Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Comic Books And Pulps Quotation Of The Day

From Edward Tenner's "Pulps: The Depression's Flowers Of Evil" in The Atlantic

"Economic crises are often breakthrough times for the graphic arts. Daguerreotypes were economical substitutes for portraits during the Panic of 1837, halftone-illustrated magazines came into their own in the Panic of 1893, and the Great Depression began the golden age of LIFE and other photo magazines.

There was also an underside of the 1930s, a netherworld from which Superman and other action heroes emerged only late in the decade. The pulp magazines weren't comic books, but illustrated action tales aimed at a male, white, working-class market that crossed over into the middle class. The genre dates from the 1880s, but the lurid covers reached their heights and depths in the Depression, wallowed in every kind of evil and shamelessly exploited gender, racial, and ethnic bias. . . .

I prefer to see the 1930s pulp covers as products of human adaptability and resilience. Pulp art and comic books were among the growth industries of the Depression era, when there seemed nothing to lose in letting the imagination run wild.

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