A Semi-Brief History of the Visual Narrative

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Humans are as diverse as they are the same, even in their opinion of such a statement. There are billions of people communicating countless ideas in a multitude of languages the world over, yet somehow common themes and ideas transect the pages of history, excluding none. Here in the digital age, the surrounding environment continues to become more and more visually-infested, nearly keeping pace with the rapid development of communications technology. "In such a world, the problem of how words and pictures connect is a vital one. And no artistic medium seems to me as properly suited to the working out of the connection as the visual narrative is. It is itself the meeting ground of words and pictures" (Dardess 222). From the political…show more content…
Much like jazz, the comic book was considered to be a rare, indigenous example of American culture, in which the melting pot produces something entirely unique. With time, overall comic book genres became more diverse, and the average comic book fan became nearly anyone and everyone. The popularity of superhero and sci-fi genres continued to grow through the 1940s and 50s, but the imminent intellectual growth of the medium was abruptly halted by someone as simple as a critic—unfortunately, a radical and very persuasive one. In 1954, psychologist Fredric Wertham published Seduction of the Innocent, a sort of documentary in which he claimed comics contributed to juvenile delinquency with ridiculous amounts of condoned sex, drug use, and violence that contaminated the young mind with the assistance of pictures. His claims led to a Congressional investigation of the comics industry in 1955, a series of Senate hearings, and the implementation of the Comics Code. "Comics really became sort of ‘trash literature.' People grew up with those ideas" (Toppo 4). This censorship code was strict enough to put many publishers out of business simply from lack of then legally appropriate material. The medium had once entertained people of all ages, but left comics creators with naught but a few loopholes into the kid-friendly superhero genre where good always triumphed over evil.
The effects of Wertham's crusade still resonate
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