Comic book germ scare?

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suebutcher
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Comic book germ scare?

Post by suebutcher »

In the mid-Sixties my grandfather worked as a hospital orderly. Whenever we visited he would have have a pile of comics for us to read, always recent issues of a random selection of titles. When I asked him about this years later, he said comics were banned in the Childrens' Ward. Any brought in were stored, and the comics we got were the unclaimed copies. Apparently the ban was the result of a belief that comics could spread infection because children passed them around after they'd read them. It seems a daft idea, but someone I spoke to in Australia said there was a similar scare in this country in the Sixties. Anyone know more about this?
Last edited by suebutcher on 23 Feb 2013, 14:35, edited 1 time in total.

matrix
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Re: Comic book germ scare?

Post by matrix »

Are you sure they were'nt reading too much of 'Georgies germs' in 'Smash!' comic, or maybe too much of Nobby's Nightmares in Pow!?!!

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suebutcher
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Re: Comic book germ scare?

Post by suebutcher »

Perhaps! But I'm sure I read a strip from America about the germ scare, something about Boy Scouts going door-to-door collecting old comics to be burned because they were a health risk. If it's true, it might have started as a convenient excuse to destroy copies of the crime and horror comics still in circulation.

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ISPYSHHHGUY
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Re: Comic book germ scare?

Post by ISPYSHHHGUY »

It's the sort of thing I expect to hear in these over-sterile times, but I had no idea this phenomenon was of some concern way back in the 60s.

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philcom55
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Re: Comic book germ scare?

Post by philcom55 »

The funny thing is that during the same period nearly all doctors' waiting rooms tended to have a big table in the centre covered with comics, women's magazines and copies of Punch dating back to the Defenestration of Prague!

- Phil R.

Lew Stringer
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Re: Comic book germ scare?

Post by Lew Stringer »

I've heard the same thing regarding newspapers but not specifically comics. It sounds like a way to discourage the spread of information and ideas amongst the working classes, more than anything else. However if someone with 'flu had been sneezing over their comic and shared the comic around within 48 hours (or however long germs live for) it might have some merit.

felneymike
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Re: Comic book germ scare?

Post by felneymike »

Apparently more recent research has shown that actually things like colds can be spread from surfaces (rather than breathed-in sneeze vapour) more easily than was previously thought, so there is some merit in it.
Of course, today kids wouldn't share their comics around the ward (if they read them at all, that is), so the problem is no longer there!

I do know that when phone boxes first appeared, there was a worry that people would "contract germs from the mouthpiece".

Of course, if you go around worrying about "germs" all the time, you'll end up as some paranoid clean-freak and may actually shorten your lifespan. They didn't have hand sanitiser in the stone age / during the great plagues / the trenches! If you aren't very seriously ill / HIV positive / on powerful anti rejection drugs, "a bit of the sniffles" is actually good for you.

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