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Adler-Kassner, Linda. “Why Won’t You Just Read It?”: Comic books and community in the 1950s. Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication: 9—12 Aug, 1995. 
Added by: joachim (2/18/12, 4:33 PM)   Last edited by: joachim (3/5/19, 4:29 PM)
Resource type: Conference Paper
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: AdlerKassnera
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Categories: General
Keywords: Communications, EC, Fandom, Kulturpolitik, USA
Creators: Adler-Kassner
Collection: Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication
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A study explored the debate over comic books and children in the 1950s, addressing the communication role of comic books in forming a new community of comic book fans during that period. Using E.C. (Educational Comics) comic books as a case study, the conventions of the comic books, correspondence between producers and consumers, and articles by anti-comic book critics were examined to analyze how the comics contributed to what critics perceived as a new community of children and youth distinct from the dominant community to which they belonged. The comic book “crusade” was one manifestation of the anxiety felt by many adults over the communications revolution of the 1950s. Reader response theory was used to study the comic books’ reception by fans and critics alike—the theory insists that readers bring meaning to text, and that the audience is central to understanding. Every issue published between 1950 and 1954 of 3 comics—“The Vault of Horror,” “The Haunt of Fear,” and “Tales from the Crypt”—was examined. In addition, over 500 letters from readers published in E.C. horror comics were examined, as were articles by anti-comic book crusaders in popular magazines of the period. Children were considered “innocent” and malleable in the 1950s, and many middle-class parents, wishing to protect their children, saw comic books as a threat to family values. Adults could not understand youth’s interpretation of the comics, and many saw their children rejecting high culture and other intellectual pursuits in favor of comics.
Added by: joachim  Last edited by: joachim
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