When Imprint began back in 2010, my first contribution was an interview with the entrepreneurial Craig Yoe, in which he wondered whether cartoonists these days ever get laid. Yoe is a cartoonist himself, as well as a designer, historian and publisher of popular comic art books. His catalog line ranges from Archie and Veronica, Felix the Cat, and other childrens’ fare to nudity, graphic sex and fetish illustrations by well-known comic book artists. Oh, and during that talk, he also confessed to being a pervert. You can read the full conversation here.
Speaking of deviance, the latest Print—the “Sex and Design” issue—includes my wide-ranging and profusely illustrated feature on comic books that have been banned over the years. It includes a look at those 1950s-era comics that were roundly condemned by crusading reformers such as psychiatrist Fredric Wertham. Yoe considers himself a spawn of the exact graphic literature that ol’ Doc Fred attacked; in fact, he embraces and joyously celebrates the debauched effects they’ve had on his psyche.
And now, Yoe Books is publishing anthology reprints of those corrupting tales of zombies and other terrors. The latest includes “Haunted Horror: Banned Comics from the 1950s” and “Jack Cole’s Deadly Horror,” samples of which are reproduced here as a testament to their socially irredeemable depravity.
When I asked him about those gory glory days of yore, Yoe—who was a minister in a previous incarnation—whipped himself up into an evangelical frenzy, as you’re about to hear below.
Comic books of the 1950s, and a few precious number before and since, are harmful to impressionable minds, crudely-drawn, luridly printed, sexually-charged treatises on criminal activity. Comic books are pure disgusting filth. OH, HOW I LOVE THEM!
Serendipitously getting ahold of this contraband in my youth eventually made me unable to function in the normal world, filled my mind with base thoughts, made me totally unfit for decent society. OH, HOW GRATEFUL I AM FOR COMIC BOOKS!
A hell-bent critic once called comic books the “marijuana of the nursery.” To every comic book publisher, editor, writer and artist who was responsible for this nefarious narcotic for innocent infants I would like to say… “GODDAM, THIS IS THE GOOD STUFF! THANK YOU PUSHER MAN FOR COMIC BOOKS!”
TURN ON, TUNE IN, DROP OUT, READ COMIC BOOKS!!!
Comic books of the 1950s were reviled, even burned, by uptight blue-noses, politicos shamefully trolling for votes, and holier-than-thou-and-me religious groups. The worst of the worst—the evil we call “mothers”—destroyed the few surviving comic books that were hidden under mattresses by their unsuspecting comic-book-loving children off at college sit-ins. I am now attempting, through my books, to unapologetically reprint these fantastic soul-destroying rare comic books in their proper printed form—yes, I like to do it on DEAD TREES! ARE YOU WITH ME?!
But Enemies of the Good Stuff now battle this righteous cause with new tactics: by closing bookstores, pimping e-readers and, in an act of nefarious subterfuge, selling the public on the idea that the GMO of comics—super heroes—are something more than true repugnant bile. I VASTLY PREFER THE OLD-SKOOL BOOK BURNERS TO THESE MODERN, BALEFUL, HEINOUS KILL-JOYS PIGHEADEDLY TAKING AWAY OUR BELOVED BAD-ASS COMIC BOOKS!!!
Brothers and sisters, I will not be thwarted in my Mission from God to resurrect the horror, crime and twisted animation-style comic books of the past. I cross-my-heart-hope-to-die-stick-syringe-needles-in-my-eye promise you that I will not rest until we can get that wondrous Weed for the Wee-ones into the grateful, sweaty tiny meathooks of potential juvenile delinquents. Then these J.D.s, these teenage hopped-up hoodlums, can ultimately, like my unrepentant reprobate self, gloriously blossom into COMIC BOOK CAREER CRIMMMINALS!
CAN I HEAR A LOUD “AMEN”?!