David Hajdu on ‘The Ten-Cent Plague’
Over at Newsarama, frequent ComicMix comment-thread presence Vinnie Bartilucci interviews David Hajdu, author of The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America.
Previously known for his books on various musical subject matter, Hajdu’s Ten-Cent Plague examines the anti-comics movement in the ’50s that threatened to destroy the industry. In the interview, Hajdu discusses the interviews that provided much of the book’s source material, and why he chose many of his interview subjects.
… I never see the need to take up my time, and the reader’s time, to tell a story that’s already been told before. Yes the story of the controversy over comics has been told before, but on a certain scale. But there’s a great deal more to that story that has hasn’t been told. Especially the story of those people who suffered most from that purge…because they disappeared. And because they disappeared, because they haven’t done the comic-book conventions, they haven’t stayed in the scene; their stories were largely lost to time. The story of the purge is a tragedy, but what brings the tragedy to life is an understanding of how some people suffered by having their livelihoods taken from them, and being denied the ability to do something they were proud of and they treasured and they thought was important. Some of these people felt so wounded, they felt such a miscarriage of justice had happened, they felt so wronged, that they left comics and never looked back. They were bitter about their comics experience and they never looked back. Somebody like Mort Leav, he was living in New Jersey in a retirement home. Still vital, but had devoted his career to advertising, and just didn’t want to think about comic books any more, because he had felt so wronged. So it was important for me to find those people who hadn’t talked before.
It’s an excellent interview that provides quite a bit of insight into both the development of the book and its author’s relationship with comics.