“Horror: The First Time America’s Paranoia Infected The World”, sheds light on a dark time for the US comic industry

Horror: The First Time America’s Paranoia Infected The World

The modern political environment is not the first time America’s paranoia has infected the world, as a new book from Markosia, Horror: The First Time America’s Paranoia Infected The World, written by Australian author Phil Hore, recounts. This new book offers a fresh take on American censorship of comics in the 1950s, and its impact worldwide.

Every generation the media is blamed for the unruly behaviour of the young. In the 1980s it was Heavy Metal; during the 1990s, it was rap and computer games. But, as many regular downthetubes readers know, there was once a time when comic books were branded Public Menace Number One, too.

Statistics show a staggering one hundred million Americans were reading the newspaper comic section every day in the 1950s, making them the most dominant art form at the time. In comparison, movies only managed an audience of some 90 million a week – less than one-sixth that of comics.

Sadly, US Senate Hearings into juvenile delinquency would not only change the US comic industry forever, it inspired an age of true horror across the globe, allowing government sanctioned witch hunts to destroy the lives of everyday people looking for hidden perils in a seemingly dangerous world.

In 1948,  a Sydney mother said "Any comics found around our house now are thrown into the incinerator". Cutting via Phil Hore
In 1948, a Sydney mother said “Any comics found around our house now are thrown into the incinerator”. Cutting via Phil Hore

With a cast that includes Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Joseph McCarthy, America’s first serial killer, Albert Fish, Stan ‘The Man’ Lee and many others, publisher Markosia tells us Horror: The First Time America’s Paranoia infected The World is a tale based on the true stories of those affected by these strange times.

This 1948 letter to an Australian politician about a boy's suicide similar to the comic found underneath him is some of the new information in HORROR: the first time America's paranoia infected the world by Phil Hore
This 1948 letter to an Australian politician about a boy’s suicide similar to the comic found underneath him is some of the new information in HORROR: the first time America’s paranoia infected the world by Phil Hore

According to publicity materials received, the book, released earlier this year, includes new information on actions taken against comic publishers, not just in the United States, the influence of that paranoia on society – and on three boys reading comics during this time.

Peter Duncan has reviewed the book here on downthetubes.

Born in 1969, Phil Hore likes to point out he was one of the last children born before man walked on the moon. Working at Australia’s National Dinosaur Museum since 2000 and as an educator at the Australian War Memorial since 2006, he has previously worked at Questacon Science centre and could be seen haunting the halls and specimen rooms of London’s Natural History Museum and The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Here he even played famed palaeontologist O. C. Marsh during the Smithsonian’s centenary celebrations, and when asked why the 19th century palaeontologist was speaking with an Australian accent, happily pointed out that everyone on the 19th century spoke with an Australian accent.

Published in newspapers and magazines across the globe, since 2007 Phil has been the paleo-author for the world’s longest running dinosaur magazine, The Prehistoric Times. He has also been a comic shop manager, a cinema projectionist, a theatre technician and gutted chickens for a deli. All of these influences seem to make an appearance in his writing, especially the chicken guts bit.

Horror: The First Time America’s Paranoia Infected The World, published by Markosia is available from all good bookshops ISBN ‎978-1913802448 | Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Read a review of HORROR by Peter Duncan

Follow Phil Hore on Twitter @phil_hore

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Books, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds, US Comics

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