The Law Library has added several books to its collection as part of Lindley Law & Comics 2013.   These non-fiction books cover different aspects of the historical efforts to censor and control comic books.

New Non-Fiction Books for Law & Comics 2013

The Ten-Cent Plague:The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed AmericaThe Ten-Cent Plague:The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America

by David Hajdu

Hajdu’s book details the cultural war over comic books in the early 1950s. In the mid-1940s, comic books were selling 80 to 100 million copies a week.  By the early ‘50s, some comics went significantly beyond their pulp fiction and film noir influences with uninhibited, crude, and excessive depictions of violence and rebellion.  This work details the reactions of older generations to this material that challenged established norms. See how mass book burnings, congressional hearings, and numerous proposed laws caused an industry to drastically censor itself for decades.

Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics CodeSeal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code

by Amy Kiste Nyberg

Nyberg’s book looks at the establishment of the comics code within the context of efforts to control children’s culture.  The code grew out of fears in Post-World War II society that comic books were a significant contributor to juvenile delinquency.  The publishers created a self-regulatory code and the Comics Code Authority to oversee its application.  The code restricted the content of comic books for decades and dramatically curtailed artistic growth for decades.

Seducing the InnocentSeducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications that Condemned Comic Books

by Carol L. Tilley

Fredic Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent had the greatest impact on the creation of the Comics Code Authority and the creative restrictions that inhibited the growth of comics for decades.  Tilley gained access to Wertham’s papers and discovered that his case against comics was full of “distortions, falsifications, and misrepresentations.”  She argues that Wertham saw that “comic books threatened both social and cultural integrity” and he wrote a book that was “an attempt at cultural correction rather than an honest report of scientific inquiry.”

The Horror! The Horror! Comic Books the Government Didn't Want You to ReadThe Horror! The Horror! Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read

edited by Jim Trombetta

Comic Books of all types were under attack in the early 1950s, but it was the horror comics that pushed established boundaries.  This book discusses the issues, topics, and artists of these horror comics in the context of their times.  It includes complete stories that so disturbed people as well as discussions of popular themes, including nuclear destruction, zombies, and organized crime.