Here's a documentary I'd really like to see: The story of Fredric Wertham, a moral crusader and psychologist who nearly destroyed the comics industry. He claimed comics were turning children into delinquents and homosexuals - and America believed him.
Now the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization is raising money on Kickstarter for a documentary called Diagram for Delinquents, about this fascinating figure whose influence is alive and well today in anti-videogame crusaders. Previously, Sequart produced documentaries on famous comic book creators Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis. Want to help fund a well-made documentary about a crucial figure in pop culture history? You can donate now! The group has already met their minimum funding goal, but would like to earn a bit more to get more equipment.
On Kickstarter, the filmmakers write:
This is a documentary film about the most hated man in comics history: psychiatrist Fredric Wertham. Beginning in the late 1940s, Wertham began publishing articles linking comic books to juvenile delinquency. This work culminated in his now-infamous 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent. Burnings of comics were reported across the United States, and Congress held hearings into the matter, which helped spur the creation of the self-censoring body the Comics Code Authority (only just recently dropped by DC and Archie Comics).
Wertham was himself a contradiction. Although forever linked with artistic repression, he was a social crusader whose writings on the damaging effects of segregation were used as evidence in the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling. Although forever linked to the Comics Code, he claimed to be against censorship. Wertham developed his theories about comics while caring for juvenile delinquents, which biased his analysis by ignoring healthy juveniles who read comics — a fact that has caused his case to be often used as a negative example in statistical analysis. But his theories about comics, highlighting Wonder Woman's themes of lesbianism and bondage, claims of Batman and Robin's homosexuality, and the excesses of the era's crime comics, had a lasting impact on the medium.
Find out more on the Diagram for Delinquents Kickstarter page, and donate to this cool project today!