Tuska, in my opinion, was at the absolute top of his illustrative skills when he did stories for Charlie Biro at Crime Does Not Pay. Biro was a demanding editor who made the artists draw everything, and that was even though the stories were burdened with text, captions and overloaded speech balloons. Still, Tuska managed to get all of the characters and violence into the panels. And speaking of violence, the sensitive among you need to be warned of some of the panels: a knife slices a cheek, a woman is shot.
Violence like that was part of what inflamed adults about crime comics being sold to children. Something a bit more subtle in this story is the message about being a squealer. Guys who tell on criminals meet a bad end. Remember that, kids.
More classic Tuska: Butt Riley! Click on the picture.
**********Your eyes will pop!
Another thing to cause concern amongst crime comic critics of the era is this ad from the same issue of Crime Does Not Pay: additional reading material from a third-party publisher. Five books, four of them concerned with crime. I don’t know for sure about the kids in 1947, but I sure would like to read them, and get the “hidden secrets, helpful information, inside ‘dope’.” That could be interpreted as ways to commit crimes. But there is one book, How Detectives Catch Crooks, that would be especially helpful. We still have that today: television programs about crime-busting through forensics, showing police methods, have helped some criminals.
It’s human nature to want to know about “Big-shot Gangsters, their crimes, careers and deaths!” and I’m no different. But I don’t plan to emulate them. I don’t commit crimes because I’m not a criminal, no matter how many books I read or TV shows I watch about crime. I suspect that’s true about most people, or despite all the crime-saturated entertainment the crime rate would be a lot higher than it is.