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Duration 53:31

Kapow! Fifties Britain versus the comics menace

In the mid 1950s Britain woke up to the threat of an invasion: “American style” comics were accused of ruining the reading habits of vulnerable children across the country and even inciting racism and violence. Could Captain Marvel cause crime? See the comics condemned as harmful and find out what action the government took to stamp out the comics menace.

Further Information

In 1955 the UK government passed the Child and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act (cap 28) to make it an offence to allow certain kinds of comics (with crime or horror elements) to fall into the hands of children.

This legislation was the result of public pressure over a number of years and, as a result, The National Archives holds a number of files on comics and attempted prosecutions against them which were transferred from various departments. The collection also includes a small selection of comics, intended to be representative of these “horror comics” given to Prime Minister Winston Churchill for examination.

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