First, read this: How the comics code killed the golden age of comics.
Yeah, I know it’s a Buzzfeed article, but it’s a surprisingly salient piece of work and an interesting analysis of how everything that wasn’t white people doing good white things got zapped from the comics in the 1950s.
There are a lot of people out there who regularly pine for the ’50s and hold the era up as an example of a time when everything was perfect. Mostly it’s bitter old white guys who pine for the ’50s, the rest of the country got pretty much shafted by the white Christian morality of the day. Remember, this was the era when they added “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance. I wasn’t alive then, but all it takes is a little research to see what the world was really like back in the good old days. Women were expected to stay home and make babies. Blacks needed to stay out of sight. Hispanics were for tending your yard. It was okay to beat gays because, damn, that shit might be contagious. And you better believe your ass was at church every Sunday. You could choose any church you wanted, as long as it was Christian, and not too weird.
Next time someone pines away about the good old days, remember these were the days of racial segregation and if you think sexism is bad now, you missed an entire era of “You’re just a woman, what do you know?”
So, out of this milieu comes some of the safest, least offensive comics the world has ever seen. In fact, most popular culture of the time was bland and inoffensive. The idea of challenging any kind of thought was considered heretical. Remember, this was the era when a black man and white woman could be stoned to death for holding hands.
Unfortunately, a lot of this nonsense still carries over to this day.
Even more unfortunately, we have a large amount of politicians and rich people who can afford to buy politicians who would very much like to drag the rest of us kicking and screaming back into that golden age of bigotry.
That would be a real pity, for society as well popular culture. I find the diversity of the current world to be pretty fascinating. I like being able to go into a hardware store and find Dia de los Muertos artwork. I like the fact that the work world isn’t just a bunch of good-old-boys getting drunk and feeling up secretaries. I like the fact that I can pick up a comic and it might make me think about the world around me, rather than just show me some platitudes and propaganda.
Anyway, had to share the article with you. Censorship is never a good thing, but it’s interesting in this case to see just how much damage was done by it.