I knew that some of my friends at school weren’t allowed to read them, although I had no idea why. Bertie and I had a huge stack of comics on the bottom shelf of our bedroom bookcase, and we were in love with Archie, Betty and Veronica, Nancy and Sluggo, Felix the Cat, Wonder Woman, Little Lulu and of course Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny and never got tired of reading about all their adventures over and over.
We learned lots of things from comics, including big words that we sometimes had to look up in the dictionary. I was always a good reader in school and looking back on those years, I really think that comics helped me with my reading. Especially Classics Comics — comic book versions of literary classics — which both Bertie and I eagerly devoured. They not only improved our vocabularies, but got us interested in the “real” literature we’d encounter later on in high school and college. They had a certain engrossing flavor about them that I remember even today.
What I didn’t know then was that for many years, even before Bertie and I started reading comics in the 50s, some grown-ups were campaigning against them and saying they were bad for kids.
1948, Wertham published an article in Collier’s entitled “Horror in the Nursery”
and then in 1954 we wrote a book called “Seduction of the Innocent.
In his book, Wertham said that comic books give kids wrong ideas about reality (flying superheroes, for instance), advocate homosexuality (Batman and Robin), and give girls twisted notions about women’s roles in society (Wonder Woman).
Who knew? Bertie and I were having a blast with our comics, and they never hurt us one little bit. I can’t even imagine my childhood without Uncle Scrooge, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Huey, Dewey and Louie and the rest of the comic book gang. Scary to think that the PC police were around even way back then. I shudder to think how they’d react to the TV shows, video games, social media, etc., that kids are into nowadays!
How about you? Do/did you have a favorite comic book?