122 Seduction of the Innocent

Please see the attached link to a digital copy of Fredric Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent. Written in the 1950s, this text is considered by many to be “ground zero” for the debate on how comic books were ruining the young and impressionable generation by influencing them to commit violent and subversive acts.

Consider this argument as you then read the comic book selections in this unit.

Seduction of the Innocent (1954 – 2nd Printing) by Dr. Frederic Wertham


This video was a public service film (PSF) created shortly after Dr. Wertham’s book was released to explicitly demonstrate the “dangers” of comic books. Consider how a parent in the 1950s/60s would have responded to this film as opposed to reading Wertham’s novel. Is the primary argument here rational? Why or why not?



This link will take you to an article written by Jamie Coville on the impact of Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent on the developmental history of comics in America.

“The Comic Book Villian, Dr. Frederic Wertham, M.D.” by Jamie Coville, available from Integrative Arts 10 from Penn State University


Here’s a modern critical response to Seduction of the Innocent by Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times.

“Scholar Finds Flaws in Work by Archenemy of Comics” by Dave Itzkoff from The New York Times




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