Old EC Ad: If you hate comics, you're a communist!

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Summary: Back when EC was coming under increasing fire for their content, they ran an ad designed to decry detractors as dirty reds. Dark Horse recently reprinted this ad, so I figured I'd share.

BLOT: (23 Jan 2015 - 09:27:11 PM)

Old EC Ad: If you hate comics, you're a communist!

In red text, 'ARE YOU A RED DUPE?'

Found this gem while reading the recentish E.C. Archives: Tales from the Volume 5 (a collection reprinting digitally recolored versions of Tales from the Crypt issues 41-46). These are the final issues of the title's run, and pressure had been mounting against E.C. due to attacks that comic books were destroying the youth. A generally ridiculous claim in hindsight, but at the time it was one backed quite sensationally by Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent.* This was very close in time with a now-somewhat-infamous Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency hearings against comics, in which Wertham was a key witness and where E.C. Comic's own William Gaines testified on the pro-comics side.

Just four issues from the end, the above question popped up on the opening page of Tales of the Crypt 43. Followed by an anti-Soviet comic somewhat humorously tied into Mad's Melvin motif. Then a few statements of something-like-facts, building up this central claim:


It's a fascinating tactic from the end of the height of McCarthy's brand of Red Scare. Especially since the sort of moral-majority types that were bubbling behind the juvenile delinquency claims are the very ones who would probably be most pissed at the communist label.

The tactic goes a bit...pear-shaped...when the big plot twist claim is that Wertham was [with no evidence to back this up] ghost-written by Gershon Legman, a cultural critic who, when not speaking out against [sexual] censorship and standing up for sexual freedom, apparently wrote for the Daily Worker. That's a COMMUNISTIC DIRTY RED RAG! That's AIRTIGHT!

At least the whole thing ends on a somewhat "forgiving" note when it lets you know that the guy down the street who tells you that comics are evil isn't guaranteed to be a communist, he might just be a dupe:

In black, text: So the NEXT time some joker gets up at a P.T.A. meeting, or starts jabbering about the 'naught comic books' at your local candy store, give him the ONCE-OVER. We're not saying he IS a communist! He may be innocent of the whole thing! He may be a DUPE! He may not even READ the 'Daily Worker'! It's just that he's SWALLOWED the RED BAIT...HOOK, LINE, and SINKER!

I love the "He may not even read the Daily Worker!". Ah, that's good. Good stuff.

You can see the whole page, below. Click to embiggen. Note, full version is kind of sizable (9ish megabytes).

Full page ad explaining only communists are out to destroy comics...and dupes...

Alas, this failed to persuade anyone. Truth be told, though, the writing was wearing down fast (the artwork was getting better, mind). While without the Comics Code problems, Tales from the Crypt would probably have lasted at least another year, it would have likely been a poor one. Better to die mostly-young and still-somewhat-beautiful, I suppose.

* Other claims by Wertham, beyond the general delinquency ones, were that Batman + Robin = Gay Sex, Superman's a fascist, and Wonder-Woman = bondage. All sounds reasonable to me.

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