Inscribed first (and only) edition of this rare, extravagant novel of pre-Beat teen hooliganism by the legendary ex-Teen who stood up to the anti-comic-book moral panic of Dr. Frederic Wertham.
Very good plus in very good jacket.
"Dave was an inarticulate, semi-literate juvenile delinquent. He was incapable of expressing himself this eloquently. So he did the best he could. He summed it all up—brilliantly, beautifully, perfectly—in two little words:<br />"Fuck you."<br /><br />"David Pace Wigransky, the amazingly talented young authority on comic books..." (Basil Wolverton)
A juvenile delinquent book for delinquent juveniles. One of life's great Teens, "Dave Jay" was the pen name of David Pace Wigransky, a shining figure in the history of comic book censorship. As a precocious 14 year old, his indignant rebuttal to the malevolent and over-excitable psychiatrist Dr. Frederic Wertham was published in the May 1948 Saturday Review of Literature, defending the autonomy of the teen mind and its right to discern and choose: "It is high time that society woke up to the fact that children are human beings with opinions of their own," he wrote. The essay that outraged him was Wertham's "The Comics...Very Funny!", which would form the basis of his infamous SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT (1954), which culminated in Senate hearings and the creation of the Comics Code Authority. Wigransky's defense of freedom on behalf of his own generation has been cited by an approving Stan Lee and holds a permanent place in comics history.
Wigransky was a busy adolescent, however, and produced not only furiously cogent letters but comic books of his own, including the recently uncovered 27-page "The Uncanny Adventures of (I Hate) Dr. Wertham" (as Sterling South). Known in his hometown as Beer Dave, "a notorious Hot Shop habitue who wore a black leather motorcycle jacket festooned with beer can openers," alumni newsletters would trade bemused updates on his doings in later years. A record as well as a comic collector, Wigransky issued a novelty single, "Me For President," in 1956 (as Dave Jay), advertised his "DEEJAY SHOW - 'BIG TIME ON WAX'" in Billboard in '62, and would later publish an Al Jolson discography.
Always slightly out of step with the times, this novel (which is confirmed as Wigransky's via copyright records) was his most ambitious and perhaps mistimed project of all — celebrating one raging generation of youth just as another was on the ascendancy. RAISING HELL's only semi-contemporary review came from the author's old schoolmate and then-manager of Country Joe and the Fish, who wrote of hearing a rumor "one rainy evening that Beer Dave was writing a book about Bethesda that told it like it was." RAISING HELL was that book: its heroes were "the hard guys who swore at the teachers and blew up the principal's house, the people whose history is found in a few headlines and sensational detective story magazines. The generation who were setting the stage for the beatniks."
Self-published by Wigransky with the notorious Vantage Press, the book is scarce in the market, and especially so signed by the author, who died in 1969 at the age of 36. OCLC finds just six copies.
Read more: David Hajdu, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America.
New York: Vantage Press, (1963). Raising hell: a contemporary novel of modern juvenile delinquency told from the standpoint of the delinquents themselves. Written, scored, and illustrated by Dave Jay. 8'' x 5.5''. Original black cloth with gilt-lettered spine. Pictorial endpapers. In original unclipped ($5.50) pictorial dust jacket. Illustrated in black and white by the author throughout. 544 pages. Light scuffing to cloth along edges, light foxing to fore-edge. Several small chips and tears to jacket edges and spine ends. Minor creasing.
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