Precode Horror
Harvey, 6/1952

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Comic Description: Black Cat Mystery Comics 36 Universal
Grade: 7.5
Page Quality: OFF-WHITE
Certification #: 0174245002
Owner: GAM


Custom Sets: Designed for Delinquency
Precode Horror
Sets Competing: Strangest Tales of Fear and Superstition  Score: 120
Seduction Productions  Score: 120
Research: See CGC's Census Report for this Comic

Owner's Description

Black Cat Mystery Comics #36 is referenced in the text of the “Seduction of the Innocent” (SOTI) on pages 270-271. In this section of the SOTI, the author Fredric Wertham provides his analysis on why parents don’t take steps to stop their children from reading comic books. Wertham attributes the inaction to a feeling of “helplessness” by parents particularly mothers. He describes how mothers that raise their voice in objection to comics are attacked by experts for the defense (i.e. comic book publishers) that use “pseudo-Freudian lore” to explain why comic book reading is healthy for children.Wertham goes on to describe how a fictitious mother (Mrs. Jones) would feel reading Black Cat Mystery Comics #36 to her child Bobby (the comic is not identified directly but can be discerned from the descriptions of the stories and art). In this fictitious reading, the mother selects a comic that appeals to her because it has a full page add showing “forty-four smiling and happy children’s faces”. Upon selecting this comic she is distressed to find that the cover starts with “The Battle of Monsters!” and depicts “an enormous bestial colored human being who is brandishing a club and carrying off a scared blonde little boy in knee pants”. She goes on to read the first story filled with anxiety provoking language: “Look!! Their bodies are crumbling away!!”, “Kill! K-AARGHH!”, “YAIEE-E-E”. Skipping this story the mother begins another entitled “Whip of Death” where a young boy is tied to a mast and whipped to death by a captain. Wertham goes on to describe how the mother gives up reading the comic and decides that if the child-psychiatry and child-guidance expert say: “Bobby needs this to get rid of his aggressions he has to go through with it alone. She can’t take it.” Wertham sums up this section of the book with a simile that reading a comic book violates a child’s mind in a way similar to how a sexual assault violates a young girl - pretty strong stuff even for Wertham. In closing, to help you experience the trauma this comic inflicted on Bobby and his mom, I have include a scan of the front cover and the first page of the monster story. Prepare to be violated…

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