Any comic book nerd will tell you that Dr. Frederic Wertham's book The Seduction of the Innocent pushed the American comic book industry into its dark ages in the 1950s. Wertham's research conclusively tied comic books to juvenile delinquency, and his data was used to shut down some of the more daring comic book companies at the time. For the next twenty years or so, comics were exclusively for children. The industry governed itself with a strict organization called the Comics Code Authority. But now we're learning that Wertham manipulated his data to suit his agenda:
Behavioral problems among teenagers and preteens can be blamed on the violence, sex and gore portrayed in the media marketed to them – that was the topic of televised public hearings held by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 to address the scourge of comic books. The hearings, which resulted in the decimation of what was an enormous comic book industry, had been inspired in large part by the book “Seduction of the Innocent,” by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, based on his own case studies.
Wertham’s personal archives, however, show that the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors and in general “played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics,” according to an article by Carol Tilley, published in a recent issue of Information and Culture: A Journal of History.
It's sad to think that a whole generation of comics artists didn't have the chance to really test the fullest potential of their talent because this one shithead set out to prove an incorrect thesis in the name of family values. (Important side note: This News Bureau Illinois story loses all its internet posts by titling this story "BAM! WAP! KA-POW! Library prof bops doc who K.O.'d comic book industry." That's like every shitty journalistic comic book cliche ever, piled into one lousy headline.)