Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nights of Horror

In 1954 the television program Superman was in its fourth season - but the first IN COLOR! Sponsored by Kellogg's and starring George Reeves, with color came a softer touch to the storylines, not exactly campy but harmless. Villains never died anymore, and when bullets were fired, they were only fired at the Man of Steel.

Meanwhile, Superman creators, the pride of Glenville High, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, were still scraping by as hired guns of the industry. They were receiving absolutely no royalties from this popular and lucrative television program.

In 1954 the salacious crime booklet Nights of Horror emerged, a small, plain brown-wrapped affair, something you could get arrested for peddling at that point in history. The work was anonymous, but the images were familiar ...

I will come right out and say it -- that's the Last Son of Krypton getting worked over by Lois Lane while Lana Lang sits back and enjoys the party. This picture is actually one of Shuster's more tame works from this particular magazine.

Night of Horrors ran for sixteen issues. During the 1954 comic book hearings of the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, this title was singled out as a prime motivator for the Brooklyn Thrill Killers, a gang of Jewish Neo-Nazis (you heard me) who killed two men and tortured several others. When these boys, all teenagers, were asked where they got their ideas or what they read, they all said "comic books."

And there you have it.

Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-creator Joe Shuster (Craig Yoe)

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