On Comics Ground is proud to be partnering in a new way with our Senior Editor, Mary, to bring you a brand-new livestream/podcast called SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT. The show is brand new, will be airing live on Friday nights at 8 pm EST and will be on Youtube after.
We have the brains of the whole operation, Mary S, hanging out so we decided to ask her a few questions. Let’s go!
OCG: All right, what is this podcast about?
MS: The show is about the way that historical events and politics have impacted comics over the years. For example: how propaganda and political cartoons regarding the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 gave way to the stereotypical stylization of Asian characters in comics for many decades.
OCG: You picked a mildly controversial title. Why is it important for you to take that title back from the book?
MS: I did. I did. It’s a reference to the book of the same name by Fredric Wertham.
Wertham’s book, which ended the Golden Age of Comics and caused publishers to create the Comics Code Authority, made wild accusations about comics and how they would lead to the downfall of America’s Youth. The one that makes me chuckle the most is that because she bucked traditional gender roles, Wonder Woman was encouraging young girls to engage in homosexual behavior.
But I chose the name for 2 reasons. 1, I’m being cheeky. 2, That book changed the landscape of comics in ways we’re still feeling the effects of today.
I’ve taken the name because the title reflects one of the largest political influences in comics and by doing so it strikes at the heart of our message and, well, I like to be cheeky because I’d like to subvert Wertham’s narrative that what he thought was detrimental may actually have been beneficial.
OCG: Why do you feel that this is such an important topic to talk about? Why are you so determined to bring light to the political acts of history that shaped the current comics industry?
MS: All art is inherently political and all political works are influenced by history. Comics have always reflected the world around us from racial stereotypes to superheroes being tossed out of the military for being gay. We study the historical and political influences on Renaissance art, why not comics? Especially with comic book TV shows and movies, which do draw from their sources material, becoming more and more prevalent in pop culture, I think it’s absolutely essential to examine influences that have affected comics that could potentially begin to affect pop culture as a whole.
OCG: What can we expect from this podcast?
MS: The first thing you can expect is that I’m going to be chatty and over-opinionated. Haha.
But, honestly, what you can expect is [a podcast] that is half history lesson/political science lecture and half comic book talk. We all have our favorite shows and podcasts that break down what happens in comics and how it affects the comic continuity, but I wanted to do a show to examine and breakdown why that comic did that thing. What real-world events helped shape that thing.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to talk about your new podcast, Mary! This is going to be an exciting and educational podcast for sure! Seduction of the Innocent launches TOMORROW – Friday May 18, and will run weekly on twitch.tv/oncomicsground, and will be on YouTube and available on an RSS feed/podcast later this month.