Darrin Kelley wrote:Wertham simply pointed out the destructive practices and trends of the comic book industry of his era. Shined a light on the fact that the industry was self-destructing due to its own excesses. The fact was: Wertham was a catalyst that forced a stagnating industry to change itself.
I'm sorry but you can't defend the mans intellectual dishonesty: The guy wasn't doing something noble for the benefit of the industry, he was a liar (objectively was a liar), who falsified academic findings, to fabricate a moral panic in an attempt to become famous, to the detriment of society. I'm sorry, but there is nothing redeemable in that mans actions: He was a close minded bigot who wanted to blame comics for "societies failure" as he put it in his book.
I mean just look at the mans methodology & as someone who likes science, if I could go back in time just to beat him into a coma with an aluminium baseball bat, I would. The man singlehandedly destroyed the enjoyment of something relatively benign because of his own personal bigotry.
I mean his methodology was so deliberately slimy, that he deserves to be ejected from the human race on principle.
Wertham is the excuse that the whole industry uses to ignore the fact that, at the time, the whole comics industry was imploding and on the brink of self-destruction. He's the excuse used to ignore that part of history. Blaming Wertham is easier for them than accepting any fault for driving an entire medium to near extinction. The intellectual dishonesty of this is not lost on me. And it shouldn't be to anyone else.
Wertham did do the industry a big favor back then. His self-serving controversy made comics relevant and topical again. Something that became a subject of household conversation. When before that, the whole medium was set to die off in obscurity. Because the industry was simply not adapting to the to a changing marketplace and the presence of new media of the day at all. The whole industry was badly broken by the time Wertham entered the picture.
It's not doing any favors to anyone to simply blame Wertham and ignore the more pressing that were facing the industry during that age. Just like it is not doing anyone any favors to pretend that the comic book industry is healthy right now.
Yes, I'm getting back to the "we make comics for 45 year old men" comment from DC Comics. Because it shows how utterly damaged that the medium has become. And it all comes down to the fact that the industry itself is doing absolutely nothing to either expand its audience or address the absolute critical seriousness the ever-shrinking market they have come to rely on to the exclusion of all else.
Before Wertham, comics were facing impending extinction. It's 2014 now. The medium is facing another extinction threat. Only this time, there is no Frederick Wertham do the industry another favor by making comics a household word again.
I believe that the future of comics is not with the big two now. The big two are a big part of the problem. And they certainly will not be part of the solution. Because they seem content to bleed an ever shrinking base of existing customers dry with cheap sales tricks and outright cons. Rather than actually doing anything to truly address the issue.
No, the future of the medium is with the Independants. The real risk takers. The people who are willing to experiment and take chances with new approaches. And who continually take the risks necessary to take the leap into new marketplaces. That's the future. That's what is necessary to save a dying medium.
In my view, Marvel and DC are like Nero, blythely playing a fiddle while Rome burns around him. Only it's the whole comics medium burning now..