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Wednesday, October 21, 2020 

Even in India, there was once a time where comics weren't considered good for children

The India Tribune has an article by somebody who'd read comics when he was young, but tells of a time when not everyone appreciated the art form:
Returning from a birthday party and with a king’s ransom of an unspent Rs 2 burning a hole in my pocket, I surreptitiously bought two Superman comics from a stack that ‘Broadway’ sold. We children were not allowed to read comics as my parents’ generation, and academics at that — who had been raised on classics and fine language — were convinced that reading comics was harmful to young children. Big blurbs of ‘Ow!’, ‘Pow!’ and ‘Kerplam!’ were not considered desirable additions to our vocabulary. I managed to retain those two prized items, which would have been worth a fortune had I had them today.

Gradually, my parents relented and now, decades later, it was the response to a social media post by a much-younger cousin that made me remember the hundreds of comic books that had been collected by the time I exited my teens. What a trove it was! There were the small-sized Commando comics which moved back and forth, in black and white, through World War II. There were ‘westerns’, where the good, the bad and the ugly were clearly defined – though today, the lines would have been more blurred and the native Americans — who were mostly portrayed as bad — would have emerged in a far kinder light.
So even in an Asian country like India, there was once a situation where comics weren't considered a great form of literature, but it has changed, more or less since. Clearly, it's not just the US where this was a problem. Foreign countries can also experience this kind of condescending view.


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