Lot 2 of 500:
Dr. Wertham's THE WORLD OF FANZINES, 1st Ed. in Jacket, 1974  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$48
Estimate:
$50 - $80

Title:
THE WORLD OF FANZINES: A SPECIAL FORM OF COMMUNICATION

Author:
Wertham, Fredric

Place:
Carbondale, IL

Publisher:
Southern Illinois University Press

Date:
[1973]

Description:

144 pp., with 32 pp. of black & white illustrations. (8vo) boards, dust jacket. First Edition. VG- in VG- jacket. Small nicks and short tears to jacket, 4mm x 5mm chip to foot of spine, spine a bit sunned, front panel a bit rubbed; boards rubbed at extremities, top edge of textblock foxed.

In a strange coda to Dr. Wertham's career, the good doctor emerged from retirement in 1974 to release this curious book, a celebration of the fanzine subculture that emerged in pre-internet days as a way for science fiction, fantasy and comic book fans to communicate among themselves. The book's genesis was as odd as the book itself. In 1969, Dwight Decker, a 17-year-old fanzine contributor, sent Wertham a stack of fanzines: "Filled with the brashness of youth, I sent him a few sample copies of fanzines along with a fairly lengthy letter describing fandom and what it was all about, and asking him a number of questions about various statements he had made in Seduction and whether he still agreed with them." Wertham replied, full of curiosity about fanzines and fandom, and thus began his fascination with fan culture, which he saw as a welcome alternative to the "polluted communication system" of mainstream media.

Wertham's interest in fan culture was met with skepticism by fans who remembered him as the comics-hating bogeyman of the pre-Code era. Despite good intentions, The World of Fanzines displays all of the slipshod scholarship that characterizes Seduction of the Innocent. One reviewer called the book "repetitious, belaboring the obvious, and poorly organized," and Decker said that the book gave "the impression of a man very much out of touch with the world, and making a great deal out of very little" (see "The Strange Case of Dr. Wertham," Amazing Heroes #124, 1987).  

Despite Wertham's apparent about-face, it should be noted that he does not specifically recant his charges against the horror and crime comic books of 20 years before, nor does he mention EC by name anywhere in the book (although he does indicate that the great EC fanzine, Squa Tront, found a place in his personal 'zine collection). In a sad postscript, Wertham was invited to the New York Comic Art Convention in 1974 to promote his new book and rub elbows with fandom. Perhaps he expected a hero's welcome, but he was heckled and rebuffed by angry comic fans and stopped writing about comics altogether. Wertham died in relative obscurity seven years later, remembered only by fans of the comic books that he once vilified.

A limited edition of 100 softcover and 15 hardcover catalogues are available. Over 200 pages, fully illustrated. Fun reference, great keepsake. Softcovers $40, dust-jacketed hardcover with limitation plate $200. To order, contact [email protected] or visit: https://www.pbagalleries.com/content/comics/.

R. Crumb says, "I found [PBA's catalogue] so interesting that I am saving it for the texts that accompany the comics which were put up for auction. This is some of the best commentary I’ve yet seen on the quality of the content of comic books. I especially enjoyed the reviews of the post-war horror comics. Great. Priceless."

Consignments welcome for PBA's Spring 2021 Comic Book sale. Pre-Code Horror, Golden Age and Silver Age comics, original art and ephemera sought. Send inquiries to [email protected].

Lot Amendments

Condition:


 
Item number:
316890
Shipping info:

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