Look up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a librarian! The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) posted a terrific story on Carol Tilley, a library science professor at the University of Illinois, whose research shows that child psychologist Frederic Wertham falsified data for his 1954 volume Seduction of the Innocent, which was a nuclear weapon in the arsenal of politicos, psychoparents, and other cranks that led to the demise of several genres of comics and almost scuttled the entire industry in the 1950s and ‘60s.
As one of the first researchers allowed access to Wertham’s archive, which the Library of Congress made public in 2010, Tilley, according to CBLDF, discovered that “the doctor revised children’s ages, distorted their quotes, omitted other causal factors, and in general ‘played fast and loose with the data he gathered on comics.’”
The story reveals that:
“In one instance, Wertham used the testimony of a 13-year-old boy who had sexually abused another boy to support his claim that Batman comics encouraged homosexual behavior. Wertham conveniently neglected to mention that the patient had previously been sexually abused and actually preferred Superman. In another case, Wertham took quotes from a single source, a boy identified in his files as Carlisle, and attributed them to five different patients. Carlisle admitted that crime comics gave him ideas on how to commit burglaries, and Wertham seized on the opportunity to make this influence seem more widespread than it actually was.”
Tilley presented her findings at January’s ALA Midwinter Meeting and is publishing them in a future issue of the Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults.
A big Geeky Friday salute to Carol Tilley, you’re Batgirl, baby!
Bring on the Comics!
DC is continuing the storyline featured in Batman: The Court of Owls and Night of the Owls with the March 26 release of The City of Owls by Scott Snyder with illustrations by Greg Capullo and Rafael Albuquerque. According to DC, in the 208p. hardcover (ISBN 9781401237776. $24.95) the secret criminal organization known as the Court of Owls “has brought the fight directly to Bruce Wayne’s doorstep. Dozens of Talons—the Court’s deadly assassins—have invaded the Bat-Cave, forcing Batman into measures he never thought he’d have to take. However, there’s no safeguard that can protect Bruce against the most shocking revelation of his life—one that will rock the Bat-mythos for years to come.”
On March 19, DC debuts Earth 2 Volume 1: The Gathering (ISBN 9781401237745. $22.99) from Starman creator James Robinson and illustrator Nicola Scott. A new cadre of heroes has assumed the roles of the Flash, Hawkgirl, and the Green Lantern, but when an old enemy of the original supers reemerges, will these new players be able to defeat him?
comiXology Adds More Millar
comiXology, the digital comics platform available across the iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and the web, this week announced “the exclusive English-language digital debut of two of Kick-Ass creator Mark Millar ICON series, Nemesis and Hit-Girl, with plans for more of his ICON digital releases forthcoming!” The comiXology deal includes Nemesis issues1-4, and Hit-Girl 1-5. The two new titles join Millar’s Kick-Ass and Wanted titles already distributed digitally through comiXology.
Potter Power Reduxe
It’s hard to believe that this September marks the 15th anniversary of the domestic release of the first volume in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. To honor that milestone, publisher Scholastic is giving the series a facelift in the form of new covers by Eisner-nominated artist Kazu Kibuishi.
The original cover art created by Mary GrandPré for the American versions will remain on the domestic hardcover and digest paperback editions. According to Shelf Awareness, Scholastic in November “will release the first boxed set of the complete Hogwarts Library in the U.S., to include Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard.”
A BBC Radio poll also has named Rowling the 13th most powerful woman in Britain (attagirl!). The gin-sponge Queen Mother is still top dog.
More YA Books Coming to the Big Screen
In addition to the film adaptation of Kami Garcia’s novel Beautiful Creatures, which received a less-than-stellar reception from critics, and the next installation in The Hunger Games trilogy, Hollywood is turning to other YA print properties in an attempt to fill the gap left by the conclusion of the Twilight franchise.
Entertainment Weekly reports that Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone all are under development. City of Bones debuts in theaters this August.
[For a more detailed list of additional print properties being morphed into movies, see Films Based on Books: The 2013 Edition.]
R.I.P. Make-up Master Stuart Freeborn
Star Wars fans the galaxy over are mourning the loss of make-up artist extraordinaire Stuart Freeborn, who passed February 5 at 98. Freeborn designed the look of Chewbacca and Master Yoda, whose face he modeled after his own and Albert Einstein’s. In addition to the Star War OT, Freeborn did the make-up for all the various Peter Sellers characters in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove.
That’s a wrap, kids. Enjoy the long weekend if you’re off Monday (the LJ peons are working—yuck!) and get your geek on! I’d recommend seeing Die Hard 5 but critics universally have deemed it a turd, but bad John McClane is still better than no John McClane, so “Yippy ki yay, mother…” you know the rest.