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The Horror! The Horror! 1950s comic books, that is, not Mr. Media’s high school yearbook photo!

Adventures into Darkness, horror storiesImage via WikipediaBy BOB ANDELMAN

Any book in which Goosebumps author R.L. Stine writes the introduction is gonna be scary.

But The Horror! The Horror! Comic Books the Government Didn’t Want You to Read!http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=andelmancom&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0810955954&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr is a different kind of frightening. It’s about government censorship, federal abuse of the First Amendment, hypocrisy and hype and, frankly, an unwillingness of comic book publishers such as EC in the 1950s to show a little restraint.


Jim Trombetta’s four-color coffee table book full of blood, gore, science gone awry and nightmarish things that crawl, slither and kill is gratuitous fun now for adults but it also details an era when America was overrun with Communist scare tactics, paranoia, conspiracy theories and a long-since discredited knucklehead named Dr. Frederic Wertham and his book, Seduction of the Innocent.

Ah, the good old days.

This book – which I would not at all recommend for youngsters – reproduces hundreds of freakish comic book covers and many complete stories from the days before the establishment of the Comics Code Authority, a wild time when anything went and often did. In between, Trombetta lays out what was happening in the United States and details how things grew so far out of whack.

Jim Trombetta Facebook

Hear it now!JIM TROMBETTA audio excerpt: “Low-hanging fruit is a very good phrase for it. It’s interesting how every youthful expression — like rock ‘n’ roll — had to be crushed in the 1950s. In the horror comics, you weren’t allowed to have your nightmares. In rock ‘n roll, you were not allowed to have your fun or eroticism.” 

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You can LISTEN to this interview with JIM TROMBETTA, author of THE HORROR! THE HORROR!, by clicking the audio player above!

Bob Andelman is the author or co-author of 10 books, including ‘The Profiler’ with Pat Brown, ‘Built From Scratch’ with the founders of The Home Depot, and ‘Will Eisner: A Spirited Life.’ • Follow Bob on Twitter or Facebook.

[Get Copyright Permissions]Copyright 2010 Bob Andelman. Click here for copyright permissions!

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