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I have never come across any adult nor adolescent
who had outgrown comic-book reading who would ever dream
of keeping any of these "books" for any sentimental or other reason.

-Dr. Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent, page 89
A site dedicated to the comic book censorship crusade of the 1940's and 1950's, Seduction of the Innocent , and the works of Dr. Fredric Wertham.

Seduction of the Innocent is a book written by psychiatrist Dr. Fredric Wertham about the harmful effects of comic books. Published in 1954 and reprinted numerous times since, the book represents the culmination of years of reasearch into juvenile delinquency. SOTI, as it is known in Dr. Wertham's private files and also among comic book collectors, laid the blame for delinquency largely upon comic books. Dr. Wertham's work helped spark a United States Senate investigation and the formation of the Comics Code Authority. SOTI and other anti-comics efforts led to organized comic book burnings and nearly killed the entire United States comic book industry in the mid-1950's.

You'll find a handy timeline of significant events in the anti-comics crusade here.

Help us find the LOST SOTI books!

Hundreds of comics were referenced by Dr. Fredric Wertham in Seduction of the Innocent, the classic 1954 anti-comics diatribe. However, fewer than 150 of those books have been identified by the collecting community. A major goal of this site has been to identify all of the source material used by Dr. Wertham in writing Seduction of the Innocent. Can you help identify the LOST SOTI books?


  • EVEN MORE Discoveries!
    April, 2019: It's been a while since the site was updated, but over the last few years even more previously-unidentified SOTI books have now been found! See the
    Lost SOTI page for details of Famous Crimes #1, Famous Crimes #19, Mr. Risk #2, Nyoka #26, Phantom Lady #16 and Wanted Comics #29!

  • Anti-Wertham Editorials
    March, 2019: Three of the four anti-Wertham editorials that appeared in Captain America Comics have been identified! See the more anti-comics page and check out the anti-Wertham editorials for details!

  • Two MORE Discoveries!
    September 26, 2016: Two more previously-unidentified SOTI books have been uncovered! Wertham referred to a comic book in which one man kills his wife with a poker. A comic book fitting that description has been found, although it's difficult to say with certainty that this is the book to which Wertham was referring. Eagle-eyed contributor Carl Henderson has positively identified the book that Wertham referenced with this passage,
    A man provides murder victims for his wife, who drinks their blood. He grabs a newsboy for her and she says over his bound body: "His throat is as white and soft as a swan's! So tender and youthful!" (p. 388)
    See the lost SOTI page for these and many more SOTI books that have yet to be discovered.

  • Two MORE Discoveries!
    November 1, 2013: Two more previously-unidentified SOTI books have now been found! A comic book sleuth has found two of the lost SOTI comic books that have been undetected by comics historians for nearly sixty years! See T-man #4 and Diary Loves #31 on the lost SOTI page.

  • Historically Significant Seduction of the Innocent Comic Book Found
    September 3, 2013: A copy of "The Nightingale" was recently uncovered by a collector. The comic book "The Nightingale," published by Once-Upon-a-Time Press in 1948, is the scarcest known comic book that Dr. Fredric Wertham referenced in Seduction of the Innocent. Until this copy was found, only two copies were known to exist, and only one was in the hands of a private collector (the other owned by the Library of Congress). Read about the discovery here Nightingale discovery.

  • Performance to Feature Wertham, Marston
    March 29, 2013: Dr. Fredric Wertham sits down for a drink with fesishist and Wonder Woman creator, William Moulton Marston. That is the premise of the latest play by Stephen Gracia, "The Last Days of the Brave and the Bold". The play was presented March 28, 2013 at Mr. Dennehy's Pub in New York City. For more information on Stephen Gracia's D3C plays, go to the D3C web page.

  • March 20, 2013: Panel Discusses Wertham
    Scheduled to coincide with what would have been Dr. Wertham's 118th birthday, the event "Surely You're Joking, Dr. Wertham" was held on March 20, 2013 at the SoHo Gallery for Gigital Art in New York City. This panel discussion of Dr. Wertham and the comics censorship movement of the 1940's and 50's featured the following all-star panelists.

    DENNIS O'NEIL, one of comics' most acclaimed writers, worked briefly in journalism, then moved to New York and comics. Denny brought social consciousness to the medium with the groundbreaking Green Lantern/Green Arrow series. His work on Batman as writer and editorreturned that character to its dark, gothic roots.

    DAVID HAJDU teaches in Columbia University's School of Journalism. He serves as the music critic for The New Republic and is the author of books including Positively 4th Street and The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America.

    CRAIG YOE has been called the "Indiana Jones of comics historians" by Vice magazine. Publishers Weekly says he's the "archivist of the ridiculous and the sublime" and calls his work "brilliant." The Onion calls him "the celebrated designer," The Library Journal, "a comics guru." BoingBoing hails him "a fine cartoonist and a comic book historian of the first water." Yoe was Creative Director/Vice President/ General Manager of Jim Henson's Muppets, and a Creative Director at Nickelodeon and Disney. Craig has won an Eisner Award and the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators.

    SHARON PACKER, M.D., is a practicing physician and psychiatrist, and Adjunct Professor of Media Studies at New School University . She has published dozens of academic articles and book reviews, as well as chapters on psychology and media, and psychiatry and religion. Her books include Superheroes and Superegos and the 2012 Cinema's Sinister Psychiatrists.

    CAROL L. TILLEY is an assistant professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at University of Illinois. A lifelong comics reader, Tilley made her first visit to use the Wertham papers at the Library of Congress in October 2010. Although she was looking for his correspondence with librarians and teachers, Tilley quickly realized that there was a bigger story to be told: how the psychiatrist manipulated evidence to advance his anti-comics rhetoric. A scholarly paper based on this research was published in Information & Culture: A Journal of History in November 2012. Tilley has written and spoken about comics in venues such as Children's Literature in Education, the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing, and the Comics Arts Conference at WonderCon. She is currently working on a history of children's comics readers.

    DANNY FINGEROTH (moderator) was a longtime writer and editor for Marvel Comics and was Senior VP of Education at The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA). He has spoken on comics at venues including The Smithsonian Institution and The Metropolitan Museum. Fingeroth is the author of Superman on the Couch and Disguised as Clark Kent; and co-editor (with Roy Thomas) of The Stan Lee Universe, a treasury of interviews, articles, and mementos relating to the co- creator of the Marvel Universe, including a debate between Lee and Wertham's colleague, Dr. Hilde Mosse.

    From left, O'Neil, Hajdu, Tilley, Packer.

    Hajdu, Tilley, Packer, and Yoe.

  • February 18, 2013: Wertham Lied in SOTI, Researcher Says

    Carol Tilley, assistant professor at the University of Illinois's Graduate School fo Libary and Information Science, has examined documents in Dr. Wertham's files at the library of congress. She has come to the conclusion that Dr. Wertham fabricated some of the evidence presented in Seduction of the Innocent. For more information, read the New York Times article on Carol Tilley's work about Dr. Wertham, and the article at the University of Illinois website.

  • April 2, 2012: Another Hanging

    Observant contributor Dave Reynolds noticed that this cover of Lone Rider #3 is just as good a fit as Rangers #38 for this quote:
    "On the floor under his open hand lay a comic book with this cover: a girl on a horse with a noose around her neck, the rope tied to a tree. A man was leading the horse away, tightening the noose as he did so. "
    Dave found another comic that comes really close to what's described. Check out the cover to Lone Rider #3 below. There aren't a lot of covers that depict hangings, and even fewer that depict women being hanged. On this cover, the woman on the horse is about to be hanged, and there is a man causing the hanging, so this part is consistent with what Wertham wrote. However, the man is not leading the horse away.

    Could this be another "Lost SOTI" comic? Is this quote from Rangers #38, Lone Rider #3, or another book? Feel free to e-mail us your thoughts on the matter.

  • April 2, 2012: Mystery Squared

    The mystery regarding "Mysteries of Paris" has been solved. Why is it that Wertham's description of The Mysteries of Paris doesn't seem to match the comic book? See the Classics Illustrated page for details.

  • October 7, 2011: Another Lost SOTI Reference Located... (and it was right under our noses)!

    Another comic book reference in SOTI has been located, thanks to the sleuthing work of Brad Sultan. Brad found that the following quote from SOTI page 387: A young soldier "keeping watch in his foxhole in Korea" is exterminated by a ghost: "The fangs and talons of the evil witch sank deeper into the jugular vein and then came out, withdrawing rich red blood. The young man sank forward, face up, dead!
    comes from Black Cat Comics #39, already a known SOTI book!

  • August 11, 2011: Another Lost SOTI Comic Discovered?

    For more than half a century, the source of the following quote in SOTI has been unidentified.
    "On the floor under his open hand lay a comic book with this cover: a girl on a horse with a noose around her neck, the rope tied to a tree. A man was leading the horse away, tightening the noose as he did so. "
    A comic book has been discovered that comes really close to what's described. Check out the cover to Rangers Comics #38 below. There aren't a lot of covers that depict hangings, and even fewer that depict women being hanged. On this cover, the woman on the horse is about to be hanged, and there is a man causing the hanging, so this part is consistent with what Wertham wrote. However, the man is whipping the horse and not leading it away.

    Could this be another "Lost SOTI" comic? Feel free to e-mail us your thoughts on the matter.

  • August 1, 2011: Details of another Lost SOTI Comic!

    Check out the scans from one of the recent Lost SOTI comics that has been discovered. See the Lost SOTI page for scans from True Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #11.

  • July 3, 2011: Another Lost SOTI Comic Discovered!

    A comic book featuring Captain Marvel was recently discovered to be one of the "Lost SOTI" comics! Details will come, either at this website or perhaps in 2012 when the Wertham film "Diagram for Delinquents" is released. See the next news item for more on this film.

  • July 3, 2011: Wertham Film Production Has Begun

    Production has begun on "Diagram for Delinquents," a film about Dr. Wertham and SOTI. The film crew has already interviewed webmaster Stephen O'Day, and has posted an excerpt from that interview here. There's lots more to come, so be sure to check out the status updates at

  • June 13, 2011: Yet Another "Gay Batman" Comic Located?
    Batman #67 might well be another "lost SOTI" comic book!

    One of the assertions made by Dr. Wertham in Seduction of the Innocent was that Batman and Robin were gay lovers. In bolstering this claim, made on pages 190 and 191 of SOTI, Wertham states, "Like the girls in other stories, Robin is sometimes held captive by the villains and Batman has to give in or 'Robin gets killed.'"

    For more than half a century, the source of this quote has been unknown to comic book historians, scholars and collectors. Thanks to the research of Hector Guerra, the source of this quote may now be identified. The exact scene described by Wertham occurs in Batman #67, as illustrated below.

    The argument that Batman #67 is a "lost SOTI" book is compelling, noting that
    1. The date of Batman #67 falls within the range of dates of other comics Wertham criticized.
    2. The situation Wertham describes, in which Robin is kidnapped and Batman is required to do the villain's bidding, occurs in this comic.
    3. The exact quote "Robin gets killed." occurs in this comic.

    However, it's also possible that a similar situation COULD have occurred in another Golden Age Batman book. A three-word quote is not proof positive. The only way to ensure with certainty that Batman #67 is the book to which Wertham referred is to check all of the Batman stories from 1946 to 1954 (including Detective and World's Finest) to make sure that this simple three-word quote does not appear elsewhere. For now, we'll call this a "suspected" SOTI book.

    In the past five months, three DC comics have been identified as "lost SOTI" comics: Batman #64, World's Finest #44 and Gang Busters #3. If Batman #67 turns out to difinitively be one of the lost SOTI books, that will make four.

    For details on the other recently-discovered "gay Batman" comics, see our News Archive.


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