Because they were perceived as entertainment for children, comic books have been subject to particular scrutiny by lawmakers and others charged with regulating the nation's morals.
Many are familiar with the Senate Subcommittee hearings on Juvenile Delinquency that led to the establishment of the Comics Code. But there are many other examples of the medium's run-ins with the law.
While many know about the uproar over horror comics, crime comics caused an earlier, perhaps even greater uproar. Many cities passed laws regulating or forbidding the sale of crime comic books. Some have stated that these ordinances were some of the harshest restrictions on freedom of the press our country has ever seen. Interestingly, none of the ordinances withstood legal challenges.
The history of the art form's legal troubles has some fascinating memorabilia. I've seen bits and pieces on various threads on the board, but thought they deserved their own thread. Use this thread to post legal documents, articles, and other collectibles related to comic books and the law.
1951 REPORT OF THE NEW YORK STATE JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE TO STUDY THE PUBLICATION OF COMIC BOOKS
This fascinating book contains a study of the comic book industry up to 1951 by a committee of lawmakers and advisors in New York State. It contains a written report with topics that include:
Origin Of Comics
Comic Book Industry
Comic Books and Juvenile Delinquency
Objectionable Comic Books
It features three appendices with sample illustrations from what the Committee deemed were objectionable comic books. A few of the illustrations are shown below.
Some of these may look familiar to readers of Seduction of the Innocent by Frederic Wertham, the best-selling bombshell about crime and horror comic books. They feature some of the same comic book pages, even highlighting some of the same panels.
Since this was report published in 1951, and Seduction of the Innocent was published in 1954, it's clear that Wertham drew a lot of material for his book from this Committee Report.
1950 REPORT TO SENATE COMMITTEE ON JUVENILE DELINQUENCY
"A compilation of information and suggestions submitted to the special Senate committee in interstate commerce relative to the incidence of juvenile delinquency in the United States and the possible influence thereon of so-called crime comic books during the 5-year period 1945 to 1950
Printed for the use of the Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce"
Whopping 254-page report. This cover is scanned from a xerox copy of an original.