Seductress Of The Innocent

Meet Corliss Archer, began life as a radio program devoted to the misadventures of a typical, All-American teenage girl not unlike Betty Cooper or Patsy Walker. Unlike the other two, however, Corliss has the unique distinction of being labeled a menace by none other than Dr. Frederic Wertham himself.

Corliss’ inclusion in the good doctor’s infamous Seduction Of The Innocent didn’t stem from the character’s involvement in radio, movies and televison, but rather a short-lived comic-book published in 1948 by Fox Feature Syndicate that Wertham cited as an example of a “headlight comic.”

Based upon the covers that adorned the book’s second and third issues, I can’t imagine where in the world Wertham got that idea …

Like many of the comics published by Victor Fox in the late 1940s, the seemingly wholesome adventures of Corliss Archer snuck in as many swimsuit or bra-and-panty shots as the story would allow. Despite the characters’ popularity in other media – a fact trumpeted on the comic’s very cover, by the way – Fox knew what his audience wanted.

In a weird coincidence, the issues that so offended Wertham were mostly written and drawn by Al Feldstein, who would later cause even greater consternation among “right-thinking people” as an editor, writer and artist for William M. Gaines’ legendary EC Comics line.

The Golden Age of Comics truly existed in a small, and very strange, world.

“The Homework Hoax” originally appeared in Meet Corliss Archer #2 (Fox Feature Syndicate, May 1948). The story is signed by “EKR,” but the Grand Comics Database guesses that Feldstein provided the script.

Meet Corliss Archer 2-21

Meet Corliss Archer 2-22

Meet Corliss Archer 2-23

Meet Corliss Archer 2-24

Meet Corliss Archer 2-25

Meet Corliss Archer 2-26

Meet Corliss Archer 2-27

Although the Corliss Archer comic only lasted three issues, the radio show ran from 1943 to 1953 and inspired a syndicated television show that existed for a single season in 1954.

Demonstrating a bit of quirkiness one wouldn’t expect from such a show, the program often featured comic-book styled art to illustrate the sit-com’s predicament of the week. Since the series has fallen into the public domain, here’s a link to an episode of Meet Corliss Archer that features a quick appearance from pro wrestler Tor Johnson of Plan 9 From Outer Space fame!



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