| C1|| Here is the lecherous-looking bandit overpowering the attractive girl who is dressed (if that is the word)
for very hot weather ("She could come in handy, then! Pretty little spitfire, eh!") in the typical pre-rape position. Later
he threatens to kill her:|
"Yeah, it's us, you monkeys, and we got an old friend of yours here... Now unless you want to see somp'n FATAL happen to
here, u're gonna kiss that gold goodbye and lam out of here!" (p. 8)
| C2|| One man kills his wife with a poker (p. 389)
| C3|| One of the worst crime comics boasts: "Distributed in over 25 countries throughout
the world!" - while a picture on the opposite page shows a U.S. Federal Agent knocking a man down
with a rifle butt to the words: "Boy, that's the sweetest sound on earth." (p. 284)
|| That sounds like an issue of Crime Does Not Pay.
| C4|| Another comic book shows how a youngster can murder for profit. He gets a job as
a caddy, loses the ball, then kills the player when he goes searching for it. (p. 160)
|| In searching for Golden Age stories about golf, we found that this is not from Journey into Mystery #13 "Keep off the Grass";
Tales from the Crypt #36, "How Green was my Alley"
| C5|| The girls living with the criminals are featured, two of them hiding behind a shower curtain. There are seventy-six
pictures of exploits; in the seventy-seventh picture the police take over with a cheap wisecrack. (p. 163)
| C6|| A man's pocketbook is stolen on the subway. Millions of little boys learn how to do that:
shove a newspaper in your face? And were you shoved from the rear at the same time? I can see that's what
happened. The pickpocket got it while you were upset by the shove." Lesson completed. (p. 162)
| C7|| Often comic books describe real crimes that have been featured in the newspapers. In adapting them for
children the following points are stressed: the daring and success of the criminals is exalted;
brutal acts are shown in detail; sordid details are emphasized; if there are any sexual episodes
they are featured. In 1952 three men escaped from a penitentiary. They stole cars, evaded the police,
kidnapped people, held up a bank, and were finally caught in New York where they were living with three
girls. A real children's story! In the first picture there is an unmade bed, a half-nude man and a girl.
The prison break is described like a heroic feat. The ease with which you can steal cars in the country
from a farmer is pointed out to youngsters who do not know that yet. One of the criminals boasts to a
little boy that he has killed fifteen or sixteen people, "I lost count." (p. 162-163) ||
| C8|| How to steal a woman's pocketbook is outlined, too. According to the stories it may be
and peacefully, but if that does not work, just hit them over the head. (p. 162)
| C9|| In another comic book the murderer says to his victim: "I think I'll give it to
yuh in the belly! Yuh get more time to enjoy it!" (p. 111)
| C10|| I can match this almost verbally [Note: Did Wertham mean 'verbatim'?]: "Let's see you try to take me, you big brave
coppers!" says a comic book on my desk. (p. 137)
|| This quote sounds like a paraphrase of the most famous quote from real-life criminal "Two-Gun Crowley". His story was told in Hunted #13, Justice Traps the Guilty #4, Justice Traps the Guilty #59 and War Against Crime #2 (although E.C.'s story is about "Hank 'Two Gun' Corley" rather than "Frank 'Two Gun' Crowley", it's clear who the protagonist is). This quote comes from none of those comics. Crowley's story is also told in Crime Does Not Pay #46, Murder Incorporated #10 and Sky Sheriff v1#1.
| C11|| "Fixing" of sporting events has recently been front-page news. I have one accused
boy under psychotherapy right now. In comic books that is old stuff: "Here's 500 now, and you'll
get 500 when it's over!" (p. 160)
|| Although this could be a reference to any sporting event, it seems most
likely this dialogue comes from a "fixed" boxing match.
According to eBayer Habib, this is NOT in the boxing story in Racket Squad in Action #9.
David T. Alexander was kind enough to point
out that although DC's Mr. District Attorney #3 does contain a line about the "fixing" of a boxing match,
it is not the book referenced here. Shock SuspenStories #4 also contains a boxing story, but not this one. Man Comics
#6 contains a boxing story which has not been checked for this reference, but seems unlikely to be this one since
the Man #6 story is about murder in the ring. Crime Must Pay the Penalty #31 has a story about fixing a boxing match, but it's not the story to which Wertham was referring.
| C13|| In a recent comic book which has the "Seal of Approval of Comics Magazine Publishers,"
and is sold in New York subways, you learn that after a robbery you can escape more easily if you shoot
out the source of light; you learn how to trade in guns; how to hijack ammunition; how to impersonate
regular soldiers (I have had several cases of young people doing just that); and, of course, how to
torture and kill a "squealer." (p. 159)
|| A search of GCD for hijacking stories returns a number of crime comics, but the only one with the ACMP seal is Justice Traps the Guilty #11.
However, that comic does not contain this lost SOTI reference. GCD also shows several comics with a title that involves
squealers. Based on that search, this reference is not in Crime Does Not Pay #89, Complete Mystery #4 or All True Crime Cases #34.
| C14|| Forgery is, of course, also described in comic books. The preferred method is
to pick up a blotter which has been used and copy the signature with the aid of a mirror. (p. 161)
| C15|| From one book you can learn how to cut through the glass and break into a store
and how to stop the noise when you do break in: "Pile the blankets on to smother the noise!" (p. 161)
| C16|| One book shows how to steal the money box from the blind man who runs the newsstand.
Of course, as in the vast majority of criminal acts depicted in comic books, this particular act is
successful and not punished. (p. 161)
|| Could this be a reference to the cover of Crime & Punishment #2?|
Here is violence galore, violence in the beginning, in the middle, at the end:|
ZIP! CRASH! SOCK! SPLAT! BAM! SMASH!
(This is an actual sequence of six pictures illustrating brutal fighting, until in the seventh picture: "He's out cold!") (pp. 8-9)
| Lost SOTI Horror Comics|
| H1|| A man provides murder victims for his wife, who drinks their blood. He grabs a
newsboy for her and she says over his bound body: "His throat is as white and soft as a swan's! So tender and youthful!" (p. 388)
| H2|| In a typical specimen a man-eating shark changes into a girl. You are shown the
gruesome picture of an arm bitten off by the shark with blood flowing from the severed stump. And the moral ending?
"No one would ever believe . . . that the ghost of a lovely girl could inhabit a shark's body..." (p. 106)
| H3|| "His body was torn to shreds, his face an
unrecognizable mass of bloody and clawed flesh!" (p. 111)
| Lost SOTI Jungle Comics|
| J1|| …graphic pictures of the white man shooting colored natives as though they were animals: "You sure must
have treated these beggars rough in that last trip though here!" (p. 9)
| Lost SOTI Romance Comics|
| R1|| In one love comic a demonstration is given of how to steal a "very expensive gown,
Paris original" from a department store:|
"I'll slip it on in the dressing-room. They won't notice me! I'll put it in that box and walk out,
while the saleslady is busy with someone else! ... I walked out, trying to keep calm, trying to
look and act natural ... Nobody has seen me! Ohh! If I can only reach the door!" (p. 40)
| The Fox romance comics seem like a logical place to search for this. It hasn't been found there yet, though. This could be
one of the same comics quoted by one of the kids Dr. Wertham treated. See reference Q4 below.
| R2|| The youthful reader can also acquire the technique of how to seduce a girl. First
you get her boy friend away on a fictitious errand, "knowing it would keep him for most of the
night." After a dance you invite the girl for "a little bite" at "a road house just over the state line":
NICKY: Here we are, Gale! A nice little private booth! Like it?
GALE: Yes' - (I wouldn't for the world let Nicky think I wasn't sophisticated enough to appreciate it!)
Then you make love to her.
GALE: Nicky! Let me go! All these people!
NICKY: You're right, honey! What do we want all these people for? Let's go upstairs to the terrace!
"Upstairs was a long, narrow hall with five or six doors! Nicky opened the nearest one and I found
myself in a small, shoddy- looking room!"
NICKY: I think we'll be much more comfortable in here, don't you, honey?
GALE: Nicky! I want to go home! Please let me go!
NICKY: Home was never like this, baby! Come on, give papa a kiss! (p. 40)
| R3|| Adolescent girls are not helped by this bit from a love comic: "How long can a beautiful
woman wait for love? Is it a crime to take passion where it is found - regardless of mocking faithfulness?
(For the thrilling answer see page 17.)" (p. 185)
| R4|| "One moment of sin . . . The ugliest sin in the world . . . would it
bring her a lifetime of happiness?" (p. 186)
|| Found!!! This is from True Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #11!|
| R5|| "Violent passions smouldered in my heart! I burned with love for a man who could never
be mine. In a moment of weakness I surrendered to a tragic impulse and grasped at a forbidden love!"(p. 186)
|| Found!!! This is from True Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #11!|
| R6|| Or: "Naive, innocent fool that I was, I thought he was asking me to marry him! But
I found out different fifteen minutes after we checked into the hotel!! My folks hushed it up of
course . . . and I learned to forget. . ."(p. 186)
|| Found!!! This is from True Love Problems and Advice Illustrated #11!|
| Lost SOTI Western Comics|
| W1|| A ten-year-old boy was found hanging from a door hook, suspended by his bathrobe
cord. On the floor under his open hand lay a comic book with this cover: a girl on a horse with a
noose around her neck, the rope tied to a tree. A man was leading the horse away, tightening
the noose as he did so. The grief-stricken father said, "The boy was happy when I saw him last.
So help me God, I'll be damned if I ever allow another comic book in the house for the kids to read!" (p. 231)
|| It would seem that the most likely candidate for this
would be a Fox western. However, this is not an issue of Hoot Gibson, Western Killers, Western Outlaws, Western Thrillers, Western True Crime or Women Outlaws. The
Lev Gleason books might also be a good place to check, but this is not an issue of Desperado or Black Diamond Western. A text search of Overstreet
for books with "hanging" in their description also turns up no match to this description from SOTI.
| W2|| In a Western comic book the "Gouger" is threatening the hero's eye with his thumb,
which has a very long and pointed nail. This is called the "killer's manicure." He says: "YORE EYES ARE
GONNA POP LIKE GRAPES WHEN OL' GOUGER GETS HIS HANDS ON YOU!... HERE GO THE PEEPERS!" (p. 112)
| W3|| One Western comic gives an illustrated lesson in foul fighting (he "chopped a
powerful rabbit punch") and brutality (he "rammed his knee into Mossman's face with a sickening
thud" and then, when his victim was on the ground, kicked him in the face). (pp. 159-160)
|| With an unusual name like "Mossman", it seems likely that this could be a Western "true crime" story about
Burton "Cap" Mossman of the Arizona Rangers. There is a story about Mossman in Lone Ranger #10, but it's not the one to which Wertham was referring.
A character named Mossman appears in Adventure Comics #68, but it's unlikely that Wertham referenced this because it was published a full seven years before Wertham's first anti-comics writings.
Western Fighters v3#7 includes a story about Cap Mossman, but this is not the story to which Wertham was referring.
| Lost SOTI comics- Genre Unknown|
| U1|| Where in any other childhood literature except children's comics do you find a
woman called (and treated as) a "fat slut"?
|| This language seems awfully harsh for the late 40's or early 50's. This would most likely not have appeared in a Marvel/Atlas or DC book. Perhaps a Fox book?
| U2|| In one comic book with a story on "the man who shanghaied more than 1,000 men from the
San Francisco docks," there is suddenly - unrelated to the story - an illustration showing large in the
foreground only the lower part of a girl's legs, in net stockings and very high-heeled red shoes. (p. 182)
|| Although the following contain stories of shanghais in San Francisco, they do not fit Wertham's decscription:
Buccaneers #23, Famous Crimes #8, Inside Crime #3, Outlaws #12 (which is a reprint of Western Killers #61), War Against Crime #3, Western Killers #61, or Women Outlaws #3. It could be Prize Comics Western #v9#2 (#81), which features the story "Bandits of Barbary."
| U3|| A four-year-old boy in Florida looked through his brother's comic books and his
mother found him under a tree stark naked, with a long knife in his hands.
Stunned, she asked him why he had undressed himself, and what he was doing. He replied,
"The man in the comics did it." Later he showed her pictures where some Mongols" had a white man
stripped naked and one of them had a long knife to cut out the American's tongue. (pp. 114-115)
| U4|| In one which has the "Seal of Approval of Comics Magazine Publishers" young men
fake disease to get out of the army. (p. 159)
| U5|| "Didn't I bluff my way out of the army?" says the hero-criminal. "Got a medical
discharge without having anything wrong except indigestion! If you work it right, no doctor in
the world can prove you're bluffing!" (p. 159)
|| This could be the same one mentioned in the prior reference.
| U6|| In some comic books it is shown how the youngest tots are picked up bodily, held upside down and shaken
so that the coins will fall out of their pockets.
|| It could be this was a scene of comic relief in a GA Daredevil book; that's one place to look, anyway.
| Lost SOTI books that may not exist|
| Some of the comics referenced in SOTI represent a child's retelling of what s/he
thought they had seen in a comic book. As a child's memory is not always accurate, these comics may not exist exactly as described.
For example, when Wertham asked a child who claimed to read Blue Beetle comics to tell about who the Blue Beetle is,
he got this incorrect response, "He is like Superman. He is a beetle, but he changes into Superman and afterwards
he changes into a beetle again."
As another example, when a child retells the story of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde from Classics Illustrated,
the story the child tells does not match what's in the comic book.|
| Q1|| Once I saw in a science comic where this beast comes from Mars. It showed a man's
hand over his eyes and streams of blood coming down.
|| It's almost certain
that the child was recalling what he had seen on the cover of Thing #7. Although the Thing story makes no mention of the beast
coming from Mars,
Thing #7's cover matches exactly the full notes from Dr. Wertham that he used in preparing SOTI, including the beak on creature.
Image of Wertham's notes to come.
The image from Thing #7 can be found on the "Wertham Missed It" page here at
| Q2 || Comic books: Knows the names of many comics and says they are all his favorites.
"The Indians shot a man in the eye with an arrow. The soldier took his sword and stuck it in him.
The Indian took the soldier's rifle, killed everyone in the fort and the boy was shot right in
the back and a baby was shot with a bullet and then the troopers came and they warred. I don't
like mystery comics any more 'cause I dream about them and I can't sleep."
| Q3 || "This woman had a castle and in order to generate the electricity all the men had to push
something. The women, who were glamorously dressed, would hit the men, who were in various stages of undress."
| Q4 || There was a girl who stole in a department store and nobody saw her.
So she is going out of the store, so this man he grabbed her. When she got to her home she thought
nobody was following her. Then they took her to the police station and said if she did it any more
they'd have to put her away.
|| This seems like it could be the same comic as comic R1 above that Wertham quotes.
| Q5|| I asked her about stealing in love comics. She laughed, "Oh, they do it often. A boy
stole a bracelet from a girl he loves very much. He got caught but she still loved him. He spent a
term in jail. When he got out he did it again and got sent up to jail again. The girl went to jail
to see him, but she fell in love with another boy and got married."
| Q6|| “In the comic books it shows how to snatch purses. You should read them if you got the
time [To me.]. It shows a
boy going to a woman and asking her where the church is. She naturally drops her arm and goes waving.
So you just grab the purse and run. Usually they can't run after you. She has the bag in her hand, waving
to a certain place. You just grab her arm. It was in different comic books. They all build that stuff up.
You pick desolate places, where nobody is around."
| Q7|| A: Girls read mostly Crimes by Women
Q: Which crimes do women commit?
A: Murder. ..They will be a dancer and meet the wrong kind of a guy and get involved in a bank robbery.
| This is another one from Crimes By Women. However, when Wertham quotes kids who discuss that they saw, or believe they saw,
it's apparent that the kids' descriptions of comics aren't always correct.
| Q8|| There was this one case. It was in back of a factory with pretty rich receipts, money.
It showed how you get in through the back door.
| Q9|| I saw a comic book where they do shoplifting. This girl was shoplifting and she was
caught. They took her down to the Police Department. It was a love story. When she got married she
still shop- lifted and she broke down and told her husband.
| Q10|| I saw a book where a man has a hanger in his coat with hooks on. He opens his coat
and shoves things in and it disappears. It was a crime comic book....
| Lost SOTI books probably cannot be found|
| C12|| Another boy defended Crimes by Women and showed a copy of Penalty which he said was worse.
"It shows how to commit burglaries, holdups. A gangster has a hand on a girl's shoulder. He is working his
way down to her headlights." (p. 178)
|| This is one that may never be found. All issues of Crime Must Pay the Penalty have been reviewed, and several instances have been found that involve
a gangster putting his hand on a girl's shoulder and also involve holdups. It's likely that this reference comes from issue #3, because issue 3 was used in the NY State Legislature's investigation
of comic books, to which Wertham contributed. Unless the information turns up in Dr. Wertham's files, we'll never know for sure which comic this is. Possible candidates:
Crime Must Pay the Penalty #3
(Story also reprinted in #36)
Crime Must Pay the Penalty #17
Crime Must Pay the Penalty #23
Crime Must Pay the Penalty #25
Crime Must Pay the Penalty #28