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.


Sam Humphries said...

Invaluable. Thank you.

Alan said...

Thank you for posting this!

But I still have to disagree on the idea that Wertham was anything more than a crackpot when it came to comics "research."

I've yet to see the results of his research presented in any scientific journal.

Jamal Igle said...

Having read the article it's easy to see where Wertham begam to make the egregious leaps in his thinking in Seduction of the innocent.

StanLeeDoc said...


This article/image for Wertham's book is great. We are producing a feature length documentary on Stan Lee and would like to look at including this. Do you have a high res. copy?
Please contact me at:

Thanks!! I look forward to hearing from you.