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Of Comics and MenA Cultural History of American Comic Books$
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Jean-Paul Gabilliet

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781604732672

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781604732672.001.0001

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Ever More—The Apogee and the Fall (1945–1954)

Ever More—The Apogee and the Fall (1945–1954)

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter 4 Ever More—The Apogee and the Fall (1945–1954)
Source:
Of Comics and Men
Author(s):

Jean-Paul Gabilliet

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781604732672.003.0004

The comic book industry reached its commercial apogee over the course of the seven years that followed the end of World War II. Although the number of releases and combined print runs was never equaled afterward, the enormous demand for comic books—courtesy of young consumers—gave rise to an economic boom and increased visibility in the media. As a result, comic magazines were stigmatized as one of the main causes of the ills of America’s youth. More specifically, juvenile delinquency was blamed on comic magazines for their allegedly crime-inducing nature. The industry suffered a long economic decline in 1953, regaining stability only in the early 1960s. This chapter examines the rise and fall of the comic book industry in America in the period 1945–1954. It first looks at the industry’s commercial golden age and the publishing of comic books geared toward women readers, including romance comics. It then discusses the decline of superhero comics and how publishers tried to fill the void left by superheroes by offering western comics and crime comics. It also looks at the legacy of William Gaines, publisher of Educational Comics.

Keywords:   comic book industry, comic books, publishing, women readers, romance comics, superhero comics, western comics, crime comics, William Gaines, Educational Comics

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