Wednesday, November 04, 2020
Number 2466: The pinball racket
In this story they tell of the pinball racket. The mob would force small businesses to put in machines that would draw money from customers, then the mobsters would benefit, usually to the detriment of the business owner. Although crime comics used a line like “Crime Does Not Pay” somewhere in the story (“Crime Never Pays” in the splash panel of this story), in the real world outside of comics Simon and Kirby probably knew that crime did pay. Organized crime controlled unions, trucking, construction, along with the usual vices in New York. To do their illegal businesses they had police and judges on their payroll. A couple of New York guys in the comic book business were likely aware that organized crime also had their hooks in periodical distribution, which included comic books.
Crime comics were big sellers in 1947, when this was published. I’ll bet gangsters also got a kick out of them.