Apparently the title Seduction of the Innocent is in the public domain now, as various projects are in the works from Darl horse and Kitchen sink…but here’s the Dynamite version. And no, it’s not about about a troubled psychiatrist and a rogue senator teaming up to put hundreds of people out of work. Instead the series, by writer Ande Parks and artist Esteve Polls (The Death of Zorro and The Lone Ranger), will be a gritty crime drama with EC like flourishes.
Set in the San Francisco of 1953, Seduction of the Innocent introduces Thomas Jennings, an FBI agent who has just arrived in the city, fresh-faced and ready to tackle crime in the big city… or so he thinks. In fact, Jennings is not nearly prepared for what he’s about to encounter. The city’s crime lords are being systematically murdered, and the killers waiting to fill the void are the pure stuff of Jennings’ nightmares. Jennings will be forced to question every belief he holds dear to protect his wife and unborn child from the madness.
Writer Ande Parks says, “The story is, at its core, about loss of innocence. It’s about seduction, but not sexual seduction. It’s about the seduction of violence and power. It’s about a good man struggling to hold onto the values that have always defined him as he battles things so evil that he can’t really comprehend them. This is not a story that clings to the status quo. People change in the course of our arc. They die and lose things that can never be recovered.”
The book comes out in December, with covers by Francesco Francavilla. There’s a preview of some pages below and it looks nice!
Seduction of the Innocent is best known in comics circles as the title of a 1954 book by Dr. Fredric Wertham, a well-known juvenile psychologist who argued that violent crime comics (then very popular) were the cause of juvenile delinquency. The outcry about comics was such that senate hearings were convened, publishers were forced to adhere to the Comics Code, the industry dwindled and hundreds of freelancers lost work. The whole story is recounted in David Hajdu’s book The 10-Cent Plague.
Wertham was recently shown to have fudged his research, a big win for our side. However the title Seduction of the Innocent certainly holds a multitude of allusions for anyone who likes pulps and studies comics history.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.