Popular culture and moral panic: From comics to video nasties

Roy Shuker
Vol 5, Number 2, p.47
From the 1930’s onward, increasing concern was expressed at the negative influence of some types of comic available in New Zealand. In the mid-1980’s, a similar debate emerged over video censorship, with concern focusing on “video nasties”. This paper examines the comics and video debates in an attempt to show a convergence of the two episodes. My main argument is twofold: firstly, each episode constitutes a moral panic, in that the generally professed reasons for concern over both comics and video are either contestable or unsubstantiated; secondly, these surface issues have concealed more significant issues.