‘Horror Comic’ Panic: Campaigning against Comic Books in the 1940s and 1950s

  • John Springhall


This chapter focuses on a controversial period of American comic-book history, from the late 1940s to the mid-1950s, during which a wide variety of violent and explicit ‘crime’ and ‘horror comic’ titles could be purchased for only 10 cents. The term ‘comic book’ refers to four-colour pamphlets, 165 mm by 255 mm, with narratives in sequential illustrated form (usually in conjunction with text), slick covers and a pulp-paper interior. They represent a relatively new form of commercial culture emerging out of New Deal America, like the law-and-order cycle of crime movies, to act as an eventual replacement for declining newsstand sales of the ‘pulps’ or detective, sport, adventure and science-fiction short-story magazines with racy covers, printed mostly on cheap wood-pulp paper.1


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Copyright information

© John Springhall 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Springhall
    • 1
  1. 1.University of UlsterColeraineUK

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