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Monday, June 09, 2014 

Leftism became Superman's new Kryptonite

Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche co-wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about how ultra-liberalism ruined a great art form. At the beginning, they tell:
We are comic-book artists and comics are our passion. But more important they've inspired and shaped many millions of young Americans. Our fear is that today's young comic-book readers are being ill-served by a medium that often presents heroes as morally compromised or no different from the criminals they battle. With the rise of moral relativism, "truth, justice and the American way" have lost their meaning.
And the worst part is that DC's editors won't admit they're too selfish in their leftism to use it without subjecting it to considerable PC-ness. According to the following, the 1990s wasn't just the start of a downhill spiral for the medium. It was also a bad time to be a rightie in an increasingly leftist environment:
The 1990s brought a change. The industry weakened and eventually threw out the CCA, and editors began to resist hiring conservative artists. One of us, Chuck, expressed the opinion that a frank story line about AIDS was not right for comics marketed to children. His editors rejected the idea and asked him to apologize to colleagues for even expressing it. Soon enough, Chuck got less work.

The superheroes also changed. Batman became dark and ambiguous, a kind of brooding monster. Superman became less patriotic, culminating in his decision to renounce his citizenship so he wouldn't be seen as an extension of U.S. foreign policy. A new code, less explicit but far stronger, replaced the old: a code of political correctness and moral ambiguity. If you disagreed with mostly left-leaning editors, you stayed silent.
Dixon once said he wanted to write Guy Gardner telling somebody to "get a job" if they were unhappy with living in poverty, but Kevin Dooley rejected it. As for what happened to Batman, ambiguity certainly sums it up right, but what also brought down the Masked Manhunter was the increasing obsession with depicting him as a control freak whose relations with fellow crimefighters got worse all the time.
Yet not all comics and graphic novels parrot the progressive line. "Maus" and "Persepolis" have both sold many hundreds of thousands of copies, and are taught in schools. Neither of these two mega-successes can be called left- or right-wing. Pixar's "The Incredibles" is a parable about the evils of bringing down great people merely because they feature special talents. You can, if you choose to, find libertarian content in "X-Men." Still the general message most modern comics send is—in a morally ambiguous world largely created by American empire—head left.

This would matter less if comics were fading away. But comics are more popular than ever, as evidenced by Hollywood megahits like "X-Men." One third of English-as-a-second language teachers in the U.S. use comics. If you doubt the future of this medium, look to Amazon, which bought comiXology, a company that translates comics to e-books. Or try getting a booth this July at Comic-Con, the mob scene that is the annual comics convention.
While they're right that comics aren't bound to fade away, the major publishers do look bound to go that way sooner or later, because no matter the popularity of the movies, few are encouraged to read the material in comics thanks to poor, self-indulgent writing, company wide crossovers and the serious lack of heroism. So again, as I've argued before, that's why someday, somebody with sense has got to come forward and offer to buy out the publishing arms, restructure the formats and clear away at least a decade's worth of storytelling to make the products viable again.

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You could not describe how happy it made me to see them on Fox News today explaining the problem.

Didn't Dixon write a story about turning Spoiler into a baby mama?

A critical look at past blunders made by Winick and Dixon: http://www.mygeekygeekyways.com/2007/01/looking-to-stars-011507.html

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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