Original “comics are bad for you” research declared shoddy. Thank your librarian.

Behavioral problems among teenagers and preteens can be blamed on the violence, sex and gore portrayed in the media marketed to them – that was the topic of televised public hearings held by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 to address the scourge of comic books. The hearings, which resulted in the decimation of what was an enormous comic book industry, had been inspired in large part by the book “Seduction of the Innocent,” by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, based on his own case studies.

Wertham’s personal archives, however, show that the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors and in general “played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics,” according to an article by Carol Tilley, published in a recent issue of Information and Culture: A Journal of History.

Here’s a nice interview with Carol Tilley, an assistant professor at the iSchool of Illinois who also presented a talk at the recent ALA Midwinter conference. Her article Seducing the Innocent: Fredric Wertham and the Falsifications that Helped Condemn Comics is available to people with access to that sort of thing. More about Wertham from the Library of Congress and some more information from the library’s in-house newsletter. Here’s the text of the book, online but with different images (some images still NSFW).

“And it’s free,” San Francisco Public Library in its own words, and pictures


Terrific long illustration of a day in the life of SFPL, by Wendy McNaughton.

cat and girl listen to the news

When you think of librarians you might think….”

comix about librarians

The geeky among you should have already heard of xkcd, for those who haven’t, they did a strip today about librarians. [thanks mike]

monkey in the library!

If the gorilla were so smart, you’d think he’d know that he doesn’t need to rob the library, they’d let him borrow the books for free. [thanks jake!]

Ranganathan applied to comics and elsewhere

Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science and how they might apply to comics by Dave Carter former Internet Public Library superstar. Click here if you are asking Rangawho? There’s a good Rangnathan blurb over on It’s all Good this week too.