Tom Spurgeon linked to this interesting interview with Frederic Wertham and Al Capp from an old radio show called The Author Meets The Critics on his Comics Reporter blog the other week. I got around to listening to it today. It was recorded when Capp was at the height of his popularity in the fifties, and the focus of the discussion is largely on the Schmoo. Capp decimates Wertham, but you kind of end up wishing he used better arguments. Capp is ill-informed about what is in the comics on the newsstands, and is under the impression that the majority of comics published at the time are reprints of newspaper comics, which was not the case (as Wertham correctly states). Capp believes the comics have all been thoroughly censored (since in his mind, they are reprints of comic strips, which he knows are thoroughly censored)… which, strangely, Capp seems to have little problem with, or if he does he does not elaborate on it. Wertham makes much more inaccurate, spurious and poorly articulated arguments, though… hearing him talk, it is actually hard to believe anyone could have ever taken him seriously. Must have been the accent.
I just noticed that wasn’t the only episode of The Author Meets The Critics Wertham appeared on either… I haven’t listened to it yet, but here is another one.