Chicago Spanking Review

Nights of Horror #9 - Eternal Bondage 2

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joe shuster nights of horror #9 cover

The cover of Nights of Horror #9 (1954) (click to double-size).

There were two spankings in the story "Eternal Bondage" from Nights of Horror #9, the first of which we called "Spanked Before Bed" and posted in 2011 without knowing the source, although we were "reminded" of Joe Shuster's style. We're going to see the second spanking from "Eternal Bondage" in a moment, but first we wanted to continue the sorry tale of New York City testing out its new censorship law on Nights of Horror.

The cover of issue #9 doesn't look all that corrupting to us, but nontheless on 09/10/1954 NYC sought an injunction banning the sale of Nights of Horror, an extraordinary step since while the courts had held the states might punish the publication of obscene materials, prior restraint of publication before a court had actually determined the material was in fact obscene was always frowned upon. The police raided Kingsley Books, one of the five or so known outlets that sold Nights of Horror, seized all copies, and arrested the printer Eugene Maletta, who had been ratted out by one of his relatives, in his basement print shop. NYC referred to Shuster's illustrations (of course they had no idea who had drawn them) as "serv[ing] to arouse the few abnormal sexual emotions ... in such a way as to cause unnatural desire...culminating in unnatural and vicious acts." (See Craig Yoe's Secret Identity, p.29). In other words, the old "monkey see, monkey do" school of behavioral analysis had concluded, not for the last time, that crimes were caused by something other than the criminal's conscious desire to commit them.

To us reviewing these events nearly sixty years later, they leave us with a depressing sense of familiarity. Rock music lyrics, violent video games, etc. have since been blamed every time some young offender commits a shocking criminal act, and "for the sake of the children" politicians move in, ready to censor what all of us, including adults, can read, see, or hear. There is a complete denial among these politicians of the criminal's personal responsibility, an unwillingness to look more deeply into the conditions that encourage crime (including examining the politicians' own past policies which have done so much to ravage our inner cities), and a rather alarming disregard of Americans' basic freedoms.

We hesitate to mention it, but gun control advocates (and the better ones, at that) fit this pattern also, blaming inanimate objects for the actions of the criminal or the lunatic and avoiding the much tougher questions of controlling inner-city gangs and addressing mental health issues, and blatantly disregarding the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms with which to defend himself.

Anyway, New York City won its case. The judge ruled that in Nights of Horror "there is no dissemination of lawful ideas" [emphasis added], apparently not considering how frightening it is when the government has the power to determine which ideas are lawful and which are not. He went on, "I would not want...this court to become a censor".  We cannot resist pointing out that the would-be censors among us (and there are many) always preface their calls for censorship with a statement like "I'm not a censor" or "I wouldn't want to become a censor" and with a "but" following not long after as they explain why they think they're justified in becoming exactly that. Sure enough, the judge continued, "But...while this court has sufficient confidence in the people of this state to feel that Nights of Horror can never survive, the immediate and long-range public interests were thought by the Legislature to require that the death blow be hastened."   In other words, "I hope that people wouldn't buy this book, but just in case they might, I'm going to forcibly suppress it."

Kingsley Books appealed the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and next time we'll see how the Justices ruled. Meanwhile, let's look at the spanking.

Shuster depicts the spankee in bondage, as befits the title "Eternal Bondage", and we've certainly got no problem with that. But he uses a variation of the lying on a bed position, which we've never cared for, and our least-favorite implement, the whip. It's a pity since Shuster did the OTK position very well, but apparently the writer Clancy (here using the psuedonym "Ron Winton") was big on whips. Overall not a bad scene but not a great one, either.

joe shuster woman on bed being spanked by man with whip in nights of horror #9

From Nights of Horror #9 (1954). Taken from Secret Identity and posted by the Web-Ed on 04/05/2013 (click to double-size).

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