Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children?

During the Comic Book Hearings of 1954, Senator Estes Kefauver lambasted Bill Gaines, publisher of EC Comics and Mad magazine. Kefauver was a staunch advocate of what he considered decency; the hearings were conducted by his Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. After he brandished a Gaines-published crime comic book whose cover featured the image of a woman’s severed head, the idea that comics were drivel from which children should be protected was sealed in the public's mind. Since then, Kefauver has become something of a cartoon character — an over-the-top moralizer who stumped in a raccoonskin hat — and cartoons have gained respect as an art form, ordained by the establishment and sanctified through curation. The Cartoon Art Museum not only fails to protect innocent eyes from the biff and pow of busy panels, it also invites them to pick up a crayon and join the fray at "How to Draw with Your Kid, How to Draw with Your Grownup." Cartoonist Betsy Streeter facilitates something born of a Kefauver fever-dream: parents and children cartooning together. She won’t accept excuses from adults who claim no artistic talent; the class endeavors to teach parents and progeny cartooning games they can play at home. So suck it up and try not to let your wounded pride show when your kid asks, “What’s that supposed to be?”
Sat., Oct. 25, 3 p.m., 2008

 
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