David Hadju’s 2008 book, The Ten-Cent Plague, portrays the conflict and backlash surrounding the extraordinary popularity of dark horror and noir comics in post-World War II America. He describes the work as a “war story” between two generations, and two cultures.
CBLDF web research ninjas recently came across a video of Hadju speaking about and reading from Plague at a release event at Cody’s Books in San Francisco. Of particular note (chapter 4 of the video) is his reading from a chapter on mass comic burning in Spencer, West Virginia, scant years after rampant book burning was used as a key form of Nazi cultural suppression.
In Chapter 12 of the video, Hadju also notes the apparent total lack of First Amendment challenges to the banning of these books; they weren’t considered worth the effort of those fighting for freedom of speech in the courts. And that, of course, is why the CBLDF is around and so important. Every challenge to free speech is worth fighting, regardless of the medium.
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Joe Izenman is a freelance writer and musician in Tacoma, Washington. He owns a lot of comics and he’s pretty sure someone, somewhere would be offended by more than a few of them.