Noir Comics

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Presentation on crime, noir, and detective comics
NYU Global Noir
Spring 2009

Published in: Entertainment & Humor
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  • I really liked this presentation. I was looking for film noir but this would really interest young people as another way of approaching the topic.
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Noir Comics

  1. 1. ‘ Dark’ Comics Born out of Crime Comics genre
  2. 2. Frank Miller Sin City (1991)
  3. 3. Early 1900s set the stage for comic books “ Hogan’s Alley” a.k.a. The Yellow Kid
  4. 4. Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy (1931) Competition: Secret Agent X-9 by Dashiell Hammett
  5. 5. Originally named National Allied Publications (1934) but changed to DC in 1936. After WWII starts in 1939, heroes dominate.
  6. 6. Crime and detective comics pop up in newspaper supplements. Will Eisner’s The Spirit (1940)
  7. 7. Charles Biro’s Crime Does Not Pay (1942) marks the beginning of the genre
  8. 8. 1940s <ul><li>1944 –Bill Gaines creates EC comics </li></ul><ul><li>1945 – Comic book burnings </li></ul><ul><li>1948 – 80 – 100 million purchased monthly, </li></ul><ul><li>making $72 million yearly . </li></ul><ul><li>Association of Comic Magazine Publishers (ACMP) creates 1 st self- Imposed Comics Code: </li></ul><ul><li> “ suggested” rules. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Only 14/35 publishers participate in the ACMP. Market is not greatly affected in ’48. Mass media, Catholic schools and women’s magazines/clubs continue to vilify comics. Targeted by local bans and boycotts. Burnings continue through ’49.
  10. 10. 1950s <ul><li>Early 1950s – J. McCarthy. </li></ul><ul><li>1953 - Subcommittee hearings on juvenile delinquency. Witnesses include Bill Gaines and Frederic Wertham. </li></ul><ul><li>1954 – ACMP becomes Comic Magazine Association of America (CMAA). Comics Code Authority forms. </li></ul><ul><li>CCA screens with stricter code. </li></ul><ul><li>1955 – Inspires actual legislation, including in NY. </li></ul><ul><li>1957 – Stan Lee closes Atlas/Timely/Marvel Comics. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Comics Code <ul><li>No disrespect for established authority. Includes police, judges, government officials. </li></ul><ul><li>No details of a crime. </li></ul><ul><li>No use of the word “horror” or “terror.” </li></ul><ul><li>No lurid or gory pictures. </li></ul><ul><li>No slang, obscenities, or vulgar words & symbols. </li></ul><ul><li>No zombies, ghouls, cannibals, torture, vampirism, or werewolfism. </li></ul><ul><li>No racy or sexy scenes. </li></ul><ul><li>No exaggerated female bodies. </li></ul><ul><li>Respectful behavior only. </li></ul><ul><li>Respect of the sanctity of marriage. </li></ul>
  12. 12. ’ 70s – ’80s <ul><li>Comics Specialty Stores enables Direct Market Sales. </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated fan-bases. </li></ul><ul><li>Publishers big and small gain audiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Super hero comics dominate. </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Frank Miller, Daredevil , ’79 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Max Allan Collins & Terry Beaty, Ms. Tree , ’81 </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Miller, The Dark Knight , ‘86 </li></ul></ul></ul>

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