Comic Book Brain
The Tashen Marvel Comics Book Library

Dr. Fredric Wertham

Dr. Fredric Wertham was a psychiatrist who became famous as an author of a book of criticism of comic books reflecting his belief that comic books negatively influenced children. The book was Seduction of the Innocent, published in 1954, leading to Wertham's arguments fueling a public outcry over the content of comic books. This ultimately led to a U.S. Congressional inquiry.

Wertham argued that comic books promoted violence, drug use, and other illicit activities. He particularly criticized the Batman and Robin series, suggesting it contained homosexual undertones, and he also targeted Wonder Woman for its feminist content. In particular, Wertham criticized the graphic depictions of violence and horror in titles from EC Comics, for example Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror.

The impact of Wertham's efforts were tremendously influential within the comic book industry. His advocacy caused the creation of the Comics Magazine Association of America (CMAA) founded in 1954 which soon established the Comics Code Authority (CCA).

The powers of the CCA enforced a code of ethics and standards the result which sanitized comic book content, removing elements deemed inappropriate for children, including excessive violence, overt sexuality, and certain types of criminal behavior. This made for a significant shift in what was in comic books for decades.

While Wertham's views garnered support across America, it also created controversy. The subject of Wertham's "crusade" still creates debate among scholars, comic book fans, and has made for a niche within the field of psychology for the criticism and evaluation of pop-culture.

In te years following Wertham's impact, attacks on his research and accusations that his conclusion demonstrated unwarranted bias have continued.

Only vaguely related: "Superhero fatigue" is back

You will see Amazon links on this web site because I am an Amazon affiliate. I earn from qualifying purchases.

Verdusa Spider Tee

Verdusa Spider Tee – Amazon

Original Page June 23, 2023