Feature

How Comic Books, Dario Argento, and Vaporizers Influenced Phoenix's Take Over and Destroy

The six members of Take Over and Destroy and Bob Hoag are gathered in the lobby of Flying Blanket Recording, the 1947 house in downtown Mesa that producer Hoag has converted into a studio. All focus is on the middle of the room, where two stacks of comic books lean precariously.

They aren't originals -- they're reprints from the '90s, Hoag explains as he peels issues from atop the piles and passes them around, copies of EC Comics titles The Haunt of Fear, Shock SuspenStories, and Mad Magazine, which started its publication life as a comic before switching to the less-regulated magazine format. The band members gawk at the books, rattling off names like Jack Davis and citing movies like Creepshow before conversation turns to the Comics Code Authority, a watchdog group formed in 1954 by the Comics Magazine Association of America to regulate comics. The violent, disturbing content of the EC books circulating the room inspired the creation of the code after Congress held a hearing to address comics' potential influence on children.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.