Posts Tagged ‘Silver Age Comics’

Where Do I Stand on Fredric Wertham?

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

First, let me say that I was raised in the south, so there are several ‘rules’ that have been drilled into my very being: 1) respect your elders (which Wertham would have been), and 2) NEVER speak ill of the dead (which Wertham certainly is, since 1981).  With that being said, I will attempt to convey what I think about the role he has played, and yes, continues to play, in the comics industry.

For those who may not be sure of who Fredric Wertham is, he is most famous for his book entitled Seduction of the Innocent: The InfluencePicture of the cover of Fredick Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent book of Comic Books on Today’s Youth, published in 1954.  But you do not have to pick this book up to learn about Wertham’s role in attempting to ban comic books in the late 1940s and 50s. Read any book dealing with the history of the golden and silver age comics and you will get your share of Wertham.

To be fair and not judge just on what others have said about Wertham, I bought Seduction and have been reading it, along with three other books dealing with comics history, over the past week or so. I’m about a third of the way through the book, and to be honest, I’m wondering how I will survive the final two-thirds. The reading is repetitive and lacks any type of documentation or bibliography. Wertham bashes comics relentlessly and provides his “case studies” as evidence of the damage that comics were doing to the youth of his day, responsible for creating, almost single-handedly it would seem, juvenile delinquency.

While reading all of these texts, I ran across a piece from 2012 by Carol L. Tilley entitled “Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications That Helped Condemn Comics”. Tilley gained access to Wertham’s case files that were donated to the Library of Congress at the time of his death, and after sifting through boxes of notes, she has managed to prove that Wertham did indeed take ‘liberties’ with his research.


Silver and bronze age batwoman

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

I have been working on locating all of the issues in which Batwoman appears from her creation in July of 1956 until her death in January of 1979.  I have been using DC’s Comics Database Wiki, but I have been finding some errors with it.  Not so much in the comics that they list her appearing in, but perhaps some they don’t have listed where she clearly does appear.  For instance, I stumbled on to the fact that she appeared in Batman #131.  She is even on the cover as Kathy Kane with Bruce Wayne, but DC’s Database does not list her appearance in this comic.  Luckily, I’ve also learned that the story she appears in in #131 is reprinted in Batman #254, which the DC Database does list.

I’ve determined that tracking down all of the appearances of Earth One’s Batwoman or Kathy Kane is going to be more challenging than I thought.  I think I have a fairly decent idea of most of her appearances, and I have created a timeline.

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I’m actually really surprised that she appears in as many comics as she does. It slacks off quite a bit from the mid to late 60’s throughout most of the 70’s.  I’m not surprised they killed her off in ’79.  This iteration of Batwoman never fit with any feminist ideals, although I think, from what I’ve read so far, that I’ll find they tried to take both her and Batgirl that direction, but with little luck.  I’m looking forward to getting into the Comics Collection at Michigan State University soon to begin taking pictures of the comics they have from the list.  The ones they don’t have, I’ve slowly been trying to get for a reasonable price on Ebay, but that is proving to be quite tough.

If you know of anyone who has the old silver and bronze age Batman Comics or Detective Comics maybe you could put them in touch with me.  I don’t really need to comics, just scans or high grade photos of the covers and stories she appears in.