Comics are a form of art that, depending on how it is put together, it can relay many shades of the same story to the reader. There are many different genres for readers to choose from that present many different moral issues and stories to its readers. The comic book art form has become a very popular way to indulge in your favorite superhero, or just a good story. While Comics have always been entertaining their audiences, they tend to over exaggerate on how violence and crime are portrayed, especially to young readers. Some would say a comic is just a picture book that can have no effect on someone because it is just a story, and it is the responsibility of the reader to dismiss something that might not have a moral value in the end. However, there has been quite an extensive amount of negative images and acts that argue that censorship in comic books is important to the potential effects it can have on its readers and how they can think, or potentially act.
Comic book censorship has been brought up on several different accounts. It goes all the way back to 1950’s when the Comics Magazine Association of America (CMAA) created the Comics Code Authority. “ At the time, comics were selling more than eighty million copies a week. But unlike movies and the new TV industry, they were unregulated” (Hajdu 434). This issue went through many congressional hearings, which was all started because of Fredric Wertham’s book, Seduction of the Innocent. Wertham wrote this to show that these comics that kids would get a hold of do not just have pictures filled with happiness and cute singing dinosaurs, but full of scenes with excessive violence, provocative and gruesome images along with crime that is presented in the wrong light (Park 5). This is what forced comics to follow the Comic Code Authority, which still exists today, but does not hold much power against comics. This created a big uproar on judgment behind comics and the well being of the youth. Since then an overabundance of research has been done to show why censorship is important with youth in mind.
In the 1950’s when the Comics Code came into play the concern that violence in comics might make kids more aggressive because of the vast amounts of violence in comics. Comics are a great medium for using imagination because it has pictures interlaced with the words. But it is that simple fact that makes some comics also have a negative effect on younger kids because of how well comics have been known to communicate a message. Comic books do not only show these events, but they generate the action and leave the killing up to the readers. Comics do not show every action of the character, which is where the reader’s imagination comes in. One panel can have a man holding a knife and the next panel may just have the victim lying in blood. How many ways can you kill a man with a knife, and is that really the picture you want a child to imagine in their head? It is the way the artist presents these acts of violence that is the main apprehension of why the censorship is needed, hence the establishment of the Comics Code. Inappropriate Violence or sexual activity should be restricted towards the adult public, not a comic any young kid can go purchase at the store.
Even with the Comics code authority in place there will always be regulations on how artists can show unnecessary violence and crime, and not overlook the story they’re trying to tell. Why is censorship important? One could argue it is just a story; it cannot escalate towards similar behavior. It is as they say it: It’s not the gun that commits the crime; It’s the person who pulls the trigger. Everyone knows that many violent things occur in the real world, but comic books seem to over embellish the violence, and such images and actions should only be for someone who is able to comprehend such a complex moral state of affairs. With the era of ever-increasing violence and crime, comic books are being...
Cited: Hajdu, David. The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. 1st. 2008. 434.
Kirsh, Steven J., and Paul V. Olczak. "Violent Comic Books and Perceptions of Ambiguous Provocation Situations." Media. Psychology 2, no. 1 (March 2000): 47-62.
McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics The Invisible Art. HarperCollins, 1993.
Miller, Frank. Frank Miller 's Sin City. Vol. 1. The Hard Goodbye. Milwaukie,Ore: Dark Horse Books, 200
Moore, Alan, and Dave Gibbons. Watchmen. 12. DC Comics, 1986. 24.
Park, David. "The Kefauver Comic Book Hearings as Show Trial: Decency, Authority and the Dominated Expert." Cultural Studies 16, no. 2 (March 2002): 259-288.
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