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(io9)   So it turns out that the man who started the hysteria over comic books leading to juvenile delinquency in the 1950s, which led to the near-destruction of the comic book industry, was actually the Dean Chambers of his era   (io9.com) divider line 29
    More: Obvious, Fredric Wertham, Richard Wright, Seduction of the Innocent, antisocial behavior, cartons, needy, industry  
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2569 clicks; posted to Geek » on 20 Feb 2013 at 9:12 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-20 08:44:59 AM
Frederic Wertham, unskewed.

...farking Wertham. It's entirely his fault that comics got the "for kiddies and functional illiterates" rap they've had since the 1950s, and are dominated by bland superheroes who need to be rebooted every 3 years to keep the pitiful sales high enough to keep the big two alive.

/and his bullshiat killed EC, too.
 
2013-02-20 09:42:19 AM

FirstNationalBastard: Frederic Wertham, unskewed.

...farking Wertham. It's entirely his fault that comics got the "for kiddies and functional illiterates" rap they've had since the 1950s, and are dominated by bland superheroes who need to be rebooted every 3 years to keep the pitiful sales high enough to keep the big two alive.

/and his bullshiat killed EC, too.


i.imgur.com
 
2013-02-20 10:06:13 AM
After watching the documentary film Comic Book Confidential, I wanted desperately to punch that guy's smarmy face.

Wacthing those huge bonfires of comics burning in the 50s made me cry.  Wonder how many Action #1 or Detective #37 issues were destroyed?
 
2013-02-20 10:24:13 AM

ristst: After watching the documentary film Comic Book Confidential, I wanted desperately to punch that guy's smarmy face.

Wacthing those huge bonfires of comics burning in the 50s made me cry.  Wonder how many Action #1 or Detective #37 issues were destroyed?


Few if any.

See, comic books were disposable back then. Kids would have already ripped the covers off, traded them, and read the fark out of them by that point, assuming any survived the paper recycling drives of WW2, where most comics of the time wound up pulped to help the war effort.

If anything died in the flames of Wertham's hype, it was EC Comics, pre-Marvel Atlas Comics, or atomic age DC Comics, which were mostly westerns and Sci-Fi, since superheroes were essentially a dead genre by that point.
 
2013-02-20 10:37:43 AM
Eh, in all fairness there are kooks like this with crazy conspiracy theories about _everything_, and which one is actually given credence is more or less decided completely at random.  In the 1930s it was the Jews, in the 40s the Japanese, in the 50s it was comic books, in the 1980s it was Secret Satanic cults (what?), and in the 2000s it's mostly video games.

It's almost been movies a couple of times, but that industry's just too farking big and can always pretty easily redirect the furor somewhere else.

Meanwhile, you've got the obligatory illuminati ruining everything conspiracy theories running around, fluoridation of drinking water ruining everything, rock music ruining everything, the Charlestone ruining everything, rap music ruining everything, George Bush ruining everything (especially the things he had nothing to do with), Obama ruining everything, and a thousand other bits and pieces that gain some local or factional popularity but never really caught on in the main-stream.

//It's a little rich getting told that video games corrupted my generation by people from the generation whose most popular form of entertainment was Exploitation Cinema, and who had literal public theaters specifically for pornography.  Yeah, it's my generation that's the degenerate one, good luck selling that one.
 
2013-02-20 10:39:59 AM
I knew this article was about Frederic Wertham before I clicked the link but I had to look up Dean Chambers. The first was an asshole the second is an asshole.
 
2013-02-20 10:40:08 AM
He's no different that the aholes who try to blame real world violence on video games.
 
2013-02-20 10:48:58 AM

Jim_Callahan: Eh, in all fairness there are kooks like this with crazy conspiracy theories about _everything_, and which one is actually given credence is more or less decided completely at random.  In the 1930s it was the Jews, in the 40s the Japanese, in the 50s it was comic books, in the 1980s it was Secret Satanic cults (what?), and in the 2000s it's mostly video games.


Agreed, and I'll even expand a bit. From 1950 - 1990 or so it was fear of Communism. From 1972-c.1998 it was drugs, mainly marijuana and LSD, and then later crack cocaine. For a brief period of time during the Clinton administration it was heavy metal lyrics, although rock has been under attack at various times since its inception. Since 9/11 it has been terrorism. Attempts are made here and there to cause fear about video games, but this has not (as yet) met with much success.

It's almost been movies a couple of times, but that industry's just too farking big and can always pretty easily redirect the furor somewhere else.

Au contrair, mein fuhrer. During the Cold War the Hollywood Blacklist was a very real thing, with very real impacts that we feel to the present day. The movie censorship board was a direct result of this, and it is still chugging along quite happily.
 
2013-02-20 11:00:25 AM
I would have gone with the Michael Mann of his era.
 
2013-02-20 11:03:27 AM

illegal.tender: Jim_Callahan: Eh, in all fairness there are kooks like this with crazy conspiracy theories about _everything_, and which one is actually given credence is more or less decided completely at random.  In the 1930s it was the Jews, in the 40s the Japanese, in the 50s it was comic books, in the 1980s it was Secret Satanic cults (what?), and in the 2000s it's mostly video games.

Agreed, and I'll even expand a bit. From 1950 - 1990 or so it was fear of Communism. From 1972-c.1998 it was drugs, mainly marijuana and LSD, and then later crack cocaine. For a brief period of time during the Clinton administration it was heavy metal lyrics, although rock has been under attack at various times since its inception. Since 9/11 it has been terrorism. Attempts are made here and there to cause fear about video games, but this has not (as yet) met with much success.

It's almost been movies a couple of times, but that industry's just too farking big and can always pretty easily redirect the furor somewhere else.

Au contrair, mein fuhrer. During the Cold War the Hollywood Blacklist was a very real thing, with very real impacts that we feel to the present day. The movie censorship board was a direct result of this, and it is still chugging along quite happily.


Not really.

The Hays Code came into being in the 1930s, and was a result of, mostly, Fatty Arbuckle and his encounter with Virginia Rappe, and Hearst making up stories about it.

The code was what Hollywood went by until 1968, when the MPAA and letter ratings became the norm.
 
2013-02-20 11:10:14 AM
Mankind has been going steadily downhill since that black obelisk thing taught us to use femurs as weapons....
 
2013-02-20 11:19:29 AM
Frederic Wertham was so busy forcing the comics industry into a boner, he forgot he was committing one himself. It makes me chortle.
 
2013-02-20 11:41:20 AM

FirstNationalBastard: ristst: After watching the documentary film Comic Book Confidential, I wanted desperately to punch that guy's smarmy face.

Wacthing those huge bonfires of comics burning in the 50s made me cry.  Wonder how many Action #1 or Detective #37 issues were destroyed?

Few if any.

See, comic books were disposable back then. Kids would have already ripped the covers off, traded them, and read the fark out of them by that point, assuming any survived the paper recycling drives of WW2, where most comics of the time wound up pulped to help the war effort.

If anything died in the flames of Wertham's hype, it was EC Comics, pre-Marvel Atlas Comics, or atomic age DC Comics, which were mostly westerns and Sci-Fi, since superheroes were essentially a dead genre by that point.


Still....some extremely valuable bits of history were destroyed.  And speaking as a collector for the last 3 decades, it's evident that Golden Age comics are scarce and valuable - at least in part - because only a small percentage of the actual published product remains today.

And super-heroes weren't completely gone....Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman remained.  But as you said, hundreds and hundreds of other heroes bit the dust.

It still makes me cringe just thinking about all those great comics destroyed.  Wah.
 
2013-02-20 11:43:31 AM
Unskewed? More like 'Unjewed'.
 
2013-02-20 11:52:11 AM

ristst: FirstNationalBastard: ristst: After watching the documentary film Comic Book Confidential, I wanted desperately to punch that guy's smarmy face.

Wacthing those huge bonfires of comics burning in the 50s made me cry.  Wonder how many Action #1 or Detective #37 issues were destroyed?

Few if any.

See, comic books were disposable back then. Kids would have already ripped the covers off, traded them, and read the fark out of them by that point, assuming any survived the paper recycling drives of WW2, where most comics of the time wound up pulped to help the war effort.

If anything died in the flames of Wertham's hype, it was EC Comics, pre-Marvel Atlas Comics, or atomic age DC Comics, which were mostly westerns and Sci-Fi, since superheroes were essentially a dead genre by that point.

Still....some extremely valuable bits of history were destroyed.  And speaking as a collector for the last 3 decades, it's evident that Golden Age comics are scarce and valuable - at least in part - because only a small percentage of the actual published product remains today.

And super-heroes weren't completely gone....Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman remained.  But as you said, hundreds and hundreds of other heroes bit the dust.

It still makes me cringe just thinking about all those great comics destroyed.  Wah.


That's why I threw in "essentially"... IIRC, Superman/Superboy, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Green Arrow survived and were continually published through the end of the first superhero age in 1951 to the rebirth in 1956-1959. Everything else was canceled and forgotten until superheroes came back with the Flash in Showcase #4, and then Gardner Fox and Julie Schwartz came up with the whole Earth 2 thing for The Flash.

And yeah, lots of now-valuable comics were destroyed. The ECs on the fires alone would be probably worth hundreds of thousands at this point if they still existed.
 
2013-02-20 12:12:51 PM

FirstNationalBastard: ristst: FirstNationalBastard: ristst: After watching the documentary film Comic Book Confidential, I wanted desperately to punch that guy's smarmy face.

Wacthing those huge bonfires of comics burning in the 50s made me cry.  Wonder how many Action #1 or Detective #37 issues were destroyed?

Few if any.

See, comic books were disposable back then. Kids would have already ripped the covers off, traded them, and read the fark out of them by that point, assuming any survived the paper recycling drives of WW2, where most comics of the time wound up pulped to help the war effort.

If anything died in the flames of Wertham's hype, it was EC Comics, pre-Marvel Atlas Comics, or atomic age DC Comics, which were mostly westerns and Sci-Fi, since superheroes were essentially a dead genre by that point.

Still....some extremely valuable bits of history were destroyed.  And speaking as a collector for the last 3 decades, it's evident that Golden Age comics are scarce and valuable - at least in part - because only a small percentage of the actual published product remains today.

And super-heroes weren't completely gone....Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman remained.  But as you said, hundreds and hundreds of other heroes bit the dust.

It still makes me cringe just thinking about all those great comics destroyed.  Wah.

That's why I threw in "essentially"... IIRC, Superman/Superboy, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Green Arrow survived and were continually published through the end of the first superhero age in 1951 to the rebirth in 1956-1959. Everything else was canceled and forgotten until superheroes came back with the Flash in Showcase #4, and then Gardner Fox and Julie Schwartz came up with the whole Earth 2 thing for The Flash.

And yeah, lots of now-valuable comics were destroyed. The ECs on the fires alone would be probably worth hundreds of thousands at this point if they still existed.


But would they be valuable if most of the stock weren't destroyed?  Common things aren't valuable.  Common things don't become rare, unless lots of them are damaged/destroyed in the meantime.
 
2013-02-20 12:26:36 PM
its a good thing we dont have to worry about these things with video games and movies, it would be a shame if people tried to blame them for mass shootings...oh wait
 
2013-02-20 12:50:09 PM

FirstNationalBastard: Frederic Wertham....



www.seacats.net
"WERTHAM!!"
 
2013-02-20 01:01:11 PM
www.antonfig.com
Is not amused
 
2013-02-20 01:05:42 PM

StrikitRich: [www.antonfig.com image 600x450]
Is not amused


And since his death, WBDC has done more damage to Mad Magazine than Wertham's witch hunt ever did.
 
2013-02-20 01:19:02 PM

nelsonal: But would they be valuable if most of the stock weren't destroyed? Common things aren't valuable. Common things don't become rare, unless lots of them are damaged/destroyed in the meantime.


The ol' Catch-22.  It's a good question....I would say still up there in terms of value.  Look at stuff like Amazing Fantasy #15 or Fantastic Four #1.  Published after the big bonfires were cold, but still *extremely* valuable.
 
2013-02-20 04:28:15 PM
My contribution to this thread:
i63.photobucket.com

Bought it (yeah, that's a scan of the actual book), along with #2-14 and many others, at a yard sale.  Got the whole box for $20 in 1989.

/sold them all 4 years ago to pay the bills
//yes, I regret it
 
2013-02-20 05:36:35 PM

Frozboz: My contribution to this thread:
[i63.photobucket.com image 540x800]

Bought it (yeah, that's a scan of the actual book), along with #2-14 and many others, at a yard sale.  Got the whole box for $20 in 1989.

/sold them all 4 years ago to pay the bills
//yes, I regret it


Don't.

First off, you probably got a shiatload of cash for a $20 investment.

Second, for 50 bucks or so, you can buy the Marvel Masterworks volumes containing issues 1-20, on better paper with better colors, and not be afraid to actually read the damn things.

/probably only30 bucks if you buy the softcover versions.
 
2013-02-20 07:50:28 PM

FirstNationalBastard: Not really.

The Hays Code came into being in the 1930s, and was a result of, mostly, Fatty Arbuckle and his encounter with Virginia Rappe, and Hearst making up stories about it.

The code was what Hollywood went by until 1968, when the MPAA and letter ratings became the norm.


gifs.gifbin.com

Ahhh, Citizen Kane.  Marijuana, comics, journalism... Is there anything that f*cker  didn't screw up?
 
2013-02-20 09:49:30 PM
You've got to read Seduction of the Innocent, his book.  As you're reading it, you're thinking "Wait...that dot doesn't connect to this one. What the hell is he trying to connect here?"
 
2013-02-20 10:38:18 PM
Wow, so some self-righteous asshat made up a bunch of shiat to work the country into a furry?  Color me shocked.  Next you're going to tell me that Reefer Madness wasn't a documentary and that smoking marijuana doesn't make black men rape white women.
 
2013-02-20 10:59:30 PM

Neondistraction: Wow, so some self-righteous asshat made up a bunch of shiat to work the country into a furry?  Color me shocked.  Next you're going to tell me that Reefer Madness wasn't a documentary and that smoking marijuana doesn't make black men rape white women.


I know it's a typo, but there are so many stories that have that plotline, it's almost amusing.
 
2013-02-21 09:51:00 AM

Neondistraction: Wow, so some self-righteous asshat made up a bunch of shiat to work the country into a furry?


Into a furry what?

Oooh, you mean *THIS* is where the furries came from?  I thought it was just too many episodes of Thundercats and issues of Sonic the Hedgehog (Sally Acorn, giggity).
 
2013-02-21 11:26:37 AM

Summercat: I know it's a typo, but there are so many stories that have that plotline, it's almost amusing.


Edymnion: Into a furry what?


Well, at least my typo brought some amusement.

For some reason I always tend to type an extra 'r' when spelling fury.  Usually I catch it, but no one bats a thousand.
 
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