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DR. FREDERICK WERTHAM - Seduction Of The Innocent
Frederick Wertham (1895 - 1981) is a famous - or maybe rather "notorious" - name in comics history. The good doctor started publishing several articles on how comic books influence children, in the 1950ies. In 1954 he published a book on the subject, carrying a title that did anything but hide his view on the matter: "Seduction Of The Innocent" (a preview appeared in November 1953 in Ladies' Home Journal, titled "What Parents Don't Know"). Wether it was the direct cause or not, a wave of comic books hate was unleashed, with extremes like communal comic book burnings, laws against possession, creation and sale of comic books, and resulting in 'the industry' deciding on a Comic Book Code that made sure all the comic book heroes applied responsible behaviour, decent language and minimal graphic violence. Needless to say, this censorship on the artform is considered by many today as the Dark Ages of the medium.
With the strong revival of violence and explicit language in comics as of late, the book remains interesting to read. Wether you wonder if Wertham had a point, or wether you are just interested in comic book history, it is fascinating to check out. A lot of sites online have a thing or two to say about Wertham and his famous book, and some even point out that later in his life, he made a full U-turn (or seemed to) and started to write a large deal more praising about comics. At the very least a bit odd, one would think.
Below is a link to a site that seems to contain the full text of the book. Since I myself haven't exactly read it, I'll stand corrected if the text isn't complete. I have read some of the site so far, and I'm personally very impressed with the amount of 'evidence' Wertham puts forth. I suggest reading it for yourself, and then decide your own viewpoint on the subject.
Click here to read Seduction Of The Innocent for yourself