chapter  5
17 Pages

Infamous Images: The Comics

BySteven Starker

Images from the old and new testaments filled the churches, castles, and public buildings. In this context, the image was reassuring and comforting, its evocative properties bound to a spiritual message. Reinforced by the technology of printing, the culture of the alphabet gradually led humanity away from immediate sensory involvement with the world. The Graphic Revolution had taken the nation by storm, upsetting the long-established supremacy of linear, logical, abstract words and thoughts in the media. Emotion, sensation, sensuality, and violence had, according to some, hopelessly corrupted American reading matter and the minds of the vulnerable. The comics were first indicted for their use of slang and subversion of good manners, both considered important offenses circa 1910. During the 1930s, the number of pictures, illustrations, and comics in the metropolitan daily newspapers increased considerably. The "Superman-Batman-Wonder Woman group is a special form of crime comics" he noted in his most influential book, Seduction of the Innocent.