen-Age Romances (A)
Teen Comics (A)
Terry and the Pirates (C)
Terry-Toons Comics (A)
Tessie the Typist (A)
Tex Granger (B)
Tex Morgan (C)
Tex Taylor (C)
Texan Comics, The (D)
They Got the Blame (A)
This Is Tomorrow (A)
Three Little Pigs (A)
Three Stooges, The (C)
Thrilling Comics (C)
Thumper Follows His Nose (A)
Tillie the Toiler (A)
Tim Holt (C)
Tim McCoy (C)
Tim Tyler (D)
Tiny Tessie (A)
Tip Top Comics (B)
Tip Topper (B)
Tipple (B)
Tipple and Cap Stubbs (A)
Tom & Jerry (A)
Tom Mix Western (B)
Tommy of the Big Top (C)
Tony Treat (C)
Top Secrets (C)
Topex (A)
Torchy (C)
Trail Colt (C)
Treasury Chest (A)
True Comics (B)
True Complete Mystery (C)
True Confidences (B)
True Crime Comics (C)
True Sport Picture Stories (C)
True Stories of Romance (B)
True to Life Romances (B)
True Western (C)
Truth About Crime, The (D)
Tuffy (A)
Two-Gun Kid (C)
Uncle Wiggly (A)
Underworld (C)
Vicky Comics (B)
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories (A)
Walt Disney's Donald Duck (B)
Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse (B)
Walt Disney's Pinocchio (A)
Walt Disney's Seven Dwarfs (A)
Walt Disney's 3 Little Pigs (A)
Walt Disney's Thumper Follows His Nose (A)
Walter Lantz New Funnies (A)
Walter Lantz Oswald the Rabbit (A)
Walter Lantz Woody Woodpecker (A)
Wambi, the Jungle Boy (C)
Wanted Comics (D)
War Against Crime (C)
Western Adventures (C)
Western Bandit Trails (C)
Western Comics, The (C)
Western Fighters (B)
Western Hero (B)
Western Killers (D)
Western Life Romances (C)
Western Love (B)
Western Outlaws (C)
Western Trails (B)
Western Picture Stories (C)
Western Romances (C)
Western Thrillers (D)
Western: True Crime (C)
Western Winners (C)
Whiz Comics (B)
Whodonit (B)
Wilbur Comics (C)
Wild Bill Hickok (C)
Wild Western (B)
Willie Comics (A)
Wings Comics (D)
Winnie Winkle (A)
Women in Love (B)
Women Outlaws (D)
Wonder Comics (D)
Wonder Duck (A)
Wonder Woman (A)
Woody Woodpecker (A)
World's Finest Comics (D)
Young Hearts (A)
Young Love (B)
Young Romance (B)
Youthful Love Romances (C)
Zago (D)
Zane Grey's Thunder Mountain (A)
Zane Grey's West of the Pecos (A)
Zegra (C)
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:44 pm

Mr. CLENDENEN. Now, I cannot here adequately summarize the various opinions which are expressed by sociologists, psychiatrists, and law-enforcement officials and other people who might qualify as experts in this field, but I do feel that it is eminently accurate and fair to say that there is substantial, although not always unanimous, agreement on the following three points:

1. That the reading of a crime comic will not cause a well adjusted and well socialized boy or girl to go out and commit crime.

2. There may be a detrimental and delinquency producing effect upon some emotionally disturbed children who may gain suggestion, support, and sanction for acting out his own hostile and aggressive feeling.

3. There is reason to believe that as among youngsters, the most avid and extensive consumers of comics are the very boys and girls less able to tolerate this type of material.

As a matter of fact, many experts feel that excessive reading of materials of this kind in itself is symptomatic of some emotional maladjustment in a youngster.

In other words, I would say in terms of all these materials that, although not completely unanimous, there is very substantial agreement as to these three points, Mr. Chairman.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Chairman, may I ask one question?

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Missouri.

Senator HENNINGS. I remember, and I am sure many of us do, the enjoyment with which some of us at a very tender age read the horror stories of Edgar Allan Poe. Many of us read Sherlock Holmes. There was the modus operandi for certainly many crimes.

I suppose that was the basis of the modern crime story, the beginning of the modern crime story.

Certainly nothing is more horrible and calculated to bring a certain degree of terror and chill to the spine of a youngster than the Fall of the House of Usher, The Black Cat, and The Pendulum─stories of the French Revolution depicting heads held before the crowd on the Place de La Concorde and so on.

Now, how did these differ in your opinion, Mr. Clendenen, these comic books, and the manner in which these things are presented, graphic as they are, being picture stories as they are?

These books, too, are rather profusely illustrated by some pictures you never forget. I can remember some of them myself, now. How do those things differ from the things many of us read as youngsters?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Well, I think there are certain differences perhaps not so much in the content of the material as in its wide distribution and greatly increased consumption.

Now, frankly, I do think that there are some differences even in the material itself. In preparation for these hearings we also reviewed─for example, I have here two reprints of Nick Carter, which were very popular during an earlier era.

Senator HENNINGS. That was the so-called dime novels of our father's time.

Mr. CLENDENEN. That is right. Its reputation in its own day would indicate it is really rather tame reading compared to this kind of material. This is really much more lurid material.

Then it would seem to me, of course, that the pictorial presentation and all of the vivid colors and so on represent something that is different.

Finally, the only other difference that I can point to would be the fact that this is very widely available at 10 cents a copy on newsstands everywhere.

That is, not only is it available, but the youngster does not have to seek it out. The material is there ready to be picked up and urged upon him at every turn.

Senator HENNINGS. Wasn't that true of the dime novel. You remember the Horatio Alger books also pictured the hero as forswearing the dime novels. He did not pick them up on the stands as he went through the Bowery area in New York. He didn't read the dime novels or go to the Bowery Theater.

But they were available, too, were they not?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Certainly they were rather readily available to the youngster, but one point I would like to make is that I am not at all sure, and I certainly would not want to say that the material to which you refer was not also possibly at any rate detrimental to certain youngsters of that generation, too.

In other wards, as the one point I made, the experts agree that none of this material, either Nick Carter or the comics, would make a well adjusted and well socialized youngster go out and commit a crime.

On the other hand, this material may have given suggestion and sanction 25 or 30 or 40 years ago to a youngster who may have read it, just as exactly these kinds of materials may have given support and sanction to youngsters of this generation.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Kefauver.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Clendenen, these are sent through the mails, shipped by express, or delivered by truck?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Although the majority of these have a second-class mailing permit, actually very few of them move through the mails. Most of these are shipped by either freight or express. It is a cheaper way of transporting them than through using the mails.

Senator KEFAUVER. In any event, the Post Office Department has taken it as a rule that the obscene and the indecent statutes as to the use of the mail does not prohibit the dissemination of these by mail.

Mr. CLENDENEN. No, sir; I think the facts of the matter are that they have not ruled. Actually, these do not move through the mail.

As I understand it, and now I cannot qualify as any expert here, but I understand they do rule only upon materials─well, they would rule upon materials at the time the permit was granted, but 6 months later they would not be ruling, you see, upon materials that were currently being published because they were not moving through the mail.

Senator KEFAUVER. I thought you said they had a second-class permit?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, sir which means they had a ruling at the time the permit was granted.

In other words, they were admitted to the mails at the time the permit was granted. That does not mean they grant a new permit, the next month, when new materials are turned out.

Senator KEFAUVER. Can you tell us whether these things do move through the mails, or whether they do not?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Primarily they do not.

Senator KEFAUVER. I mean are some shipped through the mails?

Mr. CLENDENEN. There are a few companies, for example, that do a subscription business and in that instance, for example, individual copies would move through the mails.

Senator KEFAUVER. Have you ascertained from the Post Office inspectors or the head of. that Department whether these are prohibited or whether the statute is not broad enough to cover them?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, sir; I inquired as to that, and their reaction was to the effect that if some of these materials did move through the mails the Post Office Department might question them.

Now, actually, the ones that did come to their attention which did go through the mails they had found no basis for questioning, but they were aware that not all comics by any means are all crime comics.

Senator KEFAUVER. I know of no one saying that all crime comics be ruled out, but if they are obscene and indecent, there might be a ruling

Now, counsel, are you going to bring out the matter of why the Atlas Corp. formed 25 corporations to carry on its business?

Mr. BEASER. We will have the business manager of the Atlas Corp. here.

Senator KEFAUVER. Where is the center of this industry this horror and crime-comic industry?

Mr. CLENDENEN. In New York City. Actually, that holds true for the entire comic-book industry.

Senator KEFAUVER. I understood there was one reason why we are having the hearing here. Do you mean New York City is where the material is prepared or shipped from?

Mr. CLENDENEN. New York City is where the publishers are located and where the material is prepared.

Now actually, the printing might be done in various places. That a publisher gets a printer to take on a job in Meriden, Conn., or upstate New York, or some other location. He sends the material after it has been prepared to the printer, the printer prints it, and then it is shipped out directly from the printer without being returned to the publisher.

It is shipped directly from the printer to the various distributors over the country who in turn distribute it to the wholesalers.

Senator KEFAUVER. In connection with the distribution you said that Atlas had its own distributing system?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, sir.

Senator KEFAUVER. Do you mean that is the wholesale, retail, or what do you refer to?

Mr. CLENDENEN. A distributor is a company which supplies the wholesaler and then the wholesalers supply the retailers.

Senator HENNINGS. Like the Union News Co.?


Senator KEFAUVER. Is that true generally of the crime-book publishers? Do they have their own distributing companies?

Mr. CLENDENEN. No, I would not say it is the usual practice, although it is not unique, either.

Senator KEFAUVER. Do some of them own retail outlets?

Mr. CLENDENEN. No, sir; they do not to my knowledge.

Senator KEFAUVER. That is all, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Clendenen, the name "comic book" is certainly a misnomer, is it not, as we apply them to these publications?

Mr. CLENDENEN. These are not funny.

The CHAIRMAN. That is the term by which they are designated throughout the land is it not?


The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Hannoch?

Mr. HANNOCH. Do you expect to say anything further at this time on the question of how these comics are distributed, what the general system of distribution is?

Mr. CLENDENEN. No, sir; I had not intended to. We have both distributors and dealers scheduled to appear here, Mr. Hannoch.

Senator HENNINGS. Humor after all is a variable, is it not, Mr. Clendenen?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, indeed.

Senator HENNINGS. Humor is not an absolute. Some people think Charles Adams' macabre drawings in the New Yorker magazine are very funny. Others think they are not.

When I was a boy some people thought Little Nemo was funny. Little Nemo frightened other children.

Alice in Wonderland ─Lewis Carroll was said to have written it for the little girl. It also seemed to me to be an adult book. As a child I can understand not liking any of it and the drawings frightened me because they were dark and I thought very dreary.

So again we get into all this question of relative humor, what is funny to one person or one group of people, or even as to nations. We have made fun of the British and their jokes in London Punch for years. Some of the British think they are very funny. Some of our people think they are funny and doubtless some of their people don't think they are funny.

It is a little ridiculous to talk about things being humor per se. It is all in the eye of the beholder, after all.


On the other hand, I would say the comics, the one I presented showing Frisco Mary who empties the machine gun into the prostrate law officer and Mary finally ends up dying in the gas chamber, you know there may be humor in this particular situation, but I myself would not recognize any humor.

The CHAIRMAN. It is a weird type of humor, is it not?

Mr. CLENDENEN. It would be to me, Senator.

Senator KEFAUVER. I was interested in what Mr. Clendenen had to say as a social worker, or expert, relative to the fact that the larger number of these horror books are found in areas where the children are less able to take them, that is, in areas I take it where there is high juvenile delinquency. Is that an established fact beyond any question?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Insofar as I know, Senator, there has been no real study of this made.

As a matter of fact, although many people had long observed that youngsters who seemed to be upset and emotionally disturbed many times seemed to have an abnormal kind of need to read this more sordid type of material, nevertheless, I became aware of this in Washington when we went out and attempted to buy crime comics in Washington. We found out there were certain types of crime comics we could purchase only in certain areas of Washington. These were the more physically deteriorated and the areas of the city in which there would be higher delinquency rates.

Now I believe that we will have a witness scheduled here who may testify a to that point regarding his observations in New York City.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Beaser has some questions.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Clendenen, in your investigation did you find that the pages of the comic books, crime and horror comic books, are used for purposes other than the entertainment and edification of children?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, we certainly did. In this connection I would like to refer particularly to the advertising matter appearing in comic books.

Now, a large number of the comic books─and when I use the word "comic books," I really should be using the words "crime comic books" because that is what our investigation relates to─a large number of these publications do carry advertising matter. Now, the type of advertising matter is primarily, as a matter of fact I would say more than 90 percent, of the mail-order variety.

Now, I mean by that it is the kind of advertising where they solicit you to write in for a publication or some article, and so on.

It is interesting to note that advertising matter in these publications seems to be directed at both adults and children; that is, you will have advertising that would seem to be of no interest whatsoever, of an item that would be of little or no interest to youngsters.

On the other hand you have advertising that would seem to have little or be of little or no interest to adults.

In that connection we have here a slide which shows a collection of items which would appeal to juveniles. Now, of this particular ad, we were interested in noting and consequently we went ahead and made a slide of the opposite page to this particular ad, which is a page which shows no less than two violent killings. The contrast actually struck us a bit.

On one page they were killing two men, on the opposite page they were advertising dolls for little girls.

Now, there are still other ads that might be questioned on the basis that they would stimulate and enable youngsters to buy articles which might be deemed detrimental to their own safety and welfare.

Here is another picture which, among other things, offers for sale 4 knives, 2 of which are made for throwing and one of which features a 12-inch steel blade.

It also offers for sale dueling swords, cross bows with metal tipped arrows and so forth.

Senator KEFAUVER. Is that a pistol in the middle?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, sir; although that is advertised as firing blanks, .22 blanks.

Senator HENNINGS. That is similar to the one you had on the Board in Philadelphia last week. It was denominated a starter's pistol, although I do not think the starter starting a foot race ever used anything like that.

The CHAIRMAN. Except they were homemade weapons, were they not?

Senator HENNINGS. No.; this was one ordered through the mail and the placard stated starter's pistol ordered through the mail.

The CHAIRMAN. I thought the Senator was referring to homemade weapons.

Mr. HANNOCH. Do these ads advertise switch-blade knives?

Mr. CLENDENEN. No, sir; we heard of ads for switch-blade knives in the comic books, but we ourselves located no such ads.

I would like to say one other word about the advertising, that is, we also have very real questions as to whether or not there is not a possibility that their advertising in comics, that is, the ordering of certain articles advertised in comics, may lead to a youngster also being solicited by direct mail for salacious, sexually suggestive material.

Now, that is a possibility which we also plan to explore through the presentation of other witnesses.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Clendenen, have you in the course of your investigation found any evidence of subversion in the use of comics, crime and horror comics?

Mr. CLENDENEN. If you mean by that a deliberate and planned effort to use the crime comics as a medium through which you are going to subvert the minds and morals of youngsters, my answer would be "No."

Now, that does not mean that youngsters cannot or may not be damaged unintentionally and not by plan.

Now, I would like to make a couple other comments on this particular question. First of all, as I have said earlier, our investigation to date has related only to the crime-type comics.

In other words, we have not gone into war comics, love comics, jungle comics, and the many other varieties of comics.

Now, we do plan and will be looking further at some of these other types of comics. They will be subject to careful evaluation and certainly, Mr. Beaser, we will be looking for such evidence of subversion in the course of that exploration.

Now, I would like to mention one other item in connection with this. I have here a copy of a newsletter which is issued by the Association of Comic Magazine Publishers which contains an item regarding a charge which appeared in the Rapid City, S. D., Journal on February 18 of this year, which did make the claim that certain comic books were being utilized in an effort to get certain kinds of communistic propaganda across to youngsters.

Now, at the other extreme, I would like to mention one other item. That is, I have here a page which is designed to appear in another not too distant issue of a comic book, and this little page contains three different pictures. It is entitled "Are You a Red Dupe ?" It is the story of Melvin Blizunken-Skovitchsky, who lives in Soviet Russia and who printed comic books, but some people didn't believe that other persons had intelligence enough to decide what they wanted to read and so the secret police came and smashed poor Melvins four-color press and end up by hanging Melvin to the tree.

Now, there is a message down at the bottom and it ends up by saying. "So the next time some joker gets up at a PTA meeting, or starts jabbering about 'the nasty comic books' at your local candy store, give him the once-over. We are not saying he is a Communist! He may be innocent of the whole thing! 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!"

So at the other extreme some people would make out anyone who raised any question whatsoever about the comics was also giving out Red-inspired propaganda.

Senator HENNINGS. Insofar as you have been able to determine and evaluate this whole enterprise, or industry, the profit motive is the factor, is it not?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, sir; that is my own opinion.

Senator HENNINGS. You do not suggest that there is any conspiratorial attempt to corrupt the minds of young people nor to influence their behavior or their conduct, nor to warp, or otherwise do something detrimental to their lives, futures; it is the business of making money out of this?

Mr. CLENDENEN. That is right. I hope I made it perfectly clear that our investigation revealed no planned effort.

Senator HENNINGS. I think you did, and I wanted to emphasize in addition to your having made it clear, Mr. Clendenen, that it is the business of making money and they do not seem to care what they do or what they purvey or what they dish out to these youngsters as long as it sells and brings in the money.

This seems to be an effort, this "Are you a Red dupe?" business, to forestall or bring such pressure to bear as can be against any attempt to even look into or to examine this to see what it may be doing.

Mr. CLENDENEN. I would interpret it as such.

Senator HENNINGS. By throwing the suggestion out that anybody who questions whether or not these things are beneficial must be a Communist because of our friend who had the press smashed over in Soviet Russia?


Mr. HANNOCH. Where did you get this that has not as yet come out?

Mr. CLENDENEN. This was provided to us by a publisher, Mr. William Gaines.

Senator HENNINGS. While you were investigating him?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, sir.

Mr. HIANNOCH. Was that supposed to stop you from investigating when he showed you this?

Mr. CLENDENEN. No; I think not. He thought we would be interested in the item and he gave it to us.

Mr. HANNOCH. It is about to be published by him?

Mr. CLENDENEN. The information that we had was that this would appear in a future issue of this publication.

The CHAIRMAN. But it has not been published yet?

Mr. CLENDENEN. We have not seen it on the newsstand, Senator.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Kefauver?

Senator KEFAUVER. This is very interesting. They attempt to quote the Daily Worker to show that anyone who questions comics is a Communist. I think this should be placed in the record along with the item you spoke about that quoted the editor from Rapid City, S. Dak.

The CHAIRMAN. The Chair agrees with the Senator from Tennessee, and without objection, the items will be made a part of the record. Let that be exhibits Nos. 8 a and b.

(The information referred to was marked "Exhibits Nos. 8a and b," and reads as follows:)



New York, N. Y., March 18, 1954.

To all Publishers of Comics Magazines


The following headline appeared in the Rapid City (S. Dak.) Journal on February 18: "Number of Comics Books on Newsstands 'Communistic'."

The story ran 19 column inches and quoted various Army officials. Following are the first five paragraphs.

"Fifty communistic publications are available to the people of Rapid City on local newsstands, according to a wing intelligence officer of the Ellsworth Air Force Base.

"'All local newsstands are carrying communistic literature,' declared Capt. William Wygocki who spoke at a conference of civilian and military law-enforcement officials at the base Wednesday afternoon.

"The 'literature' is comic books that show brutal police and FBI officers and are derogatory to people of high social status, Wygicki said.

"They show everyone who has a high place in society as cowards with no backbone or regard for life. So they are definitely a menace," he said * * *.

(The above is an excerpt.)

The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel on February 23 published a lengthy editorial entitled "Problems Comic Books Produce" and with the editorial ran a cartoon showing a book labeled "United States Comic Books" and across the book was pictured a hammer and sickle. The editorial concluded with a sentence summarizing Dr. Frederic Wertham. The editorial writer said: "And as propaganda agencies for Communist cells, they [comic books] are made to order."


February 23: Erie (Pa.) Times carries article attacking comics, stating in part, "A Times reporter spent 50 cents for 'children's' literature and came up with a short course in murder, mayhem, robbery, rape, cannibalism, carnage, sex, sadism, and worse."

February 24: Mayor Thomas Flatley, of Erie, ordered an investigation by police of comic books found in Erie stores.

February 25: Sharon (Pa.) Herald carried story about the Erie police investigation.

February 27: Erie Times carries story that the mayor and police chief will meet to adopt a city ordinance "with teeth in it" to keep "such matter off the stands."


The Chicago News (March 5) reported in a two-column headline: "Ciucci Denounced as Wife Cheater."

And the story said, in part: "Vincent Ciucci, young grocer accused of wiping out his family of four because he loved another woman, went on trial for his life in criminal court Friday.

"The prosecutor described him to the jury as an unfaithful husband, a deceiver of his mistress, and a comic reader." [Italics ours.]


Mrs. Faye Hubbard, wife of Mayor Orville L. Hubbard, was wounded by a gunshot fired by her 11-year-old son (March 6); the mayor was quoted as blaming the incident on his boy's interest in comics magazines-“Russian roulette.” Use of comics books in election campaigns is subject of legislation pending in Massachusetts State Legislature supported by Republicans and Democrats. Councilman John E. Engel, of Hackensack N. J., asked the city attorney to prepare an ordinance to regulate comic books (February 24) (Hackensack Bergen Evening Record). Newburgh N. Y., held meeting of 19 organizations to plan anticomics campaign, leader having described comics as "subversive"; results of meeting not yet known. A special committee is investigating comic books in Encondido; reported in the San Diego (Calif.) Union. The Bentonville, Ark., Comics Book Committee finished its evaluation for local people and the Fayetteville (Ark.) Times reports that the chairman, Mrs. Lewis Dahlstrom, is now helping other communities evaluate comics, too. Only one-tenth of all comics are fit to read, according to a police captain at a PTA meeting in Fremont, Ohio, as reported in the Fremont Messenger, February 19. The effect of comics on youth is the subject of a current study of the Study Club of Freer, Tex. "Abolition of degrading comics books for all time" is the goal of a campaign of women's clubs in Leesburg, Fla.; comics books were described as direct contributors to juvenile delinquency; late in February and early March, the Orlando (Fin.) Sentinel carried anticomics editorials and letters to the editor. The Springfield, Mass. Comics investigation Committee announced it will not engage in "witch hunts" (February 23, Springfield News). Numerous Washington dispatches continue to report intention of Hendrickson committee to investigate comics. Hartford, Conn., continues to be center of strong anticomics fight; nearby communities plan comics curbs, following series by Hartford Courant, described in earlier ACMP bulletin; daily anticomics activity is reported. Anticomics action reported in the press of Los Angeles; Hammond, Ind.; Houston, Tex.; Detroit, Mich.; Asheville, N. C.; and elsewhere.


Angelo Patri's Syndicated newspaper column, while critical of comics, on February 26, included the following after discussing comics censorship: "What we want to do is to safeguard the children and still preserve our cherished right to read what we choose. It requires careful doing, but it can be done."


The New Haven Register Warmly commended the B. F. Goodrich educational Comics magazine on highway safety.

The Erie (Pa.) Times commended a local committee that succeeded in "ridding the city of smutty and obscene literature" no longer visible on the newsstands (February 24).

The New Orleans States warmly praised Dr. Rex Morgan, comic strip, as educational and constructive and said the way to deal with "unwholesome entertainment" is to provide "a more Wholesome kind."

The Albany (N. Y.) Knickerbocker News and Elmira (N. Y.) Star-Gazette carried identical editorials (February 19 and 22) on New York State comics legislation, concluding that if the State legislature "fails to exercise judgment," it will have failed to perform its proper function in connection with pending anticomics legislation

Alfred A. Albert, Boston leader in civil liberty efforts, defended comics in a strong letter to the Boston Herald on March 3.

Dr. William Darby Glenn, Psychology department chief of University of Tampa, in a speech before the Miami Woman's Club, declared many a child has learned to read from comic books where the conventional reader has failed.

Observes the Schenectady (N. Y.) Union Star on February 25: "Enlightened and determined public opinion is the only true censorship in a nonpolice state," anent anticomics legislation.

Activity against comics magazines seems to have become more intense in all sections of the Country in the past 10 days.


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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

Postby admin » Tue Sep 24, 2013 8:56 pm

Exhibit No. 8b


Senator KEFAUVER. You referred to Mr. Gaines. Who is he?

Mr. CLENDENEN. He is the publisher of the Entertaining Comics Group.

The CHAIRMAN. Entertaining Comic Group. You distinguish now from the Crime Comics?

Mr. CLENDENEN. No, sir; by group I mean a group of comics that all carry the Entertaining Comics label and although they may be put out by 2 or 3 different corporations, you lump them all together; it is really, for all practical purposes, a single business operation and the single business operation in this case is the Entertaining Comics.

Senator HENNINGS. This legend is very interesting as we read this propaganda. The first sentence:

Here in America, we can still publish comic magazines, newspapers, slicks, books, and the Bible. We don't have to send them to a censor first. Not yet * * *

Mr. HANNOCH (reading):

The group most anxious to destroy comics are the Communists.

That is in the big type, is it not?

Mr. CLENDENEN. Yes, that is the big type.

Mr. BEASER. No further questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Do my distinguished colleagues have any further questions?

Thank you very much, Mr. Clendenen. I think your next witness Dr. Harris Peck, is it not, Counsel?

Mr. BEASER. Yes.

The CHAIRMAN. Will Dr. Peck come forward, please?

Doctor, will you be sworn, please?

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give to this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Dr. PECK. I do.


The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, did you have a prepared statement?

Dr. PECK. No, I do not.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you proceed to give your testimony in your own manner .

Mr. BEASER. I think it might be easier for the Doctor if we had questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Proceed, then.

Mr. BEASER. Will you state for the record your full name, address, present occupation, and title?

Dr. PECK. I am Dr. Harris Peck, and I am the director of the Bureau of Mental Health Services for the New York City Court of Domestic Relations.

Mr. BEASER. At the children's court?

Dr. PECK. That is, the court of domestic relations is comprised of two courts, the family court and the children's court.

Mr. BEASER. Could you give us a little bit of your background? You are a psychiatrist, are you?

Dr. PECK. Yes, I have been associated with the court for almost 8 years, first, as senior psychiatrist in charge of the treatment services, and for the past several years I was director of the mental health services.

Prior to that I was director of a child-guidance clinic at the General Hospital in the city, and was a research and teaching fellow at the Bellevue Hospital, New York University Medical Center.

Mr. BEASER. Were you here this morning when Mr. Clendenen testified?

Dr. PECK. Yes.

Mr. BEASER. Would you care to give us your opinion on his testimony, the exhibits he used in relation to the effect of crime and horror comics upon children and juvenile delinquency?

Dr. PECK. I think I should precede my remarks by saying that I really cannot pose as an expert in the field of comic books. When I was asked to come down I tried to make that clear.

Perhaps my contribution can be only a very limited one.

I have worked extensively in the psychiatric treatment of juvenile delinquents and in the course of that have had some contact with the comic-book situation, but I have made no systematic study of it and cannot testify as an expert in that sense.

I think that my own general view from my experiences with children as seen in a court clinic would lead to the feeling that certainly we cannot look to comic books as being a primary causative source for juvenile delinquency.

In that sense I would certainly support Mr. Clendenen's view that normal children are not led to crime as we have seen it in the court clinic because of reading comic books.

On the other hand, I certainly do feel that in areas of our city where there are many deteriorating influences at work on children which do end them up in our court, certainly the comic books may be an aiding and abetting influence and may well precipitate some of the concerns which have already been set into motion by other forces.

Also I think I can confirm the fact that many of the children received in our court clinic are quite preoccupied with the materials of the kinds of comic books that were shown here this morning.

Mr. BEASER. Doctor, I have heard, or read, the statement that a child who is emotionally maladjusted, if that is the correct term, is exactly the kind of child who would shun reading a crime or horror comic. Is that true from your experience, or are they attracted to it?

Dr. PECK. I can say that almost without exception most of the children that we do see at the psychiatric services of the court are reading comic books and most of them are comics of this description.

As I said earlier, I have not conducted any systematic study on that matter and this is an impression only.

The CHAIRMAN. The children that you refer to, Doctor, are all children who are in trouble, are they not?

Dr. PECK. That is right. The children we see at our clinic are children who have already been judged delinquent by the children's court.

Mr. BEASER. Doctor, there were two particular stories I wanted to call your attention to that which Mr. Clendenen told this morning.

One I ask him about specifically, the other I did not. One related to the child about to be placed in a foster home whose foster parents turn out to be vampires or something and the child himself turned out to be a werewolf and the other related to the child whose mother was running around and her father was a drunkard and who had killed in one way or another the parents and the boy friend.

Would you be able to tell a little bit about the reaction of a normal or well-adjusted child to those two kinds of stories assuming these stories are typical of the kind the child is reading?

Dr. PECK. A fair number of the children whom we see come from homes in which there is already a certain amount of disruption. Sometimes this is of a superficial character in that both parents may be working and the child is simply left alone a good deal of the time.

In other instances, the family has been broken up by divorce or desertion or there may be one or several parents who are either physically or emotionally disturbed.

I would say from my experience that for such a child, material which painted parent figures in a horrendous light that such a child would be unusually susceptible to this kind of material because it would play into its own phantasies.

I think it is conceivable that this kind of material, presented in the fashion that we see in the comic books, could give an additional thrust to other forces already operating on the child.

Senator HENNINGS. May I ask Dr. Peck a question at that point?

The CHAIRMAN. You may.

Senator HENNINGS. It seems that I recall from reading of Hans Christian Anderson and Grimm's Fairy Tales that there were a number of those stories that related to the vicious, mean, overbearing stepmother, it seems they emphasized the step-relationship.

Dr. PECK. Yes.

Senator HENNINGS. Now, there was a great deal that was pretty horrible in some of these things, was there not?

Dr. PECK. Yes.

Senator HENNINGS. Going back and relating that sort of thing which has gone on for many generations by way of reading material for the very young and. as I have suggested Poe's stories, and that sort of thing, how do we distinguish, or can we distinguish between that sort of writing which is given to very young children and has been for a long time, and this sort of thing about which we are now talking today?

Dr. PECK. In some regards I think you cannot distinguish. I think some of the most vicious, even the very plots as you suggest, are identical.

It is for that reason that I think some caution must be observed in attributing to the comic books a major impetus for delinquency.

Among the differences, however, is that although characters are drawn rather in black and white lines, there is some development of character, there is, if you like, some humaneness about the stories, most of which are absent in the comic book materials which seem to enlarge on the most perverse aspects of the human conscience, at least in the kind of materials that were presented here.

One might also say, although I think someone observed earlier in the hearings the earlier materials were illustrated, I think the type of illustration that one sees here, especially the highly sexualized material, was largely absent from some of the more classical fairy tale material.

Now, I might say that a large group of the youngsters that we see in our court would be unable to reach very much of the classical fairy tale material because reading disability is so prevalent in this population.

So I suspect many of them react even more to the illustrative material than to the printed word, although that is kept at a very simple level.

Senator HENNINGS. Thank you, Doctor.

Mr. BEASER. I have just one more question, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Proceed, Mr. Beaser.

Mr. BEASER. Doctor, you have seen the pages of comic books or any illustrated magazine used for teaching children what to do. Teaching them to do good things is what I meant, mental health, hygiene, and so forth.

Is it also possible to utilize the pages of the comics through crime and horror so that children learn to do bad things?

Dr. PECK. Certainly audiovisual aids are enjoying increasing prominence in educational techniques.

I think, as a matter of fact, one of our local correctional institutions, the New York State School, is using a comic-book type of presentation for its new arrivals to help orient them to the place and before they arrive there they give them some real feeling of what the place is about.

So certainly the comic book, I don't believe, should be devised as a form. As to whether or not it can teach bad things, I think very largely that depends on who is being taught and what their situation is.

I think the children, many of whom need expression, many of whom are frustrated, who are in deprived situations, certainly will look to the comic books for release and for expression of the kind of violence which is being stirred up in them.

Children who are suffering disturbances in their own family situations will be especially susceptible to the kind of material in which parent figures engage in all kinds of perverse activities.

So that I think when one says that they may teach bad things, one has to qualify it in that way.

Mr. BEASER. No further questions, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, you referred to reading deficiencies in respect to the more classical type of fairy tale. Now, these children would not have any trouble reading these things, would they, children to whom you referred?

Dr. PECK. Some would, some would have to look at the pictures. In a study of our court population we found that 75 percent of the population who were brought in for other than school difficulties were at least 2 years retarded in reading and half of those were 5 years retarded in reading, which means that a fair number of them were non readers and would barely be able to make out some of the material even in the comic books.

Senator KEFAUVER. Dr. Peck, do you feel that the stable children who could, without doing any harm to themselves read these horror and crime comics, usually are the ones that are not reading them, but are reading something else and the maladjusted, unstable child who ought to be reading something else is usually the one who is found with horror and crime comics. Is that the situation?

Dr. PECK. I suspect that trend exists. That is not to say that so-called normal children may not find some interest in this kind of material and without it necessarily precipitating them into delinquency. Certainly, I think we might talk about more or less desirable educational materials, and this would certainly be one of the less desirable.

Senator KEFAUVER. Dr. Peck, did you give the subcommittee any estimate of the number of children that you have seen from which you gain your conclusions?

Dr. PECK. We see approximately about 2,000 cases a year at the mental health services of the New York City children's court. So I think it would be fair to say I have seen about - or through my service, we have seen about 15,000 cases over the past 7 or 8 years.

Senator KEFAUVER. Do you find about the same conclusions in other places of the country? What you have said New York is typical of, happens throughout the Nation, I take it?

Dr. PECK. In regard to what point, Senator?

Senator KEFAUVER. In regard to the effect of horror and crime comics.

In other words, in your discussion and experience with other psychiatrists, do you find that they generally agree with you in your conclusions?

Dr. PECK. I think as Mr. Clendenen indicated, there is some variance in point of view. The point of view I have given here, I think you might say, is something of a middle-of-the-road point of view. There are those who are very much more concerned about the effect of comic books and there are those who discount a good deal more than I would be willing to.

Senator KEFAUVER. So you think you are in the middle of the road in appraising the matter?

Dr. PECK. I think that would be a fair estimate of my position.

Senator KEFAUVER. I think you have been very fair in your point of view.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Missouri.

Senator HENNINGS. Doctor, I know we all appreciate very much your coming here and giving us the benefit of your thoughtful consideration of these things which are of interest to us and which in many respects are very complex.

For example, we are led to believe, are we not, that crimes of violence are increasing here and perhaps in England?

Dr. PECK. Yes; that is true.

Senator HENNINGS. Although figures and statistics─and figures can be very misleading, can they not?

Dr. PECK. Yes.

Senator HENNINGS. When we talk about homicides, sometimes it is in the course of a robbery, perpetration of a felony; sometimes as the Latin Americans say, a crime of passion, sometimes a sporadic sort of thing that does not seem to be accounted for by anything except we are people with all the ills that flesh is heir to.

We know that one of the prime entertainments in England years ago was a public hanging, until Charles Dickens and a number of reformers of that period abolished public executions and they began to hang people behind the walls of penitentiaries.

We know in this country even today in some communities people clamor to get into the death house, or get into where the gallows is put up so they can see these things, but by and large we do not let the general public view these as spectacles, but they were great sources of amusement. Fathers took the family and promised the children if they were good they would take them to the hanging the next day.

Now, we have stopped that sort of thing for the most part. We do not have these public evidences of brutality.

Has that had any effect, good or bad, except as a question of taste and general public policy?

Dr. PECK. I must confess that in the absence of any adequate study, and I am afraid it is a kind of frustrating answer, I would be unable to answer in any definitive way.

However, I think one must differentiate between certain isolated phenomena and some, if you like, which are facilitated because they fall in with a whole series of other happenings which all go in the same direction.

I think perhaps in part the comic books are a matter of concern, because there are other kinds of things which kind of hit kids in the same way so they become especially significant, I would think.

Senator HENNINGS. I do not have an opinion. Doctor, but to me, it seemed to be a very interesting field for speculation. We have cut out so many of the outward semblances or evidences of brutality, the pillory, the stocks, the ducking stool, and the public executions, and still we do not seem to, by and large, have done very much about ameliorating violence and that character of crime, have we?

Dr. PECK. Yet we must say from our study of very young children who are not ill, we do not find any evidence of what you might call an inherent destructive impulse in youngsters, as such, and given the opportunities for the growth and normal aggression as distinguished from destructiveness and hostility, I think we are almost forced to conclude that there is something in the situations which we provide children that acts in good part.

Senator KEFAUVER. I wonder if this would not have something to do with it, Dr. Peck. We did not condone public hangings and generally they are not legal now, but the number of people who would see them compared with the number who would read 25,000 horror crime books per month, which are put out, would be many, many times those who would get to the place where the hanging took place.

In other words, there is much wider dissemination and chances to see.

Dr. PECK. That is certainly correct.

Senator HENNINGS. Over 100,000 used to crowd the hill in London outside of the Old Bailey. Families, children, with lunch baskets and the pickpockets were working the crowd while they were hanging one.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, do you find that the more serious crime is growing among the younger age groups? Is that your experience here in New York?

Dr. PECK. We have noted in our observations that the court itself does report more serious type of delinquency and, in rough kinds of studies, we think this probably does correspond with an increasing amount of psychosocial disturbance in the youngsters we see.

The CHAIRMAN. That is on the increase?

Dr. PECK. That seems to be.

The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Doctor.

Does counsel have any further questions?

Mr. BEASER. No further questions.

The CHAIRMAN. This subcommittee wishes to thank you very much for your appearance this morning. You have made a real contribution.

Dr. PECK. It has been a privilege to appear.

Mr. BEASER. Mr. Henry Schultz.

The CHAIRMAN. Will you be sworn, please?

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give to this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I do.


Mr. BEASER. Will you state your name, address, and occupation, for the record?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Henry Edward Schultz. I am an attorney, counsel for the Association of Comic Book Publishers. I am at 205 East 42d Street here in New York.

Mr. BEASER. Will you tell us a bit about the association, its past and present membership; how it got started, and what its purposes are?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I must be a little vague about the precise date because I had no contact with it at the time, but my recollection is that it was about 6 or 7 years ago that the comic book publishers, almost 90 percent of them, gathered together in the face of tightening storms of criticism and sought to band together to do something about it.

They organized themselves into a I would presume you would call it ─ trade association of one kind or another, and under the leadership of a committee, formulated a code.

Again I had no hand in that formulation. It was headed as I recall it, by George Hecht, one of the finer, better publishers in the industry, who publishes Parents magazine.

I think as we look back, it was a sincere effort to bring some beginning of order out of chaos. Unfortunately, early in the operation of that association, some of the larger publishers left it and when I was approached ---

Mr. BEASER. When you first started was it in 1948, 6 or 7 years ago?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I suspect it is 1948 or 1947.

Mr. BEASER. Were all the publishers members? Did they all join?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I think almost without exception, there may have been 1 or 2 people who didn't attend those meetings, but as I understand it, and this is hearsay, 90 percent of the industry were members of that original organization that was formed.

Mr. BEASER. Then the association adopted a code and it was after the adoption of the code that some members left; is that it?

Mr. SCHULTZ. That is true, but I hasten to add if there is any inference in that that they left because of the code, that would be unfair to them.

The people who left, some of them, are the finest publishers of comics in the industry; some of the largest ones. They left for a variety of reasons. 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.

Mr. BEASER. Have you a copy of the code with you?

Mr. SCHULTZ. No, I am sorry. I thought the committee had one.

Mr. BEASER. We have one. I would like to offer this, Mr. Chairman.

The CHAIRMAN. It will be received and marked for the record and incorporated in the record without objection. Let it be exhibit No. 9.

(The document referred to was marked "Exhibit No. 9," and reads as follows:)



NEW YORK, July 1.─ The Association of Comics Magazine Publishers today announces the adoption of a code of minimum editorial standards. The association is now conducting an intensive drive to secure the membership of all the comics magazine publishers in the United States and their pledge to abide by the comics code. The code will be sent to local societies, civic groups, and distributors of magazines.

The association also announces that it is considering appointing a commissioner whose function it will be to survey the entire industry in the light of the comics code, and to suggest changes, if necessary, as well as to impose restrictions on those members of the association whose magazines do not adhere to the particulars of the comics code. Also under consideration is the adoption of a seal to be used on comics magazines, the contents of which meet the requirements of the comics code. The code reads as follows:


The Association of Comics Magazine Publishers, realizing its responsibility to the millions of readers of comics magazines and to the public generally, urges its members and others to publish comics magazines containing only good, wholesome entertainment or education, and in no event include in any magazine comics that may in any way lower the moral standards of those who read them.

In particular:

(1) Sexy, wanton comics should not be published. No drawing should show a female indecently or unduly exposed, and in no event more nude than in a bathing suit commonly worn in the United States of America.

(2) Crime should not be presented in such a way as to throw sympathy against law and justice or to inspire others with the desire for imitation. No comics shall show the details and methods of a crime committed by a youth. Policemen, judges, Government officials, and respected institutions should not be portrayed as stupid or ineffective, or represented in such a way as to weaken respect for established authority.

(3) No scenes of sadistic torture should be shown.

(4) Vulgar and obscene language should never be used. Slang should be kept to a minimum and used only when essential to the story.

(5) Divorce should not be treated humorously nor represented as glamorous or alluring.

(6) Ridicule of or attack on any religious or racial group is never permissible.

The association anticipates the support of all publishers in its effort to enforce the minimum editorial standards of the comics code. It is pointed out, however, that comics magazines are usually prepared at least 3 months before issues go on sale, so that practical application of the code may not be evident for a number of months.

The comics magazine publishers who have already agreed to abide by the comics code, all of whom are not, however, members of the association, are: Premium Service Co., Inc., Famous Funnies, Inc., Hillman Periodicals, Inc., Parents' Institute, Inc., Lev Gleason Publications, Inc., McCombs Publications, Inc., The Golden Willow Press, Avon Periodicals, Inc., Ace Magazines, Orbit Publications, Inc., Superior Comics, Consolidated Magazines, Inc.

Mr. BEASER. What is your present membership in this association?

Mr. SCHULTZ. We have about a dozen members, only three of which are publishers, several distributors, some of the printers, and engravers.

I say that our experience in continuing this organization has been a study in frustration. When I came into the picture some 6 or 7 years ago, we had one-third of the industry. Since that time there have been defections from that very substantially so that today unfortunately our association represents a very insignificant, small fraction of the industry, those few diehards who still believe that by some miracle the organization of their original premise, which was a program of self-regulation of comics, might yet come true.

Unfortunately it has not happened.

Mr. BEASER. You say there were defections. Do you have any who left because they were not abiding by the code?

Mr. SCHULTZ. There were several resignations which were directly traceable to the fact that I, as a person of some responsibility in this, refused to approve certain magazines and these people felt they could not live under what they regarded as excessive, kind of narrow, restrictions.

Mr. BEASER. You were enforcing the code, in other words?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I tried to enforce it on a very practical level.

Mr. BEASER. How many publishers were involved?

Mr. SCHULTZ. In the defection?

Mr. BEASER. Yes.

Mr. SCHULTZ. I know of two publishers who left for that very specific reason. Others left without giving reasons. I can only guess what the motivation may have been.

Mr. BEASER. Which were the two that had difficulty with respect to the code?

Mr. SCHULTZ. One was the Educational Comics. It is now Entertainment Comics, the Gaines Publishing.

The other was something called the Avon, and there, again, with the proliferation of corporations and names those names cover a variety of companies, I presume.

Mr. BEASER. How do you operate, or how does the association operate now as contrasted with the past? Do you screen all the magazines or comics which bear your seal of approval?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Originally when I was approached, the concept was to set up a counterpart of the motion-picture production code. We had what I still think were good ideas. We got together a committee of educators. We had the superintendent of schools here in New York; we had the State librarian, some others, as an advisory committee to sit in seminars with publishers and educators to raise the language content levels, and so on.

We actually had a procedure. Some people we hired were actually reading the comics in the boards; that is, the raw state of the pasted-up kind of thing before it gets to the printer.

When ─ I guess it is more than 3 years now, perhaps a little longer ─ the defections became so bad we could not afford to continue that kind of 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.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, Mr. Schultz, the comic books, crime and horror comic books which today bear the seal of approval of the association, does not necessarily mean that anybody in the association has read them and actually approved of the comics?

Mr. SCHULTZ. They do not. The association some 3 years ago ─ the few remaining members ─ adopted a provision in which they agreed they would do their own censoring, their own censorship at that point, and there is no longer that other process which I described.

Mr. BEASER. Yet they still do bear the seal of approval?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Yes, they bear the seal now, the concept being that in their judgment they conform to that code which has been made part of the record.

Mr. BEASER. Now, in the enforcement of your code, or your regulations, whatever it is, have you any sanctions whatsoever?

Mr. SCHULTZ. No; we have no sanctions.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, the publisher who does not live up to your code just goes ahead?

Mr. SCHULTZ. A publisher who was a member of the association who desired to have the seal on his publication, if he did not conform to the recommendations made, would be deprived of the right to use the seal.

Mr. BEASER. I mean right now a person is a member of the association and puts out a magazine that bears the seal, there is no way, is there, in which your organization as a functioning organization takes action?

Mr. SCHULTZ. We do no checking whatever, none whatever.

Mr. BEASER. Were you here this morning, Mr. Schultz?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Yes; I was, right from the very inception.

Mr. BEASER. Did you see some of the exhibits?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Yes; I did.

Mr. BEASER. Would you say that the ones which showed crime, horror and terror, would conform to your articles on crime in the code and on sadistic torture which are forbidden under your code?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Well, it is pretty hard to generalize. First of all, I would say when the code was adopted the weird kind of terror comics had not been in existence and the committee that formulated the code made no provision or reference to it whatever, so that it is hard to answer the question technically as to whether it conforms to the code.

My difficulties, however, go beyond the technical. I certainly think they violate the spirit and intent of such code and was one of the reasons for the defections about which I spoke.

Mr. BEASER. Would it, in your opinion, violate the provisions of that code which says that the objective of the code is to prohibit anything which in any way lowers the moral standards of those who read them?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Now you are getting into an area in which I have very limited competence. I have a lot of experience and contact in the last 6 years with the whole body of the men who have studied the problem and I am as confused as I presume everybody else is about how to answer that question.

My guess is that you will not get any eminent, sound, responsible psychiatrist who will make a definitive statement on that subject.

Mr. BEASER. I was testing the exhibits against the code itself.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Chairman, if I may make a suggestion, this reads to me like a very excellent code that has been given a great deal of thought. If the publishers would follow this code, I do not think we would have this problem that we are talking about today. I know the code has been made a part of the record, but I would think, so that we would know what we are talking about, the paragraph having to do with that they recommend be published and what should not be published, ought to be read.

The CHAIRMAN. I shall be very glad to have the counsel read that portion of the code.

I, too, want to join in commending the association for that code. It is a good code and would do the trick if it were observed.

Senator KEFAUVER. Counsel might read the whole thing. It is very short.

The CHAIRMAN. Counsel, will you read the code?

Mr. BEASER. This is something entitled "The Comics Code."

(Mr. Beaser read "The Comics Code" which appears as "Exhibit No. 9" on p. 70.)

The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed.

Mr. BEASER. I have one more question. You have had some years of experience in representing comic-book publishers. In the sale and distribution of comic books, are the dealers at the local level required by either the wholesaler, the distributor, or the publisher in any way to carry crime and horror comic books?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I would say the best answer I could give starts with the basis that all magazines, comic books, and all publications of every kind and variety are sold on a fully returnable basis. So you start with the concept that a dealer who feels the urge not to sell─

Mr. BEASER. A dealer is the man on the street corner?

Mr. SCHULTZ. A retailer. If the retailer desires to avoid selling any magazines, either which for political or social or religious or moral reasons offends his sensibilities, all he has to do is put them under the counter and return them for full credit.

I would not say there are instances where a roadman representing the wholesaler or the distributor in New York, in an effort to perform his function, may not urge a dealer to display a comic horror book he might not want to, but there is no compulsion legally in any of the arrangements that I am aware of in the publishing industry.

Mr. BEASER. Have you heard of compulsion in the form of either a publisher, wholesaler, or distributor saying to dealers that unless they carry crime and horror comics that they will not be given other, say, more salable magazines?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I have not heard that, but I can imagine its happening for a different reason. It is very much, Mr. Beaser, like the automobile business where they have an agency and they would not like the agent to prefer to sell only the convertibles. They want him to have a full line.

If a fat distributor, like the American News Co., that distributes 100 magazines, they prefer a wholesaler to carry their full franchise, all of their publications.

I presume if the point was reached where a wholesaler, by refusing to accept publications, or returning, them without sale, got to the point where his franchise was ineffective and he was not doing a decent job for the individual distributor, he might remove the franchise and give it to somebody else.

Mr. BEASER. In other words, there is the possibility, then, that if a particular dealer in a drugstore does not want to carry some of the crime and horror comics and keeps returning certain issues, that he may be refused the sale of other magazines by the wholesaler?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I can't conceive it happening at the level of the retailer. I think it would be very remote.

Mr. BEASER. It would be likely to happen then at the distributor - wholesaler level?

Mr. SCHULTZ. It could happen at the distributor - wholesaler level, but I have never heard of its happening.

Mr. HANNOCH. Have you not heard that it is so prevalent that it becomes necessary to pass statutes making it illegal to do that very thing?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I know of the statutes that are in existence, Mr. Hannoch, I think they perhaps proceeded on a notion which is different from mine. That is, that there is some compulsion in the so-called tie-in sale.

My own experience in this industry representing publishers for a quarter of a century, would seem to indicate to the contrary.

Mr. BEASER. Do you think the statutes were passed in various States without any reason at all and not to cure an evil?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I think that the statutes that were passed in Idaho ─ there is one in New York that has just been passed, and there was a suggestion of one in New Jersey ─ were passed as a result of a great deal of excitement and hysteria, in my judgment, about this whole problem of the impact of the mass media on juvenile delinquency.

I think they proceed from an erroneous assumption that the tie-in sale is a part of the legal mechanism of the distribution business when in fact it is not.

The CHAIRMAN. You do agree, Mr. Schultz, that if they would abide by this code, if the publishers did abide by this code which was read into the record, the trouble would be solved?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I am sure 90 percent of the trouble would be removed.

The CHAIRMAN. At least the dangers would have been eliminated; would they not?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Yes, except for the dangers that come from if I may just expand on that phase of it ─ I would hate to feel I came down just to tell this story of frustration of the association without at least being given the privilege of saying one word about my own views of the impact of these comics on this problem.

I have had the feeling from all I have seen and read, and I have had a great deal of contact with it, that there are people who, for motivations of their own, some very sincere, some, I think, insincere, have made of this comic-book issue a national scandal.

I think it has been a disservice to the people. I think it has been a disservice to the whole problem that this committee is trying to grapple with, the problem of trying to find the basic impetus.

The causes of juvenile delinquency are broad, that to do the thing that has happened so many times, which is to point to the easiest culprit and say it is the comic book that is responsible for all our difficulties, is a very dangerous thing.

I am not talking now from the comic-book publishers standpoint. I think it detracts from the ability to understand the real basic cause of juvenile delinquency. I think it impedes intelligent investigation into those causes. It gratifies the feelings of parents and others that something is being done about it when everybody blames the mass media, comics or television or motion pictures.

I would say from my talking with men who have devoted years to a study of this problem that they are all agreed that the tools which they have in psychiatry and sociology are still too blunt to enable the careful measurement of the kind of answer which might be indicated by Mr. Beaser's question.

They are only beginning to feel their way into this area.

The CHAIRMAN. You realize, of course, Mr. Schultz, that this subcommittee is only trying to shed a true light on this problem?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I would hope, if I may make one plea in conclusion, that this committee, in the face of the larger scope of this problem, it is a serious, important, difficult problem, could do a great service in my judgment if it would, while excoriating the bad taste and the vulgarity sometimes bordering on obscenity, that occurs in these publications, I think many of the comic-book publishers have failed in their duty to mothers to take this great medium which was years ago a wonderful vital thing and they have debased it in many ways, I think they should be criticized for that.

But I think the whole problem of comic books and their impact must be put in proper focus. How much of an impact all of the maps media can make on this problem and what little corner of it the comic book occupies is a very difficult measurement to make.

You start with the Gluecks at Harvard, who have devoted years to this work, who tell us in their definitive book that just came out that a child's pattern of delinquency is fixed at the age of six. That is even before he is exposed to mass media.

The CHAIRMAN. They have been before this subcommittee.

Mr. SCHULTZ. I did not know they had. But you get an opportunity, I think, here in a report to point out that if there is an impact it is certainly a small part of the whole and I am hopeful we can lay the ghost once and for all of the continued excitement, the frightening impact on parents and people all over the country by a few people who go about frightening people out of their wits by telling them that all the youngsters in the Nation are being turned into little monsters by the comic-book industry, which I think is a lot of rubbish.

Senator KEFAUVER. I think most of us will agree with you that there are dozens and dozens of factors, or contributing factors, in this problem, and the subcommittee has been going into various and sundry ones. I think you will agree it is proper that we do also consider and look at this horror and crime book problem.

Mr. Schultz, how many do you have left in the association?

Mr. SCHULTZ. We have about a dozen members, as I said, of which only three are publishers.

Senator KEFAUVER. On this code here, you have Premium Service Co., Inc. Is that still a member?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I don't recognize that name. It is not a member.

Senator KEFAUVER. Famous Funnies?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Famous Funnies which was the publishers of the first comic book that ever appeared, they are still members.

Senator KEFAUVER. Hillman Periodicals, Inc.?

Mr. SCHULTZ. They are not.

Senator KEFAUVER. Parents' Institute, Inc.?

Mr. SCHULTZ. They went out of business entirely.

Senator KEFAUVER. Gleason Publications, Inc.?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Is still a member.

Senator KEFAUVER. McCombs Publications, Inc.?

Mr. SCHULTZ. They went out of business.

Senator KEFAUVER. Golden Willow Press?

Mr. SCHULTZ. They are not.

Senator KEFAUVER. Did they leave the association?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I don't remember now, Senator, whether it demised or whether they left.

Senator KEFAUVER. Avon Periodicals, Inc.?

Mr. SCHULTZ. They left.

Senator KEFAUVER. Ace Magazines?

Mr. SCHULTZ. They left.

Senator KEFAUVER. Orbit Publications, Inc.?

Mr. SCHULTZ. They left.

Senator KEFAUVER. They left?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Yes, they left.

Senator KEFAUVER. You seemed to say that with a smile. Does that have any significance?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I don't remember the details of each one of these companies. Each one was an incident around a busy career on this problem, so they bring back all kinds of memories.

Senator KEFAUVER. Superior Comics?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Superior Comics, I believe, gave up business, although I really don't know.

Senator KEFAUVER. Consolidated Magazines, Inc.?

Mr. SCHULTZ. They are no longer members.

Senator KEFAUVER. I do not see Atlas in this group.

Mr. SCHULTZ. Atlas was a more recently formed company since the formulation of that code and Atlas became a member about 2 years ago.

Senator KEFAUVER. Is Atlas still a member?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Yes, they are.

Senator KEFAUVER. Now, Mr. Schultz, actually, in this association, how many employees do you have?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I presume there are now two of us considered employees. We have a man who acts as general secretary and I am general counsel.

Senator KEFAUVER. What is the budget of the association?

Mr. SCHULTZ. We spend about $15,000 a year.

Senator KEFAUVER. How many members do you have left in it?

Mr. SCHULTZ. About 12.

Senator KEFAUVER. So, that two part-time employees ─ you as general counsel, and one employee ─ you make no effort really to look over and see what they are publishing and you have no sanctions, so actually you admit that the association has just about gone out of business?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Yes; we are now merely a reporting agency. We get up that little letter that comes out about once a month in which we collect all the clippings all over the Nation criticizing comics and pass that on to the industry. We call an occasional industry meeting to talk; about censorship, some of their problems, taxes, and things of that .kind, but to all intents and purposes we are out of business on our major objective, which was self-regulation.

Senator KEFAUVER. As the regulator, or the Landis of the comic-book industry, if you were permitted to be, you certainly would not permit a lot of these things you see here this morning?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I not only wouldn't, but I didn't and unfortunately they have left the association.

Senator KEFAUVER. Refusal to go along with your ideas about it is the reason the association has only a few members left?

Mr. SCHULTZ. That is not entirely true. The reason it has not succeeded, I think, is the failure or refusal of some of the larger and better publishers who, while they themselves do not publish comic books which might be in this category, did not recognize their responsibility to the total industry by staying with the organization in its inception and formulating practices and rules which would have become a bible for the industry.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Schultz, it would seem that in the beginning the publishers had pretty good judgment because this was started back in 1947, just about the time the horror and crime comics got underway; was it not?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I don't believe the horror comics came in, Senator Kefauver, until about 3 or 4 years ago. That is my guess. I don't think the horror comics were at all in the picture; nobody knew anything about them when this code was formulated 7 years ago.

The crime comics were in existence at that time.

Senator KEFAUVER. The code seems to have reference to horror comics at that time. "No sense of sadistic torture should be shown," "and vulgar and obscene language should never be used."

In any event, Mr. Schultz, it would seem to be unfortunate that this effort that started off so good was not carried on.


Senator KEFAUVER. Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hennings.

Senator HENNINGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

You have a seal of approval, have you, Mr. Schultz?

Mr. SCHULTZ. We did have. As I explained before, originally the concept was that the seal would only be permitted on publications which had gone through this self-regulatory process. It got to the point where we went out of business on that concept, and now the seal, I presume, means that the person who uses it is a member of the association and is conforming in his judgment to the code which was adopted.

Senator HENNINGS. In other words, he would regulate himself and censor his own material and put the seal on?

Mr. SCHULTZ. That is right.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Hannoch, our counsel, has suggested that there is a seal on one of the exhibits.

Mr. BEASER. It is that star, is it not, Mr. Schultz?


Mr. HANNOCH. What does it say?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I think it says "Conforms to the comics code."

Senator KEFAUVER. What publication is that?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I never saw that before.

Mr. BEASER. It is one of the Atlas group.

Senator KEFAUVER. I thought you said Atlas was not a member.

Mr. SCHULTZ. I said Atlas became a member 2 years ago.

Senator KEFAUVER. So you did; that is right.

Senator HENNINGS. Is that seal protected by any copyright?

Mr. SCHULTZ. No, and I have found on occasion it has been used improperly and we had to stop it. We had by remonstration to stop them, by writing a letter and urging them to stop it.

Senator HENNINGS. You have no way of controlling the use of that seal?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I think we might get an injunction.

Senator HENNINGS. You might, but that would be quite a process. You would be unlikely to go through that as you are presently operating.

Mr. SCHULTZ. I would think that if somebody used this seal who was not a member, improperly, that I could easily get authorization from the few diehards who are there to take the necessary action.

Senator HENNINGS. But you have never done so?

Mr. SCHULTZ. Never had to do it.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Schultz, I am sure that we are all glad that you made the statement that you did that there has been, and various members of our subcommittee have from time to time in the course of these hearings, suggested our awareness of the fact, that there is no one single factor that is creating what is known as juvenile delinquency in this country.

We have consistently, and I believe conscientiously, tried to avoid giving the impression or seeming to have arrived upon conclusions that would indicate that there is a panacea, there is a cure-all, a golden specific, if you do away with comic books we are not going to have any trouble with young people getting into trouble, or if you stop certain kinds of television programs or movies or even if you clear out all of the substandard dwelling places, or if you have hundreds of psychiatrists where you have one in certain institutions, or in certain agencies, or if you get everybody to go to the YMCA or to join the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts, you are not going to have any more trouble.

I think we all have approached our problem here certainly with that basic premise that we do not expect to find that there is one thing or another thing.

Many things are cumulative. Many things are incalculable and imponderable in this subject and I think the more we have seen of this during the past several months when we have been holding our hearings and reading upon the subject, the more we are keenly conscious of the fact that the ramifications and complexities of this are at times seemingly almost insupportable.

But we are still trying and we did not come here in any effort, through sensationalism, by bringing people in to subject them to inquisitions, to make it appear that we necessarily believe that this particular phase of activity is or is not hurtful or a contributing factor.

We just do not know. We are trying to learn.

I, for one, appreciate the spirit in which you have come here today.

Mr. SCHULTZ. Thank you, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Schultz, the Chair certainly appreciates the spirit of your testimony. You have been very helpful I think I speak for every member of the subcommittee when I say we are grateful.

Senator KEFAUVER. Mr. Chairman, may I ask one more question?

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Kefauver.

Senator KEFAUVER. Those who carry the seal of the code, do they advertise inside the magazine that they are complying with the code of the Comic Magazine Publishers Association?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I know of no such specific advertisement, other than the impression of the seal itself on the cover.

Senator KEFAUVER. How do people know what that seal means, then?

Mr. SCHULTZ. I really don't know. Most of the publishers who are nonmembers develop seals of their own. You find a whole series of seals which say "Good clean reading," and everything else, so that the seal has lost its imprint and its value in many ways anyhow, except for somebody who takes the trouble to look very closely at that little legend that might have some meaning to it.

Other than that I think it has no value.

Senator KEFAUVER. Thank you very much.

The CHAIRMAN. The subcommittee will stand in recess until 2 o'clock this afternoon.

(Thereupon, at 12 20 p. in., the subcommittee recessed, to reconvene at 2 p. m., same day.)
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Re: Hearings Before the Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile

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The subcommittee reconvened at 2 o'clock p. m., upon the expiration of the recess.

The CHAIRMAN. The hearing will be in order.

The first witness this afternoon will be Dr. Frederic Wertham.

Doctor, will you come forward and be sworn, please.

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give this subcommittee of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate, will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Dr. WERTHAM. I do.


The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, do you have a prepared statement?

Dr. WERTHAM. I have a statement of about 20 or 25 minutes.

The CHAIRMAN. All right, Doctor, you proceed in your own manner.

Dr. WERTHAM. Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, do you have copies of your statement?

Dr. WERTHAM. It is not written out. I have a statement of my credentials.

The CHAIRMAN. I wonder if you could not in your own way summarize this for the record. Of course, the whole statement may go in the record in its entirety.

Without objection, that will be so ordered.

(The document referred to is as follows:)


Specializing in neurology and psychiatry since 1922.

Certified as specialist in both neurology and psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Have also served as examiner on the board in brain anatomy and psychiatry.

Director, Lafargue Clinic, New York City.

Consulting psychiatrist, department of hospitals, Queens Medical Center, New York City.

Psychiatric consultant and lecturer, Juvenile Aid Bureau of the New York City Police Department.

Director, Psychiatric Services and Mental Hygiene Clinic, Queens General Hospital, 1939─52.

Consulting psychiatrist, Triboro Hospital, New York City, 1939-52.

Director, Quaker Emergency Service Readjustment Center (functioning under the magistrates court), 1948─51.

Senior psychiatrist, New York City Department of Hospitals, 1932─52.

In 1932 organized and became director of the Psychiatric Clinic of the Court of General Sessions in New York, first clinic of its kind in the United States.

1933─36, assistant to the director of Bellevue Hospital; in charge of prison ward; in charge of children's psychiatric ward; in charge of alcoholic ward.

1936─39, director of the Mental Hygiene Clinic of Bellevue Hospital.

1929─31, fellow of the National Research Council of Washington, D. C., to do research in neuropathology and neuropsychiatry. First psychiatrist ever to receive this fellowship.

1922─29, psychiatrist at Phipps Psychiatric Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University.

1926─28, chief resident psychiatrist, Johns Hopkins Hospital.

1926-29, assistant in charge of the Mental Hygiene Clinic, Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Taught psychiatry, psychotherapy, and brain anatomy at Johns Hopkins Medical School.

Postgraduate studies in London, Vienna, Paris, and Munich. Invited to read scientific papers at the Medical-Psychological Society of Paris and the Research Institute of Psychiatry in Munich.

President of the Association for the Advancement of Psychotherapy, 1943─51; coeditor of the American Journal of Psychotherapy.

Member of the Committee on Ethics of the American Academy of Neurology.

Lectured at Yale Law School, New York University Law School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on psychiatry, criminology, and related subjects.

Reviewed books for law reviews of New York University, Buffalo Law School, Northwestern Law School, etc.

Psychiatric consultant to the Chief Censor of the United States Treasury Department.

Only psychiatrist ever employed by the city of New York who is a member of all three national neuropsychiatric associations: American Neurological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Association of Neuropathologists. Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, of the American Academy of Neurology, of the American Medical Association, etc.


The Brain as an Organ (Macmillan, 1934), used in medical schools throughout the world, a textbook of brain pathology.

Dark Legend. A study in murder. New York, 1941, and London, 1948.

The Show of Violence (Doubleday, 1949).

The Catathymic Crisis (1937), description of a new mental disorder now included in the leading textbooks of psychiatry.

Seduction of the Innocent (Rinehart, 1954).

Articles and papers on psychology, psychiatry, neurology, brain anatomy, etc...

Dr. WERTHAM. I have practiced psychiatry and neurology since 1922. I taught psychiatry and brain pathology and worked in clinics at the Johns Hopkins Medical School from 1922 to 1929.

In 1929 I was the first psychiatrist to be awarded a fellowship by the National Research Council to do research on the brain. Some part of my research at that time was on paresis and brain syphilis. It came in good stead when I came to study comic books.

From 1932 to 1952 I was senior psychiatrist at the New York City Department of Hospitals.

I was first in charge of the Psychiatric Clinic of the Court of General Sessions examining convicted felons, making reports to the court.

In 1936 I was appointed director of the Mental Hygiene Clinic in Bellevue.

In 1939 I was appointed director of psychiatric services at the Mental Hygiene Clinic at Queens General Hospital.

In 1946 I organized and started the first psychiatric clinic in Harlem, a volunteer staff. A few years later I organized the Quaker Emergency Mental Hygiene Clinic, which functioned as a clinic for the treatment of sex offenders under the magistrates court of New York.

These are my main qualifications. I have taught psychiatry in Hopkins and New York University.

I have written both books and papers and monographs. I have reviewed psychiatric books for legal journals, like the Buffalo School Journal.

I have lectured at the Yale Law School, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in other places.

I am a fellow of the New York Academy and a member of the three national neuropsychiatric associations, the American Psychiatric Association and American Neurological Association and American Association of Neuropathologists.

I am testifying at your request on the influence of crime and horror books on juvenile delinquency.

My testimony will be in four parts. First, what is in comic books? How can one classify them clinically?

Secondly, are there any bad effects of comic books?

I may say here on this subject there is practically no controversy.

Anybody who has studied them and seen them knows that some of them have bad effects.

The third problem is how far-reaching are these bad effects? There is a good deal of controversy about that.

A fourth part is: Is there any remedy?

And being merely a doctor, about that I shall say only a few words.

My opinion is based on clinical investigations which I started in the winter of 1945 and 1946. They were carried out not by me alone, but with the help of a group of associates, psychiatrists, child psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, social workers, psychiatric social workers, remedial reading teachers, probation officers, and others.

In addition to material seen at the clinic both at Queens and Lafargue, we have studied whole school classes, whole classes of remedial reading clinics, over 300 children in a parochial school and private patients and consultations.

To the best of my knowledge our study is the first and only individual large-scale study on the subject of comic books in general.

The methods that we have used are the ordinary methods used in psychiatry, clinical interviews, group interviews, intelligence tests, reading tests, projective tests, drawings, the study of dreams, and so on.

This study was not subsidized by anybody. None of my associates got any money, ever. I myself have never spoken on the subject of comic books and accepted a fee for that.

This research was a sober, painstaking, laborious clinical study, and in some cases, since it has been going on now for 7 years, we have had a chance to follow for several years.

In addition to that we have read all that we could get hold of that was written in defence of comics, which is almost a more trying task than reading the comic books themselves.

What is in comic books? In the first place, we have completely restricted ourselves to comic books themselves. That leaves out newspaper comic strips entirely.

I must say, however, that when some very harmless comic strips for children printed in newspapers are reprinted for children in comic books, you suddenly can find whole pages of gun advertisements which the newspaper editor would not permit to have inserted in the newspaper itself.

There have been, we have found, arbitrary classifications of comic books according to the locale where something takes place.

We have found that these classifications don't work if you want to understand what a child really thinks or does.

We have come to the conclusion that crime comic books are comic books that depict crime and we have found that it makes no difference whether the locale is western, or Superman or space ship or horror, if a girl is raped she is raped whether it is in a space ship or on the prairie.

If a man is killed he is killed whether he comes from Mars or somewhere else, and we have found, therefore, two large groups, the crime comic books and the others.

I would like to illustrate my remarks by western comic books by giving you an example. This is from an ordinary western comic book. You might call it the wide open spaces.

This is from an ordinary western comic book. You see this man hitting this girl with a gun. It is a sadistic, criminal, sexual scene.

We have also studied how much time children spend on crime comic books and how much money they spend. I should like to tell you that there are thousands of children who spend about $60 a year on comic books.

Even poor children. I don't know where they get the money. I have seen children who have spent $75 a year and more, and I, myself, have observed when we went through these candy stores in different places, not only in New York, how 1 boy in a slum neighborhood, seemingly a poor boy, bought 15 comic books at a time.

Now, people generalize about juvenile delinquency and they have pet theories and they leave out how much time, and, incidentally, how much money children spend on this commodity alone.

Now, as far as the effects on juvenile delinquency are concerned, we distinguish four groups of delinquency:

Delinquencies against property; delinquency associated with violence; offenses connected with sex, and then miscellaneous, consisting of fire setting, drug addiction, and childhood prostitution.

I may say the latter is a very hushed-up subject. I am not referring to what young girls do with young boys, but I am referring to 10-, 11-, 12-, 13-year-old girls prostituting themselves to adults.

Now, nobody versed in any of this type of clinical research would claim that comic books alone are the cause of juvenile delinquency. It is my opinion, without any reasonable doubt, and without any reservation, that comic books are an important contributing factor in many cases of juvenile delinquency.

There arises the question: What kind of child is affected? I say again without any reasonable doubt and based on hundreds and hundreds of cases of all kinds, that it is primarily the normal child.

Mr. Chairman, American children are wonderful children. If we give them a chance they act right. It is senseless to say that all these people who get into some kind of trouble with the law must be abnormal or there must be something very wrong with them.

As a matter of fact, the most morbid children that we have seen are the ones who are less affected by comic books because they are wrapped up in their own phantasies.

Now, the question arises, and we have debated it in our group very often and very long, why does the normal child spend so much time with this smut and trash, we have this baseball game which I would like you to scrutinize in detail.

They play baseball with a deadman's head. Why do they do that?

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, do you want to put this up here on exhibition and explain it?

Dr. WERTHAM. Yes, sir.

Mr. Chairman, I can't explain for the reason that I can't say all the obscene things that are in this picture for little boys of 6 and 7. This is a baseball game where they play baseball with a man's head; where the man's intestines are the baselines. All his organs have some part to play.

The torso of this man is the chest protector of one of the players. There is nothing left to anybody's morbid imagination.


Mr. BEASER. That is from a comic book?

Dr. WERTHAM. That is from a comic book.

I will be glad to give you the reference later on. It is a relatively recent one.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Chairman, may I ask the doctor a question at that point?

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Missouri.

Senator HENNINGS. Doctor, I think from what you have said so far terms of the value and effectiveness of the artists who portray these things, that it might be suggested implicitly that anybody who can draw that sort of thing would have to have some very singular or peculiar abnormality or twist in his mind, or am I wrong in that?

Dr. WERTHAM. Senator, if I may go ahead in my statement, I would like to tell you that this assumption is one that we had made in the beginning and we have found it to be wrong. We have found that this enormous industry with its enormous profits has a lot of people to whom it pays money and these people have to make these drawings or else, just like the crime comic book writers have to write the stories they write, or else. There are many decent people among them.

Let me tell you among the writers and among the cartoonists ─ they don't love me, but I know that many of them are decent people and they would much rather do something else than do what they are doing.

Have I answered your question?

Senator HENNINGS. Yes, thank you.

Dr. WERTHAM. Now, we ask the question: Why does the normal child do that? I would say that psychology knows the answer to that.

If you consult, as we have done, the first modern scientific psychologist who lived a long time ago, you will find the answer. That psychologist was St. Augustine. This was long before the comic book era, of course, but he describes in detail how when he was a very, very young man he was in Rome and he saw these very bloody, sadistic spectacles all around him, where the gladiators fought each other with swords and daggers, and he didn't like it. He didn't want any part of it.

But there was so much going on and his friends went and finally he went and he noticed, as he expresses it, that he became unconsciously delighted with it and he kept on going.

In other words, he was tempted, he was seduced by this mass appeal, and he went.

I think it is exactly the same thing, if the children see these kinds of things over and over again, they can't go to a dentist, they can't go to a clinic, they can't go to a ward in a hospital, everywhere they see this where women are beaten up, where people are shot and killed, and finally they become, as St. Augustine said, unconsciously delighted.

I don't blame them. I try to defend them or I try to understand them.

Now, it is said also in connection with this question of who reads comic books and who is affected by them, it is said that children from secure homes are not affected.

Mr. Chairman, as long as the crime comic books industry exists in its present forms there are no secure homes. You cannot resist infantile paralysis in your own home alone. Must you not take into account the neighbor's children?

I might give one more example of the brutality in comic books. This is a girl and they are about to rip out her tongue. Now, the effect of comic books operates along four lines. While in our studies we had no arbitrary age limit, I am mostly interested in the under 16 and the first effect that is very early manifested is an effect in general on the ways of living with people.

That is to say, on theoretical development. One of the outstanding things there is in crime comic books ─ let me say here subject to later questions that in my opinion crime comic books as I define them, are the overwhelming majority of all comic books at the present time. There is an endless stream of brutality.

I would take up all your time if I would tell you all the brutal things. I would like to draw your attention to one which seems to be specific almost with this literature that I have never found anywhere else, that is injuring people's eyes.

In other words, this is something now which juvenile delinquents did which I never heard of years ago. They shoot people in the eye and they throw stones and so on.

As an example, I would give you a book which nobody would testify is a crime comic book if you had not read it. You all know the novels of Tarzan which you all saw in the movies, but the comic book Tarzan which any mother would let come into her home has a story which a little boy brought me in which 22 people are blinded.

One of the 22 is a beautiful girl. They are all white people who are blinded and the man who does it is a Negro, so in addition to that it causes a great deal of race hatred.

How old are the children to whom such things are given? Dell Publishing Co., which publishes this book, boasts that this story is being read aloud to a little girl who─ she is 2 years old ─ now, of course, many other crime comic books have this injury to the eye motive.

In other words, I think that comic books primarily, and that is the greatest harm they do, cause a great deal of ethical confusion.

I would like to give you a very brief example. There is a school in a town in New York State where there has been a great deal of stealing. Some time ago some boys attacked another boy and they twisted his arm so viciously that it broke in two places, and, just like in a comic book, the bone came through the skin.

In the same school about 10 days later 7 boys pounced on another boy and pushed his head against the concrete so that the boy was unconscious and had to be taken to the hospital. He had a concussion of the brain.

In this same high school in 1 year 26 girls became pregnant. The score this year, I think, is eight. Maybe it is nine by now.

Now, Mr. Chairman, this is what I call ethical and moral confusion. I don t think that any of these boys or girls individually vary very much. It cannot be explained individually, alone.

Here is a general moral confusion and I think that these girls were seduced mentally long before they were seduced physically, and, of course, all those people there are very, very great ─ not all of them, but most of them, are very great comic book readers, have been and are.

As a remedy they have suggested a formal course of sex instruction in this school.

The CHAIRMAN. What is the population of this community, Doctor?

Dr. WERTHAM. I don't know the population of the community. I know the population of the school, which is about 1,800. The town itself I don't know, but I shall give it to counsel.

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Tennessee.

Senator KEFAUVER. Is there something confidential about the name of the town?

Dr. WERTHAM. Yes. Publicly I don't like to give it, but I have knowledge of it, but I will give it to counsel for the information of the committee.

The CHAIRMAN. That will be in order.

Dr. WERTHAM. Now, they tried to start a course of sex instruction in this school. They have not done it. They have not started it. I wonder what they are going to do. Are the teachers going to instruct the pupils, or are the pupils going to instruct the teachers?

One reason I don't want to mention this town is because the same kind of thing happens in many other places nowadays. Maybe not quite so much, maybe a little more.

Many of these things happen and it is my belief that the comic book industry has a great deal to do with it. While I don't say it is the only factor at all, it may not be the most important one, it is one contributing factor.

I would like to point out to you one other crime comic book which we have found to be particularly injurious to the ethical development of children and those are the Superman comic books. They arose in children phantasies of sadistic joy in seeing other people punished over and over again while you yourself remain immune. We have called it the Superman complex.

In these comic books the crime is always real and the Superman's triumph over good is unreal. Moreover, these books like any other, teach complete contempt of the police.

For instance, they show you pictures where some preacher takes two policemen and bang their heads together or to quote from all these comic books you know, you can call a policeman cop and he won't mind, but if you call him copper that is a derogatory term and these boys we teach them to call policemen coppers.

All this to my mind has an effect, but it has a further effect and that was very well expressed by one of my research associates who was a teacher and studied the subject and she said, "Formerly the child wanted to be like daddy or mommy. Now they skip you, they bypass you. They want to be like Superman, not like the hard working, prosaic father and mother."

Talking further about the ethical effects of comic books, you can read and see over and over again the remark that in crime comic books good wins over evil, that law and order always prevails.

We have been astonished to find that this remark is repeated and repeated, not only by the comic books industry itself, but by educators, columnists, critics, doctors, clergymen. Many of them believe it is so.

Mr. Chairman, it is not. In many comic books the whole point is - that evil triumphs; that you can commit a perfect crime. I can give you so many examples that I would take all your time.

I will give you only one or two. Here is a little 10-year-old girl who killed her father, brought it about that her mother was electrocuted. She winks at you because she is triumphant.

I have stories where a man spies on his wife and in the last picture you see him when he pours the poison in the sink, very proud because he succeeded.

There are stories where the police captain kills his wife and has an innocent man tortured into confessing in a police station and again is triumphant in the end.

I want to make it particularly clear that there are whole comic books in which every single story ends with the triumph of evil, with a perfect crime unpunished and actually glorified.

In connection with the ethical confusion that these crime comic books cause, I would like to show you this picture which has the comic book philosophy in the slogan at the beginning, "Friendship is for Suckers! Loyalty ─ that is for Jerks."


The second avenue along which comic books contribute to delinquency is by teaching the technique and by the advertisements for weapons. If it were my task, Mr. Chairman, to teach children delinquency, to tell them how to rape and seduce girls, how to hurt people, how to break into stores, how to cheat, how to forge, how to do any known crime, if it were my task to teach that, I would have to enlist the crime comic book industry.

Formerly to impair the morals was a minor was a punishable offense. It has now become a mass industry. I will say that every crime of delinquency is described in detail and that if you teach somebody the technique of something you, of course, seduce him into it.

Nobody would believe that you teach a boy homosexuality without introducing him to it. The same thing with crime.

For instance, 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 now and do it.

Now, children who read that, it is just human, are, of course, tempted to do it and they have done it. You see, there is an interaction between the stories and the advertisements. Many, many comic books have advertisements of all kinds of weapons, really dangerous ones, like .22 caliber rifles or throwing knives, throwing daggers; and if a boy, for instance, in a comic book sees a girl like this being whipped and the man who does it looks very satisfied and on the last page there is an advertisement of a whip with a hard handle, surely the maximum of temptation is given to this boy, at least to have fantasies about these things.

It is my conviction that if these comic books go to as many millions of children as they go to, that among all these people who have these fantasies, there are some of them who carry that out in action.

Mr. BEASER. Doctor, may I interrupt you just a moment to go back to your Grand Central story?

Assume that is read by an otherwise healthy, normal child with a good homelife, no other factors involved ─ would say fact that would tempt him to go and break into a locker in Grand Central, or must there be other factors present already to give him a predisposition to steal from somebody else?

Dr. WERTHAM. I would answer that this way: I know of no more erroneous theory about child behavior than to assume that children must be predisposed to do anything wrong. I think there is a hairline which separates a boy who dreams about that, dreams about such a thing, and the boy who does it.

Now, I don't say, and I have never said, and I don't believe it, that the comic-book factor alone makes a child do anything.

You see, the comic-book factor only works because there are many, many other factors in our environment, not necessarily the homelife, not necessarily the much-blamed mother, but there are many other things; the other boys in school, the newspaper headlines where everybody accuses the other one of being a liar or thief. There are many, many other factors in our lives, you see.

Now, actually, the answer should be put in this way: In most cases this factor works with other factors, but there are many cases that I know where such crimes have been committed purely as imitation and would have never been committed if the child hadn't known this technique.

In other words, I want to stress for you what we have found, that the temptation, and, of course, we know it from our ordinary lives ─ that temptation and seduction is an enormous factor. We don't have to be materially bad to do something bad occasionally, and, moreover, these children who commit such a delinquency, they don't do that because they are bad. They don't even necessarily do it to get the money or to get even, but it is a glorious deed.

You go there, you show how big you are. You are almost as big as these people you read about in crime comic books.

You see, the corruption of the average normal child has gone so far that except for those who follow this it is almost unbelievable to realize.

I would like to give you one more example. This is one I would like you to keep in mind, that the minimum edition of such a book. I think, is 300,000; probably this is distributed in a 650,000 edition.

Senator KEFAUVER. I did not understand.

Dr. WERTHAM. The minimum is 300,000.

Senator KEFAUVER. Is that a month?

Dr. WERTHAM. This is only one comic book. In order to make any kind of profit the publisher must print about 300,000 copies.

In other words, when you see a comic book you can always assume that more than 300,000 copies of this particular comic book have been printed.

In other words, you would not go far wrong if you assumed that this comic book is read by half a million children, for this reason, that when they are through with it and have read it, they sell it for 6 cents and 5 cents and then sell it for 4 cents and 2 cents.

Then you can still trade it.

So these comic books have a long, long life. We have studied this market. We know there is a great deal of this trading going on all over.

Now, this is a heroine. This is a woman who kills a man. You see, he has blood coming all over the man's face and she says, "I want you to suffer more and more and more and more."

Then the final triumph, she takes this man's organs and serves them up as dishes like a housewife and you see her "famous fried brains, famous baked kidneys, famous stuffed heart."

Next to that is the remainder of this man.

All I say is that quite apart from the disgust that it arouses in us - and I am a doctor, I can't permit myself the luxury of being disgusted ─ I think this kind of thing that children see over and over again causes this ethical confusion.

Senator KEFAUVER. That seems to be the end of that comic book story.

Dr. WERTHAM. Yes. I should add that it says here, "The End." "The End" is this glorious meal, cannibalism.

Senator KEFAUVER. So it did not have a very happy ending.

Dr. WERTHAM. Well, the comic book publishers seem to think it did. They made a lot of money.

Mr. Chairman, we have delinquency of the smallest kind. I have seen children who have stolen a quarter. I have seen children who stole $30,000. And they have to know some technique; they have to, for that.

But there are other crimes which you can commit in which you can take the ordinary kind of violence, for instance, there is an awful lot of shooting, knifing, throwing rocks, bombs, and all that, in combination.

On the Long Island Railroad at present I think three times a day children throw rocks through the windows.

Recently an innocent man was hit in the head and had a Concussion of the brain and had to be taken to a hospital.

I have been for 12 years in Queens. I know these kids. I have seen quite a number of them who threw rocks. I can't see why we have to invoke highfaluting psychological theories and why we say these people have to have a mother who doesn't give them enough affection.

If they read this stuff all the time, some of them 2 and 3 hours a day reading, I don't think it is such an extraordinary event if they throw a stone somewhere where it may do some harm.

I want to add to this that my theory of temptation and seduction as I told you, is very, very vague. That is known to the comic-book publishers, too. They don't admit it when it comes to delinquency, but when it comes to selling stuff to children through the advertisements in comic books, then they have these enormous advertisements. This is from the Superman comic book. It says, "It is easier to put a yen in a youngster."

You see, I am still answering your question. It is easier to put a yen a youngster when he comes from a normal thing. It is easier to go and commit some kind of delinquency.

Certainly it is easier to commit some kind of sexual delinquency. Now, this leads me to the third avenue where they do harm. That is, they do harm by discouraging children. Mr. Chairman, many of these comic books, crime-comic books, and many of the other ones have ads which discourage children and give them all kinds of inferiority feelings. They are threatened with pimples. They worry the preadolescent kids about their breaths. They sell them all kinds of medicines and gadgets and even comic books like this one, and I am very conscious of my oath, even comic books like this have fraudulent advertisements and I am speaking now as a medical physician. The children spend a lot of money and they get very discouraged, they think they are too big, too little, or too heavy. They think this bump is too big, or too little.

These discouraged children are very apt to commit delinquency as we know and have known for a long time.

Now, the fourth avenue I shall not go into in detail because that includes not only the crime-comic books, but that, includes all comic books.

We have found ─ and in response to questions I will be glad to go into that ─ we have found all comic books have a very bad effect on teaching the youngest children the proper reading technique, to learn to read from left to right. This balloon print pattern prevents that. So many children, we say they read comic books, they don't read comic books at all. They look at pictures and every once in a while, as one boy expressed it to me, "When they get the woman or kill the man then I try to read a few words," but in any of these stories you don't have to have any words.

There is no doubt this is blood and this man is being killed. There no doubt what they are going do to this girl, you know, too.

In other words, the reading is very much interfered with.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, the original of all of those are in color?

Dr. WERTHAM. Yes, these are photostats I had made for your benefit.

Now, it is a known fact, although it is not sufficiently emphasized, that many delinquents have reading disorders, they can't read well. There have been estimates as to how many delinquents have reading disorders.

We have found over and over again that children who can't read are very discouraged and more apt to commit a delinquency and that is what Mr. Beaser meant, if there is another factor.

There is another factor.

Mr. BEASER. Many other factors.

Dr. WERTHAM. Yes, many other factors. We have isolated comic books as one factor. A doctor tries to isolate one factor and see what it does and tries to correlate it with other factors which either counteract it or help it or run parallel.

Now, Mr. Chairman, I have put the results of this investigation into several documents. One of them is an article in the Ladies Home Journal which gives a number of cases.

Another one is an article in the Reader's Digest which came out today.

The third one is a book.

I would like, Mr. Chairman, to draw your attention to the illustrations, but I would like to say that I am perfectly willing inasmuch as I have written this book with the greatest scientific care and checked and rechecked, and I am perfectly willing to repeat every word in there under oath.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, these documents will be made a part of the subcommittee's permanent file, without objection. Let that be exhibits Nos. 10a, 10b, and 10c.

(The documents referred to were marked "Exhibits Nos. l0a, l0b, and l0c," and are on file with the subcommittee.)

Dr. WERTHAM. Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out to you in conclusion that mine, in my own opinion, is not a minority report. I don't feel that way.

I would like to tell you that the highest psychiatric official in the Federal Government, who is also consulted when psychiatric problems come up in the Federal Government, Dr. Winfred Overholser, the Superintendent of Saint Elizabeths, has written that the evidence in my book is incontrovertible evidence of the pernicious influences on youth of crime comic books.

Prof. C. Wright Milt, a famous sociologist, a professor at Columbia, similarly agreed.

I would like to read you a word from the director of the juvenile delinquency project of the Children's Bureau in Washington, who has written:

In comic books we have a constant stream of garbage that cannot fail to pollute the minds of readers. After reading Dr. Wertbam's book I visited my local newsstand and found the situation to be exactly as he reported it.

Senator KEFAUVER. Who is it that wrote that?

Dr. WERTHAM. Mr. Bertram M. Peck, the director of the current juvenile delinquency project in Washington.

The CHAIRMAN. He was before the subcommittee earlier in the hearings.

Dr. WERTHAM. Now, there are quite a number of other people who feel the same way. I would like to quote to you what the Minister of Justice of Canada said. In the beginning of this month they had two long sessions in the House of Commons, devoted almost entirely to my report on comic books and the Minister of Justice said:

I doubt if there is a single member of the House of Commons who dissents from disapproval of crime comic books.

In Canada, of course, they have the same situation. They get American comic books, not only directly, but they get them in plates. They can't help themselves.

Senator KEFAUVER. Dr. Wertham, while you are on the Canadian matter, Canada, of course, has a law, which was probably passed largely on the testimony you gave the House of Commons in Canada, which bans the shipment of certain horror and crime books.

What has been their experience with the reflection, or the result of that law upon juvenile delinquency? When was the law passed first?

Dr. WERTHAM. I am not quite sure. Maybe 1951. The information I have is based on the present official report of these debates on April 1 and 2. I judge from that that the law didn't work; that they made a list of crime comic books and they didn't know how to supervise it, in fact, they couldn't, and I doubt it can be done in that form.

They have more bad crime-comic books than they ever had. They never could get them off the stand.

The latest proposal on the 2d of April that I have is that they want to put the crime comic-book publishers in jail, but they can't do that, for one thing ─ we have them.

I don't think that would work. So that experiment is not yet completely evaluated. All I know is that they are very much worried about the effect of comic books on delinquency, that they have not been able by this one amendment to the criminal code to curb this situation.

Stating that mine is not a minority report, Mr. Chairman, I would like to quote one more critic, Mr. Clifton Fadiman, who says that he senses the truth in my presentation as he sensed the truth in Uncle Tom's Cabin.

I don't know the man personally.

Now, what about the remedy? Mr. Chairman, I am just a doctor. I can't tell what the remedy is. I can only say that in my opinion this is a public-health problem. I think it ought to be possible to determine once and for all what is in these comic books and I think it ought to be possible to keep the children under 15 from seeing them displayed to them and preventing these being sold directly to children.

In other words, I think something should be done to see that the children can't get them. You see, if a father wants to go to a store and says, "I have a little boy of seven. He doesn't know how to rape a girl; he doesn't know how to rob a store. Please sell me one of the comic books," let the man sell him one, but I don't think the boy should be able to go see this rape on the cover and buy the comic book.

I think from the public-health point of view something might be done now, Mr. Chairman, in conclusion, if I may speak in seriousness about one suggestion that I have, I detest censorship. I have appeared in very unpopular cases in court (defending such novelties as the Guilded Hearse, and so on, as I believe adults should be allowed to write for adults. I believe that what is necessary for children is supervision.

But I would like to suggest to the committee a simple scientific experiment, if I may, in great brevity.

I am not advocating censorship, but it is the comic-book industry which at the present moment tries to censor what the parents read. This enormous industry at present exercises a censorship through power. Ever since I have expressed any objection about comic books based on simple research done in basements on poor children whose mothers cried their eyes out, ever since then I have, been told by threats by libel suits, of damages; it is a miracle that my book was published considering how many threatening letters these lawyers and people have, written to my prospective publishers. They have even threatened with a libel suit the Saturday Evening post and even the National Parent Teachers, which is a nonprofit magazine.

Senator KEFAUVER. While you are on that subject, Dr. Wertham, may I see that thing, anybody who opposes comic books is a Red?

Dr. WERTHAM. Yes; that is part of it.

Senator KEFAUVER. I have read a number of your writings. I have read your Seduction of the Innocent. You remember a number of years ago I had several visits with you and you told you about the pressure they tried to apply on you in connection with this.

But I noticed here this thing, that anyone who opposes comic books are Communists. "The group most anxious to destroy comics are the Communists."

Then they have here the statement:

This article also quoted Gershon Legman (who claims to be a ghost writer for Dr. Frederick Wertham, the author of a recent smear against comics published in the Ladies home Journal) - This same G. Legman, in issue No. 2 of Neurotica, published in autumn 1948, wildly condemned comas although admitting that "The child's natural character must be distorted to fit civilization * * * Fantasy violence will paralyze his resistance, divert his aggression to unreal enemies and frustrations, and in this way prevent him from rebelling against parents and teachers * * * this will siphon off his resistance against society, and prevent revolution."

This seems to be an effort to tie you up in some way as Red or Communist. Is that part of a smear?

Dr. WERTHAM. This is from comic books. I have really paid no attention to this. I can tell you that I am not a ghost writer. Like this gentleman who criticized it severely, they know I don’t have a ghost writer.

Gershon Legman is a man who studied comic books. He is a man who tried to do something against comic books, so they tried to do something about him.

That is just one of time ordinary kinds of things. But, Mr. Chairman, they do something quite different which is much more serious. The comic-book industry at time present moment ─ and this is the experiment I would like to suggest to you ─ the comic-book industry at time present moment interferes with the freedom of publications in all fields. They have their hands on magazines, they have their hands on newspapers, they threaten the advertisers; they continually threaten libel suits and action for damages.

The experiment I suggest to you is the following: My book has been selected, Seduction of the Innocent, which is nothing but a scientific report on comic books in that I tried to make in understandable language, that is what it is except that it includes areas other than juvenile delinquency.

This group was selected by a group of men of unimpeachable integrity, Christopher Morley, Clifton Fadiman, Loveman, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, John P. Marquand; they selected this book on this account of its truth, and I suppose its writing, and it has been announced all over the country that it is a Book of the Month Club selection.

The contracts have been signed. The question I would like to put to you is this : Will this book be distributed or will the sinister hand of these corrupters of children, of this comic─book industry, will they prevent distribution? You can very easily find that out and then you can see how difficult it is for parents to defend their children against conic books if they are not allowed to read what they contain.

Thank you.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Kefauver, do you have any questions?

Senator KEFAUVER. Yes, I have one or two, Mr. Chairman.

Dr. Wertham, I assume more than any other psychiatrist in the United States ─ perhaps I should not be asking this ─ but you, over a long period of time, have interviewed children, you worked in hospitals, clinics, and schools, observing the reaction to crime and horror comic books.

Could you give us any estimate of how many children this study has been from ─ from which you derive your conclusions?

Dr. WERTHAM. Yes. I figured out at one time that there were more than 500 children a year come to my attention, or tried come to my attention during the bulk of this investigation.

Now, I cannot say, however, that every one of these children has as complete as a study as I think they should have. I mean, some of them I saw a few times; some have all kinds of tests, good social services; some had been before the court; some I saw privately considered in great detail, but by and large I would say that we have seen hundreds and hundreds of children.

Senator KEFAUVER. Any way it runs into many thousands?

Dr. WERTHAM. Some thousands. I would not say many thousands.

Senator KEFAUVER. You have actually asked and tried to develop from many of these children how it was they happened to try to commit, or how it was they happened to commit this, that, or the other crime; is that correct?

Dr. WERTHAM. Senator, that is not exactly correct. For instance, if I have, a child sent to me ─ I remember the commissioner of the juvenile aid bureau of the police once came to visit me to see how I examined a child because he had a good report of my clinic in Queens. This was a child who had committed some delinquency. I spent an hour talking to this child. I didn't even mention the delinquency. I didn't say a word about it.

The commissioner asked me afterwards, "Why didn't you mention it?"

I said, "I don't want to put him on his guard. I don't want to tempt him to lie to me. I want to understand this child. I want to understand the whole setting."

The judgment that these comic books have an effect on children, that is not the children's judgment. They don't think that. The children don't say that this does them any harm, and that is an interesting thing because it has been so misrepresented by the comic-book industry and their spokesmen in all the biased opinions that they peddle and that they hand out to unsuspecting newspaper editors.

They say I asked the child, "Did you do that because you read a comic book?"

I don't ask the child "Why do you have the measles?", or "Why do you have a fever?" No child has ever said to me this excuse, "I did this because I read it in the comic book. I figured that out."

The children don't say that. Many of these children read the comic books and they like it and they are already so corrupt that they really get a thrill out of it and it is very difficult.

What you can get out of them is this, "For me, this does not do any harm to me, but my little brother, he really should not read it. He gets nightmares or he gets wrong ideas."

The actual proof that a child can say, "I did this because of so and so," that is not at all how my investigation worked.

Senator KEFAUVER. I do remember you showed me one example of a horror book with a child with a hypodermic needle and you related that to some crime that you had known something about.

Dr. WERTHAM. I have known children, in fact, if I may say, Your Honor, I notice in the room the reporter who brought to my attention one of the earliest cases of children ─ may I say who it is ─ Judith Crist, who works for the New York Herald Tribune. She brought to my attention a case in Long Island where children stuck pins in girls or something. I told her then that I have found where they stuck pins in much worse places than the arm.

I told her of the injury to the eyes. You can very rarely say that the boys said exactly, "That is what I did because this is what I wanted to do."

I have had children who told me they committed robberies. They followed the comic book, but they said, "That is not good enough, the comic books say you go through the transom."

"But," they said, "you go through the side door."

Children nowadays draw maps and say, "This is the street where the store is we are going to rob; this is where we are going to hide and this is how we are going to get away."

That is in many comic books, and they show me in comic books that is how they are going to do it.

I would not say in such a case this is the only reason why this child committed delinquency, but I will say that is a contributing factor because if you don't know the method you can't execute the act and the method itself is so intriguing and so interesting that the children are very apt to commit it.

Senator KEFAUVER. In some of the comic books the villain made one mistake, he almost committed the perfect crime, but he made one mistake and he got caught. We found some cases where they are trying to eliminate the one mistake so that they can make the perfect crime.

Dr. WERTHAM. That is absolutely correct. That is the whole philosophy of comic books. The point is don't make any mistakes. Don't leave the map there. Don't break the light aloud, put a towel over it.

Senator KEFAUVER. Would you liken this situation you talk about, showing the same thing over and over again until they finally believed it, to what we heard about during the last war of Hitler's theory the story over and over again?

The CHAIRMAN. The "big lie" technique?

Dr. WERTHAM. Well, I hate to say that, Senator, but I think Hitler was a beginner compared to the comic-book industry. They get the children much younger. They teach them race hatred at the age of 4 before they can read.

Let me give you an example of a comic book which I think is on the stand right now. It may have disappeared the last few days.

You know at the present moment New York City and other cities have a great social problem in integrating immigrating Puerto Ricans. It is very important to establish peace in these neighborhoods where friction may arise, or has a risen.

This particular comic book that I am referring to now has a story in which a derogatory term for Puerto Ricans, which I will not repeat here, but which is a common derogatory term, is repeated 12 times in one story. This greasy so and so, this dirty so and so. It is pointed out that a Spanish Catholic family moved into this neighborhood ─ utterly unnecessary.

What is the point of the story? The point of the story is that then somebody gets beaten to death. The only error is that the man who must get beaten to death is not a man; it is a girl.

Senator KEFAUVER. I think we ought to know the name of the comic book.

Dr. WERT1IAM. I shall be glad to give it to your counsel.

Senator KEFAUVER. Can you tell us?

Dr. WERTHAM. I don't have it in my head.

Senator KEFAUVER. I am not sure that Dr. Wertham is one who could tell about this, but I have heard it told that some people feel that comic books are harmless and respectable and don't pay much attention to them because they are certified to, and in some cases even recommended by high-sounding committees, with, of course good names on the committees who give them an excellent bill health.

Did you not make some investigation into whether or not a great many of the people on these so-called nonpartisan committees were actually in the pay of the comic book industry itself?

Dr. WERTHAM. Senator, I would have to mention individuals but I think it is to be assumed, and I suppose one knows that people whose names are on these comic books are paid ─ there are people who say, "Well, they are paid, they are biased.”

I have a hard time understanding how any doctor or child expert or psychologist can put his name to that. That is not the important point, because the names usually are not known anyway.

What happens is that in Kalamazoo, or in North Dakota, or in the little village in Pennsylvania where I spend part of my time, they read the names of these institutions which sound very well, the so and so association, or so and so university. That is what influences the people.

Of course, these same people write articles which I have tried very hard to take at their face value. But when I found that they have misstatements, when they say articles sent out by one of the associations, the person who writes it and endorses these books for money, when they write a survey of all the comic books, you see all kinds of little ones, nothing of the real ones, it misleads the people.

But I think that is not as important a problem, Senator, as the problem right now that the industry itself is preventing the mothers of this country from having not only me, but anybody else make any criticism.

This tremendous power is exercised by this group which consists of three parts, the comic book publishers, the printers, and last and not least, the big distributors who force these little vendors to sell these comic books. They force them because if they don't do that they don't get the other things.

Mr. HANNOCH. How do you know that?

Dr. WERTHAM. I know that from many sources. You see, I read comic books and I buy them and I go to candy stores.

They said, "You read so many comic books." I talk to them and ask them who buys them. I say to a man, "Why do you sell this kind of stuff?"

He says, "What do you expect me to do? Not sell it?"

He says, "I will tell you something. I tried that one time."

The man says, "Look, I did that once. The newsdealer, whoever it is, says, 'You have to do it'."

"I said, 'I don't want to'."

"'Well', he says, 'you can't have the other magazine'."

So the man said, "Well, all right, we will let it go."

So when the next week came, all the other magazines were late. You see, he didn't give them the magazines. So his was later than all his competitors, he had to take comic books back.

I also know it another way. There are some people who think I have some influence in this matter. I have very little. Comic books are much worse now than when I started. I have a petition from newsdealers that appealed to me to help them so they don't have to sell these comic books.

What they expect me to do, I don't know. Of course, it is known to many other people. It also happens in Canada.

I know it for more reasons. I don't want to mention journalists, but I can tell you of big national magazines, the editors of which would very much like to push this question of comic book problems. They can't do that because they are themselves being distributed by very big distributors who also do comic books, and then they suffer through loss of advertising.

That is why I gave you one example of the Book of the Month Club because I think that could nail it down once and for all, what these people do deliberately.

The CHAIRMAN. Senator Hennings, have you any questions?

Senator HENNINGS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have no questions.

The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Hannoch, do you have any questions you want to ask?

Mr. HANNOCH. No questions.

Senator HENNINGS. I must say that I have the doctor's book, and I am reading it with great interest.

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, we are very grateful to you for appearing here this afternoon.

Dr. WERTHAM. Thank you.
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