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Code of the Comics Magazine Association of America, Inc., 1954

The subcommittee’s interim report found some correlation between comic books and juvenile delinquency. Rather than impose government censorship, it recommended that the comic book industry set its own standards of good taste. With sales falling due to negative publicity, the industry adopted a Comics Code Authority that issued seals of approval. Its rating system endured until 2011.

Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

Code of the Comics Magazine Association of America, Inc., 1954 (Front Cover) Code of the Comics Magazine Association of America, Inc., 1954 (Page 1) Code of the Comics Magazine Association of America, Inc., 1954 (Page 2) Code of the Comics Magazine Association of America, Inc., 1954 (Page 3) Code of the Comics Magazine Association of America, Inc., 1954 (Back Cover)

Comic Books and Juvenile Delinquency

Alarmed by a dramatic rise in juvenile delinquency in the 1950s, Congress explored the possible influence of crime, horror, and superhero comic books on youths’ behavior. To investigate this potential correlation, Senator Robert Hendrickson of New Jersey moved to create a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee, who succeeded Hendrickson as chairman of the committee, oversaw a series of televised hearings in New York in the spring of 1954. Following the hearings, comic book publishers voluntarily developed new standards of content control.

This country cannot afford the calculated risk involved in feeding its children, through comic books, a concentrated diet of crime, horror, and violence.

Interim Report of the Committee on the Judiciary, 1955–1956