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Welcome to the two-hundred and twenty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and twenty-four.
Comic Book Legends Revealed is now part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. I’d especially recommend you check out Pulp Fiction Legends Revealed #1 for an interesting bit involving future DC Comics editor Mort Weisinger.
COMIC LEGEND: The first issue of EC Comics’ Panic was banned in the state of Massachusetts for making fun of Santa Claus.
STATUS: True Enough for a True
In 1952, EC Comics debuted a parody comic book called Mad…
It became quite popular.
So much so that at the end of 1953, EC launched a slightly more risque spin-off called Panic (think of Mad as PG and Panic as sort of an R, or at least a PG-13)…
This issue lived up to its title, as it caused quite a panic in the state of Massachusetts, over the last story in the comic, drawn by the great Will Elder, who adapted Clement Clarke Moore’s classic (in public domain) poem, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” as only someone like Elder could.
Here are a few pages…
Responding to a number of complaints received over the issue, Massachusetts Attorney General George Fingold announced that Panic #1 was to be banned in the state of Massachusetts because it “desecrated Christmas.”
Now here’s where the “True Enough” part comes in.
As you might imagine, the Attorney General doesn’t actually have the power to just announce the banning of random periodicals because they “desecrated Christmas,” and Fingold acknowledged as much, instead saying that what he was asking was for retailers to VOLUNTARILY “ban” the issue, and in great numbers that’s exactly what retailers in Massachusetts did.
I guess you don’t mess with Santa Claus in Massachusetts.
And as you might imagine, none of this publicity helped EC much when the The Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency held their hearings a few months later in the Spring of 1954.
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