Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: “The Horror! The Horror!” by Jim Trombetta, Abrams ComicArts, 2010, With Bonus CD. Subtitled: ‘Comic Books The Government Didn’t Want You To Read!’

Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings a new crusading group of progressive thinkers re-opened the debate whether to censor violence contained in video games and internet content. But we only need to regress a scant fifty to sixty years ago when their party ancestors took direct aim at curbing other crimes under the umbrella of ‘Juvenile Delinquency’. The ‘video game’ and ‘internet’ of that day came wrapped in multicolored newsprint known as comic books: Crime, Horror and Science Fiction.

In the name of saving the virtue of American youth these do-gooders accomplished their immediate goal and destroyed an industry and in the process they never made a dent in crime.

Juvenile delinquency was the gun control debate of the 1950s. Young boys falling headlong into manhood, restless with a booming post-war economy, new opportunities in new industries and rock n’ roll in their veins began to look away from their reserved and rather ‘square’ fathers’ haunts for an entertainment all their own.

The values and heroes of their elders were stale. Jimmy Dorsey and Glenn Miller couldn’t hold a candle to Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Like their music, this new generation craved a no holds barred excitement and like all young people they were drawn to the forbidden.

‘The Seduction of the Innocent’ by Dr. Frederic Wertham became the manual for parental and societal control. The thesis was that images and stories of magic, mayhem and murder, in particular, drove teenagers into a lurid world of anarchy and it had to be stopped.

Author Jim Trombetta’s narrative is a detailed history of how an infant nanny state wrapped its arms around these quirky, humorous and non-threatening tales only to choke the life out of them and the public that read them.

In this thick volume you get reprints of comics not seen in decades, cover art that is astounding, and a DVD of an original television special of the day incriminating these works that will drive you more apoplectic than Piers Morgan.

I highly recommend this volume. It is a must have for your library of lurid literature. It is a treasure chest of rare and precious jewels that will both entertain and educate. It is a reminder that censorship is never the answer and that personal responsibility must be the goal is the republic will survive.

Enough with my writing and preaching on the subject; go now and buy this book.

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