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Encyclopedia > Seduction of the Innocent
First U.S. printing, 1954
First U.S. printing, 1954
First U.K. printing, 1954
First U.K. printing, 1954

Seduction of the Innocent was a book by Dr. Fredric Wertham, published in 1954, that warned that comic books were a bad form of popular literature and a serious cause of juvenile delinquency. The book was a minor bestseller that created alarm in parents and galvanized them to campaign for censorship. At the same time, a U.S. Congressional inquiry was launched into the comic book industry, and the Comics Code Authority was voluntarily established by publishers to self-censor their titles. Image File history File links First US printing of Seduction of the Innocent (1954), by Dr. Fredric Wertham. ... Image File history File links First US printing of Seduction of the Innocent (1954), by Dr. Fredric Wertham. ... Image File history File links First UK printing of Seduction of the Innocent by Dr. Fredric Wertham. ... Image File history File links First UK printing of Seduction of the Innocent by Dr. Fredric Wertham. ... Fredric Wertham Dr. Fredric Wertham (March 20, 1895 – November 29, 1981) was a German-American psychiatrist and crusading author who protested the purportedly harmful effects of mass media—comic books in particular—on the development of children. ... Year 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A comic book is a magazine or book containing the art form of comics. ... Old book bindings at the Merton College library. ... Juvenile delinquency refers to criminal acts performed by juveniles. ... Congress in Joint Session. ... The seal of the Comics Code Authority, which appears on the covers of approved comic books. ...


Seduction of the Innocent cited overt or covert depictions of violence, sex, drug use, and other adult fare within "crime comics"—a term Wertham used to describe not only the popular gangster/murder-oriented titles of the time, but superhero and horror comics as well. The book asserted, largely based on undocumented anecdotes, that reading this material encouraged similar behavior in children. The references in this article would be clearer with a different and/or consistent style of citation, footnoting or external linking. ... Horror fiction is, broadly, fiction in any medium intended to scare, unsettle, or horrify the reader. ...


Comics, especially the crime/horror titles pioneered by EC, were not lacking in gruesome images; Wertham reproduced these extensively, pointing out what he saw as recurring morbid themes such as "injury to the eye". Many of his other conjectures, particularly about hidden sexual themes (e.g. images of female nudity concealed in drawings of muscles and tree bark, or Batman and Robin as homosexual lovers), were met with derision within the comics industry. (Wertham's claim that Wonder Woman had a bondage subtext was somewhat better documented, as her creator William Moulton Marston had admitted as much; however, Wertham also claimed Wonder Woman's strength and independence made her a lesbian.) Entertaining Comics was headed by William Gaines but is better known by its publishing name of EC Comics. ... Batman (originally referred to as the Bat-Man and still referred to at times as the Batman) is a DC Comics fictional superhero who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939. ... Robin is a fictional superhero published by DC Comics. ... Since its coinage, the word homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings. ... Wonder Woman is a fictional DC Comics superheroine co-created by William Moulton Marston and wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston. ... A model in bondage cuffs with a leg spreader In the context of BDSM, bondage involves people being tied up or otherwise restrained for pleasure. ... Dr. William Moulton Marston (May 9, 1893 – May 2, 1947) was a psychologist, feminist theorist, and comic book writer who created the Wonder Woman character with his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston. ... A lesbian is a woman who is romantically and sexually attracted only to other women. ...


The splash made by this book, and Wertham's previous credentials as an expert witness, made it inevitable that he would appear before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency led by anti-crime crusader Estes Kefauver. In extensive testimony before the committee, Wertham restated arguments from his book and pointed to comics as a major cause of juvenile crime. The committee's questioning of their next witness, EC publisher William Gaines, focused on violent scenes of the type Wertham had decried. Though the committee's final report did not blame comics for crime, it recommended that the comics industry tone down its content voluntarily. Possibly taking this as a veiled threat of potential censorship, publishers developed the Comics Code Authority to censor their own content. The code not only banned violent images, but entire words and concepts (e.g. "terror" and "zombies"), and dictated that criminals must always be punished. This destroyed most EC-style titles, leaving a sanitized subset of superhero comics as the chief remaining genre. Wertham nevertheless considered the Comics Code inadequate to protect youth. The Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency was convened during the early 1950s to investigate the influence on youth by violence and sex in mass media and, in particular, comic books. ... The issue of Time Magazine in which Kefauvers victory in the New Hampshire primary was reported. ... William Maxwell Gaines (March 1, 1922 – June 3, 1992) (more frequently referred to as Bill Gaines), was the bearded, bespectacled, overweight publisher of Mad. ... The seal of the Comics Code Authority, which appears on the covers of approved comic books. ... The references in this article would be clearer with a different and/or consistent style of citation, footnoting or external linking. ... The Comics Code Authority (CCA) is an organization founded in 1954 to act as a de facto censor for American comic books. ...


References

  • Beaty, Bart (2005). Fredric Wertham and the Critique of Mass Culture. University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 1-57806-819-3.
  • Nyberg, Ami Kiste (1998). Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code, University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 0-87805-975-X.
  • Wright, Bradford W. (2001). Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America, Johns Hopkins University Press, ISBN 0-8018-7450-5.

Other uses

  • Seduction of the Innocent is also the name of a social guidance film by Sid Davis that portrayed cannabis as leading to heroin addiction.
  • Seduction of the Innocent is also a track from the KISS album Carnival of Souls: The Final Sessions.
  • Seduction of the Innocent is also a track from the Ripping Corpse album Dreaming with the Dead.
  • A book entitled "The Innocent Seduced" was used in Episode 39 of the Justice League animated series, being cited by an anti-JL moral crusader.
  • A promo for the upcoming DC Comics event Countdown features an image of Mary Marvel paired with the words "The Seduction of the Innocent."
  • The website Superdickery has a section called "Seduction of the Innocent", which features a collection of comic book covers and panels which, when taken out of context, seem sexual in nature.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Seduction of the Innocent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (567 words)
Seduction of the Innocent was a book by Dr. Fredric Wertham, published in 1954, that warned that comic books were a bad form of popular literature and a serious cause of juvenile delinquency.
Seduction of the Innocent cited overt or covert depictions of violence, sex, drug use, and other adult fare within "crime comics"—a term Wertham used to describe not only the popular gangster/murder-oriented titles of the time, but superhero and horror comics as well.
Seduction of the Innocent is also the name of a social guidance film by Sid Davis that portrayed marijuana as leading to heroin addiction.
Review of Seduction of the Innocent (2304 words)
*Seduction of the Innocence* was clearly written as a persuasive book intended for the layman, and as such should be dealt with on these grounds first.
Unlike Wertham's analogies, mine is a fair one: Wertham was an M.D. and *Seduction of the Innocent* was essentially his collection of beliefs based upon his experiences.
I detail the flaws of *Seduction of the Innocent* because they unfortunately detract from the surprising validity of Wertham's central thesis, that anti-social material presented in the media can influence the behavior of the audience.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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