Date Submitted:
05/11/2011 12:24 AM
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1980/ 8
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Comic Censorship

“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning, but without understanding.”
– Louis Brandeis

Murder, monsters, violence, gore, and ghouls are subjects that have been covered in folklore and traditional storytelling since time immemorial.   And for as long, there have been ways of chronicling those themes and passing them on – in every medium – from hide paintings of Masai hunting myths, to Aztec glyphs of vengeful, bloodthirsty dragon-birds carved into pyramid temples, to the epic poetry of the monster tale “Beowulf,” and the meticulous depiction of murders, sacrifices and smitings found throughout Egyptian hieroglyphics.   Orson Welles used the radio as his medium to convey terror, shock and well, awe.   And now, one can find grisly subjects as easily as tuning into a specialty cable station, or browsing a specifically labeled section in the neighborhood video store.   The simple fact is: as long as there exists a way to convey the shocking or macabre, there are those who will be there to see it.
And as long as there have been those who will express these themes, there are those who will deem them unseemly, immoral and ultimately strive to ban the expression of these themes entirely. Censorship was considered a legitimate instrument for regulating the moral and political life of the population; even the origin of the term censor in English can be traced to the office of censor established in Rome in 443 BC. Socrates, the most famous case of censorship in ancient times, was sentenced to drink poison in 399 BC for his corruption of youth and his acknowledgement of alternative deities.
It is this inclination to protect the youth from corruption and the siren cry of the counter culture (whatever it may be at that time) that links the censorship of both comics and film.   As the sphere of influence of each grew, so to did the number of their critics.   Both art forms were subject to a stringent codified set of…

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