Sunday, July 31, 2005

My hunt (and why I hunt)

For years I have been testing adults' lack of knowledge of crime comics in many ways, including interviews with people who sell comic books in big and little newsstands in cities and towns, in big drugstores and little candy stores, in general stores and ice-cream parlors. My studies include several states and I have not overlooked even the smallest villages in the country. I have found crime comic books shown in display cases side by side with—and mingled with—comic books not featuring crime, intended for the very youngest children. And in many non-crime comic books I have found alluring advertisements drawing the child's attention to crime comics. The wording of advertisements for toys in many of the worst crime comics make it apparent that the books carrying these advertisements are intended for children, and some of the most irresponsible crime comic books have approving letters from child readers.