Sex

Briefly Noted: Super Porn

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Do-gooder psychiatrist Fredric Wertham famously declared that the comics of the 1940s and '50s were rife with sadistic and perverted sexual themes. Craig Yoe's book Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-Creator Joe Shuster (Abrams) shines a strange new light on that theme.

In 1954 Shuster, down on his luck after making a bad deal selling ownership of Superman to DC Comics, illustrated a series of cheap and lurid sex and bondage pamphlets called Nights of Horror. Those pamphlets were later implicated in a series of notorious youth-gang murders and then banned and destroyed by New York authorities—an act upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1957.

This book reproduces the drawings and contextualizes them. Some of the characters are dead ringers for Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor. But as Stan Lee writes in his introduction, while Superman was "positive and morally uplifting," these stories "cater to the basest of man's character." They are a fascinating display of comics history nonetheless.

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  1. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke

  2. Some of us would appreciate more pictures with a pornography article.

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