|Page(s)||Quote from unknown SOTI comic ||Notes |
Here is the lecherous-looking bandit overpowering the attractive girl who is dressed (if that is the word)
for very hot weather ("She could come in handy, then! Pretty little spitfire, eh!") in the typical pre-rape position. Later
he threatens to kill her:|
"Yeah, it's us, you monkeys, and we got an old friend of yours here... Now unless you want to see somp'n FATAL happen to
here, u're gonna kiss that gold goodbye and lam out of here!"
|8-9||Here is violence galore, violence in the beginning, in the middle, at the end: ZIP! CRASH! SOCK! SPLAT! BAM! SMASH! (This is an actual sequence of six pictures illustrating brutal fighting, until in the seventh picture: "He's out cold!") || |
…graphic pictures of the white man shooting colored natives as though they were animals:
"You sure must have treated these beggars rough in that last trip though here!" || |
|106||In a typical specimen a man-eating shark changes into a girl. You are shown the gruesome picture of an arm bitten off by the shark with blood flowing from the severed stump. And the moral ending? "No one would ever believe . . . that the ghost of a lovely girl could inhabit a shark's body..." || |
|111||In another comic book the murderer says to his victim: "I think I'll give it to yuh in the belly! Yuh get more time to enjoy it!" || |
|111||"His body was torn to shreds, his face an unrecognizable mass of bloody and clawed flesh!" || |
|112||In a Western comic book the "Gouger" is threatening the hero's eye with his thumb, which has a very long and pointed nail. This is called the "killer's manicure." He says: "YORE EYES ARE GONNA POP LIKE GRAPES WHEN OL' GOUGER GETS HIS HANDS ON YOU!... HERE GO THE PEEPERS!" || |
|114-115||A four-year-old boy in Florida looked through his brother's comic books and his mother found him under a tree stark naked, with a long knife in his hands. Stunned, she asked him why he had undressed himself, and what he was doing. He replied, "The man in the comics did it." Later he showed her pictures where some "Mongols" had a white man stripped naked and one of them had a long knife to cut out the American's tongue. || In Captain Marvel #140, the villains are "Mongols", but there are no scenes in the book that match this description. |
|137||I can match this almost verbally [Note: Did Wertham mean 'verbatim'?]: "Let's see you try to take me, you big brave coppers!" says a comic book on my desk. ||This quote sounds like a paraphrase of the most famous quote from real-life criminal "Two-Gun Crowley". His story was told in Hunted #13, Justice Traps the Guilty #4, Justice Traps the Guilty #59 and War Against Crime #2 (although E.C.'s story is about "Hank 'Two Gun' Corley" rather than "Frank 'Two Gun' Crowley", it's clear who the protagonist is). This quote comes from none of those comics. Crowley's story is also told in Crime Does Not Pay #46, Murder Incorporated #10 and Sky Sheriff v1#1. |
|159||In a recent comic book which has the "Seal of Approval of Comics Magazine Publishers," and is sold in New York subways, you learn that after a robbery you can escape more easily if you shoot out the source of light; you learn how to trade in guns; how to hijack ammunition; how to impersonate regular soldiers (I have had several cases of young people doing just that); and, of course, how to torture and kill a "squealer." ||A search of GCD for hijacking stories returns a number of crime comics, but the only one with the ACMP seal is Justice Traps the Guilty #11. However, that comic does not contain this lost SOTI reference. GCD also shows several comics with a title that involves squealers. Based on that search, this reference is not in Crime Does Not Pay #89, Complete Mystery #4 or All True Crime Cases #34. |
|159||In one which has the "Seal of Approval of Comics Magazine Publishers" young men fake disease to get out of the army. || |
|159||"Didn't I bluff my way out of the army?" says the hero-criminal. "Got a medical discharge without having anything wrong except indigestion! If you work it right, no doctor in the world can prove you're bluffing!" ||It's likely this is the same one mentioned in the prior reference. |
|159-160||One Western comic gives an illustrated lesson in foul fighting (he "chopped a powerful rabbit punch") and brutality (he "rammed his knee into Mossman's face with a sickening thud" and then, when his victim was on the ground, kicked him in the face). ||With an unusual name like "Mossman", it seems likely that this could be a Western "true crime" story about Burton "Cap" Mossman of the Arizona Rangers. There is a story about Mossman in Lone Ranger #10, but it's not the one to which Wertham was referring. A character named Mossman appears in Adventure Comics #68, but it's unlikely that Wertham referenced this because it was published a full seven years before Wertham's first anti-comics writings. Western Fighters v3#7 includes a story about Cap Mossman, but this is not the story to which Wertham was referring. |
|160||Another comic book shows how a youngster can murder for profit. He gets a job as a caddy, loses the ball, then kills the player when he goes searching for it. ||In searching for Golden Age stories about golf, we found that this is not from Journey into Mystery #13 "Keep off the Grass"; Tales from the Crypt #36, "How Green was my Alley" |
"Fixing" of sporting events has recently been front-page news. I have one accused boy under psychotherapy right now. In comic books that is old stuff:
"Here's 500 now, and you'll get 500 when it's over!"
Although this could be a reference to any sporting event, it seems most
likely this dialogue comes from a "fixed" boxing match.
According to eBayer Habib, this is NOT in the boxing story in Racket Squad in Action #9.
David T. Alexander was kind enough to point
out that although DC's Mr. District Attorney #3 does contain a line about the "fixing" of a boxing match,
it is not the book referenced here. Shock SuspenStories #4 also contains a boxing story, but not this one. Man Comics
#6 contains a boxing story which has not been checked for this reference, but seems unlikely to be this one since
the Man #6 story is about murder in the ring. Crime Detective v1#10 and Crime Must Pay the Penalty #31
each have a story about fixing a boxing match, but it's not the story to which Wertham was referring.
|161||Forgery is, of course, also described in comic books. The preferred method is to pick up a blotter which has been used and copy the signature with the aid of a mirror. || |
|161||From one book you can learn how to cut through the glass and break into a store and how to stop the noise when you do break in: "Pile the blankets on to smother the noise!" || |
|162||A man's pocketbook is stolen on the subway. Millions of little boys learn how to do that: "Did someone shove a newspaper in your face? And were you shoved from the rear at the same time? I can see that's what happened. The pickpocket got it while you were upset by the shove." Lesson completed. |
|162||How to steal a woman's pocketbook is outlined, too. According to the stories it may be done skillfully and peacefully, but if that does not work, just hit them over the head. || |
|162||In some comic books it is shown how the youngest tots are picked up bodily, held upside down and shaken so that the coins will fall out of their pockets. ||It could be this was a scene of comic relief in a GA Daredevil book; that's one place to look, anyway. |
|162-163||Often comic books describe real crimes that have been featured in the newspapers. In adapting them for children the following points are stressed: the daring and success of the criminals is exalted; brutal acts are shown in detail; sordid details are emphasized; if there are any sexual episodes they are featured. In 1952 three men escaped from a penitentiary. They stole cars, evaded the police, kidnapped people, held up a bank, and were finally caught in New York where they were living with three girls. A real children's story! In the first picture there is an unmade bed, a half-nude man and a girl. The prison break is described like a heroic feat. The ease with which you can steal cars in the country from a farmer is pointed out to youngsters who do not know that yet. One of the criminals boasts to a little boy that he has killed fifteen or sixteen people, "I lost count."|
|163||The girls living with the criminals are featured, two of them hiding behind a shower curtain. There are seventy-six pictures of exploits; in the seventy-seventh picture the police take over with a cheap wisecrack. || |
Another boy defended Crimes by Women and showed a copy of Penalty which he said was worse.
""It shows how to commit burglaries, holdups. A gangster has a hand on a girl's shoulder. He is working his
way down to her headlights.""
This is one that may never be found. All issues of Crime Must Pay the Penalty have been reviewed, and several instances have been found that involve
a gangster putting his hand on a girl's shoulder and also involve holdups. It's likely that this reference comes from issue #3, because issue 3 was used in the NY State Legislature's investigation
of comic books, to which Wertham contributed. Unless the information turns up in Dr. Wertham's files, we'll never know for sure which comic this is. Possible candidates:
Crime Must Pay the Penalty #3
(Story also reprinted in #36)
Crime Must Pay the Penalty #17
Crime Must Pay the Penalty #23
Crime Must Pay the Penalty #25
Crime Must Pay the Penalty #28
|182||In one comic book with a story on "the man who shanghaied more than 1,000 men from the San Francisco docks,"
there is suddenly - unrelated to the story - an illustration showing large in the foreground only the lower part of a girl's legs, in net stockings and very high-heeled
red shoes. ||Although the following contain stories of shanghais in San Francisco, they do not fit Wertham's decscription: Buccaneers #23,
Famous Crimes #8, Inside Crime #3, Outlaws #12 (which is a reprint of Western Killers #61), War Against Crime #3, Western Killers #61, or Women Outlaws #3.
It could be Prize Comics Western #v9#2 (#81), which features the story "Bandits of Barbary." |
|185||Adolescent girls are not helped by this bit from a love comic: "How long can a beautiful woman wait for love? Is it a crime to take passion where it is found - regardless of mocking faithfulness? (For the thrilling answer see page 17.)" || |
|231||A ten-year-old boy was found hanging from a door hook, suspended by his bathrobe cord.
On the floor under his open hand lay a comic book with this cover: a girl on a horse with a noose around her neck, the rope tied to a tree. A man was
leading the horse away, tightening the noose as he did so. The grief-stricken father said, "The boy was happy when I saw him last. So help me God,
I'll be damned if I ever allow another comic book in the house for the kids to read!" ||It would seem that the most likely
candidate for this would be a Fox western. However, this is not an issue of Hoot Gibson, Western Killers, Western Outlaws, Western Thrillers, Western True
Crime or Women Outlaws. The Lev Gleason books might also be a good place to check, but this is not an issue of Desperado or Black Diamond Western.
A text search of Overstreet for books with "hanging" in their description also turns up no match to this description from SOTI.
So far, two comics have been found that are close, but not exact, matches for this. Rangers #38 and Lone Rider #3.
| Lost SOTI books that may not exist|
| Some of the comics referenced in SOTI represent a child's retelling of what s/he
thought they had seen in a comic book. As a child's memory is not always accurate, these comics may not exist exactly as described.
For example, when Wertham asked a child who claimed to read Blue Beetle comics to tell about who the Blue Beetle is,
he got this incorrect response, "He is like Superman. He is a beetle, but he changes into Superman and afterwards
he changes into a beetle again."
As another example, when a child retells the story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde from Classics Illustrated,
the story the child tells does not match what's in the comic book. The books below are listed on the chance that an exact match can be found, but it is unlikely that these books can be identified with certainty.|
|41||I asked her about stealing in love comics. She laughed, "Oh, they do it often. A boy stole a bracelet from a girl he loves very much. He got caught but she still loved him. He spent a term in jail. When he got out he did it again and got sent up to jail again. The girl went to jail to see him, but she fell in love with another boy and got married." || |
|72-73||A: Girls read mostly Crimes by Women
Q: Which crimes do women commit?
A: Murder. ..They will be a dancer and meet the wrong kind of a guy and get involved in a bank robbery.||This is another one from Crimes By Women. However, when Wertham quotes kids who discuss that they saw, or believe they saw, it's apparent that the kids' descriptions of comics aren't always correct. |
|73||There was this one case. It was in back of a factory with pretty rich receipts, money. It showed how you get in through the back door. || |
|74||I saw a comic book where they do shoplifting. This girl was shoplifting and she was caught. They took her down to the Police Department. It was a love story. When she got married she still shoplifted and she broke down and told her husband. || |
|74||I saw a book where a man has a hanger in his coat with hooks on. He opens his coat and shoves things in and it disappears. It was a crime comic book.... || |
|87||Once I saw in a science comic where this beast comes from Mars. It showed a man's hand over his eyes and streams of blood coming down. ||It's likely the child was recalling what he had seen on the cover of Thing #7. Although the Thing story makes no mention of the beast coming from Mars, Thing #7's cover matches exactly the full notes from Dr. Wertham that he used in preparing SOTI, including the beak on creature. Image of Wertham's notes to come. The image from Thing #7 can be found on the "Wertham Missed It" page here at SeductionOfTheInnocent.org.|
|88||There was a girl who stole in a department store and nobody saw her. So she is going out of the store, so this man he grabbed her. When she got to her home she thought nobody was following her. Then they took her to the police station and said if she did it any more they'd have to put her away. |
|134||Comic books: Knows the names of many comics and says they are all his favorites. "The Indians shot a man in the eye with an arrow. The soldier took his sword and stuck it in him. The Indian took the soldier's rifle, killed everyone in the fort and the boy was shot right in the back and a baby was shot with a bullet and then the troopers came and they warred. I don't like mystery comics any more 'cause I dream about them and I can't sleep." || |
|171||“In the comic books it shows how to snatch purses. You should read them if you got the time [To me.]. It shows a boy going to a woman and asking her where the church is. She naturally drops her arm and goes waving. So you just grab the purse and run. Usually they can't run after you. She has the bag in her hand, waving to a certain place. You just grab her arm. It was in different comic books. They all build that stuff up. You pick desolate places, where nobody is around." || |
|182||"This woman had a castle and in order to generate the electricity all the men had to push something. The women, who were glamorously dressed, would hit the men, who were in various stages of undress." || |
| THEY ONCE WERE LOST, |
BUT NOW ARE FOUND
Collectors and researchers have recently identified these SOTI books.
So we carefully followed developments. In a crime comic that came out after the code had been in existence for some time [Note: this refers to the ACMP code.],
a representative specimen of this group shows:
a policeman knocked out with the usual smart contemptuous wisecrack: "I can't stick around to explain, copper!";
a man shot in the stomach;
a woman mugged and then killed with a hammer to get her pocketbook;
the up-to-date ending of one murder story: "Archer Frize didn't die in the electric chair!
The state psychiatrists found him to be insane!";
detailed instructions about how to hold up a big grocery store;
and a brutal murder story with the murderer not caught by the law, but dying by accident.
(In the story murder is called a "mistake": "I knew it! They all make mistakes!")
|| Found! This is from Wanted Comics #29!|
Quite apart from its sadistic groove, the imagination expressed in comic books is mechanical rather than in any way creative. For instance, in a jungle book with the subtitle "The Jungle Girl," the "Satanic Dr. Zanzere ... transplants a pair of bat's wings onto a tiger." The rest of this book is the usual parade of invitation to sadistic perversion, race hatred and violence for violence's sake.
What about the "emotional release" a child is supposed to get according to the defenders of the comic-book industry? One story concludes with a close-up of a fist holding a gun and these words: "A gentle squeeze of the trigger and the last breath of life will be squeezed out of Nyoka! Read on for Part Three of The Treasure of the Tiger's Paw."
|| Found! Here, Dr. Wertham is referencing Nyoka, the Jungle Girl #26!|
In one love comic a demonstration is given of how to steal a "very expensive gown, Paris original" from a department store:
"I'll slip it on in the dressing-room. They won't notice me! I'll put it in that box and walk out, while the saleslady is busy with someone else! ...
I walked out, trying to keep calm, trying to look and act natural ... Nobody has seen me! Ohh! If I can only reach the door!"
| Found! Thanks to comic book scanner and detective extraordinaire Pmack Scans, we now know this comes from Diary Loves #31!|
In many subtle and not so subtle forms the lynch spirit is taught as a moral lesson. Many children have told me that lynching is all right and have shown me examples from their comic books. In one such story the townspeople get together, hunt the criminal and he is finally shot and killed. The lesson is in the last sentence: "The story of Lee Gillon proves that fearless people banded together will always see that justice triumphs." In the same book, a man slaps a girl's face and says: "Give me trouble and you'll have a board full of spikes smashed into your kisser!"
|| Found! This comes from Famous Crimes #19.|
Spelling in comic books is often faulty. "The Case of the Psycopathic [sic] Lady" is not good for children in either content or spelling.
|| Found! This comes from Mr. Risk #2.|
|161||One book shows how to steal the money box from the blind man who runs the newsstand. Of course, as in the vast majority of criminal acts depicted in comic books, this particular act is successful and not punished. ||Found? Could this be a reference to the cover of Crime & Punishment #2?|
|186||"One moment of sin . . . The ugliest sin in the world . . . would it bring her a lifetime of happiness?" ||Found! This is from True Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #11!|
|186||"Violent passions smouldered in my heart! I burned with love for a man who could never be mine. In a moment of weakness I surrendered to a tragic impulse and grasped at a forbidden love!"||Found! This is from True Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #11!|
|186||Or: "Naive, innocent fool that I was, I thought he was asking me to marry him! But I found out different fifteen minutes after we checked into the hotel!! My folks hushed it up of course . . . and I learned to forget. . ."||Found! This is from True Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #11!|
|234||Where in any other childhood literature except children's comics do you find a woman called (and treated as) a "fat slut"? ||Found!This language seems awfully harsh for the late 40's or early 50's. As you might expect, it's a Fox book. Or tecnically, a couple Fox books. This first appeared in February, 1948 in Phantom Lady #16.
Then in June, 1948 the story was reprinted in Famous Crimes #1.
Many thanks to CGC Board members Fifties and OtherEric for the discoveries!
One of the worst crime comics boasts: "Distributed in over 25 countries throughout
the world!" - while a picture on the opposite page shows a U.S. Federal Agent knocking a man down
with a rifle butt to the words: "Boy, that's the sweetest sound on earth." ||
Found! Thanks to comic book scanner and detective extraordinaire Pmack Scans, we now know this comes from T-Man #4
|388||A man provides murder victims for his wife, who drinks their blood. He grabs a newsboy for her and she says over his bound body: "His throat is as white and soft as a swan's! So tender and youthful!" ||Found! New discovery October, 2016! Thanks to observant contributor Carl Henderson, we now know that this quote came from Doll Man #38!|
|389||One man kills his wife with a poker ||Found? If you check Witches Tales #20, you'll find a story that fits this description exactly. This book may have been the one to which Wertham was referring. However, it's also possible that there is another book matching this description, so it is not certain that this is the book Wertham saw.|