“As evidence of this, I might point out that we have the highest sales in individual distribution. I don’t mean highest sales in comparison to comics of another type. I mean highest sales in comparison to other horror comics. The magazine is one of the few remaining ? the comic magazine is one of the few remaining pleasures that a person may buy for a dime today. Pleasure is what we sell, entertainment, reading enjoyment. Entertaining reading has never harmed anyone. Men of good will, free men should be very grateful for one sentence in the statement made by Federal Judge John M. Woolsey when he lifted the ban on Ulysses. Judge Woolsey said:

‘It is only with the normal person that the law is concerned.’

“May I repeat, he said, “It is only with the normal person that the law is concerned.” Our American children are for the most part normal children. They are bright children, but those who want to prohibit comic magazines seem to see dirty, sneaky, perverted monsters who use the comics as a blueprint for action.

“Perverted little monsters are few and far between. They don’t read comics. The chances are most of them are in schools for retarded children.

“What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of our own children? Do we forget that they are citizens, too, and entitled to select what to read or do? We think our children are so evil, simple minded, that it takes a story of murder to set them to murder, a story of robbery to set them to robbery?

“Jimmy Walker once remarked that he never knew a girl to be ruined by a book. Nobody has ever been ruined by a comic.”

- William Gaines, Testifying before the Senate on behalf of comic books.

I cannot believe I’ve never read this before. Wow.

- Chris


4 Comments on “William Gaines”

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  1. Jamie Coville says:

    Gaines and the rest of the transcripts including Wertham, Walt Kelly, Milton Caniff, Hon. E. D. Fulton (Canadian MP who wrote the law banning crime comics) and many others are here.

  2. LillianDP says:

    Wow, indeed! Fascinating stuff.

  3. Jim Kosmicki says:

    Gaines’ testimony is great reading. The Comics Journal ran the transcripts at one time I believe. What you need to remember though is that his presentation is what killed him and his testimony. He was taking amphetamines for weight control (common at that time) and was on a speed rush early in the morning and crashing later in the day. So while his words may be articulate, his delivery was a disaster.

  4. Bill Kartalopoulos says:

    I use Gaines’ and Wertham’s testimony in my Comics History class at Parsons. There’s a good clip of Gaines testifying in the “Comic Book Confidential” documentary.

    –BK.

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