Seduction of the Innocent: More Anti-Comics Items
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In the mid-1950's, the pamphlet "The Truth About Comic Books" was published.

This religious tract quotes from Wertham's November, 1953 Ladies' Home Journal article,
but does not mention Seduction of the Innocent, so it would seem that this was
published between November, 1954 and the publication date of SOTI (April, 1954). Many thanks
to eBayer Comicstew (Stewart Silver) for discovering this previously-unknown piece of
comic book history and for providing this information!
More to come!

If you have any information to contribute,
just E-mail us

Editorial Responses to the attacks on comic books

The Overstreet Price Guide notes that several Marvel comics have anti-Wertham editorials. However, the scope of Marvel's published defense against the anti-comics attacks goes far beyond what's noted in the Guide. It appears that in most comics for an eight-month period, Marvel included editorial material defending their publications from Dr. Wertham and other critics. There were four different editorials from November, 1948 through June, 1949, one of which responded to Dr. Wertham's accusations directly and referred to him by name.

Editorial #1
First, this editorial appeared in the Marvel books cover dated November and December, 1948.
Editorial #2
In January and February, 1949, the following editorial appeared in Marvel's books.
Editorial #3
In March and April, 1949, this editorial appeared in Marvel's books.
Editorial #4
In June, 1949, this editorial appeared in Marvel's books. It probably appeared in May as well, but we have yet to confirm that.
Below are some of the books that contained these editorials. Per Overstreet, the following have anti-Wertham editorials, but it's not clear which editorial is in these: All Western Winners #3, Blonde Phantom #22, Captain America #71, Hedy #32, Justice #8, Mitzi #6, Teen #30.

Title
  Nov., 1948
  Dec., 1948
  Jan., 1949
  Feb., 1949
  Mar., 1949
  Apr., 1949
  May, 1949
  Jun., 1949
  Jul., 1949
 
Notes
All True Crime
  30
This book contains no editorial.

 
  31
This book contains no editorial.

 
  32
Editorial #2

 
  33
Editorial #3

 
  34
Editorial #4

 
All Western Winners
 
  2 (Winter 1948)


 
  3
Editorial #2

 
  4
Editorial #3

  Title continues as Western Winners
 
 
 
Amazing Mysteries
 
 
 
 
 
  Title continued from Sub-Mariner comics, per Overstreet. (?)
  32


 
  33
Editorial #4

 
Annie Oakley
  4


  Last issue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Awful Oscar
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Title continues from Oscar
  11
Editorial #4

 
 
Best Western
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Title continued from Terry Toons or Miss America Magazine?
  58
Editorial #4

 
 
Blackstone the Magician
  Last issue (4) was Sept, 1948, but title is mentioned on later editorial page.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Blaze Carson
  2
Editorial #1

 
  3
Editorial #2

 
  4


 
  Note that the title skipped a month.
  5
Editorial #4

 
 
Blonde Phantom
  20


 
  21


 
  22


  Title continues as Lovers
 
 
 
 
Captain America
  69


 
  70


 
  71


 
  72


 
  73


 
Cindy Comics
 
  32
Editorial #1

 
  33
Editorial #2

 
  34
Editorial #3

 
  35
Editorial #4

 
 
Per eBayer ThePillowQueen, issue 34 contains Editorial #3.
Comedy Comics
  4


 
  5
This book contains no editorial.

 
  6


 
  7


 
  8


 
Complete Mystery Stories
 
  3
Editorial #1

 
  4
Editorial #2

  Title continues as True Complete Mystery.
 
 
 
 
 
Crime Fighters
  4


 
  5
Editorial #1

 
  6
Editorial #2

 
  7
Editorial #3

 
  8
Editorial #4

 
Frankie and Lana
 
  12


 
  13
Editorial #2

 
  14
Editorial #3

 
  15
Editorial #4

 
 
Gay Comics
 
  35


 
  36


 
  37
Editorial #3

 
  38
Editorial #4

 
 
Per eBayer ThePillowQueen, #35 contains an editorial, but it's unclear which one. Per eBayer Doyman, issue #37 contains Editorial #3. Per eBayer Bronze!, issue #38 contains Editorial #4.
Georgie Comics
  19


  Title continues as Georgie and Judy
 
 
 
 
 
  Title continued from Georgie and Judy
  23
Editorial #4

 
Georgie and Judy
 
  Title continued from Georgie Comics
  20
Editorial #1

 
  21
Editorial #2

 
  22
Editorial #3

  Title continues as Georgie Comics
 
 
Hedy DeVine
 
  30


 
  31
Editorial #2

 
  32


 
  33


 
 
Human Torch
  33


 
  34


 
  35


  Last issue before 1954
 
 
 
 
Ideal
  3
This book contains no editorial.

 
  4


 
  5
Editorial #2

  Last issue
 
 
 
 
Jeanie
  22
This book contains no editorial.

 
  23
No editorial

 
  24
Editorial #2

 
  25


 
  26


 
Many thanks to eBayer Adam Anderson (eBay ID: blissard) for providing the data for Jeanie #22, 23 and much more. Thanks to eBayer ThePillowQueen for the Jeanie #24 data.
Joker Comics
  34
This book contains no editorial.

 
  35


 
  36
Editorial #2

 
  37
Editorial #3

 
  38


 
Thanks to eBayer Adam Anderson (eBay ID: Bilssard) for the Joker #34 and #37 data. #38 does contain an editorial, likely #4, but that has not been confirmed yet.
Junior Miss
  31
This book contains no editorial.

 
  32
No editorial

 
  33
Editorial #2

 
  34
Editorial #3

 
  35


 
Thanks to eBayer Adam Anderson (eBay ID: Bilssard) for the Junior Miss #31 data.
Justice Comics
 
  7


 
  8


  This was very unusal at the time. A monthly Marvel book.
  9
Editorial #3

  10
Editorial #3. This comic went monthly, so the same bimonthly editorial ran twice.

  11
Editorial #4

  12


 
Note there were additional issues 7/8/9 in 1947-48.
Kid Colt
 
  3


 
  4
Editorial #2

 
  Note that title skipped a month
  5


 
  6


 
Krazy Komics
  2
This book contains no editorial.

  Last issue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lana
 
  3


 
  4
Editorial #2

 
  5


 
  6
Editorial #4

 
 
Per Tom Raski (eBayer Bronze!), issue #6 contains editorial #4.
Lawbreakers Always Lose
 
  5


 
  6
Editorial #2

 
  7
Editorial #3

 
  8
Editorial #4

 
 
Li'l Willie
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Title continued from Willie
  20


 
Lovers
 
 
 
 
 
  Title continued from Blonde Phantom
  23


 
  24


 
Margie
 
  44


 
  45
Editorial #2

 
  46


 
  47


 
 
Marvel Mystery Comics
 
  89
Editorial #1

 
  90


 
  91


 
  92


 
 
Millie the Model
 
  15


 
  16
Editorial #2

 
  17


 
  18
Editorial #4

 
 
Per Dave Reynolds, issue #18 contains Editorial #4.
Mitzi's Boy Friend
 
  5
Editorial #1

 
  6
Editorial #2

 
  7
Editorial #3

  Title continues as Mitzi's Romances
 
 
 
Thanks to eBayer Adam Anderson (eBay ID: Blissard) for the Mitzi's Boy Friend #6 data.
Mitzi's Romances
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Title continued from Mitzi's Boy Friend
  8


 
 
My Own Romance
 
 
 
  Title continues from My Romance
  4
Editorial #3

  Note that issues 5 and 6 are dated 1 month apart.
  5
Editorial #2 (?)

  6


 
 
My Romance
  2
Editorial #1

 
  3
Editorial #2

  Title continues as My Own Romance
 
 
 
 
 
 
Namora
 
  3


  Last issue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nellie the Nurse
 
  16
Editorial #1

 
  17
Editorial #2

 
  18


 
  19


 
 
Oscar
 
  8
Editorial #1

 
  9


 
  10
Editorial #3

  Title continues as Awful Oscar
 
 
 
Per eBayer ThePillowQueen, issue #8 contains Editorial #1.
Patsy Walker
  19
This book contains no editorial.

 
  20
Editorial #1

 
  21
Editorial #2

 
  22


 
  23


 
Powerhouse Pepper
  5
This book contains no editorial.

  Last issue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rusty
  19


 
 
 
  Note title had a hiatus of several months.
 
  20


 
  21


 
Sub-Mariner
 
  29


 
  30


 
  31


 
  32


  Overstreet says title continued as Amazing Mysteries #32.
 
Super Rabbit
  14


  Last issue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sun-Girl
 
  3


  Last issue
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Teen Comics
  28
This book contains no editorial.

 
  29
Editorial #1

 
  30


 
  31
Editorial #3

 
  32


 
Tessie the Typist
 
  19


 
  20
Editorial #2

 
  21
Editorial #3

 
  22
Editorial #4

 
 
Tex Morgan
 
  3


 
  4


 
  5
Editorial #3

 
  6
Editorial #4

 
 
Tex Taylor
  2


 
  3
This book contains no editorial.

 
  4
Editorial #2

 
  5


 
  6


 
True Complete Mystery
 
 
 
 
  Title continues from Complete Mystery.
  5
Editorial #3

 
  6


 
 
Two-Gun Kid
 
  5
Editorial #1

 
  6
Editorial #2

 
  7
Editorial #3

 
  8


 
 
Per David T. Alexander, issue #5 contains Editorial #1. Overstreet suggests that #5 may be the first Marvel anti-Wertham editorial. However, Blaze Carson #2 and My Romance #2 seem to disprove that.
Venus
 
  3
Editorial #1

 
  Note the hiatus between issues 3 and 4.
 
  4
Editorial #3

 
  5
Editorial #4

 
 
Wacky Duck
  Last issue was October, 1948
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Western Winners
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Title continued from All Western Winners
  5
Editorial #4

 
 
Wild Western
  4


 
  5


 
  6
Editorial #2

 
  7
Editorial #3

 
  8
Editorial #4

 
Willie
 
  17
Editorial #1

 
  18
Editorial #2

 
  19


  Title continues as Li'l Willie
 
 
 

Misc.
Title Issue    
  ADVENTURES INTO DARKNESS 13
  Cannibalism story "The Feast of the Ghouls" cited by T.E. Murphy in June, 1954 Reader's Digest anti-comics article.
  CRIME DOES NOT PAY 63
  Issues 63, 64- Overstreet states possible use in SOTI. This information is incorrect, although #63 does contain Gleason's code of self-censorship.
  HAUNT OF FEAR 27
  Vault Keeper pictured reading SOTI. Contains EC's plea to readers, asking them to write to the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency.
  JO-JO COMICS 15
  Cited by Dr. Wertham in May 29, 1948 Saturday Review of Literature article.
Read it!

Overstreet erroneously lists the date as 5/47.
  JUNGLE COMICS 104
  In Camilla story, villain is Dr. Wertham
  MISTER MYSTERY 3
  Anti-Wertham editorial Read it!
  PANIC 3
  Senate Subcommittee parody
  SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES 14
  All 4 stories cited by T.E. Murphy in June, 1954 Reader's Digest anti-comics article; classic story "The Orphan" is singled out.
  SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES 15
  Possible use in T.E. Murphy article
  SPEED COMICS 33
  Colton Waugh's 1947 book, The Comics focused primarily on comic strips.
However, one chapter was devoted to comic books. In that chapter, here's what Waugh had to say about Alex Schomburg's cover to Speed Comics #33.

Take a typical comic-book cover of World War II days.

Scene, a Jap wireless shack, through whose open door is seen a vessel being dive-bombed and bursting into flames. Which side is that ship on? It isn't obvious. In the foreground a Jap is sending a message under difficulties; he screams, revealing hideous buck-teeth as he sends. A baseball bat swung by a tough youngster has smashed him on the head in a white explosion. Another Jap, with bloody Samurai sword in one hand, spitting gun in the other, has has also been socked by a noble, hooded male in brilliant blue. Meanwhile a blood-red blond man is smashing the power plant with his gloved fists -- Hey! Look out! There's a green Jap splut-sputting him with a machine gun! Yes, but see that blond, teen-age girl crouching on the pink table; she's got a blood-red ax; she's coming down on the Jap's head, or is she? A hideous, shaven crook is leaning through a porthole aiming a blowgun at her -- Yeah, but see that youngster in the blue business suit jabbing a bayoneted rifle at the whole group -- But another jap is reaching at him! Ah, but a gorgeous superwoman with blood-red hair and highly stylized harlequin mask, through which peer blood-white eyes is strangling the Jap with one of her delicate arms, as with the other, she -- oh, well.

The layout artist, on completing this page, probably looked hopelessly at it, figured it was a failure. He had used up every inch of available screaming space, yet, there was no block of ice enclosing a glorious, frozen girl about to be sawed in half by a ghoulish hellscientist done up in a whie coat and pince-nez. Probably the editor, looking at this cover, said to himself, "That layout guy Prangle is slipping. We gotta get more action."

  SPIRIT   2/27/1949   Wertham appears in the story as Dr. Wolfgang Worry. A middle school music teacher is driven insane by a crime comic he rescues from a bonfire. This was reprinted in the Spirit #5.
  STRANGE FANTASY 10
  Story "Bloody Mary" cited by T.E. Murphy in June, 1954 Reader's Digest anti-comics article.
  TALES FROM THE CRYPT 40
  Used in Senate hearings & in Hartford Courant
  VAULT OF HORROR 36
  "Pipe Dream" classic opium addict story. Story "Twin Bill" Cited by T.E. Murphy in June, 1954 Reader's Digest anti-comics article.
  WEIRD FANTASY 13
  EC's Anti-Wertham "Cosmic Correspondence"
  WEIRD MYSTERIES 5
  Anti-Wertham column. Read it!
  WEIRD MYSTERIES 8
  Story "I Killed Mary" cited by T.E. Murphy in June, 1954 Reader's Digest anti-comics article

More Anti-Comics Items

In the 1940's and 1950's, comics were under attack by books, articles, and radio talk shows.

Since then, there have been sporadic attacks on comics. One such attack was launched in the pages of Seduction of the Innocent Revisited by John Fulce, published in 1990. Both SOTI and SOTI Revisited had authors with strong anti-comics opinions, and both books cited numerous examples of comics the authors felt were harmful. However, that's where the similiarities between the two books end. Whereas SOTI was written by a well-respected psychiatrist who had impeccable research and psychiatric credentials, SOTI Revisited cites as its author's primary credentials the fact that he previously owned a comic book store before becoming a religious crusader. The original Seduction of the Innocent had an enormous impact upon popular culture and nearly killed the comic book industry, but SOTI Revisited had virtually no impact whatsoever on the industry. "Revisited" is mentioned here largely because of its name, and not because the content or influence of the book warrants its inclusion.

 

 
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