Seduction of the Innocent

Seduction of the Innocent by Fredric Wertham cover, large bold black text on a white background

Seduction of the Innocent

Written by Fredric Wertham

New York, Rinehart, 1954

5.5" x 8.25"

Wilson Library, University of Minnesota Libraries

This bestseller by the German-American psychiatrist Fredric Wertham crystallized the case against comic-book violence as a catalyst to juvenile delinquency and a host of related problems. Wertham authoritatively declared, "It is our clinical judgment, in all kinds of behavior disorders and personality difficulties of children, that comic books do play a part." The author restated his argument at a 1954 hearing of the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency, a watershed inquiry to which industry executives were also called to testify. Fearing impending federal action, publishers preemptively instituted the self-censoring Comics Code Authority, a move that mollified critics but also had a chilling effect on many of the era's boldest comics creators.

Ten Cent Plague by David Hajdu cover, a teenager is reading magazines in bed

The Ten Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America

Written by David Hajdu

New York: Picador, 2009

5.5" x 8.2"

Kerlan Collection, Children's Literature Research Collections

University of Minnesota Libraries