It’s the spring of 1954, and comic books are king. Four-colored panels tell tales of masked crusaders, gun-blazing mobsters, hatchet-swinging madmen, and barely dressed damsels in distress, sold for a dime at the corner drugstore to kids of all ages. One of the leading publishers of these not-so-funny funnybooks is Starr Syndication, run by Maggie and Jack Starr a step-mother and son duo with street smarts and style to spare.
But their cartoon empire is threatened when Dr. Werner Frederick, a noted psychologist, releases his controversial new book, Ravage the Lambs. Lambs accuses comics of being the instigator of youth crimes, that those spandex-clad heroes are homosexual influences, and that they might be making our kids dumber to boot. His words stir up the pot, and Congress calls for public hearings, threatening to do something about this “ten-cent plague” in our midst.
When Dr. Frederick winds up dead thanks to a scheme ripped directly from the pages of a best-selling comic book, there are too many suspects to count. Hoping to protect his industry and his cronies, Jack Starr takes on the investigation and follows a path that leads him to the seediest parts of the four-color publishing racket.