Fox News Channels Frederic Wertham, Compares Comics to Pornography

Paging Doctor Wertham!

As much of the Internet buzz today focuses on stopping censorship, with sites including Wikipedia and Twitpic completely shut down in opposition of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), Fox News 5 in Washington DC has decided to go the other way. In one of the most transparently insane and backwards ads I've seen in my lifetime, the affiliate is apparently running a piece that aims to hyper parents into a frenzy over the perceived dangers of comic books.

Of course, the comics they show in the ad--primarily DC's Catwoman and Marvel's Fear Itself--are both clearly labeled with age-specific ratings. Catwoman, the book most prominently featured, is a T+ book, meaning that it's recommended for readers age 16 and up, and many retailers aggressively enforce those ratings, especially with young or new customers. But that doesn't stop Fox from invoking Archie Comics as the gold standard (do you think their heads would explode if anyone told them about Kevin Keller?) and trotting out an "expert" commentator that sounds suspiciously like notorious comics censor Frederic Wertham.

The notion that comics are for kids has caused overzealous censorship and disproportionate policing of content and harassment of creators ever since the birth of comics as an American medium, but with the fall of the Comics Code Authority and the popularity of mature readers titles among the general public it seemed to have been a problem of the past. Here, Fox News 5 demonstrates exactly why organizations like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund exist and, indeed, are nowhere close to having served their purpose.

(Thanks to Bleeding Cool for pointing this out.)