I am a comics historian, studying the social and cultural history of comics readers and reading. I am especially interested in the vast networks of young comics readers in the United States during mid-20th century, a time when comics were the most popular form print culture. I enjoy sharing the results of my research with both scholarly and general audiences.

 

Title image for article in HOGAN'S ALLEY (#22, 2019)
I have an article in the Eisner Award-winning comics magazine HOGAN’S ALLEY (#22, 2019) on the cartooning contents in OPEN ROAD FOR BOYS in the 1930s and 40s.

My overarching project is Children, Comics, and Print Culture – A Historical Investigation (I know, it’s not an exciting title!). For this, I’m using extensive archival sources, readers’ recollections, historical studies (many of which have for too-long been overlooked), and other relevant materials to understand young people’s comics readership, their participation in early comics fan cultures, and how adult gatekeepers of children’s reading—including librarians, teachers, and comics creators—understood young people’s relationships with comics.

 

David Wigransky - I Hate Dr. Wertham
Title page from the comic book created teenager David Wigransky in the 1940s that pokes fun at the criticisms being levied against comics at that time. Click on the image to read more about the comic!

My 2012 research that documented falsified and distorted evidence in the writings of anti-comics psychiatrist Fredric Wertham (Seduction of the Innocent, 1954) brought me and my work international attention. If you’re curious, check out the article by Dave Itzkoff about it in the New York Times or the Annalee Newitz article on i09 or even the short documentary for the BIG10 network, Carol Tilley: Comic Book Crusader.

 

You can learn more about my published research (including the work I do in areas such as education for librarianship and information seeking and use) by visiting my Google Scholar profile.