Should Comics Be Used To Send Messages?
Should Comics Be Used To Promote An Agenda?
Over the course of history, comic books as a medium have been no stranger to controversy over the years, but is that a good thing and should it continue? Comic books have been attacked from the earliest days as contributing to juvenile delinquency--thank you Fredric Wertham.They were labeled as being to violent--leading to the destruction of EC Comics (and horror comics in general) and to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority.
The news hasn't been all bad for comics over the years, comic books have been used as a way to promote patriotism in times of war. Captain America is probably the best example of this. His World War II issues were selling a million copies a month! They have also been used to help raise money in times of crisis, like they did right after September 11, 2001.
Comics have also been used to address social issues as well: Drinking (Iron Man) Spousal Abuse (Ant Man), Military (Hulk), Civil Rights (X-Men, Drug use/abuse (Spider-man and Elektra) and more. They have done so over the years and while having controversial story lines they have helped to raise awareness about important issues.
Sometimes though, the message gets lost in the execution. I will give you a couple of examples of what I mean:
Brute Force--This was a four issue mini-series that came out in 1990. It is about some animals that defend the environment. How did this idea ever get approved? We are talking about comic books, so suspension of reality is a must, but this goes to far. Not to mention the heavy handed message, I am all for clean water and air, blah blah blah, but having animals basically turn into Transformers to do it? It is an ok message, just awfully executed.
Rawhide Kid--One of Marvel's old western characters starred in a five issue mini-series in 2003 in which he is portrayed as a flambloyantly gay character. There was a lot of controversy over the move. I personally didn't like the way it was handled, not because I had a problem with the character being gay, but I felt it was done more shock value then it was for character development.
What are your thoughts? Are agenda comics a good idea?
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