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How Censors Killed the Weird . Muy Bueno. Usar . Padid 2014

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How Censors Killed The Weird, Experimental, Progressive Golden Age Of Comics In the 1940s, comic books were often feminist, diverse, and bold. Then the reactionary Comics Code Authority changed the trajectory of comic book culture for good.posted on May 2, 2014, at 4:07 p.m. Saladin AhmedBuzzFeed Contributor Charles 'Teenie' Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art / Getty Images Comics histories sometimes reduce the Golden Age to the Superman Age: an era
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  How Censors Killed The Weird, Experimental, Progressive Golden  Age Of    Comics   In the 1940s, comic books were often feminist, diverse, and bold. Then the reactionary Comics Code Authority changed the trajectory of comic book culture for good. posted on May 2, 2014, at 4:07 p.m.   Saladin Ahmed BuzzFeed Contributor    Charles 'Teenie' Harris / Carnegie Museum of Art / Getty Images   Comics histories sometimes reduce the Golden Age to the Superman Age: an era of lily white, squeaky-clean, manly-man heroes punching bank robbers and selling World War II propaganda. But the raucous variety of early comics is much more complex. For a weird, wild, 15-year span beginning in the late 1930s, the comic book racks of America’s  newsstands were bursting with four-color contradictions. Images of half-naked, subjugated women appeared side by side with comics featuring independent heroines, like   Women Outlaws . The comics world at this time was a cacophonous bazaar of stories: sometimes thrilling, sometimes confusing, sometimes revolting. But that bazaar was swiftly and mercilessly dismantled in 1954 by the newly formed Comics Code Authority. It was replaced with a viciously policed shopping mall whose effects resonate today. Conventional wisdom holds that comics today are conservative, reactionary. In recent years, outlets from   The Guardian  to   The  Atlantic  have published articles on sexism in comics, and fanboys foolish enough to express their fear of a black Spider-Man are likely to be taken to task loudly and publicly thanks to the active presence of antiracist fans and fans of color on social media. Long made by, read by, and starring only white males, the story goes, comic books need to be dragged —  or   must not    be dragged, depending on one’s ideological bent —  into the 21st century. We marvel at the increasing popularity of comics, as if collectively witnessing the first sunlit steps of a pale, housebound man who has lived in his mother’s basement for dec ades. What is rarely discussed, though, is how comics ended up in the basement in the first place. While they had some experimental antecedents, the first true comic books appeared in the early 1930s, at the height of the Great Depression. At first, most were collections of reprinted strips from newspapers. But publishers soon saw that there was money to be made with srcinal material. New titles cropped up monthly and, by the time Superman appeared in  Action Comics   in 1938, the era that comics fans and historians have dubbed the “Golden Age” was in full swing. Somehow, in the middle of an unprecedented economic crisis, comics had managed to become a boom industry. And it wasn’t just adolescent white males driving this boom. We know from advertisements, comics letters pages, and old photos that comic books in the Golden Age were bought and read by a wide variety of Americans in terms of gender, class, and race. By the 1940s, Americans from all walks of life were going comic book crazy.    Marvel Comics / Via digitalcomicmuseum.com The early comic book industry had the shifting, molten surface of a new, unfinished world. Golden Age writers and artists were inventing a new form as they went, and they were doing so for little money, and under grueling deadlines. Quantity was often emphasized over quality, and editorial supervision was in most cases nearly nonexistent. The comics themselves exhibited wild stylistic variety. A single issue of    Keen Detective Funnies   could contain one story with gorgeous Art Nouveau-ish illustration, and another with glorified stick figures. The comic books of the Golden Age were also significantly more diverse in terms of genre than today’s comics. On newsstands across America —  in an era when the newsstand was an urban hub and an economic juggernaut —  comic books told tales of    True Crime ,   Weird Fantasy    and   Cowboy Love ,   Negro Romance , and Mystery Men . And Americans bought them all.
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