cyberghostface: (Right One 2)
[personal profile] cyberghostface posting in [community profile] scans_daily

This is from the special edition of Locke & Key #1.

The issue opens with Freddy Wertham being beaten by some thugs who rob him. He wakes up in an office.

The man shows Wertham different artists whose lives and careers were ruined as a result of the hearings.

Date: 2019-02-05 09:29 pm (UTC)
alicemacher: Lisa Winklemeyer from the webcomic Penny and Aggie, c2004-2011 G. Lagacé, T Campbell (Default)
From: [personal profile] alicemacher
For a concept with such potential and resonance with comics fandom, this story is disappointing. The writing is too on-the-nose and the overuse of gag labels is distracting.

Date: 2019-02-05 11:07 pm (UTC)
thespis: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thespis
This seems incredibly disingenuous and gratuitously cruel to Fredric Wertham - a man who, though he's remembered for his ill-judged and ill-informed crusade against comics, was also a progressive psychiatrist who ran a mental health clinic for poor black people in Harlem, believing that everybody should have access to affordable and respectful psychiatric treatment. He was vocally anti-segregation and his works were cited in Brown v. Board of Education.

That's not to say that Wertham's assertions in Seduction of the Innocent and the Senate hearings didn't have negative consequences for the comic industry, but Wertham was not the only player in these events (and in fact, he was opposed to the Comics Code that effectively spelled the end of all horror and crime comics).

And William Gaines - the real-life version of the Frank Gladwell character, who humiliated himself trying to justify a severed head on a comic cover as being in good taste - ultimately wasn't ruined by the Senate hearings. While his publishing house, EC Comics, didn't survive the Comics Code, one of their titles survived and thrived in magazine form and is still being published today - Mad magazine.

Gaines didn't die in debt, beaten to death by loan sharks. He lived to see Mad become a roaring success, and even saw former EC title Tales from the Crypt adapted into a movie and TV show. He was publisher of Mad until the day he died, aged 70.

Date: 2019-02-05 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] arilou_skiff
I was going to say something similar.

Date: 2019-02-05 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] lego_joker
Agreed. If there's anything Wertham oughta be slammed on it would probably be his homophobia. There's also a potentially interesting discussion to be had on whether his condemnation of all the racial caricatures in Golden Age comics (especially Wonder Woman) was a good thing in the long run, given it led to no nonwhite characters period in the '50s and half the '60s.

If anything, the real villains here oughta be pastiches of the DC and Marvel (then Timely) CEO's, who deliberately rode the wave of the Comics Code as a means to crush EC and make sure superheroes would have a stranglehold on the medium.

Date: 2019-02-06 01:50 pm (UTC)
wizardru: Hellboy (Default)
From: [personal profile] wizardru
Wertham was more than one thing; he was a complicated, flawed human being, like all of us. I don't consider DC and Marvel villains for forming the CCA as a form of self-defense; was it intended to disenfranchise EC, who was pushing the limits of the medium? Unquestionably. But from their perspective, most of the problems they were facing were directly due to EC's actions, so from their perspective, they were dealing with the problem child of the industry. That EC was publishing fearless comics that were some of the best of the time doesn't change the fact they were also publishing material that was bringing the most scrutiny, as well.

Ultimately, while Gaines stopped publishing those comics, that isn't the same thing as them going out of business. EC got plenty of reprints, starting in the 1960s. They licensed stuff in the 70s, had movies in the 80s and TV shows in the 90s. Mad, of course, managed to weather all of these changes and still offer sometimes scathing material over years.

Date: 2019-02-06 04:13 am (UTC)
deathcrist2000: (Default)
From: [personal profile] deathcrist2000
"Wertham, in short, is caught between wanting to change the world and wanting to keep it as it is, between wanting to build a better future for the children and an intense unwillingness to disrupt the present. So he picks a target and launches a crusade, defending the social order and all the little children with every bit of fury and passion at his disposal.
So no, he’s not a supervillain. He’s something much more complex: a superhero."
-Jen A. Blue on Seduction of the Innocent


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