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Senator Estes Kefauver holding Exhibit #22 during the juvenile delinquency hearing, April 21, 1954

Historic Films Archive, LLC.

Senator Estes Kefauver holding Exhibit #22 during the juvenile delinquency hearing, April 21, 1954

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