Chapter By Chapter Special: Seduction Of The Innocent ch. 7 part 2

I know the 1950s are thought of as a prudish or at least less sexual time, especially compared to the 1960s. Heck, TV shows didn’t have a married couple sleeping in the same bed. And I will admit that some of the views on sex were repressive. That said, there were media out there that were less “squeaky clean”. It is possible that the comics Dr. Wertham discusses–at least some of them because I don’t know how even Superman, Wertham’s favorite target whatever you’ve heard about Batman and yes we’ll be getting to that, just not this chapter–contained more sexualized imagery, but I don’t think these particular comics were made with children in mind.

Taking his seriously is hard when we know his understanding of comics as a medium is so bad. Even when he’s right on something he overshoots the mark and comes back around to being wrong. If he was trying to warn parents that not all comics are for kids, fine. But he’s against all comics (hiding behind Disney and other “talking animal” comics, some of which had the same issues he keeps complaining about but in a more comical and slapstick manner, as being good unless he has an opening to strike at all comics), doesn’t know how to read them or wants to, and does not understand things because he’s going on the words of kids who can’t properly articulate what they’re seeing (remember the “description” of the Blue Beetle) or understand some of the images they’re seeing.

Make sure you’ve read the chapter first because my stats show me very few clicks going to these postings. Context is important people so get some and then come back here.

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“Yesterday’s” Comic> Heroes For Hire #1 (1990s)

“All right, Netflix, let’s discuss a few…necessary alterations to my show.”

Heroes For Hire #1

Marvel Comics (July, 1997)

“Heroes And Villains”

PLOT: Roger Stern

WRITER: John Ostrander

PENCILER: Pascual Ferry

INKER: Jaime Mendoza

COLORIST: Joe Rosas

LETTERER: Jonathan Babcock

EDITORS: James Felder & Mark Bernardo

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BW’s Morning Article Link: Sonic Dashes From Archie To IDW

After many years associated with Archie Comics, Sega recently announced it was cutting ties with the publisher. We can speculate but I’m thinking the recent changes at Archie have something to do with it, mainly their tone and new focus. Plus they did toss out years of continuity after a legal battle with one of their former writers. Now ICv2 is reporting that Sega is bringing their mascot to IDW Publishing, presumably to create a brand new continuity. I wonder what their take will be? Archie started out as a fusion of the Saturday morning and weekday syndicated shows, SatAM’s ideas and characters with Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog‘s more comedic concept before going completely in their own direction for something more serious and occasionally dark but still a kids comic. Archie seems to have abandoned their younger audience which I think is a factor.

IDW doesn’t have a lot of kid-friendly titles, but there are a few. (Off the top of my head a tie-in with the current Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles cartoon as well as a tie-in to My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.) What will they do with a completely original continuity that will hopefully be kid-friendly if not kid-targeted? Hopefully not Sonic Boom. I watched that cartoon once and it wasn’t all that good.

Chapter By Chapter Special: Seduction Of The Innocent ch. 7 part 1

Normally, Chapter By Chapter is me reading a fictional book one chapter at a time to study each part of the story. In this special review series however we are looking at Seduction Of The Innocent, a non-fiction book as the writer, Dr. Fredric Wertham, tries to make the case that comics were a bad thing for kids in the 1950s. The book had a huge impact on the comic industry and fans. We will examine what he is saying not exclusively by today’s standards, but the time in which the book was made to see where Wertham was right, and where he was horribly wrong.

Comic Books and the Psycho-Sexual Development of Children

“Give me good proofs of what you have alleged;
‘Tis not enough to say – in such a bush
There lies a thief.”
– Shakespeare

This is probably going to be the hardest one to go over for a number of reasons. Remember all the way back at the book reveal when I mentioned that I wasn’t going to necessarily judge by today’s opinions? Well, this chapter is the reason why but having read through part of it (I’d read the whole thing like usual but post time is coming up fast) there are a series of problems I need to address during this and going into it.

  1. Homosexuality comes later in the book but I really want to judge things based on 1950s standards rather than 2017s, where the subject is still hotly debated regardless of legal proceeding and what Hollywood likes to have in their stories. (Meanwhile I’ve seen more acceptance of interracial marriage in a Cheerios ad than I do any movie or TV show featuring an interracial couple.) Getting into that debate will derail what I’m trying to do with this series and BW as a whole so I’d really rather not. And yet it’s rather infamous for it thanks to the Batman/Robin connection, which actually does last longer than one paragraph like I thought in last night’s site update and also invokes Wonder Woman. If you know Wonder Woman comics of the period you should not be surprised.
  2. BW Media Spotlight strives to be a PG site. Where there have been videos featuring adult language it was only for demonstration and the proper warnings were added. There is some graphic accounts of things like sadomasochism and BDSM and not without some precedence. I haven’t read a lot of comics from this time period but if Wertham’s comments were “watch what your kids read” instead of “all comics are evil” we wouldn’t have a problem. So like last week’s chapter on violence there is little I want to quote. As usual the chapter title is a link to the posting I’m using so please read that before coming back here. Just don’t let the kids read it. Just the same parental discretion is strongly advised and this one may not always be safe for work, if you know what I mean.
  3. Some of the stuff Dr. Wertham brings up here are still being debated today, by less prudish fans no less. “Good girl” or “cheesecake” art may have started around this time but it’s still around today and backlashes against covers or scenes is something that has come up here at the Spotlight more than once over the years. So there may be more agreements from you guys with Wertham than you would have thought.

All of this means that going over this chapter is going to be using a lot more eggshell stepping that I would have thought. but we’re going to go through this anyway, because Dr. Wertham still gets a few things wrong while others I am not the person to judge. This should be a pain.

Chapter 7: I Want To Be A Sex Maniac

A comment a child actually made to Wertham, which he will work to tie to comics. And frankly this is a hard one to fight him on but that doesn’t mean he still isn’t off the mark. Just probably less so than usual or you expected.

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“Yesterday’s” Comic> Manhunter #0

“I was right. I did leave a cake in the oven.”

Manhunter #0

DC Comics (October, 1994)

“Here Comes The Night”

WRITER: Steven Grant

ARTIST: Vincent Giarrano

(both co-created this version of Manhunter)

COLORIST: Adrienne Roy

LETTERER: Clem Robins

ASSISTANT EDITOR: Chris Duffy

EDITOR: Archie Goodwin

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BW’s Morning Article Link: The Influences Of Spider-Man’s Homecoming

With Spider-Man: Homecoming getting fair but positive reviews, our Friday Night Fight master of ceremonies Fred of Spacebooger.com takes a look at the various sources that Marvel Studios is using to create the MCU (until Sony steals it back) version of the webslinger.

 

Jake & Leon #325: Say Hell-Noooooo

Teletubbie babies: the question none of us want answered.

I’m not sure if I’m just hearing about this or if Nick Jr. has been airing the show for a while, but I was hoping this was gone. And so was Max.

Over at The Clutter Reports this week I finally reviewed by birthday present: Bumblebee (shocking none of you) from the Transformers Alternity line in Japan.

Well, fellow seduced innocents, we’ve reached the chapter in Seduction Of The Innocent I’m sure a number of you have been waiting for. Not just because the topic is sexual depictions in comics, but because this is the chapter that caused the huge shakeup in the pages of Batman and Detective Comics, where the Dynamic Duo are accused of being gay. We’ve seen time and again Dr. Wertham slam Superman and Wonder Woman (along with circumstantial evidence that he has actually read neither) but this book is famous for attacking Batman and Robin. Prepare….to be disappointed. Seriously, I could do this big marketing build-up and get you all excited only to be disappointed in your fanrage, but while yes he does follow the 1950s view on homosexuality, the actual commentary that supposedly led to Alfred’s death and the creation of Batwoman and Bat-Girl as love interests for Batman & Robin…it’s basically one paragraph according to my skimming of the chapter. Don’t worry, I’m sure there will be plenty of facepalming, but I’m preparing you to be underwhelmed at one of the big things this book is known for. That’s how much I respect MY readers.