“…theoretical considerations require that what is to-day the object of a phobia must at one time in the past have been the source of a high degree of pleasure”*…
In 1955, in the wake of the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency investigation into the corrupting influence of comic books (and the now largely-discredited but then damning testimony of Frederic Wertham), E.C. Comics, which had been singled out as an offender, inaugurated an “educational” series, “New Direction,” with the series Psychoanalysis. Each issue, drawn by Jack Kamen (whose earlier work had included Tales from the Crypt), narrated the clinical experiences of three patients in analysis…
The series– realistically recounting the sessions of patients, each cured by their therapists– bewildered retailers and readers alike. It was cancelled after four issues. Within 5 years EC publisher William Gaines had shifted his attention completely to what was, in 1955, a nascent side project for Harvey Kurtzman: Mad.
Read more about Psychoanalysis— see more covers, find precis of the storylines– at “Curious ‘Psychoanalysis’ comics from the 1950s.”
* Sigmund Freud, The Sexual Enlightenment of Children
As we’re gently informed that our time is up, we might recall that it was on this date in 1936 that neuropsychiatrist Walter Freeman and his friend and colleague, the neurosurgeon, James W. Watts performed the first pre-frontal lobotomy in the U.S. Freeman and Watts had learned of the technique from it’s “inventor,” Egas Moniz, a Portuguese surgeon who’d performed the very first lobotomy (or “leucotomy” as it’s also known) earlier that same year. Now out of favor and largely out of practice, Freeman and Watts developed a method that was the basis for procedures– an estimated 40,000 in the U.S.– conducted until around 1960, when the practice effectively ceased. But in headier days, lobotomies were the rage: Moniz shared the 1949 Nobel Prize for Medicine “for his discovery of the therapeutic value of leucotomy in certain psychoses.”