The Wertham Files

I’m sure by rights that if I were to plug anyone else on the internet I should be promoting another author, perhaps one who also writes what might be called erotica. However, since I read very little on-line fiction and haven’t enjoyed much of the stuff that calls itself erotic, maybe it’s best that I didn’t.

However, one site which I’ve come across recently that I think is worth promoting is The Wertham Files which is definitely not a sex story site although it does feature sex and it also contains stories.

It’s one of those websites that, perhaps a little like my own, treads that delicate line between satire of something distasteful and emulation of it. In this case, the site’s title makes relatively clear what it’s about.

Fredric Wertham was a campaigner in the 1950s whose highly influential view was that comic books were fundamentally dangerous for children. Although in a sense his campaign which culminated in the American Comics Code ultimately led to the creation of underground or alternative comics that subverted everything he believed in, his views are nonetheless anathema to those of us who believe that censorship is only acceptable in the most extreme cases.

This site is a kind of parody of the American 1950s comic books that upset Fredric Wertham, but they also (satirically I hope) portray the attitude towards women and sexuality that was prevalent at the time.

The artwork is deliberately very much of the period, with a lot of primary colours (mostly yellows and reds), chauvinistic male heroes, women who unquestioningly accept their subordinate roles, and an unthinking adherence to (American) nationalist principles.

And here’s a sample:

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