Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Number 1665: Gotta have a plan

After all these years I can still be surprised. My surprise today is that the innocent looking panel above, from DC’s Gang Busters #3 (1948), is reproduced in the infamous anti-comics book, Seduction of the Innocent by Dr. Fredric Wertham, MD. Hats off to Seduction of the for posting it. Thanks!

Okay, Doc, I see your point. Does a kid get some credit for being prepared? He would learn how to draw a diagram from school, anyway, so you’re stretching, but it’s still a point.

The story from which the panel is lifted is “The Crime of the Century,” fairly standard crime comic fare, drawn by George Roussos.

More from Seduction of the Innocent in these three posts. Just click on the thumbnails.

An interesting coincidence: after finishing this post I watched a DVD of the 1949 movie, Gun Crazy (nothing like a film noir crime classic movie after reading crime comics). I made a screen capture from a scene of the Bonnie and Clyde-like couple drawing up a diagram for a plan to rob a meat packing plant. Did Dr Wertham see this?


J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

That Wertham guy was ... well you know what.
In Italy two Christian Democrats members of the Parliament, Federici and Migliori, proposed the institution of a government censorship committee for all the comic books published (in the 50's, or early 60's, I'm not sure). This would have been even stricter than old Fascist censorship, and would have paralyzed the whole market.
To avoid this, comics publishers then decided to create a corporate "self-censorship committee", whose trademark was MG = Moral Guarantee, mostly focused on re-drawing Tarzan Girls or Squaws in bikini - miniskirt, or replacing cowboy's guns with sticks and something equally stupid... This apparently worked, as the law didn't pass.
Your blogzine is a great resource Mr. Pappy, thanks.

Daniel [] said...

Fool coulda made really big dough honestly, by writin' comic-book stories!

Brian Barnes said...

Why is his widow so sad? She obviously got paid by a giant novelty check! That's comedy gold!

Wertham stretch for comics inspiring kids to draw crime charts is long, but it's not as long as somebody mistaking a real armored car for one made of plywood! Now, if some kids had decided to build a plywood armored car, Wertham might have had a point!

Another ending where the tough guy breaks down at the chair -- this time at least he keeps up a strong front.

bzak said...

Like any good propagandist, Wertham doesn't seem to care that the criminal meets his just reward at the end. Goebbels would have been so proud.

Brian Riedel

Pappy said...

Hey, Roberto, thanks for your lesson on Italian comics. No matter the language or country the would-be censors will always be with us.

Pappy said...

Brian, I dunno, a plywood armored car might fool me with the current state of my eyesight.

This is the kind of oddball stuff I think about, probably from my addiction to crime television, movies, books and comics. I imagine what it would be like on death row. How would I go out? Crying and having to be dragged down the long corridor, or walking between the guards with my chin up? Probably the former. I also consider that famous "last meal." Even though I'd probably order something like some junk food -- after all, what harm could it do? -- I probably wouldn't eat it. I assume being hours away from my demise would curb my appetite.

Pappy said...

Daniel, is there "really big dough" in comic books?

Maybe not in the Golden Age, but certainly more in our time. I remember 30 years ago at a San Diego Comicon overhearing a young woman explaining to another young woman why she was living with a well-known comic book writer. I heard her say, "I don't read comic books, but you know he makes $150,000 a year writing them."

I damn near swallowed my gum.

Daniel [] said...

There may be a few people making big dough these days, but the market for the final product continues on a downward trend, and it is unlikely that anyone young now can make a life-long career of writing or drawing comic books.

As to the past, I believe that, in the early mid-'70s, writers for DC were getting something like $22 per story page. But others have more reliably and thoroughly charted such matters.

Ryan Anthony said...

The splash page was really good, and the final panel was touching. But could paroled convicts really hold back that info from new employers?

Pappy said...

Ryan, I doubt anyone could withhold that sort of information with today's technology.

Pappy said...

Daniel, not just comics. Markets for getting paid to write are shrinking all the time.