Diagram for Delinquents Update #17:

Testimony

1) This week’s Diagram for Delinquents promo card is greatly inspired. I like its eeriness, and I plan to use the handwritten font in at least one more promo.

2) I’m no different than anyone who is trying to make something of value. I struggle along in the process, striving for authenticity, sincerity, originality, trying to create something that will make some kind of contribution… to history, society, humanity.

As I make Diagram for Delinquents I am constantly trying to set it apart. Apart from the books written about comics of the era and Dr. Fredric Wertham; apart from the documentaries that have mentioned Wertham, the Comics Code Authority, and their impact on the medium.

What I hope to do is present a varied set of perspectives on Wertham and the era. Perspectives that haven’t been presented in the past in one place. In Diagram for Delinquents you will hear/see arguments that both criticize and praise Fredric Wertham. You will be presented with stories that come from inside the history as well as frame the history from the outside with that advantageous tool known as hindsight.

I want to present what happened in those early days of comics and I want to show how those events shaped the comics we read today.

Finally, I want to use comics as an example to present the complicated relationship between media and its audience.

And then, the history is yours, and you will make sense of it in your own way. You will have to make decisions. You will be responsible to interpret the material, as we all are in this way with history and art.

One of my oldest friends, James Clark, who writes an excellent Dungeons and Dragons blog called A Dungeon Master’s Tale, sums up what I hope to achieve in the film. He writes:

“The sneak peaks via the blog have me very interested in the film and what looks to be shaping up to be a rather complex and nuanced take on Wertham’s work specifically and more broadly the idea that our media shapes us in ways we don’t anticipate and may not want to admit.”

3) Al Feldstein, Bill Gaines, and all those at EC Comics, they also labored to create new and innovative art. And they did… for a time.

But as Mr. Feldstein recounts, the moment arrived when the wind stopped moving their creative sails, and it came time to find a new direction, a new source.

I’ll let Mr. Feldstein tell us about that:

Diagram for Delinquents is an upcoming documentary film, produced by Sequart Research & Literacy Organization, in association with Gambino Boys Studios and Scifidelity Pictures. For more information, visit fredricwertham.com.

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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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