Comicbook Hearing
More photos from the recently uploaded LIFE magazine photo archives: Yale Joel’s series from “The Comic Book Hearings.”
Oh yeah, search “comic book,” and you also get this one, from 1958:

Girl Reading
Whenever you see old (pre-Silver Age) photos of comics readers, half of them are girls. Crazy, eh? What were they putting in the water?


  1. If one enlarges the original photos, can one tell what each comic is?

    And while we know that good little girls do not read those horrible, horrible comic books, at least she has the modesty to ride side saddle.

    Nothing was “in the water”, Ms. Beat. Just ink on paper, telling a visual story before phosphor dots hypnotized the masses. Although… that picture was taken in 1958, in Anchorage, Alaska, so the locale could explain the young girl’s behavior.

  2. “Although… that picture was taken in 1958, in Anchorage, Alaska, so the locale could explain the young girl’s behavior.”

    YES!! The hometown represents!! If I’m placing that church steeple in the background correctly, I think this shot was taken near the downtown park strip.

    Torsten, I promise that there is a good proportion of reasonable folks living in the 49th state. We’re not all oddball secessionists. ;) (And John, does her *interest* in the comic look staged to you? Sheesh.)

  3. John, sure but the image of young young girl reading a comic book in these old photos is one of homespun homeland goodness and apple pie, and not a weird deviancy of gender confusion. In other words, it was a symbol of order, not chaos.

  4. At the start of Tashlin’s ARTISTS AND MODELS the film shows what looks (to me) like archival footage of girls and boys reading comics together. That was 1955. (Admittedly the film is putting a funny spin on the anti-comics paranoia of the time, however.)

  5. When the Superman radio show read off the names of listeners featured in contests, half or more tended to be female.

    Also, it’s easy to tell the intended demographics of early comics by their ads. A surprising number are clearly targeted at women in their twenties, late teens, and older. Oddly, I’ve not yet come across a comic that appears to be targeted toward males in similar age groups. From the ads, I’ve developed an impression of the demographics of the American comic-reading public pre-Wertham that, perhaps surprisingly, neatly mirrors the makeup of the Japanese comic-reading population today.

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