Monday, January 14, 2008

Horror in the Nursery

I recently found a copy of the March 27, 1948 issue of Collier's, which includes an article written by Judith Crist on Dr. Fredric Wertham's crusade against crime comics. The complete article (along with the original accompanying photos of child models re-enacting the testimonies of children quoted in the article) is included below.

For many years comic-book fans have had a very simplistic and somewhat inaccurate version of the history behind Dr. Wertham and the creation of the Comics Code (some of the most common myths: "Dr. Wertham found that all juvenile delinquents read comics and therefore claimed that comics were the sole reason for juvenile delinquency", or "The Comics Code was created to put EC Comics out of business"). Recent scholarship has given us a more balanced view of Dr. Wertham, suggesting that his research wasn't as shoddy as most fans believe, and that there were strong reasons for regulating the horror and crime comics cranked out by opportunistic publishers.

The article below is still mildly sensationalistic at times (and that's not counting the staged photos), but it's worth reading in its entirety for the chance to read Wertham in his own words, a few years before the publication of Seduction of the Innocent.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


I recently bought a copy of DC/Rebellion's edition of Alan Moore's and Jim Baikie's SKIZZ, a minor work from the period in which the "British Invasion" at DC was just starting.

It's a competent work with some touches of the usual Moore wit. The main characters, Skizz (the alien) and Roxy (the teenager who finds him), are convincingly handled, but the remaining characters aren't very fleshed out. I had read the work some years ago, and therefore wasn't very disappointed by this re-reading, I already knew that this wasn't as good as THE BALLAD OF HALO JONES or the work Moore was doing for "Warrior" magazine at the time.

One thing I noticed this time, and which I don't know if it's a problem exclusive to this edition or if it's something carried from the previous collection published by Titan Books in the 1980's, is that the book omits a page from the original serialization in "2000 AD". I noticed that one chapter was noticeably longer than the other chapters, went to look at my library of "2000 AD" scans (kept, ahem, strictly for research purposes), and found that yes, one splash page from issue #329 of "2000 AD" was left out. This page should go between pages 88 and 89 of the DC/Rebellion edition. Page 89 in this edition also alters some of the dialog in the first panel. As a public service, the first two pages of the "Skizz" chapter in 2000 AD #329 are included here.

Alan Moore's Skizz missing page 1
Alan Moore's Skizz missing page 2