Fredric Wertham

Fredric Wertham (/ˈwɜːrθəm/; March 20, 1895 – November 18, 1981) was a German-American psychiatrist and author. Wertham had an early reputation as a progressive psychiatrist who treated poor black patients at his Lafargue Clinic when mental health services for blacks were uncommon due to racialist psychiatry. Wertham also authored a definitive textbook on the brain, and his institutional stressor findings were cited when courts overturned multiple segregation statutes, most notably in Brown v. Board of Education.

Despite this, Wertham remains best known for his concerns about the effects of violent imagery in mass media and the effects of comic books on the development of children.[1][2] His best-known book is Seduction of the Innocent (1954), which asserted that comic books caused youth to become delinquents. Besides Seduction of the Innocent, Wertham also wrote articles and testified before government inquiries into comic books, most notably as part of a U.S. Congressional inquiry into the comic book industry. Wertham's work, in addition to the 1954 comic book hearings led to creation of the Comics Code, although later scholars cast doubt on his observations.

Fredric Wertham
Wertham at his Gramercy Park office. Photo by Gordon Parks.
BornMarch 20, 1895
DiedNovember 18, 1981 (aged 86)
EducationUniversity of Würzburg (M.D., 1921)
Spouse(s)Florence Hesketh (1902–1987)

Early life

Wertham was born on March 20, 1895 in Nuremberg[3] as Friedrich Ignatz Wertheimer. He did not change his name legally to Fredric Wertham until 1927. He studied at King's College London, at the Universities of Munich and Erlangen, and graduated with an M.D. degree from the University of Würzburg in 1921. He was very much influenced by Dr. Emil Kraepelin, a professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Munich, and worked briefly at the Kraepelin Clinic in Munich in 1922. Kraepelin emphasized the effects of environment and social background on psychological development. Around this time Wertham corresponded and visited with Sigmund Freud, who influenced him in his choice of psychiatry as his specialty.


In 1922, he accepted an invitation to come to the United States and work under Adolf Meyer at the Phipps Psychiatric Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He became a United States citizen and married the sculptress Florence Hesketh in 1927.[1] He moved to New York City in 1932 to accept a senior staff position at the Bellevue Mental Hygiene Clinic, the psychiatric clinic connected with the New York Court of General Sessions in which all convicted felons received a psychiatric examination that was used in court.[1] In 1935 he testified for the defense in the trial of cannibalistic child rapist and serial killer Albert Fish, declaring him insane.[4] In 1946, Wertham opened the Lafargue Clinic in the basement of St. Philip's Church in Harlem, a low-cost psychiatric clinic specializing in black teenagers. The clinic was financed by voluntary contributions.[5]

Seduction of the Innocent and Senate hearings

Seduction of the Innocent described 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 also superhero and horror comics as well—and asserted, based largely on undocumented anecdotes, that reading this material encouraged similar behavior in children.

Fredric Wertham
Wertham reading a comic book.

Comics, especially the crime/horror titles pioneered by EC Comics, 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" (as depicted in Plastic Man creator Jack Cole's "Murder, Morphine and Me", which he illustrated and probably wrote for publisher Magazine Village's True Crime Comics #2 (May 1947); it involved dope-dealing protagonist Mary Kennedy nearly getting stabbed in the eye "by a junkie with a hypodermic needle" in her dream sequence[6]). 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 gay partners), 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 that Wonder Woman's strength and independence made her a lesbian.) Citing one of Wertham's arguments, that 95% of children in reform school read comics proves that comics cause juvenile delinquency (this is an example of the well-known logical fallacy correlation implies causation), Stan Lee recounted that Wertham "said things that impressed the public, and it was like shouting fire in a theater, but there was little scientific validity to it. And yet because he had the name doctor people took what he said seriously, and it started a whole crusade against comics."[7]

Seduction of the Innocent also analyzed the advertisements that appeared in 1950s comic books and the commercial context in which these publications existed. Wertham objected to not only the violence in the stories but also the fact that air rifles and knives were advertised alongside them. Wertham claimed that retailers who did not want to sell material with which they were uncomfortable, such as horror comics, were essentially held to ransom by the distributors. According to Wertham, news vendors were told by the distributors that if they did not sell the objectionable comic books, they would not be allowed to sell any of the other publications being distributed.

The splash made by this book and Wertham's previous credentials as an expert witness led to his appearing 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. Beaty notes "Wertham repeated his call ... [for] national legislation based on the public health ideal that would prohibit the circulation and display of comic books to children under the age of fifteen."(Beatty, 157) 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 banned not only violent images but also entire words and concepts (e.g. "terror" and "zombies") and dictated that criminals must always be punished—thus destroying most EC-style titles, and leaving a sanitized subset of superhero comics as the chief remaining genre.

Later career

Wertham's views on mass media have largely overshadowed his broader concerns with violence and with overprotecting children from psychological harm. His writings about the effects of racial segregation were used as evidence in the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, and part of his 1966 book A Sign for Cain dealt with the involvement of medical professionals in the Holocaust. To promote this book Wertham made two memorable appearances on the Mike Douglas Show where he ended up debating his theories with the co-hosts, Barbara Feldon (April 10, 1967) and Vincent Price (June 19, 1967). Excerpts were shown at the 2003 Comic-Con International: San Diego.[8]

Beaty reveals in 1959 Wertham tried to sell a follow-up to Seduction on the effects of television on children, to be titled The War on Children. Much to Wertham's frustration, no publishers were interested in publishing it.

Wertham always denied that he favored censorship or had anything against comic books in principle, and in the 1970s he focused his interest on the benign aspects of the comic fandom subculture; in his last book, The World of Fanzines (1974), he concluded that fanzines were "a constructive and healthy exercise of creative drives". This led to an invitation for Wertham to address the New York Comic Art Convention. Still infamous to most comics fans of the time, Wertham encountered suspicion and heckling at the convention, and stopped writing about comics thereafter.[9]

Before retirement he became a professor of psychiatry at New York University, a senior psychiatrist in the New York City Department of Hospitals, and a psychiatrist and the director of the Mental Hygiene Clinic at the Bellevue Hospital Center.[1]


He died on November 18, 1981 at his retirement home in Kempton, Pennsylvania. He was 86 years old.[1][10]

Accusations of falsified data

Wertham's original research materials for "Seduction of the Innocent" became available in 2010. Carol Tilley, Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, investigated his research and found his conclusions to be largely baseless.[11]

Wertham manipulated, overstated, compromised, and fabricated evidence—especially that evidence he attributed to personal clinical research with young people—for rhetorical gain.

— Carol Tilley, Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications That Helped Condemn Comics

Among the criticisms leveled at Seduction of the Innocent are that Wertham used a non-representative sample of young people who were already mentally troubled, that he misrepresented stories from colleagues as being his own, and that Wertham manipulated statements from adolescents by deliberately neglecting some passages while rephrasing others such that they better suited his thesis.


Wertham's papers (including the manuscript to the unpublished The War on Children) were donated to the Library of Congress and are held by the Manuscript Division. They were made available for use by scholars for research on May 20, 2010.[12] A register of the papers has been prepared that displays the eclectic reach of Wertham's interests.[13]

In 2013, scholar Carol Tilley reexamined Wertham's personal archives and concluded that he had skewed his data to make it appear as if comic books were more harmful. Tilley claimed that Wertham "played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics".[14] This work was the first to confirm that Wertham willfully distorted the data used to indict comic books as a cause of juvenile delinquency.

In 2014, documentary filmmaker Robert A. Emmons Jr. produced the documentary Diagram for Delinquents, which details the complicated and controversial history of Fredric Wertham and comic books in the 1940s and 1950s.[15] The film's goal is to create a more complex picture of Wertham than has previously been depicted in comic book documentaries.

His activism was cited in 2011 U. S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association.

Wertham was satirized as a Dr. Bertham who was kidnapped and turned into a monster by a mad scientist in Seaboard's Brute #2 (April 1975).[16]

Issue #1 of Bongo Comics' Radioactive Man shows comics from Rod Runtledge's collection that satirize Wertham's negative view of comic books. These include Crime Does Pay (violence and gore); Headlights (women with ludicrously pointed breasts); Stab (pathological fixation on eye injuries); and Tales of Revolting Filth (pretty much subsuming every other category).

Selected bibliography

  • 1948: "The Comics, Very Funny", Saturday Review of Literature, May 29, 1948, p. 6. (condensed version in Reader's Digest, August 1948, p. 15)
  • 1953: "What Parents Don't Know About Comic Books". Ladies' Home Journal, Nov. 1953, p. 50.
  • 1954: "Blueprints to Delinquency". Reader's Digest, May 1954, p. 24.
  • 1954: Seduction of the Innocent. Amereon Ltd. ISBN 0-8488-1657-9
  • 1955: "It's Still Murder". Saturday Review of Literature, April 9, 1955, p. 11.
  • 1956: The Circle of Guilt. Rinehart & Company.
  • 1968: A Sign for Cain: An Exploration of Human Violence. Hale. ISBN 0-7091-0232-1
  • 1973: The World of Fanzines: A Special Form of Communication. Southern Illinois University Press. ISBN 0-8093-0619-0
  • 1973: "Doctor Wertham Strikes Back!" The Monster Times no. 22, May 1973, p. 6.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Webster, Bayard (December 1, 1981). "Fredric Wertham, 86, Dies. Foe of Violent TV and Comics". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-29. Dr. Fredric Wertham, an internationally known psychiatrist who believed that comic books, movies and television shows that featured crime, violence and horror exerted a damaging influence on many juveniles and young adults, died November 18 at his retirement home in Kempton, Pennsylvania. He was 86 years old. ... Frederic Wertham, born in Munich, studied medicine in Germany and England and, in the process, became deeply interested in psychiatry and decided on his life's work after corresponding with Freud. ...
  2. ^ Van Lente, Fred (2011). The Comic Book History of Comics. San Diego: IDW. pp. 79–80.
  3. ^ birth certificate at the archive of the city of Nuremberg, Stadtarchiv Nürnberg C 27/IV Standesamt, Geburtenregister Nr. 521, Eintrag Nr. 1302
  4. ^ "Fish Held Insane By Three Experts. Defense Alienists Say Budd Girl's Murderer Was And Is Mentally Irresponsible". New York Times. May 21, 1935. Retrieved 2010-03-29. Three psychiatrists testified in Supreme Court today that Albert H. Fish, on trial for the murder of Grace Budd in June, 1928, was legally insane when he committed the murder and has been insane since that date.
  5. ^ Springhall, John. Youth, Popular Culture and Moral Panics: Penny Gaffs to Gangsta-Rap, 1830–1996. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.
  6. ^ Spiegelman, Art and Kidd, Chip (2001). Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to their Limits, p.91. Retrieved on 2008-12-31.
  7. ^ Boatz, Darrel L. (December 1988). "Stan Lee". Comics Interview (64). Fictioneer Books. p. 17.
  8. ^ News From Me Archived 2007-10-25 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Biographies: Fredric Wertham, M.D." Comic Art & Graffix Gallery. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011.
  10. ^ "Death Revealed". Time magazine. December 14, 1981. Retrieved 2010-03-29. Fredric Wertham, 86, author and psychiatrist who crusaded against violence in comic books, movies and television; on Nov. 18; in Kempton, Pa. Wertham, a Munich-born authority on criminal psychology, argued that violence is a product of cultural influences.
  11. ^ Tilley, Carol (2012). "Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications that Helped Condemn Comics". Information & Culture. 47 (4): 383–413. doi:10.1353/lac.2012.0024.
  12. ^ "Wertham's Locked Vault"
  13. ^ Fredric Wertham: A Register of His Papers at the Library of Congress
  14. ^ Fredric BAM! WAP! KA-POW! Library prof bops doc who K.O.'d comic book industry
  15. ^ Diagram for Delinquents
  16. ^ "The Brute #2". Retrieved 15 December 2016.

Further reading

  • (1954). "Are Comics Horrible?" Newsweek, May 3, 1954, p. 60.
  • Beaty, Bart. Fredric Wertham and the Critique of Mass Culture. University Press of Mississippi, 2005. ISBN 1-57806-819-3
  • Bowman, James. "In Defense of Snobbery". August 26, 2008. [1]
  • Decker, Dwight. (1987). "The Strange Case of Dr. Wertham" Amazing Heroes #123 (August 15, 1987); "The Return of Dr. Wertham" Amazing Heroes #124 (Sept. 1, 1987); "From Dr. Wertham With Love" Amazing Heroes #125 (Sept. 15, 1987) [three part series, see below for link to condensed version posted online under title "Fredric Wertham – Anti-Comics Crusader Who Turned Advocate"].
  • Gibbs, Wolcott. (1954). "Keep Those Paws to Yourself, Space Rat!" The New Yorker, May 8, 1954.
  • Hajdu, David. The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. ISBN 0-374-18767-3
  • Larson, Randall D. (1971). "An Interview with Fredric Wertham, M.D." Fandom Unlimited #1 (fanzine, 1971).
  • Larson, Randall D. (1977). "Violence in Cinema: An Interview with Fredric Wertham, M.D." Fandom Unlimited #2 (fanzine, 1977)
  • Amy Kiste Nyberg. "Seal of Approval: The History of the Comics Code". University Press of Mississippi, 1998. ISBN 0-87805-975-X
  • Carol L. Tilley. (2012). Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications that Helped Condemn Comics. Information & Culture: A Journal of History. 47 (4), 383–413. DOI 10.1353/lac.2012.0024

External links

Association of Comics Magazine Publishers

The Association of Comics Magazine Publishers (ACMP) was an American industry trade group formed in the late 1940s to regulate the content of comic books in the face of public criticism during that time. It was a precursor to the Comics Magazine Association of America, and the ACMP Publishers Code served as the template for a more detailed set of rules enforced by the CMAA's Comics Code Authority.

Barbara Johnson

Barbara Ellen Johnson (October 4, 1947 – August 27, 2009) was an American literary critic and translator, born in Boston. She was a Professor of English and Comparative Literature and the Fredric Wertham Professor of Law and Psychiatry in Society at Harvard University. Her scholarship incorporated a variety of structuralist and poststructuralist perspectives—including deconstruction, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and feminist theory—into a critical, interdisciplinary study of literature. As a scholar, teacher, and translator, Johnson helped make the theories of French philosopher Jacques Derrida accessible to English-speaking audiences in the United States at a time when they had just begun to gain recognition in France. Accordingly, she is often associated with the "Yale School" of academic literary criticism.

Brooklyn Thrill Killers

The Brooklyn Thrill Killers were a gang of Jewish teenage boys who, in the summer of 1954, killed two men (one by drowning, the other by beating) and tortured several others in Brooklyn, a borough of New York City.The Brooklyn Thrill Killers were:

Robert Trachtenberg

Jack Koslow

Melvin Mittman

Jerome LiebermanAccording to a 1954 article in Time Magazine, one of the boys turned State's evidence and another had the charges against him dismissed. The other two boys, aged 17 and 18, were found guilty of felony murder during the act of kidnapping because one victim had been dragged several blocks before being thrown in the river. This allowed the jury to suggest life in prison rather than send two youths to the electric chair. While Time didn't identify any of the boys, one of the two sentenced to life in prison was 18-year-old Jack Koslow, identified by AP reports at the time as the 'brains' of the group.

Dr. Fredric Wertham cited the Thrill Killers as an example of the potential harm caused by comic books. Specifically, a comic book named Nights of Horror was brought as evidence of Jack Koslow's "sexual perversions", and used to convict him and Mittman of their crimes.

Comics in education

The use of comics in education is based on the concept of creating engagement and motivation for students.

Dell Comics

Dell Comics was the comic book publishing arm of Dell Publishing, which got its start in pulp magazines. It published comics from 1929 to 1974. At its peak, it was the most prominent and successful American company in the medium. In 1953 Dell claimed to be the world's largest comics publisher, selling 26 million copies each month.

Ella Winter

Leonore (Ella) Sophie Winter Steffens Stewart (1898–1980) was an Australian-British journalist and activist.

Her parents were Freda Lust and Adolph Wertheimer from Nuremberg (Nürnberg) in Germany, who lived in London, Melbourne, Australia and again in London, when they changed their name to Winter (around 1910). Their children Rudolph, Rosa and Eleanora (Ella) were born in Melbourne. Fredric Wertham was a relative. She studied at the London School of Economics in England.

She met the U.S. journalist and 'muckraker' Lincoln Steffens at the Versailles Conference, where she was secretary to US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter. Winter and Steffens married in 1924. They moved to Italy, where their son, Peter, was born in San Remo.

Two years later, they moved to the largest art colony on the Pacific Coast, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, where their friends and neighbors included photographer Edward Weston, poet Robinson Jeffers, philosopher/mythologist Joseph Campbell, nutritionist/author Adelle Davis, short story writer/poet Clark Ashton Smith, marine biologist/ecologist Ed Ricketts, Nobel prize winner Sinclair Lewis, and novelists John Steinbeck and Henry Miller. Carmel was sharply divided between conservative and liberal factions; the latter quickly coalesced around the Steffenses, who publicly debated the most controversial topics. The Irish poet and folklorist Ella Young, as well as the local press, described the relaxed social intercourse in this counterculture world. In 1928 the Steffenses helped to create The Carmelite, a publication that was offered as an alternative to the town’s somewhat stodgy local paper, the Carmel Pine Cone. With contributions by numerous leftist literati, including Jeffers, Martin Flavin, Lewis and the Steffenses, along with theatre, dance and art reviews by feminist artists such as Alberta Spratt, Jennie V. Cannon and Roberta Balfour, The Carmelite became one of California’s most controversial publications. Its illustrations ranged from Weston’s enigmatic photos to the “anarchist” prints of James Blanding Sloan. The Steffenses also arranged for public exhibits of Europe’s most avant-garde art, including Dada, Surrealism and the paintings of Paul Klee. Ella wrote on various topics and once reported on the very unusual meeting between the popular Modernist artists John O’Shea and Frederick O’Brien. The Steffenses' support of the art community extended to their own home where they entertained local painters and offered to display their work. Ella loved publicity and when two Carmel reactionaries, artist William Silva and writer/editor Perry Newberry, tried to ban the local chapter of her “communist” John Reed Club as well as her “socialist reading room,” she made sure that the press as far away as Los Angeles was apprised of the violation of her civil rights. The Steffenses also joined controversial national campaigns, including the Scottsboro Boys Defense Fund which sought to free nine black men who were still incarcerated after the Supreme Court of the United States twice reversed their convictions for rape. Lincoln Steffens died in Carmel in 1936.

She wrote her first book, Red Virtue, after visiting the Soviet Union. Her autobiography, And Not to Yield, was published in 1963. In 1939, Winter married the screenwriter and humorist Donald Ogden Stewart and became stepmother to his sons, Donald and Ames. They lived in California and then in Hampstead, London (misspelled by The New York Times as 'Hamstead').

Hal Ellson

Harold "Hal" Ellson (1910 – October 31, 1994 in Brooklyn) was an American author of pulp fiction whose work primarily focused on juvenile delinquency, a field in which he has been described as "one of the most popular" writers and as "legendary".Ellson was a social worker, recreational therapist, and nurse's aide at Bellevue Hospital, where he encountered the adolescent psychiatric patients on whom he based much of his fiction; he subsequently stated that many of the patients viewed him as a "father confessor", and eagerly told him their stories while trusting that he would not report them to law enforcement. As a result, Nelson Algren described Ellson's work as "just straight case studies."Frederic Wertham was an aficionado of Ellson's work, favorably reviewing Ellson's 1949 novel "Duke" in the American Journal of Psychotherapy, and providing an introduction to Ellson's 1950 novel Tomboy; as well, Wertham subsequently cited Tomboy in the first chapter of his own 1954 Seduction of the Innocent.MIke Shayne's Mystery Magazine published reprints of Ellson's short stories such as Walk Away Fast copyright 1956 by Renown Publications, Inc. in its October 1970 issue as well as publishing several of Ellson's original short stories from 1963 to 1981. Ellson's short fiction appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine from 1963 to 1983.Harlan Ellison cited Ellson's work as having inspired his own interest in juvenile delinquency — an interest which led directly to the writing of Ellison's first novel, Web of the City. Ellison also stated that in the earliest days of his career as a writer, he was often mistaken for Ellson writing under a pseudonym — and that decades later, when Ellison had become much more known and Ellson's career had waned, Ellson was often mistaken for Ellison writing under a pseudonym.

Homosexuality in the Batman franchise

Homosexual interpretations have been part of the academic study of the Batman franchise at least since psychiatrist Fredric Wertham asserted in his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent that "Batman stories are psychologically homosexual". Wertham, as well as parodies, fans, and other independent parties, have described Batman and his sidekick Robin (Dick Grayson) as homosexual, possibly in a relationship with each other. DC Comics has never indicated Batman or any of his male allies to be gay, but several characters in the Modern Age Batman comic books are expressly gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Jo-Jo, Congo King

Jo-Jo, Congo King was a fictional character that appeared in comic books published by Fox Feature Syndicate. Jo-Jo first appeared in Jo-Jo, Congo King #7 (July 1947).

Jo-Jo's name came from the original title of the comic series, Jo-Jo Comics. The publishers decided to change the format of the title, but kept the name for their new adventure hero. Jo-Jo was another in Fox Feature Syndicate's long line of Tarzanesque characters. Like Tarzan, Jo-Jo wore a loin-cloth, lived in the jungle, and spoke a form of broken English (similar to Johnny Weissmuller's version of Tarzan). Some of the episodes were given credit of Stan Ford (a pseudonym).

Jo-Jo's love interest in the first issue was Gwenna; she was replaced (never to be mentioned again) by Tanee. Both Gwenna and Tanee shared two things in common: they were scantily clad, and they spent a much of their time tied up. Because of the risque images found in the issues of Jo-Jo, many of them provided by Jack Kamen and Matt Baker, Dr. Fredric Wertham mentioned issue #15 in his book Seduction of the Innocent.

The last issue of Jo-Jo, Congo King was #29 (July 1949); the title was then changed to My Desire (a romance comic). Jo-Jo reappeared in 1950, now renamed Jungle Jo. This version ran for four issues.

Fox Feature Syndicate declared bankruptcy in 1950, selling off many of its creative assets. Versions of Jo-Jo appeared in comics produced by various publishers. Star Comics reprinted several Jo-Jo stories under the name "Bombo", and Ajax Comics reprinted one story in 1954 with the character renamed "Kaza."

John Mason Brown

John Mason Brown (July 3, 1900 – March 16, 1969) was an American drama critic and author.

Lafargue Clinic

The Lafargue Mental Health Clinic, more commonly known as the Lafargue Clinic, was a mental health clinic that operated in Harlem, New York, from 1946 until 1958. The clinic was named for French Marxist physician Paul Lafargue and conceived by German-American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, who recognized the dire state of mental health services for blacks in New York. With the backing of black intellectuals Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison, as well as members of the church and community, the clinic operated out of the parish house basement of St. Philip's Episcopal Church and was among the first to provide low-cost psychiatric health services to the poor, especially for poor blacks who either could not afford treatment at New York hospitals or were victimized by racism from doctors and other hospital staff. The staff consisted entirely of volunteers, and Wertham and Hilde Mosse were the clinic's lead doctors.

Though the clinic only operated for 12 years, Wertham and Mosse's experiences from Lafargue were cited in a court decision to integrate schools in Wilmington, Delaware, and later in Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that separate black and white schools were unconstitutional. Wertham would use case studies from his time at the clinic to support his later arguments that comic books caused juvenile delinquency, as evidenced in his 1954 work Seduction of the Innocent.

List of Golden Age comics publishers

List of Golden Age of Comics publishers. The Golden Age of Comic Books was a period in the history of American comic books, generally thought of as lasting from the late 1930s until the late 1940s or early 1950s. During this time, modern comic books were first published and enjoyed a surge of popularity; the archetype of the superhero was created and defined; and many of the most famous superheroes debuted.

Comics "packagers", often operated by notable artists such as Will Eisner and Jack Binder, also formed during this time, to supply cheaply produced material to the burgeoning comics industry.

The first publisher in this category was Dell Comics, established in 1929 although they started to publish modern comic books in 1935. This list ends in the mid-1950s, when many publishers went out of business due to the scapegoating of comics by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham and Senator Estes Kefauver, and the creation of the self-censoring body the Comics Code Authority in 1954. The debut of the new superhero the Flash in 1956 is generally considered the beginning of the Silver Age of Comic Books.

Of the Golden Age publishers in this list, only a handful survived past 1960, and only three are still currently in business:

Crestwood Publications (1943–1963)

American Comics Group (1943–1967)

Gilberton (1941–1971)

Dell Comics (1929–1973)

Charlton Comics (1946–1986)

Harvey Comics (1941–1986)

Archie Comics (1939 to present)

Marvel Comics (formerly Timely Comics, 1939 to present)

National Allied Publications (later DC Comics, 1934 to present)

Mainline Publications

Mainline Publications, also called Mainline Comics, was a short-lived, 1950s American comic book publisher established and owned by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.

Robert Warshow

Robert Warshow (1917–1955) was an American author, a film critic and essayist, who wrote about film and popular culture for Commentary magazine and The Partisan Review in the mid-20th century. He was born and resided in New York City and attended the University of Michigan.

Among the articles published in Warshow's short lifetime were "The Westerner" and "The Gangster as Tragic Hero", analyses of the Western movie and the gangster movie genre from a cultural standpoint. He also penned essays praising playwright Clifford Odets as well as George Herriman's newspaper comic strip Krazy Kat. "The 'Idealism' of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg" showed the executed American Stalinists in a brutally honest light. In an critique of The Crucible Warshow argued that Arthur Miller was not as competent a dramatist as was perceived. After Fredric Wertham and Gershon Legman, Warshow was the first serious critic to write about EC Comics and its Mad magazine.

Warshow died of a heart attack at the age of 37. Most of his published work was collected in the book The Immediate Experience in 1962, expanded in 2001.

Seduction of the Innocent

Seduction of the Innocent is a book by American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, published in 1954, that warned that comic books were a negative form of popular literature and a serious cause of juvenile delinquency. The book was taken seriously at the time, and 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. Subsequent to the publication of Seduction of the Innocent, the Comics Code Authority was voluntarily established by publishers to self-censor their titles.

Superman complex

A Superman complex is an unhealthy sense of responsibility, or the belief that everyone else lacks the capacity to successfully perform one or more tasks. Such a person may feel a constant need to "save" others.

The expression seems to have been first been used by Dr. Fredric Wertham in his 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent and his testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency. He claimed that children reading Superman comic books were exposed to "phantasies of sadistic joy in seeing other people punished over and over again while you yourself remain immune."

Theo Rutten

Frans Jozef Theo Rutten (15 September 1899 in Schinnen – 21 April 1980 in Lopik) was a Dutch politician and minister for the Catholic People's Party.

Rutten was from 1931 professor of psychology at the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen, succeeding his mentor nl:Francis Roels. In 1948 he succeeded Jos Gielen as Minister of Education in the First Drees cabinet. He unfolded his first "Onderwijsnota" (teaching note) plans for an integrated approach to secondary education, which Jo Cals would later expand upon. Rutten had 1952 legislation introduced for the training of teachers. After his period as minister, he returned to the sciences.

He was the father of the late-twentieth-century Dutch top economics civil servant nl:Frans Rutten.

As Minister of Education, Rutten became infamous in the world of Dutch comics for the letter he had published on October 25, 1948 in the newspaper Het Parool and directly addressed to all educational institutions and local government bodies, advocating the prohibition of comics. In the letter, he had stated, "These booklets, which contain a series of illustrations with accompanying text, are generally sensational in character, without any other value. It is not possible to proceed in a legal manner against printers, publishers or distributors of these novels, nor can anything be achieved by not making paper available to them, since this for those publications necessary paper, is available on the free market," further implying that it became the civil duty of parents, teachers and civil servants, including policemen, to confiscate and destroy comic books wherever they found them. Less than a month later, a 16-year old girl was murdered in a bizarre manner on November 19 in the small town of Enkhuizen by her 15-year old boyfriend, who had tied her down to railroad tracks where she was killed by a passing train. The police subsequently uncovered that both had been readers of comic books of the kind that were in concordance with Rutten's definition. Taken as validation, a witch-hunt ensued, complete with comic book destructions all over the country, nearly destroying the comic phenomenon in the Netherlands, which had only just begun recovering from the war years. In an atmosphere of near-hysteria, all comic publications were suspended forthwith, resulting from a by Dutch society self-imposed censorship. Considered "healthy", the comic productions of the Toonder Studio's, which included the as literature considered Tom Poes, were the only ones for which an exemption was made. In this respect, Rutten has been to Dutch comics, what Fredric Wertham would six years later become to the American comic world. With Wertham, Rutten had a background in psychology in common.

United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency

The United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency was established by the United States Senate in 1953 to investigate the problem of juvenile delinquency.

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