And Now, A Moment of Prudery
June 24th, 2009
Thanks to Dirk, I have seen that two-page spread, and I have to say I’m with the Spivock family 100% on this one. Sex is a legitimate topic in all media, including explicit depictions, but putting vodka in mayonnaise jars is just not fair to consumers.
It seems to me that DC and Marvel keep trying to have it both ways with their superhero titles.
Personally, I would be fine with giving Batgirl and/or Catwoman an adult sex life. I have no problem with either of them appearing nude either. However, it really should be labeled and/or take place in a title that is not going to sent monthly to subscribers like a Public Library.
Instead, this issue was extremely prurient and yet, covered just enough of the “naughty bits” that the editors were able to talk themselves into releasing it like any other title. It is hardly shocking that something like this would happen.
Here is an idea … if you are going send your characters to something like a sex club, then treat the issue like Playboy. Pre-bag it and label it as adult. Then, show whatever you like and the person who tears open the bag has taken informed responsibility for the content.
As a parent and comic reader, I can understand how someone could have made this mistake. I’m constantly scouring my kid’s books, movies, and TV for inappropriate material because it’s not super obvious anymore. I’m against censorship as much as anyone, but proper labeling/ratings can help parents make better choices as to what to expose their kids to.
It does grieve me a bit that I do have to, as a responsible parent, pre-screen a lot of stuff and can’t even trust the comics that I grew up on to not have inappropriate content. It’s been a big issue in our house. But hen again, I’m the dad, and it’s kind of my job.
But where did this guy buy a comic for a dime at?
Marvel and DC know that their audience demographics are 95% babymen who want to see this stuff, but find the idea of the comics industry openly pandering to their babymen-ness insulting. So, like everything they do, Marvel and DC half-ass it.
Or in this case, side-ass it.
On the other hand, this story shows that to the general public, comics are still kids stuff that you save for a few decades so you can later sell it for your retirement. Which just shows how far from reality comics creators and fans have managed to to drag the medium over the last twenty or so years.
On the subject of babymen, I am really not sure that Marvel and DC do know their audience. The fact that it shrinks nearly every year is a a sign that maybe they know how to appeal to a very vocal group, who want to be told stories with adult subject matter like they are children.
Superheroes are a genre that exists beyond comics. Neither “Iron Man” last summer, nor “Smallville” on TV, are targeted at children or babymen. Both are stories in the superhero genre that work just fine for a general audience.
Conversely, comics are a medium. They can tell stories in any genre. By and large, the genre that is pumped out are superhero stories targeted at what you call babymen. There is no reason that has to be the way things are.
Ideally, you should see all kinds of stories targeted to all kinds of audiences. The current model appears to be breaking down a bit, so maybe we will start to see more diversity as creators need to experiment to find an audience.
I’m only using “babymen” because the term “fanboy” has lost a lot of it’s punch over the years.
There is no reason that has to be the way things are.
I completely agree. But the only real alternative to the direct market seems to be the web. Yet sadly webcomics, at least the ones that get the most notice, are typically targeted towards babymen as well.
I always wished that the medium could reach all of the potential it has. But when the majority of the creators come from the same subculture as the babymen, it’s not at all surprising that no one knows how to make a comic that appeals to the general public anymore.
I coulda swore I closed that tag…
You did, but forgot the backslash. I fixed it. 😉
Just a reminder to you moms and dads that labeling only tantalizes your children more. Those cool ‘parental advisory’ stickers only made Slayer albums look cooler.