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.
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.
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.
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)