The Effects of Comic Books on Societal Behavior

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Almost everyone has read a comic book. For years it has been thought by many that comic books cause good children to become not so good children. This way of thinking was confirmed by Doctor Fredric Wertham in 1954 when he testified in the United States Senate on the topic of comic books being the cause of juvenile delinquency. For all of the following sixty years Dr. Wertham’s point of view was taken as fact. In 2010 though his original notes were made available to the public and have many interesting inaccuracies as Doctor Carol Tilley discovered when she was going through Dr. Wertham’s notes. In the many years following Dr. Wertham’s testimony, other opinions of how comic books affect people have come to light: one of the prominent opinions is that comic books may actually be beneficial. (3 SV: SV)
On April 21, 1954 Dr. Wertham testified before a Subcommittee of the United States Senate. The topic of this hearing was that comic books were believed to be a leading cause of juvenile delinquency (Senate Subcomittee). On this day Dr. Wertham presented to the Subcommittee his studies proving comic books as a major cause of juvenile delinquency. This study included information from thousands of children that Dr. Wertham had treated from the local hospital. According to Dr. Wertham these kids were all suffering the poor affects of comic books. One of the most striking incidents that Dr. Wertham reported was the case of a 7-year old boy named Edward. Dr. Wertham tells of this boy experiencing nightmares about the comic book character the Blue Beetle. According to Dr. Wertham, Edward was having nightmares about the character because he turned into a beetle in the comics and this had frightened the young boy. Dr. Wertham gave many more ...

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...still debated whether the works of Dr. Wertham will be valid in even ten years. The field is changing just as rapidly as the technology by which we read it. Perhaps more so now than in the 1950's comic books can be seen as positive literature even though they may not be as mentally nourishing as novels, but they still have their benefits.

Works Cited

Gustines, George G. "The Superhero as Society's Mirror, From World War II to Iraq." N.p., Web. 31 October 2013.
Hogan, Jon. "THE COMIC BOOK AS SYMBOLIC ENVIRONMENT: THE CASE OF IRON MAN." et Cetera 2(2009):199. eLibrary. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.
Itzkoff, Dave. "Scholar Finds Flaws in Work by Archenemy of Comics." N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2013.
1954 Senate Subcommittee Hearings into Juvenile Delinquency. Committee on the Judiciary of the United States Senate. United States Senate. 21 Apr. 1954. Print. Web. 31 October 2013

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