Precode Horror
EC:Haunt of Fear

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Comic Description: Haunt of Fear 19
Grade: 6.5
Page Quality: OFF-WHITE
Certification #: 1132557005
Owner: GAM


Custom Sets: 1954-55 U.S. Senate Comic Books and Juvenile Delinquency Report and Testimony
Designed for Delinquency
Precode Horror
Sets Competing: Tales to Usher You into Fear  Score: 146
Seduction Productions  Score: 146
Research: See CGC's Census Report for this Comic

Owner's Description

Haunt of Feat #19 is referenced in Fredric Wertham’s “Seduction of the Innocent” (SOTI) as illustration #1 with the caption “A comic-book baseball game. Notice the chest protector and other details in the text and pictures.”

Illustration #1 comes from the story “Foul Play” contained in Haunt of Fear #19. It depicts a ghastly scene where baseball players are using a severed head for a ball, a torso for a chest protector and actual hands for baseball gloves. Classic horror that Wertham found to be quite objectionable.

In addition to the SOTI, Wertham also used the “Foul Play” story during his testimony to the U.S. Senate during their 1954 hearings on comic books. He described the story to the Senate as follows

“Dr. WERTHAM. Now, the question arises, and we have debated it in our group very often and very long, why does the normal child spend so much time with this smut and trash, we have this baseball game which I would like you to scrutinize in detail. They play baseball with a deadman’s head. Why do they do that?

The CHAIRMAN. Doctor, do you want to put this up here on exhibition and explain it?

Dr. WERTHAM. Yes, sir. Mr. Chairman, I can’t explain for the reason that I can’t say all the obscene things that are in this picture for little boys of 6 and 7. This is a baseball game where they play baseball with a man’s head; where the man’s intestines are baselines. All his organs have some part to play. The torso of this man is the chest protector on one of the players. There is nothing left to anybody’s morbid imagination.

Mr. BEASER. That is from a comic book?

Dr. WERTHAM. That is from a comic book. I would be glad to give you the reference later on. It is a relatively recent one.

Senator HENNINGS. Mr. Chairman, may I ask the doctor a question at this point?

The CHAIRMAN. The Senator from Missouri.

Senator HENNINGS. Doctor, I think from what you have said so far in terms of the value and effectiveness of the artists who portray these things, that it might be suggested implicitly that anyone who can draw that sort thing would have to have some very singular or peculiar abnormality or twist in his mind, or am I wrong in that?

Dr. WERTHAM. Senator, if I may go ahead in my statement, I would like to tell you that this assumption is one that we had made in the beginning and we have found it to be wrong. We have found that this enormous industry with its enormous profits has a lot of people to whom it pays money and these people have to make these drawings or else, just like the crime comic book writers have to write the stories they write, or else. There are many decent people among them. Let me tell you among the writers and the cartoonists – they don’t love me, but I know that many of them are decent people and they would much rather do something else than to what they are doing.”

Image #1

Image #2

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