Diagram for Delinquents Update #21:

Parents Just Don’t Understand

Hello Diagram for Delinquents supporters!

It’s been sometime since we’ve had a blog update regarding the film. I’ve been busy working at the University, teaching, creating theater installations, and the like (A lot of which is helping save Rutgers-Camden!) but fear not, the film is constantly being worked on in the background. While there might now be much output right now, input is in full force. Such are the ebbs and flows of production. When the semester ends in early May, you will see a major increase in production output just as you did before the Fall semester began. Research and writing is still being conducted as is securing the final round of interview subjects.

I am currently off to London, leaving as I write this, but I wanted to provide you with a couple of updates before I left.

The first, and perhaps most exciting, is we finally have the film’s poster complete! For those that are receiving the poster as part of their donation gift, printing will commence when I return later this month.


As you know, there will be multiple animated sequences in the picture. One set and style will be created for the courtroom re-enactments of the Senate Subcommittee Hearings on Juvenile Delinquency. We’ve seen a sample of that already. And you’ll be seeing a moving example soon!

The other animations will be for the opening credits and inter-titles. The inter-titles will deal with story transitions as well as the historical backdrop of the film. For instance, the 50′s were a tumultuous time in America. While the issue of juvenile delinquency was occupying the American home and streets so was the Korean War and the Civil Rights Movement. These and so many other things are important to the story. I will be working with Joe D! on those sequences. And all you have to do is take a look at his opening titles he created for the X-Men: First Class contest and your mouth will start watering. His piece lit the internet on fire. Take a look.

As Joe D! began work on the poster he asked what I was looking for. As usual I gave him carte blanche, only asking that he keep it PG for a wide audience.

I must admit, his response was a little puzzling and seemed to contain so many ideas that I was left wondering if the thing was going to look like a giant bowl of overcooked oatmeal. Though, knowing Joseph, it was going to be a delicious overcooked bowl of oatmeal. Here’s what Joe D! had to say:

I think I mentioned one idea a while ago, where the poster looks like a E.C. pulp-horror cover, with everything the Code banned, stuff like gay vampires, drug using zombies, violent murderers and maybe a boob or two, what do you think?”

This is where my PG suggestion came in!

Joe D! followed with:

I’ve already sketched out the layout. Its very much a Frazetta “King of the Hill” composition http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c58/dragoneyes001/frazetta007.jpg with you and a damsel-in-distress being cornered by a horde of golden-age comic book monsters with references to the Code http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/detective-short-stories/12-1.jpg. Wertham’s face is in the back ground in spooky/magic green not unlike the Great and Powerful Oz. I’ll be working on it this weekend, with the finished version to you by Monday or Tuesday.”


And after finishing the poster, here is what Joe D! had to say:

“Yay! This is (hopefully) the finished poster for Robert A. Emmons Jr‘s new documentary, “Diagram for Delinquents: Fredric Wertham and the Evolution of Comic Books“. It was quite the challenge fitting as many Comics Code breaking images on just one composition without being explicit (Dr. Emmons wanted to keep it “PG”). My favorite has to be the zombie dressed as the mom from The Fresh Prince’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand” music video, so it’s both undead (FORBIDDEN!) and disrespectful towards parents (ALSO FORBIDDEN!).”

So, without further delay, I present to you the poster for Diagram for Delinquents: Fredric Wertham and the Evolution of Comics Books.

Now, secondly, the final quarter of the film is going to deal with the current state of comics. Particularly comics readership. But to arrive at that I will be asking comics creators about what type of audience they are writing and drawing  for today. To connect back to the comics that the first half of the film will be profiling I am interviewing creators that are making the most sophisticated comics, but more than that, I will be concentrating on writers and artists that have explored crime and horror in current comics. When I return from London I will release a clip from when we sat down with Matt Fraction at the New York City comic con to discuss Wertham and comics readership.

And finally, when I return from London we will commence on building the set for our family of the fifties reenactment scenes. You know… sitting around the old tube. Kids lying on the floor reading comics… Ma on Pa’s lap, dressed in apron as everyone chuckles at the day’s events. Stuff like that!

I hope this gives even more of a glimpse to the types of things we will see in the future.


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Robert A. Emmons Jr. is a documentary filmmaker focusing on American popular culture and history. His films include Enthusiast: The 9th Art, Wolf at the Door, Yardsale!, Goodwill: The Flight of Emilio Carranza, and De Luxe: The Tale of Blue Comet. His Goodwill was screened as part of the Smithsonian exhibition "Our Journeys / Our Stories: Portraits of Latino Achievement," won Best Homegrown Documentary Feature at the 2008 Garden State Film Festival, and led to him receiving Mexico's Lindbergh-Carranza International Goodwill Award as a "Messenger of Peace." From February to August 2010, Emmons created two short documentaries a week; the 52 short documentaries formed the weekly internet series MINICONCEPTDOCS. His print work focusing on electronic media, documentary film, and comic books include Who's Responsible Here? Media, Audience, and Ethics (Cognella, 2009), The Encyclopedia of Documentary Film (Routletdge, 2005), Small Tech: The Culture of Digital Tools (University of Minnesota 2007), and The Encyclopedia of Latino and Latina History (Facts on File, 2010). He teaches film, new media, and comics history at Rutgers University-Camden, where he is also the Associate Director of the Honors College. For more information, visit robertemmons.com.

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Also by Robert A. Emmons, Jr.:

director, producer, executive producer

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