Happy Birthday to the Man of Steel!
Superman first debuted 75 years ago in Action Comics #1, published April 18, 1938.
Copyright by National Comics Publications and Superman Inc. and donated to the Treasury Department as a public service by Superman, Inc.
H/T to the USPS Stamps Tumblr for the tip!
On November 24, 1953, this letter was sent to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Special Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency by Eugenia Genovar. Genovar wrote to express her support for banning comic books (like the one shown above), which were then being investigated by the subcommittee to determine if a relationship existed between juvenile violence, crime, and media such as television and comic books.
Letter from Eugenia Y. Genovar Regarding Comic Book Censorship, 11/24/1953, Records of the U.S. Senate (ARC 6120051)
Fight Against Crime No. 19, 5/1954, Records of the U.S. Senate
Happy National Comic Book Day!
The National Archives has a copy of issue #1 of MAD magazine. This copy of the famous comic book is a permanent federal record, and was submitted to a Senate subcommittee on juvenile delinquency as evidence of comics’ corrupting influence on young people.
For three days, experts testified on whether or not comic books were “printed poison” for young people. The hearings created so much bad press for the comics industry that it created the Comics Code Authority to self-regulate the content of the magazines.
Examples of the 1954 Code criteria include “Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly, nor so as to injure the sensibilities of the reader” and “Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.”
Mad? Lovers’ Lane? The Fighting American? What was (or is) your favorite comic book?
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America today, we are featuring this letter received by Senator Robert Hendrickson (R-NJ) in 1954. Ely Maxwell, Publications Adviser for the Girl Scouts, sent Sen. Hendrickson this letter on October 22, 1954 with a copy of the comic book “Daisy Low of the Girl Scouts.” During this time, the Senate Judiciary Committee had created a Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. One of the main investigations into juvenile delinquency was the comic book industry. Maxwell hoped that by sending this letter to Sen. Hendrickson, the Senate would see that there were “good comic books.” Sen. Hendrickson replied to Maxwell on November 3, notifying her that he forwarded her letter and comic book to the subcommittee staff.
Letter from Ely Maxwell on behalf of the Girl Scouts, 10/22/1954, Records of the US Senate
First Issue of “Mad Magazine”, 10/1952
Happy birthday, Harvey Kurtzman and Mad Magazine! In October 1952, the very first issue of a new comic called “Mad” was issued, written almost entirely by Kurtzman. It soon came under Senate investigation (thus entering the records of the National Archives), which led to the comic book being transformed into the magazine still going strong today.
One of these early issues of Mad is on display in the Archives’ permanent exhibit, The Public Vaults, in Washington, DC.