Favorite Quotes

"The fact that you think you are a person is a socially induced hallucination. There is not such thing as a person."
- D. Chopra, Playboy March 2011 interview

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Clean Up By Comics Czar

Puttin' Out The Fire

Today in 1954, it was reported that Comic Books Are Being Cleaned Up.  The first Comics Magazine Association of America censored comic books would be hitting the newsstands in the next few weeks and Judge Charles F. Murphy wanted everyone to know about it, so he held a press conference.
Pittsburgh Press - ‎Dec 29, 1954‎ pg 7

It always fascinates me to see how different newspapers cover the same story.  The New York Times has the story on page 8:

NEW' COMIC BOOKS TO BE OUT IN WEEK; First 'Approved' Issues Put More Clothing on Heroines and Tone Down Violence. By DOROTHY BARCLAY
"Tidied-up comic books carrying the seal of approval of the recently formed Comics Code Authority are expected to appear on newsstands early next week."

Pittsburgh PA was a two newspaper town in 1954, so it is interesting to see that on the same day, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette only had a 3 paragraph story, but on page 2.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Dec 29, 1954 pg 2

The Milwaukee Journal had quite a different slant on the story on page 4.  Since it was from the NY Times News Service, it was probably closer to the New York Times story than the Pittsburgh Press United Press (UP) story.

The Milwaukee Journal - Dec 29, 1954 pg 4

Meanwhile, the St. Joseph, MO Gazette had it on the front page at the bottom right corner.  Other front page articles included Russia May Soon Free 3 Americans, France Into Final Arms Debate, Few Leads In Ballot Theft, and '54 Births Will Top 4 Million For First Time In U.S.

St. Joseph Gazette - Dec 29, 1954 pg 1

Where as the Spokane Daily Chronicle had the UP story buried on page 13 with the classifieds.

Spokane Daily Chronicle - ‎Dec 29, 1954‎ pg 13

Canada had the story the next day, when the Montreal Gazette carried the NY Times Service article on the Women's Page (pg 8) among such heavy articles as Facts and Fancies, Baby Is Healthy But Wakeful, Better Eating, and Running Away From It All Doesn't Solve Anything.

The Montreal Gazette - Dec 30, 1954 pg 8

It even made news in Melbourne, Australia in The Age.

The Age - Dec. 30 1954, pg 4

So, within 2 days, the story had been carried by at least 5 news services (UP, AP, INS, AAP, and NY Times) and probably hundreds of newspapers around the world.  I'd say Judge Murphy's press conference was successful.

Now to get that bad taste of censorship out of our mouth, I'll close with the Pogo strip that was also in newspapers today in 1954.  Its even kind of appropriate as they were trying to put out a fire like Judge Murphy.

If that doesn't do it, go Give Money to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.  A better organization cannot be found.  And be sure to check out Tom Spurgeon's interview with 2 head honchos of the CBLDF (Charles Brownstein And Larry Marder) at The Comics Reporter.

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