comic books

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Cover Your Eyes: the Graphic Horrors of 1950s Comics

Since this is Banned Books Week, I’ve come to bury Dr. Fredric Wertham, not to praise him. Wertham was an anti-comic book crusader who did some serious damage back in the 1950s. As an entertainment medium, comics were the digital devices of their day: Sales could be counted in hundreds of millions, and more...

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The Comics that Corrupted Our Kids!

Kids these days, with their violence and gunplay and perverse sex. We’d all be so much better if only they didn’t have access to those video games and that nasty music and those awful movies and blah blah blah. Thus goes the scapegoating just as it always has. Back in the early 1950s, comic...

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Beyond Comic-Con: The Wonder Women of Comics

One of the most significant comics events during San Diego Comic-Con this week isn’t even part of the official program. It’s the “Wonder Women: On and Off Paper” exhibition.

Li'l Abner's Al Capp: A Monstrous Creature, a Masterful Cartoonist

No doubt about it: Al Capp engaged in depraved behavior. Most disgraceful was his attempted rape of a number of women, from college co-eds to Grace Kelly. And, as the interview below suggests, there may be more. Capp also created Li’l Abner, once one of America’s most acclaimed comic strips. It began in 1934,...

Complete Anarchy, Illustrated

As the Tea Party and Occupy movements fade from the political scene, anarchy is still visible . . . well, its graphics are, anyway. In England, Autonomy: The Cover Designs of Anarchy, 1961–1970 just hit the streets. And PM Press is singlehandedly keeping anarchy alive with an impressive catalog of revolutionary fare that covers...

Paul Krassner on Obama, Orgies, and the Art of Offensive Cartoons

There’s something oddly funny about Paul Krassner. And it’s been going on for more than 50 years. He palled around with Lenny Bruce, the pioneering 1950s “sick” comic, and even edited Bruce’s autobiography, How to Talk Dirty and Influence People. He was instrumental in founding the Yippies!, those radical “Groucho Marxists” who fought the establishment...