Episode #10: The Lynching of the Comic Book by the Liar Fredric Wertham (When We Last Left Our Heroes)
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The pop-culture panic is a rather commonplace occurrence. Throughout history, adults have attributed undesirable changes in youth behaviour to some aspect of popular culture. Gilded age critics attacked the dime novel for its sensationalism, violence, and appeal to instant gratification. Video games will lead to deviance and delinquency. Pinball machines and gambling. Movies and violence. Music and religious apostasy. The comic book too was no stranger to controversy. Ever since they had appeared on American newsstands, comics had been attacked by parents, teachers, librarians, by all those self-appointed guardians of traditional culture. By the time the mid-1950s rolled around the kind of outrage that would meet the comic book industry was at a fever pitch. Comic books and their creators were painted as cunning corrupters of children, as monstrous artefacts crafted by experts to twist young and impressionable minds in the direction of crime, drug addiction, and debauchery. And at the heart of this attempt to annihilate the art form was a psychiatrist named Fredric Wertham.
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