The Gorbals Vampire

22nd March 2010 | by | No Comments

America had Fredric Wertham, Britain had, er, The Gorbals Vampire. A strangely familiar tale of moral outrage and comicbook censorship from 1954, as related on the BBC website:

…their voices were drowned out in the media and political frenzy that was by now demanding action to be taken to prevent even more young minds from being “polluted” by the “terrifying and corrupt” comic books.

The government responded to the clamour by introducing the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1955 which, for the first time, specifically banned the sale of magazines and comics portraying “incidents of a repulsive or horrible nature” to minors.

According to the article, there’s a documentary about this topic airing on Radio 4, March 30th at 2300 GMT. The article doesn’t mention Wertham, but I’d be surprised, given the era, if the documentary didn’t draw the parallels. Indeed, despite being wholly familiar with Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent and the formation of the comics code, I was completely unaware that Britain had its own analogue during the same era, so I know I’ll be listening with interest.