Scholar Finds Flaws in Work by Archenemy of Comics

tags: NYT, Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent



For all the colorful adversaries that comic books have yielded, perhaps no figure in the history of that industry is as vilified as Dr. Fredric Wertham.

Wertham, a German-born American psychiatrist, stirred a national furor and helped create a blueprint for contemporary cultural panics in 1954 with the publication of his book “Seduction of the Innocent,” which attacked comic books for corrupting the minds of young readers.

While the findings of Wertham (who died in 1981) have long been questioned by the comics industry and its advocates, a recent study of the materials he used to write “Seduction of the Innocent” suggests that Wertham misrepresented his research and falsified his results.

Carol L. Tilley, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science, reviewed Wertham’s papers, housed in the Library of Congress, starting at the end of 2010, shortly after they were made available to the public....



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