Selling Mitzi

MM 122648 Slick Promo 72 cc

As the calendar flipped to 1949, “Mitzi McCoy” began to appear in more and more newspapers. The NEA would use nice, clean reproductions of the comics on glossy paper to try and sway comics editors’ opinions of the appeal of the strip. By February, 35 newspapers across the United States and Canada were running the comic.

However, conservative attitudes held more sway in some cities than others. In one such case, the Sunday Editor at the Boston Post, John H. Griffin, informed the NEA that Mitzi showed more of her female charms than the Post was comfortable  printing.

This was the era when Dr. Fredric Wertham began pushing his ideas on the alleged negative effects of comic books on children. A 1948 interview with Wertham in Collier’s magazine was titled “Horror in the Nursery.”  The reaction to Dr. Wertham’s views was swift. By spring, a story in Time magazine quoted Detroit Police Commissioner Harry S. Toy, who declared all the comic books available in his community were “loaded with communist teachings, sex, and racial discrimination.” Mass burning of comic books began across the country.

Appealing to Collins, his boss, NEA features director Ernest Lynn, emphasized the importance of signing the Post: “keep her as attractive as possible, and snappily dressed, and don’t try to conceal the fact that she is a woman. Just let good taste be our guide always, and when there is a question of doubt, lean over backwards on the side of the Watch and Ward Society.” However, Wertham’s beliefs seem to have prevailed, as “Mitzi McCoy” never ran in the Post’s pages. 

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