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Frederick-How COULD You? by Mark Heike

Seduction of the Innocent cover artAnyone familiar with comic book history is aware of the impact that the 1954 book “Seduction Of The Innocent”had on the comic book industry. Written by a “pop psychologist” of that era, the infamous Dr. Frederick Wertham, this purported “expose” did a great deal to whip up public hysteria against comic books, “proving” that they were a cause of “juvenile delinquency” in American youths. The surrounding publicity over this best-seller led the comic book industry to adopt a self-imposed set of standards known as The Comics Code Authority, and virtually all newsstand-distributed comic books were required to abide by these standards for a period of over 40 years or risk not being distributed. The Comics Code Authority and its’ ubiquitous seal of approval disappeared from all comic books about 15 years ago, and Wertham’s work has long been criticized for being unscientific, but uberwriter Eric Johnson brings our attention to a recent article in Information and Carol TilleyCulture: A Journal of History penned by author Carol Tilley, wherin even the validity of Wertham’s research itself is now being called into question.“Lots of people have suspected for years that Wertham fudged his so-called clinical evidence in arguing against comics, but there’s been no proof,