Robot 6

Maryland state senator running on the anti-comic book ticket

Nancy King's direct mail advertisement

Nancy King's direct mail advertisement

Bleeding Cool points out that Nancy King, a Democrat running for reelection for the Maryland State Senate, sent out a direct mail piece that emphasizes her commitment to teachers … because with cutbacks and layoffs, apparently kids would just be left reading comic books, and nobody wants that, do they?

It’s a poorly thought-out ad that, as Rich Johnston says, serves as a “stereotypical attack on comic books as not being suitable to educate children.” It’s also somewhat ironic, since Maryland has an educational comic book initiative:

Capitalizing on a growing body of evidence that comics can encourage reluctant readers to read more and talented students to gain in knowledge and creativity, The Maryland State Department of Education has partnered with Diamond Comic Book Distributors and elicited the help of members of local school systems, higher education, adult and corrections education, and libraries. The goal is to develop a Maryland plan and instructional strategies that support the use of graphic literature in elementary, secondary, adult, and corrections education. This initiative which is sponsored by State Superintendent Nancy Grasmick and the President of Diamond Comics, Steve Geppi.

Comic creator and former educator Dean Trippe has posted an open letter to King, schooling the senator on the benefits and lessons kids can get from reading comics:

Attacks on my industry have always come from those who haven’t picked up a comic, and the policies that have damaged our educational system always come from those who haven’t set foot in a classroom in decades. So let me recommend to you the anthology Reading with Pictures, part of a non-profit effort to offer students and teachers comics specifically suited to lesson plans on variety of subjects. Comics combine art and literature to create an incredible new art form. And in fact, telling stories in pictures predates the written word and is used in safety instruction labels precisely because of its ability to simply convey ideas and actions. Your offensive mailer is just another wrong-headed generalization, attacking a genre that gives children heroes that don’t kill (like Superman, seen in the image you used, likely without the rights to do so) and fight against intolerance (like the X-Men, also featured in your mailer, presumably without permission), as well as a medium that anyone, including children, can tell stories in with tools as simple as a pencil and paper.

And writer Peter David offers a concise analysis, noting that if he lived in Maryland and King was on the ballot, “I swear to God I’d vote Republican.”



Whaaaat. I agree with PAD on something? Christ.

Dog pile on the Democrats, now?! I love it!

That mailer integrates words and images to convey a single message that would fall flat if it only used words or images alone, doesn’t it? Isn’t that the definition of a single-panel comic?

Haha, that poor girl on the right is reading Marvel Previews. Without teachers children won’t even know when they’re reading actual comic books!

This is an outrage!!!

@Greg: Or maybe she’s just looking at what she’s going to get next. On topic: That is just a ridiculous ploy, and shame on that woman for listening to her political advisers. I would fire him/her/them; and if it is, in fact, King, then I would just fire myself. My son is 4 years old and has been reading comic books since he was 2. It was my way of teaching him to read. Now, he can’t put them down. He would rather read comic books than play video games (though for a time, video games were taking a critical role in his day-to-day). He aspires to be a super-hero, with an innocence that I never adopted when I was a child. King obviously didn’t take the time to research it, leaving it for one of her crackpot goons to figure out.

Comics got me into books. They’re a gateway drug. I’ve had my boy hooked since before he turned 3.

Why is the Bleeding Cool logo stamped on that image?

Oh…sort of nevermind.

God I love someone deciding comics impede literacy or education making the fundamental mistake of, you know, trying to use a catalog to help prove their point. They’re worried our kids (won’t someone PLEASE think of the children!) will be left without basic reading skills, but couldn’t even…not even read, but SKIM…their example. Maybe she’d know what it was if Previews were a 1930s radio serial sponsored by King Biscuit Flour.

I mean honestly. Reactionary, alarmist, irresponsible politicians these days point to video games or the internet as a threat to America’s youth. Blaming comics is so old and busted. Get with the times, girlfriend!

What surprises me is how anachronistic the mailer is. Wouldn’t it be more accurate if those kids were wasting their time playing video games or surfing the net? Because that’s where I’d waste most of my time if I wasn’t going to school.

I agree with the ad. Good teachers are important– without them, you might wind up reading X-Men or Marvel Previews, instead of good comics. If Maryland invested in its schools, those kids could be reading something by some next-level Belgian guy whose name I don’t even know. Instead: Marvel Previews…It’s heartbreaking.


It would be awesome if the Baltimore Comiccon invited her to attend a panel on education and comics.

This would have to happen just before Read a Comic in Public Day, wouldn’t it?

Wow..I really hope she wins..NOT!

Tell a story with just a pencil and paper… the nerve of the woman! I spend months writing and drawing a comic only to have the concept be writtain off as something any suberban kid could do with a PENCIL AND PAPER. Also has she even read alan moore…

sorry about last comment didn’t meen to dis defender heck for all I care give them their pencils and paper

Eric Gratz, LCSW-C

August 29, 2010 at 2:03 pm

What a sorry lot this human species is! Here is another occasion in which we just can’t seem to get the smart politicans to step forward to lead our State.

Eric Gratz, LCSW-C

August 29, 2010 at 2:04 pm

What a sorry lot our human species is! We just can’t get it right can we. The people who should be leading our state and providing 21st century ideas just are not to be seen or heard.

Does anyone else think this was a joke that just didn’t go over well. Like it or not a lot of older generation people still associate comic reading with slacking off. It may not have been in the best of taste but this seems like it was just a joke.

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