One question looming over our documentary, and it’s certainly a controversial one (especially for longtime comics readers like myself) is: was Wertham right?
A simple question indeed, but one that has many more questions packed up in it:
Were his efforts in earnest?
Were they realized in the best way?
Did he understand comics?
Did he perform ethical, honest research?
Were his scientific methods valid?
What was really going on in America that played a role in the increase in juvenile delinquency?
What was happening in the business of comics behind closed doors?
Was the decline in comic book sales the industry’s or Wertham’s fault? Or neither?
These are only the tip of the comics heap. Our documentary must answer these and many more questions if we are to gain a richer understanding of this time in comics history.
But… there is no denying that Wertham was right about some very important issues in American history. The impact of which has made us a better, fuller nation. (Below: Louis Redding, local attorney in the Delaware cases, with Thurgood Marshal.)
For instance, Fredric Wertham gave testimony that was used in Delaware’s Bulah v. Gebhart and Belton v. Gebhart cases to end segregation. Wertham’s testimony and the court’s decision to end segregation in Delaware was also used in the Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka decision. (At right: Delaware’s decision.)
(At left: the students represented in Brown v. BOE.) Let’s hear Dr. Bart Beaty, author of Fredric Wertham and the Critique of Mass Culture, discuss Dr. Wertham’s role in the dismantlement of segregation in U.S. schools and how his efforts in that social injustice compares to his efforts and testimony to end the selling of violent and crime comics to the children of the United states:
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.