The Ten-Cent Plague - David Hajdu

The period between late 40's and early 60's are considered as being in between the end of the Golden Age and the beginning of the Silver Age of American comics. Although some of the key events of the period have been mentioned elsewhere, notably in the relevant chapters of the Comic Book Nation, they have never been subjected to a detailed historical analysis.
David Hajdu's The Ten-Cent Plague (2008) aims to close this gap by focusing on this amazing period.
Hajdu starts his narrative with the boom of comics in the American popular culture scene in the 20's. From this point on, he presents an extremely detailed and rich history of the proliferation of the comics industry both with facts and profiles on important characters. From an early point on the immense care Hajdu has shown over his historical research shows itself in the density and colorfulness of his narrative is really worth the praise.

While tracing the history of the industry over the years, Hajdu also follows the social and economic developments and aims to present the psyche of the general audience of comics.
As the time moves on and the main subject of the book becomes more apparent, the public reaction against the comic books, Hajdu's historical narration reads as exciting as a novel while presenting various sources from his research for validity.
Both during and after the events that lead to the establishment of the Comics Code, a very detailed analysis of the broader social effects are presented while the toll these drastic measures took on the comic book industry reads like a true lament. (Hajdu thoughtfully provides a list at the end of the names of artists who lost their jobs and never returned to comics after the purge of 50's.)

While the Ten-Cent Plague is an indispensable book for understanding the history and evolution of comics in America, it is also a very important example of great comics scholarship, crafted with both love towards the medium and historical objectivity.
In addition, Hajdu's presentation of the greatest public upheaval against a popular culture outlet carries great importance as a demonstration of how wrongly-channeled ignorance of the masses can aggravate into devastating results and it should stand as a warning sign for all discussions in the future concerning popular culture.