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MAD magazine switched from being a comic book to a magazine in 1955 due to the "great comic book scare" of 1954.
The backlash began in the late 1940s when a prominent psychiatrist, Dr. Fredric Wertham, published an article whose title, “The Horror in the Nursery,” mimicked the comics he detested. By the time he released his evocatively titled 1954 best seller, “Seduction of the Innocent,” Wertham was considered the nation’s leading expert on the subject of comics and crime.
Sixty-five years later, President Trump paraphrased Wertham in explaining mass shootings. The primary cause, he insisted, lay not with guns, but with “gruesome and grisly video games” that corrupted vulnerable or mentally ill youth. These claims by the president and pro-gun organizations like the NRA attempted to deflect concern away from guns. But evidence of this was just as tenuous in 2019 as that against comics had been in the 1950s.
After restrictive laws were passed in 1954, circulation of comics plummeted. Within a few years, concerned parents attributed continued teen rebellion and delinquency to the arrival of another disruptive cultural phenomenon: Rock & Roll.