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托福听力短文 II-03-3

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(MA) Now let's focus on comics in the 1950's. Early in the decade sales were down, so publishers started looking for some new angle to get their readers interested again. They found what they were looking for with horror comics --- stories about ghosts and demons that were often graphically violent.

Before long, most of the major publishers were printing horror comics --- but it all came to an end a few years later. You see, there was a psychologist named Frederic [FRED-rick] Wertham who claimed that comic books --- the horror books in particular --- were a bad influence on children and turned them into juvenile delinquents. Wertham even wrote a book called Seduction of the Innocent that showed specific scenes from comics that he thought were a particularly bad influence on kids.

Wertham wasn't the only one down on comics. The United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency also released a report very critical of comics. The result of all this fuss was the creation of the Comics Code Authority in 1995. This is a self-censoring body created by the publishers. Essentially, for a comic book to be approved by the code, it had to be free of the blood and gore that was usually depicted in most horror comics, and evil could never triumph over good. Children had to be shown that crime did not pay.

Well, if comic sales were bad in 1950, things got even worse in 1955. Many small publishers actually went out of business. But the industry rebounded by introducing a new lineup of superheroes, characters like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. Now, I've brought with me today some comic books from this era to pass around. They're from my own personal collection, so please be extra careful when handling them.

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