Webcomic Beacon Newscast: Comic News & Discussion for March 3rd, 2013


Ben Carver, Ren RieskampTerence MacManus and Fes Works are here for another edition of the newscast! This week we discuss Frederick Wertham’s “Seduction of the Innocent” being out-right debunked; Campbell’s Rules of Comprehension for comic page arrangement; Penny Arcade’s first episode of “Strip Search” has been released; and more!

WCBN Article of Interest: Eric Kimball returns with a new article, complete with video! Check out his article on the Theory and Practice of Story Vectors.


Frederick Wertham, of “Seduction of the Innocent”, Shown to be a Liar.
i09 reports that new research by University of Illinois information studies professor Carol Tilley has shown that much of the source material behind Wertham’s infamous publication (which led to the creation of the comics code in America, which ran from 1954 – effectively 2011 [although it technically still exists today] and attributes societal violence, drug use and homosexuality as results of the comic book industry) was either exaggerated, misquoted, or outright fabricated. Although “The Seduction of the Innocent” is considered debunked today, it was an extreme influence over the creation and development of comics (particularly in America) and their acceptance in society, the implications of which are still felt today (perhaps moreso by people of a certain generation).
Examples of the confused data sample include the omission of key phrases from an interview with two homosexual teens which implicated Batman and Robin as gay role models for the boys (attributed to one boy in the text), the attribution of comic books as the sole cause for violent thoughts in a female teen without considering her violent home life and difficulty with reading, and evidence from Wertham’s notes that four sources cited in his work may have all come from the same individual, inflated to suggest greater numbers for a more widespread problem.
article at io9 goes through the relevant data and where they were mishandled/misused.
Article on io9:
and a link to the comics code itself: ComicArtville.com/comicscode.htm

Campbell’s Rules of Comprehension
Don’t know if this really classes as “news” but will put it here anyway as it seems a good resource – Eddie Campbell has posted a list of his personal ‘rules’ for composing  comic pages  in order to maximise reader experience – particularly for those who are unfamiliar with reading comic layout. This style of composition deals almost exclusively with longform-comic artists and deals with panel layout, word balloons, what to show in each panel and how to direct your reader’s eye.
available at The Comics Journal, at TCJ.com/campbells-rules-of-comprehension

Penny Arcade’s “Strip Search” airs first episode:
Following the story from last podcast, Penny Arcade has now aired the first episode of Strip Search, over at Penny-Arcade.com/strip-search/episode/artists-assemble
The episode sees the gathering of the contestants together in the house where the competition will be based from, introducing them to each other and to the competition.

Another Trademark Snafu: Someone has claimed  “Podcasting”
Someone has apparently trademarked “podcasting”, and is sueing podcasters to make them pay a “license fee” to continue updating their podcasts.
Who the hell is authorizing these trademark applications? Link and resource for action found on the EFF: EFF.org…podcasting-community-faces-patent-troll-threat
and what we can do about it: EFF.org…action/public/?action_KEY=9072

Marvel & DC’s Gay Old Time
In news that would probably send the spirit of Frederick Wertham into a fit, DC’s latest issue of “Batwoman” (Batwoman #17) ends with the titular character proposing marriage to her long-time girlfriend (as reported at DCWomenKickingAss and i09). This move has been applauded by some in the community for the understated manner in which it was handled (whereas in the past DC has announced such things to much fanfare in a LOOK HOW PROGRESSIVE DC IS kind of way – notably the ‘coming out’ of Green Lantern Allen Scott), but has also been slammed as DC has also recruited Orson Scott Card, a notable anti-gay-marriage activist to work on their Superman title. This announcement also comes about the same time as Marvel also peppering one of their alternate universe comics with a relationship between that universe’s version of Hercules and Wolverine (as reported by Bleeding Cool); also to relatively little media fanfare.
Might be worth a discussion on ways to present sensitive subject matter in webcomics, and ties nicely with the Seduction of the Innocent Debunkment.
DC Women Kicking Ass:
Bleeding Cool:

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I tried to find an email so I didn’t have to post this in public, but can’t find anything.

I don’t know if he is a regular guest since I am new listener, but the guy who kept dominating the conversation and only spoke in lame references was beyond unbearable. Everyone else seemed mostly pleasant.

Also, way to continue the black and white portrayal of Wertham. Please spend a few minutes and look into some of the good things he was involved with, and I know this is a funny concept, but maybe take an evening and read his work before talking about it publicly.

Also, knocking Scott Kurtz was pretty lame.

I love you,

Mike King

But knocking Scott Kurtz is so easy! No, seriously, it’s all in good fun, really. I like that he “shoots from the hip” with his most surface reaction. That’s the thing with celebrities, it’s fairly easy to make fun.

Also, If you are seriously defending a person who was just proved to be a liar, as well as having their body of work largely disproved over the past decades… Well, even if a broken clock is right at least twice a day, doesn’t mean you can rely upon it for 99% of the rest of the day.

Sorry, if you are supposed to be a scientist, a doctor in a position of authority, you have a responsibility to follow scientific method, encourage peer review of your work, and most importantly, not lie about your findings.

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