Diagram for Delinquents Update #25:

The Wild Spree of the Laughing Sadist

There is, has been, and will always be one driving debate within media studies:

How does media affect society?

The question of does media affect society is certainly answered: Yes.

How, is another story.

The center of the historical debate in our documentary is: Did comics have any correlation to the rise of juvenile delinquency in the mid-twentieth century United States? And if so… how?

Regardless of if they actually did or not, something was certainly done about it in a effort to make sure it wouldn’t happen again… At least not through comic books.

When one browses the wide selection of Crime Does Not Pay covers, one can easily see why a lot of people were upset about what children were perusing on the drugstore racks, keeping securely folded and tucked in their back pockets, and pouring over as they were hidden away in the safety of their bedrooms.

Let’s hear what Wertham and Azzarello have to say about the seductive powers of comic books:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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