The History of Comic Books: The Golden Age Part VI: Judgment Day

“Judgment Day” was the comic that effectively ended EC’s days as anthology comics company. In this last story, an astronaut from Earth arrives on a planet populated by orange robots and blue robots. An orange robot guides him, showing him how prosperous the orange robots are, all the while oppressing and enslaving the blue robots. The astronaut sees this and decides that Earth will not colonize the planet. At the end, we see that the astronaut is black.


The Comics Code refused to grant permission to publish the story, but Gaines did it anyway. Then he fought back by starting a humor magazine called “Tales Calculated to Drive You Mad” .

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The first issue of Mad Magazine. Cover art by Harvey Kurtzman

Because Gaines published it as a magazine rather than a comic book, he was able to bypass the code. Eventually, the title was shortened to “Mad”, famous for its mascot, the gap-toothed and freckle-faced Alfred E. Neuman.
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I was a huge fan of Mad growing up. I loved artists like Antonio Prohias (a Cuban artist who rebelled against his communist government by parodying the Cold War with “Spy vs. Spy”), Mort Drucker, Al Jaffee, Sergio Aragones, and many more. Today, Mad is infamous for its satire, and is now published digitally.

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Spy vs Spy, created by Antonio Prohias, parodied the violence of the Cold War with slapstick humor.
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One of Don Martin’s comic strips. Many Mad artists were well-known for their crude humor
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Al Jaffee was one Mad’s longest-employed artists, only recently retiring
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Mort Drucker often parodied movies and TV shows for Mad Magazine. This is a scene from his satire of “The Godfather” .

And thus, we bid farewell to the Golden Age. Next week, I start my look at the Silver Age with “Passing the Torch”.

 

Author: rocklobsterjwt

I am a Christian and an anime fan. My blog will cover anime reviews and maybe an occasional story

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