‘Horror Comic Books’: A vintage news report on the evils of reading

EC’s ‘Crime SuspenStories’ No. 22, May 1954
In the hard “g” Los Angeles of the fifties, Confidential File was the name of Paul Coates’ column in the Los Angeles Mirror and his weekly series on KTTV, the local station then owned by the Times-Mirror Company. Coates’ beat was vice: housewives on goofballs, medical quackery, La Cosa Nostra, the “tragic social problem” of homosexuality. According to Stephan Hoeller, the bishop of L.A.‘s Ecclesia Gnostica, Louis Culling and Meeka Aldrich performed a Thelemic ritual on one 1955 episode of Confidential File that we would all like to see uploaded to YouTube.

One of the social ills Coates set out to expose on his TV show was an epidemic of children reading books. In this broadcast, Coates said the Comics Code the industry had adopted the year before, after Senate hearings had exposed the link between childhood literacy and juvenile delinquency, did not go far enough. He came out swinging against Big Ink in the introduction, calling for crime and horror books to be outlawed:

In this comic book is a love story, a boy and girl in love. They get married, and after an offensively lurid description (illustrated, of course) of the couple’s wedding night, the book shows how the bride murders her husband by chopping his head off with an axe.

This comic book describes a sexual aberration so shocking that I couldn’t mention even the scientific term on television.

I think there ought to be a law against them. Tonight I’m going to show you why.

(Do you think the scientific term was “coitus”?)

More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall
09:37 am