HEY! KIDS! COMICS! The Dr. Fredric Wertham Memorial Funnybook Collection: The Comics Featured in Seduction of the Innocent

This week was Banned Books Week. I decided to celebrate by seeing how many of the comics featured in Fredric Wertham‘s notorious book Seduction of the Innocent I could find floating out on the internet to share with the world in one convenient location.

Wertham’s writings on comic books as a cause of juvenile delinquency were very influential in the senatorial investigation into juvenile delinquency in 1953, and Seduction of the Innocent went on to become a best-seller, outraging parents across the nation.

Public outrage over the content of comic books led to some spineless publishers of the time adopting what is probably the most restrictive code of censorship for a medium in American history, The Comics Code (which can be read in its entirety on Wikipedia). While it was never an explicit requirement to adhere to the comics code, after the code was introduced, distributors would not carry books that didn’t have the Comics Code seal.

Following the adoption of the comics code, comic books became more puerile and less interesting for a long time, and many comic book publishers went out of business (some have argued it was at least partially a ploy by the larger comic book publishers to drive their smaller competition out of business).

Some of the rules of the comics code have to be seen to be believed (example: “Policemen, judges, Government officials and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.”)… I highly recommend reading it.

So, while the comics in Seduction of the Innocent were not necessarily censored themselves (there were some organized comic book burnings around that time), they were directly responsible for inspiring one of the most repressive campaigns of censorship in American history. It crippled creativity in comic books for many years… some comics are STILL published with the comics code on the cover today!

Obviously, many of the below comics are not intended for children. While all of them were probably read by children, they were not necessarily the intended audience for them as far as the cartoonists were concerned. Harvey Kurtzman’s Frontline Combat, for example, was written with a military audience in mind, and Kurtzman frequently received fan letters from men in the military.

A big part of the reason comics were hard to defend at the time was the popular, pea-brained notion the general public had that comics as a medium was inherently intended for children… this notion had a lot to do with why children were ending up reading material intended for adults.

It has always been a lot easier for some parents to blame a convenient scapegoat like comic books, video games or bubble gum for their childrens’ problems than it is to blame their own parenting shortcomings.

Fortunately, today comics seem to have finally found mainstream acceptance among intelligent adults in the US… but it was a really long haul. It was made a lot longer than it should have been by the repressive Comics Code.

About the below comics…

If the images are in color, they are available to download. If they are in black and white no download is available. Clicking on an image will take you to a larger, color version of that image… links to download sites are below the images after a brief text description. More information about the below books can be found here.

I plan on updating this list as more comics become available… if you know of good locations to download the missing comics, or if you see errors or omissions, please let me know in the comments.

A1 Guns of Fact and Fiction #13

SOTI text mention page 19.

No download found.

All-Famous Crime #9

SOTI illustration. Caption: “The wish to hurt or kill couples in Lovers’ Lanes is a not uncommon perversion.”

No download found.

All-Top #14

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Corpses of colored people strung up by their wrists.”

DOWNLOAD HERE

Authentic Police Cases #3

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Outside the forbidden pages of deSade, you find draining a girl’s blood only in children’s comics.”

Also SOTI text pages 161 and 181.

Reprints Red Seal #16.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Authentic Police Cases #6

SOTI illustration. Caption: “An invitation to learning.”

DOWNLOAD HERE

Authentic Police Cases #27

Possible SOTI book, according to this website.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Beware #6

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Children are first shocked and then desensitized by all this brutality.”

DOWNLOAD HERE

Beware #12

SOTI text mention page 388.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Beyond #27

SOTI text mention page 111.

No download found.

Black Cat Comics #27

SOTI text mention page 193.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Black Cat Mystery #36

SOTI text mention pages 270-271.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Black Cat Mystery #39

Mentioned in text, pp. 386-388.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Blue Beetle #54

SOTI illustration. Caption: "Children call these ‘headlights’ comics."

No download found.

Blue Beetle #56

SOTI text mention page 145. Page Wertham cited reprinted in Murder Incorporated #9.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Brenda Starr V.2 #4

SOTI text mention page 21.

No download found.

Bugs Bunny Diamond Daze (Four Color #250)

SOTI text mention page 309.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Captain Video #2

SOTI text mention page 382.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Chamber of Chills #7

SOTI text mention page 389.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Classic Comics #10: Robinson Crusoe

SOTI text mention page 142.

No download found.

Classic Comics #13: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

SOTI text mention page 143.

No download found.

Classic Comics #15: Uncle Tom’s Cabin

SOTI text mention pages 102, 103.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Classic Comics #43: Great Expectations

SOTI text mention page 311.

No download found.

Classic Comics #44: Mysteries of Paris

SOTI text mention page 323.

No download found.

Classic Comics #50: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

SOTI text mention page 37.

No download found.

Classic Comics #55: Silas Marner

SOTI text mention pages 311, 312.

No download found.

Classic Comics #68: Julius Caesar

SOTI text mention page 36, 37.

No download found.

Crime and Punishment #2

Thief steals from a blind newsdealer on cover. Possible SOTI book.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Crime and Punishment #3

SOTI text mention page 112.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Crime and Punishment #59

SOTI illustration. Caption: “What comic-book America stands for.”

No download found.

Crime Can’t Win #10

Possible SOTI text mention page 161

No download found.

Crime Clinic #3

SOTI text mention page 18.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Crime Detective #9

SOTI illustration. Caption: "Caricature of the author in a position comic-book publishers wish he were in permanently."

No download found.

Crime Does Not Pay #63

Possible SOTI text mention page 306.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Crime Does Not Pay #64

Possible SOTI text mention page 306.

No download found.

Crime Files #5

SOTI text mention page 4.

No download found.

Crime Reporter #2

SOTI illustration. Caption: "Children told me what the man was going to do with the red-hot poker."

No download found.

Crime Smashers #1

SOTI illustration. Caption: "A girl raped and murdered." Also used in text pp. 19-20.

No download found.

Crime Supenstories #19

SOTI text mention page 235.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Crime Supenstories #20

SOTI illustration. Caption: "Cover of a children’s comic book."

DOWNLOAD HERE

Crimes By Women #3

SOTI text mention page 234.

No download found.

Crimes By Women #10

SOTI text mention page 72.

No download found.

Dagar, Desert Hawk #19

SOTI text mention page 180.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Dagar, Desert Hawk #21

"Bombs and Bums Away" panel in "Flood of Death" used in SOTI.

No download found.

Dynamic Comics #17

SOTI illustration. Caption: "Children told me what the man was going to do with the red-hot poker."

No download found.

Eerie Adventures #1

SOTI text mention pages 317-318.

DOWNLOAD HERE or HERE

Exposed #6

SOTI illustration. Caption: "How to prepare an alibi."

No download found.

Exposed #7

SOTI illustration. Caption: "Diagram for housebreakers."

No download found.

Famous Crimes #3

SOTI text mention page 112. Injury-to-the-eye motif.

No download found.

Famous Crimes #7

SOTI text mention page 44.

No download found.

First Love Illustrated #35

SOTI illustration. Caption: "The title of this comic book is First Love."

No download found.

Frontier Romances #1

SOTI illustration. Caption: "Erotic spanking in a children’s comic book." >Possible SOTI text mention page 180.

No download found.

Frontier Romances #1 (reprint)

SOTI illustration. Caption: "Erotic spanking in a children’s comic book." Reprints original Frontier Romances #1.

No download found.

Frontline Combat #4

SOTI text mention page 257.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Fugitives From Justice #3 (see Authentic Police Cases #27)

SOTI illustration. Caption: "An invitation to learning."
Reprints story from Authentic Police Cases #6 with new title and modified art.

No download found.

Giant Comics Edition #4 (reprint of Red Seal #16)

SOTI illustration. Caption: "Outside the forbidden pages of deSade, you find draining a girl’s blood only in children’s comics."

Also SOTI text mention page 181.

Re-packaging of Red Seal #16.

No download found.

Harvey Comics Library #1

SOTI text mention page 27.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Haunt Of Fear #17 (#3)

SOTI text mention page 43.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Haunt Of Fear #19

SOTI illustration. Caption: "A comic book baseball game. Notice the chest protector and other details in the text and pictures."

DOWNLOAD HERE

Hopalong Cassidy #5

SOTI text mention page 308-309.

No download found.

Hopalong Cassidy & the Mad Barber

SOTI text mention pages 308-309.

No download found.

Howdy Doody #6

SOTI text mention page 309.

No download found.

Hunted #13

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Treating police contemptuously.”

Also SOTI text mention page 42.

No download found.

Ideal, A Classical Comic #3

SOTI text mention page 310.

No download found.

Inside Crime #2

SOTI text mention pages 182-183.

Reprinted in Spook #24.

No download found.

Jon Juan #1

SOTI text mention page 38.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Journey Into Fear #15

SOTI text mention page 389.

DOWNLOAD HERE and HERE

Jungle Comics #98

SOTI illustrations. Caption: “In ordinary comic books there are pictures for children who know how to look.”

Also SOTI text mention page 185

DOWNLOAD HERE

Justice Traps the Guilty #13

SOTI text mention pages 110-111.

No download found.

Justice Traps the Guilty #58

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Treating police contemptuously.”

No download found.

Kewpies #1

SOTI mention?

No download found.

Killers #1

SOTI text mention pages 179-180.

DOWNLOAD HERE or HERE

Law Against Crime #3

SOTI illustration. Caption: “The wish to hurt or kill couples in Lovers’ Lanes is not an uncommon perversion.”

Also SOTI text mention page 181.

No download found.

Lawbreakers Always Lose #7

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Comic-book philosophy.”

No download found.

Martin Kane #4

SOTI text mention page 160.

Reprints the story from Murder Incorporated #8.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Meet Corliss Archer #1

SOTI text mention page 39, with the indication, “Adolescent boys call these headlight comics.”

No download found.

Meet Corliss Archer #2

SOTI text mention page 39, with the indication, “Adolescent boys call these headlight comics.”

No download found.

Meet Corliss Archer #3

SOTI text mention page 39, with the indication, “Adolescent boys call these headlight comics.”

DOWNLOAD HERE

Murder Incorporated #8

SOTI text mention page 160.

Reprinted in Martin Kane #4.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Murder Incorporated #9

SOTI text mention page 145.

Reprints the page from Blue Beetle #56 Wertham referenced.

DOWNLOAD HERE

My Life #4 (previously Meet Corliss Archer)

SOTI text mention page 39.

No download found.

Mysterious Adventures #11

SOTI text mention page 84.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Nightingale (one-shot)

SOTI text mention pages 312-313.

No download found.

Out of This World Adventures #2

SOTI text mention page 120.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Perfect Crime #11

SOTI text mention page 159.

No download found.

Peter Penny and his Magic Dollar (one shot)

SOTI text mention pages 310-311.

No download found.

Phantom Lady #17

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Sexual stimulation by combining ‘headlights’ with a sadist’s dream of tying up a woman.”

No download found.

Planet Comics #53

SOTI text mention page 32.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Public Enemies #2

SOTI text mention page 95.

No download found.

Real Clue v3#9

SOTI text mention page 102.

No download found.

Red Seal Comics #16

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Outside the forbidden pages of deSade, you find draining a girl’s blood only in children’s comics.”

Also SOTI text mention page 181.

No download found.

Reform School Girl (One Shot)

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Comic books are supposed to be like fairy tales.”

Also SOTI text mention page 358.

No download found.

Rulah, Jungle Goddess #21

SOTI text mention pages 388-389.

DOWNLOAD HERE and HERE

Rulah, Jungle Goddess #22

SOTI text mention pages 22-23.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Sensation Comics #81

SOTI text mention pages 33-34.

No download found.

Shock SuspenStories #4

SOTI text mention pages 387-388.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Spook #24

SOTI text mention page 182-183.

Reprints Inside Crime #2.

No download found.

Stories by Famous Authors Illustrated #6

SOTI text mention pages 22, 143.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Story of Harry S. Truman (one-shot)

SOTI text mention page 311.

No download found.

Strange Adventures #39

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Treating police contemptuously.”

DOWNLOAD HERE

Strange Mysteries #10

SOTI text mention page 181.

No download found.

Strange Worlds #2

SOTI text mention page 112.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Super Duck #22

SOTI text mention pages 35, 307-308.

No download found.

Superboy #2

SOTI text mention pages 35-36, 226.

No download found.

Superman #55

SOTI text mention page 33.

No download found.

Tegra, Jungle Empress #1

SOTI text mention page 31.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Terrifying Tales #15 (reprint from Rulah #22)

SOTI text mention page 22,23.

Reprints story from Rulah #22.

No download found.

Terrors of the Jungle #17 (reprint from Rulah #21)

SOTI text mention pages 388-389.

Reprints story from Rulah #21.

No download found.

Thing #9

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Stomping on the face is a form of brutality children learn early.”

Also SOTI text mention page 388.

DOWNLOAD HERE and some material HERE

Tom Mix Western #9

SOTI text mention pages 323-325.

No download found.

Top Secrets #7

SOTI illustration. Caption: “How to hurt people.” Also used in text, p. 90.

No download found.

Trapped! (one-shot)

SOTI text mention pages 256, 350.

DOWNLOAD HERE, some material HERE

True Crime Comics v1#2

SOTI illustrations. Caption: “Pity was the keynote when Homer described dragging a dead body behind a chariot. Dragging living people to death is described without pity in children’s comics.” Also caption, “A sample of the injury-to-the-eye motif.” Also SOTI text mention page 81-82.

One story reprinted in True Crime v2#1.

No download found.

True Crime Comics v1#4

SOTI book?

No download found.

True Crime Comics v2#1

SOTI illustration. Caption:”Pity was the keynote when Homer described dragging a dead body behind a chariot. Dragging living people to death is described without pity in children’s comics.”

Also SOTI text mention pages 81-82.

One story reprinted from True Crime v1#2.

No download found.

NOTE: Some of the SOTI Jack Cole True Crime stories were reprinted in Mr. Monster’s True Crime #1 and 2, which can be DOWNLOADED HERE.

Underworld #2

SOTI text mention page 95.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Wanted #12

SOTI text mention page 277.

No download found.

Wanted #35

SOTI text mention page 160.

No download found.

Web of Evil #1

SOTI text mention page 388.

No download found.

Weird Fantasy #16

SOTI text mention page 144.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Weird Mysteries #7

SOTI illustrations. Caption: “Indeed.” Also caption: “Sex and blood.”

Some pages available HERE

Weird Science #19

SOTI illustrations. Caption: “A young girl on her wedding night stabs her sleeping husband to death with a hatpin when she realizes that he comes from a distant planet and is a ‘mammal’.”

DOWNLOAD HERE

Western Adventures #3

SOTI text mention page 30-31.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Wild Boy of the Congo v1#10

SOTI text mention page 189.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Women Outlaws #1

SOTI illustration. Caption: “Giving children an image of American womanhood.”

DOWNLOAD HERE

Wonder Woman #49

SOTI text mention pages 234, 236.

No download found.

X-Mas Comics #6

Reprints Captain Video #2 (see above).

No download found, but there is a download of Captain Video #2.

Your United States (one-shot)

SOTI text mention pages 309-310.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Zoot #14

SOTI text mention page 104.

DOWNLOAD HERE

Seduction of the Innocent by Fredric Wertham

Read more about the book on Wikipedia.

DOWNLOAD HERE or HERE

This post would not have been possible without information from the following websites:

seductionoftheinnocent.org
Golden Age Comics
The Crosseyed Cyclops
The Grand Comic Book Database
Golden Age Comic Book Stories
Stephen O’Day’s SOTI List

So, thanks!

18 thoughts on “HEY! KIDS! COMICS! The Dr. Fredric Wertham Memorial Funnybook Collection: The Comics Featured in Seduction of the Innocent

  1. What a wonderful page; I hope some of the holes get filled in soon. I did spot one possible error: You claim Authentic Police Cases #27 contains a rebound Fugitives from Justice 3. APC 27 is all new, not rebound issues, and as far as I know the story in question doesn’t appear there. (I was the scanner on the APC issues.)

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  6. “The Story of Harry S Truman”? “Your United States”?

    WTF was offensive about those titles? (or were they examples of what he thought kids should read?)

    great post!

    m

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  8. Thanks for posting all of this! Note that more SOTI books are being discovered regularly, so check out SeductionOfTheInnocent.org to find new ones. The information about Authentic Police Cases #27 containing a rebound Fugitives from Justice #3 came from my website, MyComicArt.com. I own three copies of APC#27: one copy contains the rebound FFJ#3, and two do not. I haven’t previously seen any references to the fact that these large St. Johns could have varying content like the Fox Giants, but that seems to be the case. I will continue to hunt for additional giant-sized St. Johns, and will also examine the copy I have with FFJ3 for evidence of tampering. – Stephen O’Day

  9. Looks like I need to revise my statement that Authentic Police Cases #27 contains a rebound Fugitives from Justice #3. I have two APC#27’s. One matches the other examples I’ve found online (at the Grand Comics Database and a downloadable example). We’ll call that Version A. The other APC #27, version B, is an anomaly. It is a rebound book containing Authentic Police Cases #16, then Fugitives from Justice #3, and finally Fugitives from Justice #2. These three books are held snugly by two large staples, and the squarebound cover is glued on. It would seem that somebody (not St. John) might have built this book aftermarket by rebundling these three books and adding an APC #27 cover to them. The evidence for the aftermarket rebundling is strong: The whole book is trimmed but the cover is not, so the cover hangs over the bottom and sides in much the way the pulp covers were typically larger than their contents. The cover reads, “All New Stories”, which is not true in this case. And the contents don’t match the contents of any other copies of APC #27 I’ve seen. The evidence against this being an aftermarket Frankenstein book? The edges are so worn that clearly the cover overhang has existed for many years. Plus, I didn’t pay a lot for the book when I bought it on eBay about 8 years ago, from a seller who recognized the “where you going with dat rod” panel from SOTI, but wasn’t aware where which book it came from. If a seller were going to put together a forgery, they likely would have tried to get more for it. It simply wouldn’t have been economically feasible for somebody to have made this as a fake. If this book did come from St. John this way, I would expect it to be built like other St. John rebound books. Perhaps if I compare the binding of this book to the binding of a Giant Comics Edition I’ll get an idea of whether this binding could be original. Now I just need to find a Giant Comics Edition I can afford.
    If anybody out there has any ideas as to how I can explain the origin of this rebound St. John book, I’d love to hear from them. -Stephen O’Day

  10. We’ve used the ‘Approved Comics’ symbol on the front cover of Dawn of the Unread to mess around with people’s preconceptions about what a comic is. This will be made available across media platforms as of 8 April and I’d love to link the ‘Approved Comics’ logo to this article if that’s ok?

  11. Sure, James, go ahead. Thanks for the link! Note that since I posted this, in an act of beautiful irony, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has taken legal ownership of the Comics Code icon. It offers t-shirts of the logo that can be worn as one might display the scalp of a fallen enemy on a belt.

    http://cbldf.org/2011/09/cbldf-receives-comics-code-authority-seal-of-approval/
    http://cbldf.myshopify.com/collections/apparel/products/tshirt-comicscodelg

  12. Several more books from this list can now be found on Digital Comic Museum using the search term SOTI

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