In a period of America’s history when fear and paranoia spread
easily, there was an outcry for an explanation for the rise in
“troubled” children. Truancy, gang activity and many other forms of Juvenile Delinquency, were “rampant” and parents were starved and desperate for answers.
Then, in 1954, along came a book called SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT that
fanned these flames, finding the fault and blame in the pages of Comic
Books. It was written by a psychiatrist, Dr. Fredric Wertham, it had to
be true, right?
Congressional hearings were held. Book burnings were held.
opinion on the art form dived and comics quickly became the scourge
responsible for bad kids everywhere. Eventually, this would give way to
the Comics Code Authority, a precursor to the self-censoring that found it’s way into movies, music and video games.
These events, destroyed the lives and careers of many writers,
artists, publishers and nearly destroyed an industry and an American art
While the findings in the book have been suspect for many years, new evidence has come to show that Wertham consistently LIED, COVERED UP and MISREPRESENTED the truth.
University of Illinois assistant professor Carol L. Tilley
has taken a closer look at Wertham’s files and research and has found
many inconsistencies. The Illinois News Bureau reports about her
“For example, in “Seduction,” Wertham links “Batman”
comic books to the case of a 13-year-old boy on probation and receiving
counseling for sexual abuse of another boy: “Like many other
homo-erotically inclined children, he was a special devotee of Batman:
‘Sometimes I read them over and over again. … It could be that Batman
did something with Robin like I did with the younger boy.’ ”
What Tilley found in Wertham’s notes, however, was that the boy
preferred “Superman,” “Crime Does Not Pay” and “war comics” over
“Batman,” and that he had previously been sexually assaulted by the
other boy – all information that Wertham left out.”