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Comics Are Awesome: Exhibit Z

Psychoanalysis 1

Coming soon: Proctology! An entirely novel and unique kind of reading experience! With butts!


That man is not a Psychiatrist. He doesn’t have a pipe.

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“New Direction” in magazines… Man, I love scare quotes. That psychoanalyst should have a sign in his window saying he’s the “best” psych man in town.

The Proctology book is tailor-made for Green Lanterns.

If that cover were drawn today, you would see her butt too…

You’re on a roll, man. How the hell did you find that?

Wow…comics have come a long way.


That scene is about to get EROTIC.

I know it’s hard to believe, but this series lasted four magnificently sex-charged and gloriously banal issues.

Even harder for people to believe, it was the first EC book to be adapted for television. By Steve Allen, no less. I can’t find a link to it on-line, but in the EC Archive of this book they have stills and information about how it was a segment on Allen’s 50’s TV show. I honestly don’t remember if it was the Tonight show or his other show that ran concurrently on Sunday nights.

Psychoanalysis. What is it?

My psychoanalyst was okay, but not as good as my analrapist.

Psychoanalysis is clinical mythology. As such, it is not too ill-suited for comic books. J.M. DeMatteis could try his hand at such a theme one of these days.

Mark Stone was the new character find of 1952! That guy rocks.

“Um Doc? Doc? My EYES aren’t there!”

Hmmm has there been any comic series that dealt with a psychological analysis of superheroes? I know Peter David did an awesome issue of X-Factor dealing with analyzing each of the team members back in his first run with the team.

It would be fascinating…and probably wouldn’t sell a lick….

I don’t imagine there’s anyone out there who could possibly be unaware that this (and the other “New Direction” EC books) were Gaines’s last desperate attempt at keeping EC alive after the other comics publishers (whose imitations of EC’s horror line were often cruder & of less redeeming value) screwed him over, hung him up as a scapegoat & had the Code Authority give him a harder time than anyone else in approving books, right?
And that after these failed, all that was left was Mad, and luckily the gamble to convert to a magazine paid off… Right?
Not that the cover doesn’t look like an odd (and easily lazily mocked) concept for a comic, but I’m surprised that anyone doesn’t know the (slightly sad) story behind its existence.

Polite Dissent took a look at Psychoanalysis and its sister EC swan song series M.D. a few years ago.
Psychoanalysis 1, 2, 3, 4
M.D. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
And here’s a brief piece from TCJ considering what influence Dr. Wertham may have had on EC’s new direction.

Damn ‘Comment awaiting moderation’ doohickey. Seconding Jack Norris… rotten philistine kids, not knowin’ about anything that didn’t feature a protagonist in his jammies, or that wasn’t published on shiny-ass paper all loitering on my lawn and suchlike…

Not that the cover doesn’t look like an odd (and easily lazily mocked) concept for a comic, but I’m surprised that anyone doesn’t know the (slightly sad) story behind its existence.

I thought the lack of severed heads explained that, but thanks. There’s no Code seal on this issue, but I’d more or less figured this was a last-ditch attempt for EC to get comics out that wouldn’t get them burned at the stake by Wertham and company.

And thanks for the links, Layne! Sorry ’bout the moderation, the blog automatically picks up comments with too many links and kicks ‘em to the spam folder.

I figure EC published this series as a public service for all the readers who’d already read Tales Calculated To Drive You MAD.

Jack Norris doesn’t think there is anyone who doesn’t know the sad story behind this? I’ve never heard of this book in my life. I know I’m not nearly as knowledgeable as most of the people here, but I thought I had a respectable degree of comic-book knowledge.

Mary Warner,

Apparently Jack Norris thinks there shouldn’t be any joy in the world. God forbid people in retrospect find entertainment out of a comic book cover. You should feel bad that you didn’t know the real life story behind this cover. Shame on you, and everyone like you. If you read comics, you are required to know the entire history of comics. Just like with TV and movies. Nobody watches either of those that isn’t extremely well versed in the history of the entire medium.

I won’t play the “only true fans know this” card. However…
The Comics Code Authority is the biggest historical event in American comics of the 20th Century. Mad Magazine, and its influence on Underground cartoonists, National Lampoon, Saturday Night Live, and American comedy is the second most important historical event of comics. Max Gaines and the creation of comic books is probably third. The history of EC Comics before Mad Magazine is not that long, but produced some of the greatest comics by some of the greatest artists and writers of that period. The New Direction was the swan song of EC Comics.

So, yeah, if you love comics and want to understand the history behind the medium, you should know this, and why a motorboat plays such an important role in American comics.

Hey… has anyone done a TOP 100 list of historical events in comics?

I don’t think Jack Norris hates joy or is putting down anyone who isn’t familiar with the backstory of Psychoanalysis and EC’s New Direction (As for me, I absolutely do hate joy and putting people down, but that’s because I’m a lone wolf loose canon who plays by his own rules). Rather, he seemed a little surprised that a lot of commenters were treating a book which was an important part of the industry’s history like it was that copy of The Rifleman where the silhouette of the cover image looks like a young boy is carrying Chuck Connors’ massive dong. There is no ‘To enjoy comics, you must score 80% or higher on this test, please show your work’ requirement at work here; if someone gets a chuckle out of Psychoanalysis, that’s totally cool. But there is an interesting and important story behind teh LOLs.

Actually, centering a comic book (or collection of short stories or TV series) around a psychoanalist and their various patients sounds awesome, as long as you depict very unusual stories for each patient. Someone really should do a Doc Samson series with this idea.

Layne has it exactly right; this was more aimed at the “official” blog posters, who while I wouldn’t exactly accuse of “setting themselves up as experts” certainly get presented to readers as people in the know.

It certainly wasn’t aimed at Mary, considering that 90 percent of her comments seem to consist of “I’ve never heard of this,” but there were a few commenters who have shown a fair bit of comics knowledge in the past on this site, and I was a bit taken aback that such a basic elementary comics-history-101 (which, I’m sorry, it just is) was new to them.
Similarly, if I was in the middle of a big Coco-vs.-Leno argument, I’d be taken aback and a little exasperated if someone said “who’s Johnny Carson?”

Tales of the Boojum

February 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm

“The Death Trap of Dr. Nefario” by Benjamin Rosenbaum is an excellent short story about the psychological analysis of a superhero. It played on Escape Pod in 2005. Great fun.

Someone mentioned an EC archive – has this actually been collected?!? Also anyone remember the Dr. Id one shot from a couple of years back???

It’s been reprinted in single issues, which shouldn’t be incredibly expensive. (Warning: They’re fairly dry and not especially good.)

I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering issues with your blog. It seems like some of the text in your posts are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too? This may be a issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before. Thanks

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