Dr. Wertham's 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, was a national bestseller - it tapped into the fears of parents from sea to shining sea and led to the a frenzy of censorship in the comic book world.
As I mentioned in my last Pre Code post, there certainly was a lot of nastiness to be found. Thanks to the Internet, we can all now view these old comics and see that they were, in fact, pretty damn graphic. The irony, however, is that Seduction of the Innocent was so poorly researched, that much of its content was simply made up!
Of course, the public didn't give a baker's f**k about facts, and Seduction of the Innocent became a sensation. Check out a few of these imaginative fabrications from the book...
The book claimed that this woman had been raped and murdered. First of all, if you read the source where this panel was copied, you'll find no evidence whatsoever thte girl was raped. Perhaps, this was just Wertham's dark fantasy, or perhaps he just wanted to spice it up for the public. Either way, it's not factual - not to mention this panel didn't even come from a comic book - it came from a magazine!
I have to admit, it does kinda look like it, but I doubt I would've picked up on it had Wertham not pointed it out. Makes you wonder what kind of dirty mind this guy had if he's seeing naked chicks everywhere he looks.
I know it sounds trivial calling Wertham on semantics, but with so much actual sex and sadism going on in comics, one wonders why the need to make shit up.
Last but not least, the book captions this panel with "the corpses of colored people strung up by their wrists". I won't argue that it may be offensive, but the comic clearly shows that these captives are quite alive.... how can a corpse be frightened?