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  1. #1
    Mild-Mannered Reporter
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    Default NYCC: The Secet History of Comics Censorship

    The CBLDF shines a light on the grudge that spurred anti-comics crusader Dr. Frederic Wertham to action and recently unearthed letters from teenage readers.


    Full article here.

  2. #2
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    The 1950's were a book burning period. Some form of censorship was bound to happen even without Seduction of the Innocent. Ironically, many of the horror and army comics of the 50's dealt with the issues of brainwashing and mind control- this was the era of rumors of mind control being performed in the Korean War a la Manchurian Candidate style.

  3. #3
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    Tilley's revelations about Wertham made the news earlier this year. Isn't this panel a follow-up to her earlier remarks?

  4. #4
    Sentinels were right chakal's Avatar
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    Wertham like Pilate, washed his hands in water and said "I am innocent of this man's blood"
    "I'm not to blame"
    Well, yes, you are.
    Thank you Wertham for ruining EC comics.
    The competition wouldn't do it without your help.
    Last edited by chakal; 10-25-2013 at 07:59 AM.
    Say No to decompressed storytelling!

    Bellechere for the win!!!

    European Union: XXI Century New USSR
    I am anti-EU

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    Hi Gothos - The panel included a bit of my earlier publicized work on Wertham, but it also included some seldom and never-heard stories about Wertham, Kefauver, Gaines, and others. - Carol

  6. #6
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    Hi Carol. I think Ms. Alverson's opening paragraphs should have noted that these revelations were not the first you had published after studying the late doctor's papers. The intent I think was to say that your gleanings from the correspondence, including a lot of the grudge-motivations, were being presented at the NY con for the first time.

    That said, I congratulate you on the sterling forensic efforts you've made to disclose so many of the confused areas of Wertham's legacy. I've seen a few current writers attempt to defend that legacy, but none of those attempts bear much fruit. I believe a few of them have also assailed your research as well, usually on agenda-driven grounds.

    A quick question: you mention Wertham's correspondence with the earlier anti-comics pundit Gershon Legman. Have you any notion as to how they made contact in the first place? One theory I've seen is that Wertham may have been acquainted with fellow German emigre Theodor Adorno, and that Adorno might have passed on Legman's name to Wertham, given that one Adorno essay quotes-- but does not credit-- a particular Legman essay.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gothos View Post
    A quick question: you mention Wertham's correspondence with the earlier anti-comics pundit Gershon Legman. Have you any notion as to how they made contact in the first place? One theory I've seen is that Wertham may have been acquainted with fellow German emigre Theodor Adorno, and that Adorno might have passed on Legman's name to Wertham, given that one Adorno essay quotes-- but does not credit-- a particular Legman essay.
    Gothos -

    Thanks for the question.

    I don't have a clear sense of how Wertham and Legman met. I've seen only a couple of mentions of Adorno's contact with Wertham in the materials I've examined at Library of Congress; they clearly knew one another and had at least a few social encounters. What I've seen though dates from the early 1940s, a bit removed from the first correspondences I've seen between Wertham and Legman.

    As for any agenda I might have, well: at the time I wrote the initial Wertham piece, I had no particular agenda to defame him. To be honest, I wasn't even that interested in Wertham when I went to look at his archival materials; I was more interested in whatever I might find from librarians and teachers. If I have any agenda at this point, it's to give the kids with whom he spoke and worked their voices.

    -Carol

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    I appreciate your taking the time to answer my question. It might be that Adorno didn't serve as any kind of direct conduit to facillitate the contact between Legman and Wertham, but that the indirect mention of Legman in that Adorno-essay I mentioned led Wertham to initiate some contact. IMO W. gives every indication of seeking out any and all persons who were anti-comics, even going to the extent of meeting with a (not named) Jerry Siegel when the latter was on the outs with DC. There's some irony in W. conferring with Siegel, since throughout much of his career Siegel tended to write the sort of blood-and-thunder stories W. despised.

    I'd love to see any of W's actual patients from the institution give a personal take on W's methods. Reading some of W's summations of what he said the students said, I suspect that some of them were playing him, telling him what he wanted to hear. But probably the world will never know.

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    Dang double post.

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