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

February 12, 2013

Evidence Found That Fredric Wertham Fudged His Findings During Public Testimony And Advocacy

imageI think that's potentially fairly major. It's certainly by itself already major in terms of a cultural idea. One thing I find interesting reading a bunch of tweets and blog posts about it is how Dr. Wertham is still seen as some sort of comics-destroying bogeyman, which is his original role in comics culture and certainly one in which he was enmeshed as solidly as anyone this side of Joe McCarthy when I was a comics-reading kid. I'm not exactly super-conversant in the history of comics censorship, but it always seemed to me that Wertham didn't have the authority or the power to really destroy comics in the way that's assumed for him in cultural shorthand, although he certainly legitimized a point of view about comics that made a huge impact on the shape of the industry in the 1950s and then moving forward.

One thing that will be interesting to see, although the headlines won't be as wacky, is how some of the scholars that have a softer view of Wertham, or a view that includes some his admirable work with teens and social reform, process this new work.
posted 5:40 pm PST | Permalink

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