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Sunday, March 14, 2010 

Too much gore and sexual content

The Binghampton Press writes about the changes modern comics have undergone while writing about a local comics store:
Today, the majority of regular comic shop customers are men between the ages of 20 and 45, Ryan Fuertsenberg, owner of Chargingstar Comics in Conklin, said. This flies in the face of the traditional idea that "comics are for kids."
And yet it's example 9,990,900 of how too few children read comics today, which isn't good for business in the long haul.
Just like all literary forms, comics have developed and become increasingly sophisticated. Superman, Batman and Uncanny X-Men comics are squarely aimed at adults.
And that's just the problem: they're so far aimed at adults, they're not suitable for children anymore, another reason why so few read them today.
Superheroes no longer face down the red communist threat. Instead, they fight terrorism, drug lords and foil plans to create single world governments.
Oh, do they? I'm afraid that for mainstream products, it's hardly so. Instead, as the recent Capt. America storyline shows, superheroes seem more occupied with fighting conservatives for illogical reasons.
Comics, like television, also have increased in the amount of gore and sexual content.
And that's another problem they've got, especially if they're mainstream. Mainly because the violent and sexual material is so done for the sake of it, that it's got no impact.
Modern comic covers often resemble showroom paintings, like the art of Alex Ross but, as Furstenberg points out, while it's the artwork that first draws a lot of comic book readers to the genre, it's the content that holds them.

"People want to read stories about good conquering evil and characters with amazing abilities," he said. "(They) like the escapism (and) nostalgia."

Ditto, said Doolittle: "I like the escapism. It fuels my sense of wonder."

Connection with characters is very important, Jones said, adding that readers need to feel emotionally invested.
And today's mainstream products have almost none of that. In that case, why no complaints about how the big two are betraying all that for the sake of their limp crossovers and publicity stunts? Probably because it wouldn't make for a good article in the minds of the clowns who published this useless one.

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I do have to agree that the lack of compelling stories is compensated for by sex and violence. I do not have a problem with either of the latter if they are needed components of an engaging story. Along, though, they are just tools that lose any appreciative impact.


Steven G. Willis

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