David Hajdu. The Ten-Cent
Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America.
York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. 448pp.
ISBN-13: 9780374187675 (hardcover).
Library of Congress: PN6725 .H33 2008
Dewey: 302.23/2 22
in a Library with WorldCat
Publisher's On-Line Information ||
In the years between World War II and the emergence of television as a
mass medium, American popular culture as we know it was first
created--in the pulpy, boldly illustrated pages of comic books. No
sooner had this new culture emerged than it was beaten down by church
groups, community bluestockings, and a McCarthyish Congress--only to
resurface with a crooked smile on its face in Mad magazine.
Read the Prologue
via the New York Times
(March 23, 2008)
Read excerpts via
Prologue ... 3
- Society Iss Nix ... 9
- It Was Work ... 32
- Crime Pays ... 53
- Youth in Crisis ... 71
- Puddles of Blood ... 92
- Then Let Us Commit
Them ... 112
- Woofer and Tweeter ...
- Love... LOVE... LOVE!!
- New Trend ... 175
- Humor in a Jugular
Vein ... 193
- Panic ... 209
- The Triumph of Dr.
Payn ... 228
- What Are We Afraid Of?
- We've Had It! ... 274
- Murphy's Law ... 305
- Out of the Frying Pan
and Into the Soup ... 319
Epilogue ... 331
Appendix ... 337
Notes ... 353
Bibliography ... 407
Acknowledgments ... 413
Index ... 417
Features See also: Reviews featured on author's website
Advocate Opinion Page
Staff. 2008. "Our Views: When comics raised anxiety [opinion]." 2theadvocate.com
(March 21, page 8B). [access online]
Akst, Daniel. 2008.
"Pulp factions: Wildly popular in the 1940s and '50s, edgy comics
aroused the ire of teachers, religious leaders, and lawmakers." Boston Globe
Andelman, Bob. 2008. "David Hajdu, THE TEN-CENT PLAGUE author: Mr. Media Audio Interview." Mr. Media Interviews by Bob Andelman (May 17). [access online]
[anonymous review]. 2008.
The Week Daily
(April 1). [access online]
Baker, R.C. 2008.
"The Ten-Cent Plague:
Weird tales, indeed; David Hajdu's History of the
Comic-Book Panic." Village
"David Hajdu On The Ten Cent Plague [interview]." Newsarama
(March 20). [access
2008b. "Book Review: The Ten-Cent Plague." Newsarama (March
25). [access online]
Beaty, Bart. 2008. "CR Review Special: Bart Beaty On David Hajdu's The Ten-Cent Plague." The Comics Reporter. Part 1 (April 22 [access online]), part 2 (April 23 [access online]), part 3 (April 24 [access online]).
Beaty, Bart, and Jeet
Heer. 2008. "Symposium: Culture Wars." Globe and Mail
(March 29). [access online]
Boucher, Geoff. 2008.
"'The Ten-Cent Plague' by David Hajdu: How comic book creators tested
the limits of content in the face of an ever-changing bonfire brigade."
Times (March 16). [access
Cardace, Sara. 2008.
"David Hajdu on the Great Comics Scare [interview]." Vulture (March 26).
Carlson, Jenny. 2008. "The Ten-Cent Plague: Revisiting the 20th-Century Comic Book Scare." PopMatters (April 23). [access online]
Clayson, Jane. 2008.
"WBUR & NPR's
On Point: The 1950s Comic-Book Scare." Hosted by Jane Clayson. WBUR & NPR's On Point -
Boston, MA - 909.0FM (March 26). Includes podcast. [access online]
Cremins, Robert. 2008.
"New in fiction and nonfiction: threats to wholesomeness." Houston Chronicle
(March 28). [access online]
DeLuca, Dan. 2008.
"Step aside, Elvis; comics changed it all." Philadelphia Inquirer (March
16). [access online]
Deusner, Stephen M. 2008.
"Not So Funny: David Hajdu on Comic Book Controversies." Express (April 7). [access online]
Dotinga, Randy. 2008.
"Why comic books scared us so: Captain Marvel reduced to ashes by
terrified parents? David Hajdu examines the great comic-book panic of
the 1950s." Christian
Science Monitor (March 25).
Douthat, Ross. 2008. "Yesterday's Culture Wars." TheAtlantic.com (April 17). [access online]
"Horror! Suspense! Censorship! A cultural critic recounts how comics
were ripped out of kids' grubby hands." Washington
Post Book World (March 23): BW08.
2008a. Cartoonist quotations from Ten-Cent Plague
posted on April 1, April 2. The OregonianLive: Comics.
Duin, Steve. 2008b.
"'Ten-Cent Plague' illustrates history of early comic-book scare." The Oregonian
(April 11). [access online]
Ford, Gavin. 2008.
"When Comic Books were the Villains." Star-Gazette (27
March). [access online]
Frazier, Joseph B. /
2008. "When Comic Books Were Under Attack." SFGate.com
(February 26). [access
online - also via The Intelligencer
- also via London Free Press]
Frazier, Joseph B.
"Book talks about when comic books were under attack."
Canadian Press (February 26). [access
Friedwald, Will. 2008.
"The Secret History of Comic Books." The New York Sun
(March 24). [access online]
2008. "Browsing graphic literature." St. Louis Post-Dispatch
(March 16). [also discusses Students for a Democratic
Society: A Graphic History; J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic
Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow; and Hotwire Comics No. 2.]
Goode, Stephen. 2008.
"When nation fought its war against comic books." Washington Times
(April 20). [access online]
Hajdu, David. 2008.
"David Hajdu: The
Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It
Free Library of Philadelphia podcast (March 18). [access
Handlen, Zack. 2008.
[Review.] The Onion AV Club (April 24). [access online]
Harvey, Mary. 2009. [Review]. Rambles.net (December 5). [access online]
Harvey, R. C. 2008.
"Another History of Comics Censorship and Ruin." Rants & Raves,
Opus 222 (April 30[?]. [access online - via
Heer, Jeet. 2008.
"How comic books ruined the nation." The Globe
and Mail (March 22).
Heer, Jeet. 2008a. "The
Caped Crusader: Frederic [sic] Wertham and the campaign against comic
(April 4). [access online]
Henriksen, Erik. 2008.
[review.] The Portland
Mercury (April 10). [access online]
Hodler, T. 2008. "A
Journal of the Plague Year." Comics
Comics [blog] (April 9). features dozens of comments.
Hogan, Ron. 2008.
"Hajdu's Comic Turn: From Strayhorn to Dylan to the homoerotic in
Weekly (January 7).
"The Horror! The
Horror!: Four brave
nonfiction writers [David Hajdu, David Gilmour, Louis Masur, Mary
Roach] discuss their subjects, which range from the surprising to the
taboo: creative parenting techniques, censorship, sex research, and
racial violence." Titlepage.tv,
episode 3. [video - access online]
Jensen, Van. 2008. "The
witch hunt that nearly killed comics." ComicMix (26
March). [access online]
Kanfer, Stefan. 2008.
"Pyrric Victory: A new comic-book history chronicles a war between good
taste and free expression." City Journal (May 2). [access online]
Kannenberg, Gene Jr. "The
Not-So-Untold Story of the Great Comic-Book Scare." Chronicle
of Higher Education, Review section (v. 54, no. 37, May 23;
page B19). [access
online - subscribers only]
"Comics: Marvel's Mavens." Forward
(March 19). [also discusses Disguised
Kent: Jews, Comics, and the
Creation of the Superhero]
Klaw, Rick. 2008.
Chronicle (March 21). [access online]
Lopate, Lenard. 2008. "The Comic Book Plague." The Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC Radio (April 21). [access online]
Maslin, Janet. 2008.
"The Amazing Adventures of the Midcentury Comic Book Trade." New York
Times (March 10).
Mattise, Nathan. 2008.
"Comic books becoming geek chic with movie adaptations." The Daily Orange
(April 15). [access online]
Mautner, Chris. 2008.
"Comics' history not so comic, new book says". Patriot-News
"The Horror: Congress investigates the comics." New Yorker.com
(March 31). [access
Miller, Laura. 2008.
"Panic in the Pages." Salon.com
(March 24). [access online]
Miller, Roger K.
"Mad about comics: As the popularity of comics increased in the 1940s,
so did the fear and loathing of parents, churches and lawmakers." Minneapolis
Star Tribune (March 14).
online] See also Shepherd-Express
(April 7, 2008): 38 [access online -
also via n-paper]
Miller, Roger K. 2008b.
"'Sick' influence on teens worried 1950s U.S." Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette (March 23).
"'Ten-Cent Plague': Comic books and censorship." USA Today
Mozzocco, J. Caleb.
"A forgotten culture war." Las
Vegas Weekly (April 9). [access online]
Mozzocco, J. Caleb.
2008b. " Sixteen things I learned from The Ten-Cent Plague." Every Day is Like Wednesday
(April 11). [access online]
Poague, George. 2008.
"When U.S. trembled in fear of comics." The Leaf-Chronicle
(April 13). [access online]
Powers, Ron. 2008.
"Penny Dreadfuls." New
Times Book Review (March 23).
Raeburn, Daniel. 2008.
"Arts: Back before Spider-Man and the X-Men, comic books were the
villains [book review]." Mother
Jones (March/April). [access online]
"Comics On Trial: David Hajdu's book recalls the early decency battle
over that '50s scourge: comic books." Entertainment Weekly
(March 14). [access
Rosenberg, Scott A. 2008.
"Curse of the comics." AM
New York (April 15). [access online]
2008. "New in Books: A Review of The
Ten-Cent Plague." The
Stranger (April 15). [access online]
Salie, Faith. 2008. "Fair
Game - Nicholas Christakis, Chris Parnell, David Hadju." PRI's Fair Game with Faith Salie
(April 1). [access description
online || MP3 direct link]
2008. "Hooked on Comics." Vanity
Fair (March). [access online]
"How Prudes, Senators Almost Killed Comic Books." Bloomberg
(March 18). [access
online] see also: The
Plain Dealer (April 15, 2008). [access online]
Smith, Scott. 2008. "Book
review: The Ten-Cent Plague." Time
Out Chicago 163 (April 10-16). [access online]
Stingl, Jim. 2008. "Comic Frenzy Wasn't Funny During 1950s." [In My Opinion column.] Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (August 10). [access online]
"'The Ten Cent Plague:
David Hajdu on Comic Book Censorship in the 1950s." 2008. The Sound of Young America
podcast (May 2). [access online]
"'The Ten-Cent Plague'
Streets Next Week: Strong Press in Run-Up to Release."
2008. ICv2 News (March 11). [access online]
Usborne, David. 2008.
"Congress and a comic caper: Popular culture and the American way have
never been comfortable bedfellows. As a new book reveals, even cartoons
were accused of corrupting the nation's youth." Independent
Wirick, Richard. 2008.
(April). [access online]
Wolff, Carlo. 2008. "The
Horror of Comic Books: Like communism, 1950s comic books scared the
U.S. government." St.
Petersburg Times (April 14). [access online]
Wolk, Douglas. 2008.
"Scare Tactics." Boston
Phoenix (March 24). [access online]
Wolk, Douglas and David
Hajdu. 2008. "A TNR Debate: 'The Ten-Cent Plague.'" The New Republic.
"Part One" (April 7) [access online].
"Part Two" (April 9) [access online].
Part Three" (April 10) [access online]
Zwicker, Jason A. 2008.
"Subversive Reading: David Hajdu recounts the controversial beginnings
of comic book history." Charleston
City Paper (April 9). [access online]
For many of these review
references, we send hearty "Thank
You!"s to Mike Rhode & the comics research bibliography; Tom
Spurgeon's Comics Reporter; The
Comics Journal's news blog, ˇJournalista!; and to
the members of the Comics Scholars Discussion List.