..In which I was wondering to myself: “Haven’t comics become more for the adult community than children?” The reason I ask this question to myself is because of how comics have developed recently. They have become more graphical in style and content with an excess of blood, violence and sexual scenes and references. But do not get me wrong, I openly accept this change. As I’m growing older and making decisions based on my career, it is reassuring to know that comics can now appeal to my generation and older. I grew up on comics and all the japanese animes and as I became older, I drifted more distant from them. With this new trend in illustrative storytelling, I am all the more happy to take a reinvigorated and keen interest in modern day comic books. Believe me, the strides that art and media have taken over the past 5 years have really raised the bar in detail, vibrancy of colours and excellent scriptwriting(at least I THINK they write scripts/drafts before the final pages).
So I have noticed that children are less interested in reading comic books, which has resulted in the changes and developments that comic studios have undertaken. But why is that? Parents are raising their kids on television, computers(hypocritical of me) and games consoles… luckily this hit me in my late teens, so I’m not too badly affected, haha. If you ever ask that question, you have to think to yourself about two important factors: suitability and interaction. In comparison to comics, computers and digital media offer a more diverse form of interaction and are purposely designed to keep us hooked to wanting more. There’s a strange allure to that in which we feel suspense that we might miss something new and exciting or that digital media is communicating directly to us… And Home Computers with the internet tailor this feeling further by allowing us to explore a vast reservoir of cyberspace, letting us search for what we like with little to no restrictions. In all honesty, PCs and TVs aren’t bad for kids: they teach kids important life skills and video game consoles train hand-eye coordination, as well as cognitive functions but the only problem is that this stuff can get addicting and as such, is hard to break away from and parents don’t moderate the time on these machines well enough. This does cause serious health problems if left for a prolonged period of time on consoles and such which will affect children and adults alike in their lives: bad eyesight, headaches, lack of eating.
Comics may SEEM less entertaining than PCs, TVs or game consoles, but they still allure the reader with an exciting storyline with excellent artwork to illustrate the story. There is little to no health risks when reading a lot of comics(aside from bad eyesight if you read it too close) but we can take better precautions with that. Comics also provide subconscious messages throughout, that a person’s mind can pick up on and more often than not, children begin to think like their favourite superheroes… Note that nearly every kid will say “I wanna grow up to be a superhero!” and not “I wanna be an evil guy and blow people up!” hmm? Psychological influence at it’s most finesse make sure that when a child reads a comic book that they know right from wrong.
Comics get put under a lot of subjective speculation and scrutiny, either because of the nature of the comic or the message it’s trying to get across. A couple of decades ago, comic books hit the fan when it came to social attacks and criticism, which was particularly bad in America. A man by the name of Jeff Williams from Texas Tech University wrote an article on comics as a cultural trend…
…as well as it’s subjection to attacks and social scrutiny and also it’s consideration as a form or subversion. The introduction states of just how long ago comics have been taken back by hatred and misjudged aggression:
“Social attacks on comics, both books and strips, have a long history in America, beginning with the first day of the appearance of the “Yellow Kid” (in color) on February 16, 1896.”
Nearing the end of his report here, he says:
“In terms of reproducing the hegemony, John DiFazio (1973) claims “that comic books generally present values considered important in our society… .” (p.231). Russell Belk (1987) found that “comic books may have a positive socializing influence on children; those emphasizing themes of wealth conform to socially acceptable stereotypes concerning the acquisition and use of wealth.” (p.38). As the two comics that were the least subversive were published by companies that comprise a combined total of 71.1 percent of the market, it would seem to be safe to conclude that most comics are not subversive. In fact, comics are more likely to be propagandistic in favor of the current dominant hegemony, and the article “Propagandistic Aspects of Modern Comic-Books” by H. Paymans (1976) leans slightly in this same direction. It is interesting to note that the more subversive comics are published by independents and are less accessible to the general public than the mainstream comics.”
Ultimately, comics are purely subjective based on who is viewing them, rather than the content and purpose expressed. I adore them and I’m delighted that as a society, we are becoming more tolerant to what we are faced with in the modern day and this has led to a lot more acceptance to studios, allowing for more diversity and creativity… Freedom of expression, a basic right in the least. I openly accept the new trends in the media, but I also accept the inevitability that comic books will take a new phase in popularity. Parents should encourage their kids to discover fairytales and stories within them as it promotes a healthy growth in creativity and thought. Less of digital media and more for traditional… Or have a balanced combination of both and that will reap it’s own rewards when they grow up and don’t act like couch potatoes or slobs. As for me, some of my money will go towards buying a couple of interesting comics over the internet, have a nice read and maybe even start a collection. Yes indeed I will acquire them over the internet, which is why I promote a healthy mixture of digital and traditional media for anybody. People should give comics a chance and you will not be disappointed when you reap the rewards and realise the value they possess.
- Let Rob Liefeld Show You How A Comic Book Is Made (neatorama.com)
- Read: “How Comic Books Can Make You a Better Designer” (lishablog.wordpress.com)