And I Quote: Leslie Charteris Defends Comics

Monday, March 14, 2011

From time to time, I'm going to dig through my files in order to see to it that quotations that appeal to me are not absent from the Internet. Others may have already posted such things; in that case, this will simply add my endorsement of those quotations' appeal. So here's the first, courtesy of Leslie Charteris (May 12, 1907-April 15, 1993), creator of The Saint, who provided this in The Saint Mystery Magazine for December 1961:

"To any busybody who is looking for a suit of tinplate crusader's armor to strut in, crime fiction seems to offer an irresistible target. Whether he takes his valiant whack at it in the form of comic strips, television, books, or magazines, he has the comforting assurance that he runs little risk of being hit back. These are entertainment media which cannot interrupt their performance to argue with hecklers. I have read with indignation an article in which the comics were called 'blueprints for delinquency'; but even if I wanted to devote a panel in my own comic strip to give my opinion of the author of that statement, no newspaper editor would print it. He would take the attitude that it is not my place to argue, and anyhow we are on shaky enough ground already, and must be careful not to offend any more pressure groups than are gunning for us right now, lest we end up behind a full official censorship.

"It is therefore a rare privilege to have this page of my own on which to be able to state my own dogma, which is that all these charges are nothing but abysmal tripe. … When I was a boy, the accepted classics and common fare for youthful reading were much gorier and exquisitely nightmare-breeding than anything I find around these days. And in those days there was no problem of juvenile delinquency."


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