THE PEANUT GALLERY: The Author Meets The Critics: Frederic Wertham Versus Al Capp

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.

You can hear the interview here.

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.

There are many more old-time-radio shows on that site as well… it appears to be quite a treasure trove.

View the Frederic Wertham Memorial Funnybook Library here.

One thought on “THE PEANUT GALLERY: The Author Meets The Critics: Frederic Wertham Versus Al Capp

  1. I agree with what was mentioned…I wish Capp would have been more informed, as that would have been a deciding factor in destroying Wertham’s position (what little there was of it).

    It seemed to me that the other person who extolled Capp for being a wonderful satirist should have gone further in arguing that an artist’s duty is to comment on the times, whether it was Capp, Swift, or Voltaire. I often wonder exactly when Wertham died, as to what he might have thought of the more socially-relevant ideas covered in “Green Lantern” (ala Schwartz and O’Neil) as well as the Underground Movement spearheaded by R. Crumb and Spain.

    Great clip! As Stan Lee said in “Comic Book Super Heroes Unmasked”..”He had ‘Dr.’ in front of his name so nobody questioned his findings…he was a good huckster!”

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