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Part: 6 The Moment of Truth > Entertaining Speech - Pg. 281

Sample Speeches 281 By the end of World War II, interest in the heroes was waning. Publishers started looking for new kinds of magazines that would sell. Crime comics, Western comics, war comics, and ro- mance comics all started appearing. MLJ Publications, for example, started a back-up feature about "America's Typical Teenager": Archie! And at EC Publications--which Max Gaines had started after leaving DC and which was now being run by his son, Bill--there was the dawn of the horror comics. With such titles as Tales from the Crypt and Weird Science, Bill Gaines and his crew sent the industry scrambling in a new direction, one that eventually spawned a parental uproar and a Congressional investigation. With each new rival publisher going for more and more gory ma- terial, it was an easy task for psychologist Fredric Wertham to gain notoriety and generate sales of his book Seduction of the Innocent, which blamed all the ills of society on comic books. In an attempt to forestall Congressional action and public backlash, the larger comics publishers banded together and formed the Comics Magazine Association, with a Comics Code for appro- priate comic book material. Virtually overnight, Gaines and his schlockmeister competitors were forced to abandon comics. Gaines continued on the fringe of the business, publishing a highly successful comic-book-turned-magazine: MAD. Comics languished throughout the early- and mid-1950s until Julius Schwartz, an editor at DC, proposed bringing the superheroes back for another try. The year was 1956. He revised and revamped The Flash to an enthusiastic response, then followed with Green Lantern, Hawkman, The Atom, and the Justice League of America. Meanwhile, over at Atlas (formerly Timely) Comics, publisher Martin Goodman saw the success of his rivals and suggested to his young editor that they should start publishing superhero comics as well. The editor, a longtime writer of comics for Timely/Atlas named Stan Lee, took a shot and created the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, and the X-Men. It was not long before a new age of superheroes was upon us. The early '60s saw almost as many new char-