Junior Mad Scientist – Lab Notes

The Great Comic Book Plague: some follow-up

April 10th, 2008 by Weber

“I need this like another . . . Oh, wait.”
“Man, I need this like I need another . . . . Oh, wait.”

Below are a few items relevant to my April 9th post regarding the trouble with ignoring/forgetting the historicity of Frederick Wertham’s crusade against comics.:

—- Varney’s reply to my rebuttal. (I’m still considering a response.)

—- The New Republic’s ultra-cool slide show of ’50s horror comics covers. While only eight in the deck, each is a fine example of the lack of restraint publishers showed during the period. (original link via BoingBoing)

Of particular interest is the cover for Mister Mystery #12 and it’s strong use of the ‘injury-to-eye-motif’, which was a big story element in that era.

I can’t help but wonder if that particular theme/meme helped sell more comics, similar to former DC Editor Julius Schwartz’s maxim that any comic will sell better with a gorilla on its cover.

(image courtesy Greg Hyland over at LethargicLad.com)

Also —- if you’re into the whole Wertham argument, there looks to be the start of a debate between Ten-cent Plague author David Hajdu and pop culturalist and comics/graphic novel theoretician Douglas Wolk.

Click here to read Wolk’s initial volley.

Posted in Comics, Editorials | 6 Comments »

6 Responses

  1. Chris Moran Says:

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. bweber Says:

    Thanks, Chris. Welcome to the site.

  3. CHV Says:

    I am formulating another reply of my own.

    Check my blogtonight; I was thinking today that the one I posted to JMS about your rebuttal wasn’t thought out as well as it could have been.

  4. Jeff Says:

    Good to see your recent updates, Brad. I’m really quite interested in the comic censorship that began and how it truly shuttered all the creativity that you artsy folks need to leak out into the public. I’m all for the lightest filtering possible, but WOW, those nuts had no self control when it came to the covers. It was all about sales. Unfortunately, I have had to remove cartoon network from my home television access because there is NOTHING on that channel that I can justify letting my three boys (aged 7 and younger) consume. I want them to have a solid foundation of NOT crazy and immoral in place before I let them see the dark and twisted humor that I enjoy. I have associates and acquiantances that feel Nick is too mature for their kids. While I don’t quite agree with that, they have every right to control the content of their kids entertainment. And if they have the time and motivation to give two-hoots… God bless ’em!

  5. CHV Says:

    Where’s your Wertham rebuttal to my Wertham rebuttal?

    I’m still waiting for it.

  6. bweber Says:

    The prosecution is still considering a re-cross.

    It’s a matter of not what to say but how to say it, and whether anything else need be said. There are numerous comics-related pissing matches soaking the interweb; I’m reluctant to spread the stain.

    That being said, you well know it doesn’t take much to provoke me.

    So, if I do post anything, it will likely be late tonight and will be my final word on the subject.

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