On April 21 1954, William M. "Bill" Gaines, publisher of Entertaining Comics, spoke at the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency to defend his comic books against accusations of indecency and the perversion of minors. Some say as a direct result of his testimony, comic books were irreparably damaged. But no matter the result, Bill Gaines should be applauded simply for being willing to stand up and be counted.
seduction of the innocent
April 19, 1954 is a date that has lived in infamy for comics fans.
That's the day psychiatrist Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, a book that changed the comics landscape for decades to come, was first published. Wertham's book led to a moral panic over the content of comic books that ultimately resulted in the founding of the Comics Code Authority and the eventual folding of one of the major publishers of the era, EC Comics.
When people think of the backlash against comics in the 1950s, one name often springs to mind: Fredric Wertham, the author of the 1954 book Seduction of the Innocent, which linked comic book reading to illiteracy, sexual deviancy (by his definition), violence and drug use.
While Wertham's book was certainly a catalyst for a lot of changes and censorship in comics, it wasn't the first domino that fell toward the development of the stringent Comics Code Authority. Criticism of comics had been growing to a fever pitch for years before that, and io9 has uncovered one example that came a full two years before the publication of Seduction of the Innocent: a full-on United Nations condemnation of Superman. And guess what: It isn't entirely wrong.
"Gayness is built into Batman. ... Batman is very, very gay. There's just no denying it. Obviously as a fictional character he's intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay...
The American Psychological Association's annual convention went retro this year, when a speaker mentioned that comic books may have a negative effect on the young boys of today. According to Dr. Sharon Lamb, emulating many modern comic book heroes is a bad bet for young men...
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With the new "Batman and Robin" series coming out today, we review the wackiest moments of Bruce Wayne that have been turned into plastic...