In direct response to all these events of 1948 the industry executed a brilliant and successful maneuver. Leaving their psychiatric and child experts with their explanations and justifications, they struck out on their own. The experts had said that what the children need is aggression, not affection—crime, not love. But suddenly the industry converted from blood to kisses. They tooled up the industry for a kind of comic book that hardly existed before, the love-confession type. They began to turn them out quickly and plentifully before their own experts had time to retool for the new production line and write scientific papers proving that what children really needed and wanted—what their psychological development really called for—was after all not murder, but love! In this new genre, shooting a girl in the stomach was out, though previously it had been so necessary.
There had of course been teen-age comics before. But they were mostly not about love or kissing, but in large part about humiliations, a disguised kind of psychological sadism. The confession type, on the other hand, implies a love relationship. There are misunderstandings, jealousies and triangle troubles. The girl is either too shy or too sociable, the boy friend is either the wrong one altogether or he says the wrong things. In many of them, in complete contrast to the previous teen-age group, sexual relations are assumed to have taken place in the background. Just as the crime-comics formula requires a violent ending, so the love-comics formula demands that the story end with reconciliation.