Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

January 2, 2014

100 Comics Positives For 2013: Still Debating Wertham


I think it's wonderful that we've come to a more significant understanding of Dr. Fredric Wertham, comics' bogeyman, in 2013. Carol Tilley's smart scholarship about how Wertham fudged facts to make stronger points of something he felt so true it blinded him to the finer points of process was rightfully lauded in the New York Times. There are other threads of thought out there, though, including the notion that Wertham was comics' greatest critic (a view I think espoused by Ken Parille) and that Wertham was actually right in believing that comics could be be powerful art, he was just wrong about what to do about that (a view I think is Jeff Trexler's, among others). All of this is preferable to the Lord Voldemoort-like figure he had been to two generations of comics-makers, in a way that conveniently left the men driving the comics industry off the hook for capitulating to cultural forces in a way that may have benefited market share. Let's discuss it forever.
posted 2:15 pm PST | Permalink

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