Despite considering myself fairly well-read when it comes to comic books, I have never read the infamous Seduction of the Innocent by Fredric Wertham. I have seen originals priced in the hundreds of dollars range but, every once in a while, one publisher or another sets out to reprint it. I had never seen one of those reprints actually come to pass, though, a fact which I lamented recently here on this board. Captain Comics mentioned that he bought a copy that actually was reprinted in 2004, which sent me on a quest. (I remember reading about it, but never saw it solicited or published.) I soon found a copy at a price I was willing to pay. 

I first learned about Seduction of the Innocent (and read excerpts) from Jules Feiffer's The Great Comic Book Heroes. Wertham was never mentioned throughout my academic career, including college. In fact, all I have ever heard about him was through "comic book" sources. I have always been interested in reading Seduction of the Innocent, but only as a curiosity, which is the only way I thought it would ever be published. I just finished reading the 2004 edition's 37-page introduction, but so far that's all I've read of it. I was quite surprised to see Wertham championed as "a distinguished psychiatrist of wide and deeply humane interests, a advocate of social reform, and a defender of civil liberties." 

James Reibman, who wrote the introduction, does a good job of presenting both sides of the story, but the selected quotes of industry professionals are edited to highlight his particular thesis. (If I said one of the female writer/editors quoted is widely known for shooting off her mouth would you be able to guess to whom I was referring?) I know know more about Fredric Wertham now than I did previously, and I believe he thought he was doing the right thing. (Actually, I've always thought that.) Despite his intentions, I remain convinced that his research was faulty by today's standards and that ultimately he did much more harm than good. 

I have always been told (and believed) that Wertham's "research" consisted of him interviewing "juvenile delinquents" and asking them if they read comics. Since almost all kids read comics in those days, Q.E.D. But here's something I gleaned just from skimming his test cases, of which there are 14. They are all boys between the ages of 9 and 12 who read far below their age level, but there's something else that jumps right out at me. I'm not going to defend what "I.Q." means in this context, but these boys had scores ranging from 54 through 74. they did not present themselves well. I wonder what his results would have yielded had he interviewed children with I.Q.s of 100 (which is average) or above who read comic books?

There is also a 16-page section of illustrations culled from contemporary comics which are clearly taken out of context. One of them has a caption which reads: "Comic books are supposed to be like fairy tales." Oh, yeah? Who says? I don't know how much more I'll have to say about this book once I actually start reading it, but I thought I'd start this thread just in case. Frederic Wertham may have been a great guy with the best of intentions, but it's going to be difficult to convince me that he didn't do more harm than good. I will try to read with an open mind. 

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In his introduction, James Reibman presents Fredric Wertham as "a responsible physician who believed that childdren need protection from suc violent images and activity: nevertheless, adults were free and capable to evaluate all types of material." He did not see himself as a censor and objected strenuously to that label. Wertham wanted to title his book All Our Innocences; it was his editors who suggested the salacious Seduction of the Innocent. Surprisingly, I find myself nodding in agreement with much of his reasoning; then I am reminded of this publisher's note from the first edition: "[Wertham] has directed this book specifically at crime comic books which he defines as those 'comic books that depict crime, whether the setting is urban, Western, science-fiction, jungle, adventure or the realm of supermen, 'horror' or supernatural beings.'" That's pretty broad. In other words, practically anything and everything. 

The book is only 14 chapters and I suppose I could find something to say about each of them for the next two weeks at the rate of a chapter a day. There is a particular case study from the first chapter I wanted to relate, but I was having trouble summarizing it, so I'll just present it verbatim.

I. "SUCH TRIVIA AS COMIC BOOKS"

"In the beginning of July , 1950, a middle-aged man was sitting near the bleachers at the Polo Grounds watching a baseball game. He had invited the thirteen-year-old son of a friend, who sat with him excited and radiating enthusiasm. Suddenly, the people sitting near by heard a sharp sound. The middle-aged man, scorecard in hand, slumped over and his young friend turned and was startled to see him looking like a typical comic book illustration. Blood was pouring from his head and ears. He dies soon afterwards and was carried away. Spectators rushed to get the vacant seats, not realizing at all what had happened.

"In such a spectacular case the police go in for what the headlines like to call a dragnet. This had to be a pretty big one. In the crowded section of the city overlooking the Polo Grounds there were hundreds of apartment buildings in a neighborhood of more than thirty blocks, and from the roof of any of them someone could have fired such a shot. As a matter of fact, at the very beginning of the search detectives confiscated six rifles from different persons. Newspapers and magazines played up the case as 'Mystery Death,' the "Ball Park Death' and 'The Random Bullet.'

"Soon the headlines changed to 'Hold Negro Youth in Shooting' and the stories told of the 'gun-happy fourteen-year-old Negro boy' who was being held by the authorities, Editorials reproached his aunt for being 'irresponsible in the care and training of a youngster' and for 'being on the delinquent side of the adult ledger.

"In the apartment where this boy Willie lived with his great-aunt, and on the roof of the building, the police found 'two .22-calibeer rifles, a high-powered .22-caliber target pistol, ammunition for all three guns, and a quantity of ammunition for a Luger pistol.' This served as sufficient reason to arrest and hold the boy's great-aunt on a Sullivan Law charge (for possession of a gun). she was not released until the boy, who was held in custody all during this time, had signed a confession stating that he had owned and fired a .45-caliber pistol--which, incidentally, was never found. In court the judge stated, 'We cannot find you guilty, but I believe you to be guilty.' With this statement he sentenced Willie to an indeterminate sentence in the state reformatory."

That's an example of something, but I wouldn't say it's comic books causing juvenile delinquency. There's even more to the story than this, but you get the idea. As it turns out, Willie was previously known by Fredric Wertham, but instead of railing against an unjust arrest (even when another similar shooting happened after Willie was in custody), he goes on to point out how Willie's habit of reading comic books led him to this trouble.

II. "YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO SLUG 'EM"

Each chapter has a subtitle. Chapter one's was "Introducing the Subject" and two's "What Are Crime Comic Books?

Incidentally, I think I have discovered how this reprint flew in beneath my radar in 2004: it was limited to a print run of only 220 copies. I always thought "common knowledge" held that a book must sell 500 copies to be financially viable...?

Seduction of the Innocent has put me in the mood to read some crime comics of the day, Crime Does Not Pay in particular. The late '40s and early '50s was the "Golden Age of Crime Comics" but the 2Ks is the "Golden Age of Reprints" so, of course, ten volumes of Crime Does Not Pay are readily available from Dark horse Comics. Matt Fraction wrote the introduction to the first, and it's interesting to compare and contrast his POV (in bold below) with Wertham's (in italics). 

"The whole crime comic book trade is designed for [children] and is dependent on them, even though there are adults, too, who read such comics."

"Now history and the wonderful heroes at Dark Horse Comics allow us to judge for ourselves as enlightened, educated, and practical adults."

"Of course, there are people who still fall for the contention of the comic book industry that their products deal not with crime, but with the punishment of crime. Is it not the very title of some of these books, Crime Does Not Pay? Here, too, adults are more readily deceived than children. children know that in quite a number of crime comic books there is in the tile some reference to punishment. But that also know that just as that very reference is in small letters and inconspicuous color, the parts of that tile that really count are in huge, eye-catching type and clear, sharp colors: CRIME; CRIMINALS; MURDER; LAW BREAKERS; GUNS; etc. the result of this is, of course, that when comic books are on display only the crime and not the punishment is visible. Often the type of the second part of the title is so arranged in the display case that it does not show at all, concealed as it is behind the tops of other comic books. These are a few examples:

LAWBREAKERS Always Lose

There Is No Escape For PUBLIC ENEMIES

The West Thunders with the Roar of GUNS

CRIME Can't Win

Western OUTLAWS and Sheriffs

CRIMINALS On the Run"

"CRIME, the covers shouted out in colossal white letters.

"CRIME.

"'Does Not Pay,' they whispered, in a far smaller font, politely retreating from view."

"First of all there is the cover. It is always printed on much better paper than the rest of the book, and of course has much larger print and the colors stand out more glaringly and forcefully. the title also counts for a lot. the scene depicted on the cover is usually violent. It is intended to catch the child's attention and whet his appetite."

"The covers in this collection alone promise the old knife-through-the-hand gag, some mug shoving a woman's head ONTO THE LIT BURNER OF A STOVE, causing her hair to ignite, a three-man murder squad Tommy gunning a man to death in a phone booth, and a full-bore prison riot with at least three dead cops.

"Right there!

"Right there on the cover!

DEAD. COPS.

Where ANYONE COULD SEE!"

These two men, decades apart, are saying basically the same thing in two very different ways

I'm still thinking of the "Negro youth" who was falsely arrested. One part of my brain is reeling over how common it must have been for decades, if not centuries, for Black people to be falsely arrested.

Another part of my brain is wondering if the actual perpetrator was ever caught.

There are those who believe the so-called "Golden Age of Comics" came to an end (or at least began to wane) in 1951 when All Star Comics became All Star Western, but that is simply not the case. All that it signaled was a shift in popularity from superheroes to other genres: "Western" in the case of All Star, but soon "Crime" and "Horror" as well. It's hard to believe today, but during the '40s some series routinely sold more than a million copies per issue! All-Star Western continued for another decade beyond the switch from super-heroes. It was the "Golden Age of Comics" after all, not the "Golden Age of Super-Heroes." 

All comics together sold around 23 million per year into the '40s. The growth rate slowed during World War II, but sales began to rise again immediately after the war, peaking at nearly 75 million in 1953. When Wertham hit the scene sales faltered at first, then plummeted to under five million in 1960. Sales rose above the five million mark in the middle '60s, then fell to around three million by the early '70s where they remained through the '80s. Clearly it was Fredric Wertham who brought an end to the "Golden Age of Comics."

According to Wertham: "From 1937 to 1947only 19 crime comic titles existed, sixteen of them obvious crime comics, three of then so-called Western comic books that actually featured crimes. But during 1948, 107 new titles of crime comic books appeared, 52 straight crime comics, 54 "Westerns" featuring crime." It sounds to me as if the Golden Age of Super-Heroes had been supplanted by a new "Golden Age of Crime Comics. "Crime comic books represented about one tenth of the total of all comic books in 1946-1947. In 1948-1949 they increased to one third of the total. By 1949 comic books featuring crime, violence and sadism made up over one half of the industry. By 1954 they form the vast majority of all comic books." Although I disagree with Wertham's conclusions, I do not question his statistics, which are verifiable elsewhere. 

Nor does Wertham restrict his ire to crime comics. Here is what he has to say about jungle comics: "While white people in jungle books are blonde and athletic and shapely, the idea conveyed about the natives is that there are fleeting transitions between apes and humans. I have repeatedly found in my studies that this characterization of colored peoples as subhuman, in conjunction with depiction of forceful heroes as blond Nordic superman, has made a deep--and I believe lasting--impression on young children. And amidst all the violence between slaves, apes and humans in these books are big pictures of lush girls, as nude as the Post Office permits. Even on an adult, the impression of sex plus violence is definite." I can't dispute this one; I've read some jungle comics myself.

I'm going to stop here for now. I just realized I'm spending more time writing about this book than I am reading it. It's difficult to cull quotes when virtually everything in it is sensationalistic. 

Jeff of Earth-J said:

There are those who believe the so-called "Golden Age of Comics" came to an end (or at least began to wane) in 1951 when All Star Comics became All Star Western, but that is simply not the case. All that it signaled was a shift in popularity from superheroes to other genres: "Western" in the case of All Star, but soon "Crime" and "Horror" as well. It's hard to believe today, but during the '40s some series routinely sold more than a million copies per issue! All-Star Western continued for another decade beyond the switch from super-heroes. It was the "Golden Age of Comics" after all, not the "Golden Age of Super-Heroes." 

I don't know if you're doing this on purpose or not, but you're basically quoting Mr. Silver Age. He has long argued that the Ages of Comics that most fans use are really the Superhero Ages of Comics. That they only reflect interest in superheroes, and ignore Westerns, crime comics, horror comics, etc.

Once said it's too obvious to ignore; comic sales peaked in 1953-54, years which aren't even included in the traditional definitions of the Golden Age (usually 1938-1951) or Silver Age (usually 1956-1970). And once that's recognized, it's hard to use the traditional definitions without a caveat -- or to use them at all.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

I'm going to stop here for now. I just realized I'm spending more time writing about this book than I am reading it. It's difficult to cull quotes when virtually everything in it is sensationalistic. 

Oh no! I was hoping you would continue to read it, so I don't have to! :)

"I don't know if you're doing this on purpose or not, but you're basically quoting Mr. Silver Age."

Seems to me I'm disputing him. I respect Craig Schutt and he and I have exchanged e-mails in the past before you invited to join this board. He supports his definitions very well, but they are very super-hero oriented. Any "Golden Age" that does not include EC Comics is not a workable model in my view. The beginning of an "Age" (by his definition) must be followed by other comics of a like nature: Action Comics #1 spawned an "Age" of superheroes, for example. But the crime and horror genres outsold super-heroes and spawned "Ages" of their own. The way I see it, the "Golden Age of Comics" encompasses all genres: western, war, crime, horror, romance... as well as super-heroes. That's what makes it the "Golden Age."

"I was hoping you would continue to read it, so I don't have to!"

I just meant I was stopping for the day. I find that I have so much to say that I'm going to have to break it up into smaller, more manageable chunks. One chapter at a time is too much.

Captain Comics said:

I'm still thinking of the "Negro youth" who was falsely arrested. One part of my brain is reeling over how common it must have been for decades, if not centuries, for Black people to be falsely arrested.

Another part of my brain is wondering if the actual perpetrator was ever caught.

For modern-day examples of how common it is, still, watch We Own This City, available on HBO and HBO Max.*

Or read the non-fiction book on which it is based, We Own This City: A True Story of Cops, Crime and Corruption by former Baltimore Sun reporter Justin Fenton.

* Full disclosure: I was a background actor in Episodes 1, 2 and 4. Don't blink, or you'll miss me.

Yesterday I decided I was spending too much time organizing my notes into some sort coherency, but today, reasoning anyone reading this would be more interested in what Fredric Wertham had to say than what I had to say about it, I decided to simply transfer those notes here without worrying overmuch about organization (although I do strive for coherency). When I left off yesterday, I was beginning to examine Wertham's thoughts on genres other than crime, such as jungle comics. Today I'd like to continue with a few others. 

In General: "At the end of 1948 the 60-million-comic-books-a-month were split up between over four hundred comic-book titles of assorted types. All through 1948 the trend of the industry was toward crime comics. Experts of the industry were busy explaining to credulous parents that the industry was only giving to children what they needed and wanted, that the scenes of crime and sadism were necessary for them, even good for them, and that the industry was only supplying a demand. But in the meantime my advice to parents had begun to take at least some hold. They had begun to look into crime comic books, and different groups and local authorities started to contemplate, announce, attempt--and even to take--steps."

On Romance Comics: "Suddenly the industry converted from blood to kisses. They tooled up the industry for a kind of comic book that hardly existed before, the love-confession type... There had, of course, been teen-age comics before. But they were mostly not about love or kissing, but in large part about humiliations, a disguised kind of psychological sadism. The confession type, on the other hand, implies a love relationship. There are misunderstandings, jealousies and triangle troubles. the girl is either too shy or too sociable, the boy friend is either the wrong one altogether or he says the wrong things. In many of them, in complete contrast to the previous teen-age group, sexual relations are assumed to have taken place in the background. Just as the crime-comics formula requires a violent ending, so the love-comics formula demands that the story end with reconciliation." 

On Classics Comics: "Comic books adapted from classical literature are reportedly used in 25,000 schools in the United States. If this is true, then I have never heard of a more serious indictment of American education, for they emasculate the classics, condense them (leaving out everything that makes the book great), are just as badly printed and inartistically drawn as other comic books and, as I have often found, do not reveal to children the world of good literature which has at all times been the mainstay of liberal and humanistic education. They conceal it. The folklorist, G. Legman, writes of comic books based on classics, 'After being processed in this way, no classic, no matter who wrote it, is in any way distinguishable from the floppity-rabbit and crime comics it is supposed to replace.'"

On Funny Animal Comics: "Of course there are also super-animal magazines, like Super Duck. In one of them the duck yells: 'No! I kill the parents [of the rabbits]! I am a hard guy and my heart is made of stone!' the scene shows a rabbit crying and begging for mercy, the duck poised to kill him with a baseball bat."

On Super-Hero Comics: "This Superman-Batman-Wonder Woman group is a special form of crime comics."

On Wonder Woman: "Superwoman (Wonder Woman) is always a horror type. She is physically very powerful, tortures men, has her own female following, is the cruel 'phallic' woman. While she is a frightening figure for boys, she is an undesirable ideal for girls, being the exact opposite of what girls are supposed to want to be."

On Superman: "Actually, Superman (with the big S on his uniform--we should, I suppose, be thankful that it's not as S.S.) needs an endless stream of ever new submen, criminals and 'foreign-looking' people not only to justify his existence but even to make it possible. It is this feature that engenders in children either one of the other of two attitudes: either they fantasy themselves as superman, with the attendant prejudices against the submen, or it makes them submissive and receptive to the blandishments of strong men who will solve all their social problems for them--by force."

Okay, I've been quite long enough. I wonder what Seigel and Schuster thought about the creation being compared to the Nazi S.S.? Also, I've often heard Simon and Kirby lauded for their creation of the romance genre, but Wertham had a different take. Oftentimes, Wertham comes off as what we would today refer to as a "fanboy" in his criticisms, for example: "Superman not only defies the laws of gravity, which his great strength makes conceivable; in addition he gives children a completely wrong idea of other basic physical laws. Not even superman, for example, should be able to lift up a building while not standing on the ground, or to stop an airplane in mid-air while flying himself."

Before I go on, I'd like to quote something once said by Grant Morrison in a public appearance: "You must understand these people aren't real. Batman is a mythical figure. I'm being funny but I'm not being funny. They don't live in the real world. It's like this theory I've been developing--you know what they always say about kids? That kids can't distinguish between fantasy and reality. And that's actually bullshit. When a kid's watching 'The Little Mermaid,' the kid knows that those crabs are singing and talking aren't really like the crabs on the beach that don't talk. A kid really knows the difference... Then you've got an adult, and adults cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality."

Keep that in mind as you read Wertham's description of a Superboy story: "There are also super-children, like Superboy. Superboy can slice a tree like a cake, can melt glass by looking at it ('with his amazing X-ray eyes, Superboy proves the scientific law that focused concentrated X-rays can melt glass!"), defeats "a certain gang chief and his hirelings." Superboy rewrites American history, too. In one story he helps George Washington's campaign and saves his life by hitting a Hessian with a snowball. George Washington reports to the Continental Congress: 'And sirs, this remarkable boy, a Superboy, helped out boys with a great victory... One third of a page of this book is a picture of Washington crossing the Delaware--with Superboy guiding the boat through the ice floes. It is really Superboy who is crossing the Delaware, with George Washington in the boat. All this travesty is endorsed by the impressive board of experts in psychiaty. education and English literature."

C-mon, Fred! Did you really believe kids actually thought Superboy crossed the Delaware River with General Washington? And speaking of the "board of experts" he mentions, Wertham spends quite a bit of chapter two railing against them. He also is aware of the industry's backlash against him; he brings up three separate instances of comics poking fun at him ("Dr. Fredric Froyd" and "Dr. Fredric Muttontop" to name two). My personal favorite is "The Raving Maniac" from Suspense #29 written by Stan Lee several years later (1953). There is also "The Reformers" from Weird Science #21 (also 1953). 

The Comics Code: Wertham is also critical of A.C.M.P.'s original "comics code" (the A.C.M.P. would later fund the Comics Code Authority): "A further adornment of crime comics may be a seal on the cover indicating the that he book is 'Authorized A.C.M.P.' (Association of Comics Magazine Publishers) and 'Conforms to the comics code.' This association, which is not listed in the telephone book, was formed following one of my most outspoken statements about what parents don't know about comic books. A representative sample of a comic book bearing this endorsement shows the customary unrelieved succession of crimes and violence. and among the weapons advertised in this comic book are guns, knives and whips--with thirty-seven illustrations of guns altogether, one of them a high-powered air pistol at $19.95. A District attourney in New York City has definitely linked such arsenal advertisements to the actual arsenals confiscated from juveniles by the police." I don't know how Wertham came to feel about the later Comics Code Authority, but if you think the C.C.A. was formed for any reason other than to drive the other publishers' biggest rival, EC Comics, out of business you are fooliong yourself. 

Wertham can be frustratingly vague in his references. For example: "Another confession comic book is the reincarnation of a previous teen-age book with an innocuous title." I'd really like to read some of these comics myself because, from the ones I have been able to identify, he often misrepresents the contents. (Ironically, I probably do have reprints of many of them in my collection, if I only knew which ones they were.) For example, returning to his beef against comics endorsed by experts, he says: "The Superman group of comic books is superendorsed. A random sample shows on the inside cover the endorsement of two psychiatrists, one educator, one English professor, and a child-study consultant. On the page facing this array is depicted a man dressed as a boy shooting a policemen in the mouth (with a toy pistol). This is a prank--'Prankster's second childhood.'"

Okay, a title. That I can look up. I haven't yet, but I imagine the prankster is using a water pistol. In another section he refers to a "scientific Suspenstory" and follows that up with "(sic!)," exclamation mark included, as if that weren't a coined word (obviously an EC comic but, again, I haven't yet bothered to research which one it might be). I might also lable Wertham's own use of the word "superendorsed" (sic). 

Injury to the Eye Motif: What discussion of Fredric Wertham would be complete without mentioning the ol' "I. to the E."? He mentions it three times in this chapter, first dropping in in quite casually: "In another Western, one man has gold dust thrown in his eyes (an example of what I call the injury-to-the-eye motif, this being a very frequent feature in comic books)." He mentions it again later in reference to the Classic Illustrated adaptation of Tom Sawyer (I assume, since he is characteristically vague in his description): "An adaptation from one of Mark Twain's novels has the picture of two small boys in a fight, one tearing the other's hair--a scene not the keynote of Mark twain's novel. Inside, three consecutive pictures show a fight between the two boys ('In an instant bot boys were gripped together like cats') and the last picture shows one boy with a finger almost in the other's eye (the injury-to-the-eye motif again"." 

Those are the last of the notes I took on chapter two. 

To quote CK: "I'm getting a headache."

"I'm still thinking of the 'Negro youth' who was falsely arrested."

Me, too. I said there was more to the story. Now that I'm caught up, I'll tell you the rest. Here is something you may not know (I didn't): Dr. Fredric Wertham set up The Lafargue Clinic, one of the most noteworthy institutions in the United States to serve poor Americans and to promote civil rights, in Harlem. The clinic was open for about a decade and, at the request of the NAACP, he studied the effects of segregation on children. He became known as "Dr. Quarter" because that's the fee he charged. He believed strongly that a feeling of responsibility for oneself should be encouraged, but if a patient couldn't pay he treated him or her for free. 

That's very altruistic. Here's the part that blows my mind: "It happened that I had known Willie for some time before all this. He hadf been referred to the Larfargue Clinic--a free psychiatric clinic in Harlem--by the Reverend shelton Hale Bishop as a school problem. He was treated at the Clinic. We had studied his early development. We knew when he sat up, when he got his first tooth, when he began to talk and walk, how long he was bottle fed, when he was toilet trained. Psychiatrists and social workers had conferences about him." Waitaminute... Wertham knew Willie that well and didn't come to his defense? Unbelievable. No, unconscionable

"Another part of my brain is wondering if the actual perpetrator was ever caught."

I doubt it. They had their scapegoat. In the incident I transcribed, Wertham relates: ""In the apartment where this boy Willie lived with his great-aunt, and on the roof of the building, the police found 'two .22-caliber rifles, a high-powered .22-caliber target pistol, ammunition for all three guns, and a quantity of ammunition for a Luger pistol." that's pretty vague. What was found in the apartment and what was found on the roof? Also, the .45 caliber murder weapon was never found. Add to that the fact that "there were hundreds of apartment buildings in a neighborhood of more than thirty blocks, and from the roof of any of them someone could have fired such a shot," and, "at the very beginning of the search detectives confiscated six rifles from different persons." Then that judge: "We cannot find you guilty, but I believe you to be guilty." Unconscionable.

III. THE ROAD TO THE CHILD - Methods of Examination

As one can readily discern from the subtitle, the third chapter deals with the methods Wertham used to reach his conclusions. Incidentally, I am not wholly unfamiliar with these methods. My college major (secondary English education) required many classes in child psychology. I'm no expert, but some of the methods he used (the Rorschach test, for example, which I'm sure you are all at least passingly familiar with) were no longer used in the '80s and, indeed, some of them had fallen out of favor by the late '40s and early '50s when this research was conducted. He admits this fact, but insists he knows how to properly administer such tests and correctly evaluate the results. The chapter begins with the following lurid paragraph.

"The problem of what comic books do to children, or rather what they have already done to a whole generation, is threefold. It's solution requires a knowledge of comic books, of the minds of children, and of the process, the mechanisms, by which comic book reading influences children. When, for example, a young child hangs himself and beneath the dead child is found an open comic book luridly describing and depicting a hanging (as has happened in a number of cases), the mechanics of the relationship between the two have to be investigated, e.g. the processes of immitation and experimentation in childhood."

I can see why parents who read Seduction of the Innocent and/or followed the Senate hearings were convinced his conclusions were true. He sounds knowledgeable and authoritative, however unsound his theories may have been. This is worth noting: "At no time, up to the present, has a single child ever told me as an excuse for a delinquency or for misbehavior that comic books were to blame. Nor do I nor my associates ever question a child in such a way as to suggest that to him. If I find a child with a fever, I do not ask him, 'what is the cause of your fever? Do you have the measles?' I examine him and make my own diagnosis. It is our clinical judgement, in all kinds of behavior disorders and personality difficulties of children, that comic books do play a part."

While his intentions were good, his proofs were ill-conceived and simplistic. 

I remember reading an article in a comics related publication that stated by using Wertham's methods you could also make the case that reading comic books leads young people to become writers and artists.

I'd love to show Wertham some of the stuff I've seen in manga that's weirded even me out.

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Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) replied to Jeff of Earth-J's discussion Sandman (TV)
"They'd be idiots not to renew it.Not that they aren't idiots."
10 hours ago

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