William Sherman Pulvino is a Sophomore at Clark studying Psychology (most basic Clark move) and Political Science, but he promises that doesn’t make him toxic and manipulative (do you believe him?). This is his second year on Clark’s Model UN team. He staffed Clarkmun last year, but this will be his first go round as CD. Will is from Scarborough Maine, where Stephen King’s parents were married as well as the home to the world’s only life sized Chocolate Moose. Will has loved comic books his entire life-As a matter of fact, Neal Adams, aka one of the most legendary comics artists of all time, tried to teach him how to give a proper handshake (if Will still can’t give a proper handshake, that’s his fault)-So he is super excited for all of y’all to be a part of this committee.
Comics in Crisis: Comic Censorship and Chaos in the 1950's
The 1950’s concerns of a new youth culture spinning out of control and a generation losing its way on the rise, from a series of cheating and sports scandals at prominent universities, concerns of the susceptibility of American POW’s to potential communist brainwashing amidst the broader red scare and an apparent outbreak of juvenile delinquency led many to believe that the youth of the day lacked the same sort of moral fabric their formers had shown in the previous world wars or the Great Depression, naturally problems had never been seen in the previous generation, as is the case with every generation, and naturally none of these ills could be at root in the perfection of the 1950’s nuclear family, surely something else must be at play, some force must surely be causing the degradation of young people, but what?
Enter Dr. Frederic Wertham, a German-American psychiatrist an author, who had the obvious answer: Comic Books, spewing their barrage of corrupting filth into the widening chasms between children and adults and between children and their proper roles, overwhelming the pillars of authority, which posed an apparently existential threat to a society in the paranoid grips and throws of the Cold War, and so, unfounded as they may have been, Dr. Wertham’s arguments found there way to the ears of an eager audience and following, and they would mount a movement against the comics industry, beginning in the late 1940’s, although this initial uprising would be soothed through the constitutional defeat of legislated comic book controls, and the endorsement of experts and civic watchdog groups as well as the 1948 code for editorial standards.
However, Wertham would hardly be put to rest so easily, and so, in 1954, he published his magnum opus and polemic strike against comics, the infamous Seduction of the Innocent, which, in tandem with continued pressing, would prompt a revived uproar, and it is against this backdrop that our committee is set, as delegates will debate the calls of Wertham as well as the cultural context surrounding him, and together will dictate the future of the comics industry.