In response to:
'I Had No Other Thrill or Happiness' from the March 24, 1994 issue
To the Editors:
…While Ms. Oates barely touched upon our publications during her lengthy discussion of books about serial killers, it is worth nothing that her brief notice was riddled with errors which bear correcting.
Oates said “a True Crime trading card in [Aileen Wuornos’] honor is forthcoming, as is a True Crime Comic.”
First, the cards are not issued in anyone’s “honor,” any more than a non-fiction book is. We publish factual trading cards on a variety of subjects, as you can tell from series titles such as The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union Trading Cards, The Savings and Loan Scandal Trading Cards, and AIDS Awareness Trading Cards. We do not publish cards in “honor” of people such as Josef Stalin, Alan Greenspan, or Randy Shilts—we merely note their newsworthiness in connection to the topic under discussion, as any other print journalist would.
Second, both the card and the economic about Aileen Wuornos were published long ago and neither is by any stretch of the imagination “forthcoming.” True Crime II Trading Cards came out in 1992 and True Crime Comics #1 saw print in 1993, as the copyright notices on the enclosed samples indicate.
Third, your typesetters should be made aware of the fact that True Crime Comics is the title of a periodical, and—like Time or Superman or The New York Review of Books—it should be accorded the same typographical treatment, namely italicization. For some reason this form was followed with every item Oates discussed, except our publications….
> True Crime Trading Cards,True Crime Comics, and True Crime books
Joyce Carol Oates replies:
I stand corrected. I should have written, “Calley did not serve out his life sentence, despite a conviction of mass murder.” In the Eclipse Books material I received, the Wuornos publication was announced as forthcoming, and no publication data was given.
It was my considered opinion that the subjects of the Serial Killers & Mass Murderers trading cards are “honored” by the attention they receive, and it remains my opinion. Indeed the True Crime comic book feature on Aileen Wuornos, erroneously hyped as “the first female serial killer,” glamorizes the convicted murderer by depicting her, not as she appears in photographs, as a plain, coarsened woman in her mid-thirties, but as a young, shapely, and barely clothed girl of about sixteen, a near-twin of sex kitten Amy Fisher, the subject of another crudely drawn True Crime comic. If the publishers of True Crime trading cards and comics are not “honoring” their subjects by such attention, what in fact are they doing? Surely not exploiting them?