From the archive: as popular as dances of death

13th August 2010 at 01:00

The TES, April 23, 1949

What is the case against the 'comics'? That most of them are badly written and badly drawn, though the same can be said about many serious juvenile publications.

But the main charge is the comic paper's preoccupation with violence in all its forms.

Another serious charge is that the 'comics' are really meant for illiterates - the text on the whole confines itself to exclamations representing various sounds.

All this might not be worth serious concern were it not for the tremendous popularity, comparable with that of the wood-cut dances of death in the Middle Ages, which the 'comics' have achieved. This popularity shows that this technique is good. The problem is how to use this new mass medium in a constructive way. Here educators, psychologists, writers and artists can play a considerable part.

The 'comic' can and must be transformed and used for constructive purposes, just as atomic energy must be directed into channels leading to prosperity and peace, not to terror and destruction.

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