Psychiatrist Dr. Frederic Wertham’s crusade against comics in his book Seduction of the Innocent in the 1950s often has been characterized as targeting horror comics. This is because fanboys most morn the loss of their beloved E.C.horror comics brought down by the resulting the Comics Code of America . In fact, Wertham was the most concerned about the incredibly popular crime comics of the time. Wertham contended that these comic books were a major contributing factor to juvenile delinquincy.
The famous book.
What’s up, Doc?
(Click to enlarge the artwork)
I believe one innovative crime comic book publisher–by the name of “Toytown” (!) â€”tried to deflect some of the criticism of the crime comics by creating “Wanted Comics”. This “interactive” comic of the “Strangest Crime Cases” purported to try and find real criminals. The publisher even offered a $100 reward on information leading to their capture! Each criminal was profiled in comics form by artists like Mort Leav, Bob Hughes and Mort Lawerence who did the striking cover below. The stories in Wanted Comics still seemed to make criminal activity seem pretty exciting, though, and the rewards for crime seemed far greater than the “chump change” of a hundred bucks for being a stooge and turning in a criminal.
Wanted Comics was, of course, the forerunner of the T.V. show America’s Most Wanted, preceeding it by decades!
The top of the comic even became sort of a “line-up” in the later issues!
Below is one of the interior comics profiling a criminal and repeating the offered hundred buck reward.
I can’t pass up commenting on the ad found in one of my Wanted Comics. If you read between the lines it’s so obvious that what is being offered is not a fat reducing device at all but a good old fashioned vibrator. The copy calls the device a “spot reducer” and instructs the user to “just plug it in, grasp handle and apply over most any part of the body–stomach, hips, chest, neck, thighs, arms, buttocks, etc.” (Did we leave anything out?!?). The ad promises “increased awakened blood circulation” and The Spot Reducer “uses one of the most effective reducing methods employed by masseurs and turkish baths–MASSAGE! (caps and exclamation point theirs). “see how soothing its gentle massage can be. Helps you sleep when masage can be of benifit. The Spot Reducer can be used in your spare time, in the privacy of your own room”. Nice pic showing a woman in her bra and panties grasping and using the Spot Reducer!
Speaking of “wanted”, it may be criminal, but I want a Turkish bath right in the privacy of my own roomâ€”I want a Spot Reducer!