Robot 6

Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs | Skottie Young, Darwyn Cooke, and comics for kids

Darwyn Cooke

Darwyn Cooke

“A ton of guys who do super violent, adult books complaining about no books are made for kids. Odd trend. Me? I just go make a book for kids.” – Skottie Young, via Twitter.

I love this comment. Young doesn’t actually call anyone hypocritical, he just notes the strangeness of complaining about something that you have the power to change, but are choosing not to. I don’t know; is that the definition of hypocrisy? Maybe it is.

I think there’s a connotation though that hypocrisy involves willful deception and Young’s not accusing anyone of that. Without knowing exactly whom he’s referring to, I can imagine that a creator like that simply hasn’t thought through the disconnection between his words and actions. I don’t have to contribute time or money to the alleviation of world hunger in order to state correctly that it’s a horrible problem. And not contributing doesn’t necessarily make me dishonest. I can truly, legitimately believe that there’s a problem without taking a single step to solve it. And perhaps I believe that by drawing attention to the problem, I am contributing in some way to its solution. But – and I think that this is Young’s point – it’s a very tiny contribution and my complaining loses any power it had once people realize that that’s all I’m doing to help.

Like I said, I don’t know for sure whom Young was referring to, but I imagine that it’s at least indirectly inspired by Darwyn Cooke’s comments at Fan Expo. At the time Young wrote that, Twitter was all a… well, atwitter with folks’ responding to Cooke’s statement from a variety of angles. Even if Young wasn’t talking about Cooke, he was likely referring to someone who was. But since I don’t know, I want to be careful about how I talk about this. Young’s comment does apply to Cooke’s statement, but I don’t want to suggest that Young specifically had Cooke in mind when he made it.

After the break: So what was Young talking about and what does Cooke have to do with it?

Batwoman and The Question

Batwoman and The Question

Here’s an example of why care is called for: Cooke got a lot of heat for saying, “I don’t want to see characters who’ve been straight for sixty years become lesbians overnight.” Though that understandably upset some people who thought Cooke was lumping lesbians in with a list of items that cater to “the perverted needs of 45-year-old men” (J Bone explains that that’s not what Cooke is doing), far more commentary has been spent on trying to figure out just which character Cooke was talking about and then defending that character’s specific outing. If it’s Batwoman, she’s okay because she’s not the same woman who used to hit on Batman all the time. It it’s Renee Montoya, she’s okay because she hasn’t been around that long. If it’s someone else… who the hell are you talking about, Darwyn? I’ve got to know so I can shoot down your argument.

If what I believe isn’t a strong enough position to stand on its own without punching holes in off-the-cuff remarks someone made when cornered at a convention, I shouldn’t be making comments about it. So, it doesn’t matter if Skottie Young was talking specifically about Darwyn Cooke or Erik Larsen or anyone else. His point is still worth considering: people who complain about the lack of kids’ books – and who are in a position to do something about it – are sort of morally obligated to do something about it.

Richard Parker's The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke

Which brings us back to Darwyn Cooke. His comments are an explanation about why he doesn’t want to go back to superhero comics “in any big way.” If we understand that his laundry list of items was hastily constructed on the spot, we can forget about the details and focus on the big picture of his argument: that superhero comics have become too dark for a general, all-ages audience. And since we were just talking about this a few weeks ago in response to similar comments from Robert Kirkman, it’s a topic worth revisiting from Cooke and Young’s angles.

Cooke’s major work right now is adapting Robert Parker’s Hunter novels. Not the most kid-friendly stuff perhaps. But I don’t think that necessarily condemns him in light of Young’s statement, because where Cooke is specifically talking about superhero comics (and ones from DC and Marvel in particular), Young appears to be talking about comics in general. Cooke isn’t saying that that there are no comics made for kids; he’s just expressing displeasure that DC and Marvel’s main lines of superhero comics aren’t made for them. We know that he’s pitched ideas for kid-friendly superhero comics and been rejected, so he’s making a reasonable choice by not contributing to those lines until things change.

Eric Shanower and Skottie Young's Wizard of Oz

My observation that Young must be talking about comics in general is based on his major work right now: Marvel’s adaptation of The Wizard of Oz. That puts a hole in his statement that we could pick at and make bigger if we wanted to. Since we don’t know which creators he’s talking about or what their specific complaints are, we don’t know if they’re complaining about comics in general or – like Cooke – superhero comics in particular. If it’s comics in general… well, they’re just wrong. There are tons of comics – like Wizard of Oz – that are made for kids. If it’s superhero comics, then Young’s statement doesn’t hold up all that well when we realize that the “book for kids” he’s talking about isn’t actually a superhero comic at all.

But I’m not interested in picking apart Young’s comment. I don’t really care how well it bears under scrutiny as an argument; its use is in holding up a lens through which to view this discussion about comics for kids and the creators – like Cooke and Kirkman and Larsen – who are complaining about them. Are these creators putting actions to their words? I’d argue that Cooke is when he refuses to do any more comics in the genre and for the companies he’s complaining about (besides, he’s already given us New Frontier). Kirkman and Larsen may be as well, though they’ve formed their complaints in such as way as to make DC and Marvel the only possible offenders while leaving themselves free to go as dark as they want with their own stuff.

I’m still not sure that’s fair, but neither does it relieve DC and Marvel of blame. You’d think that if anyone could force DC and Marvel into making comics for kids a major part of their publishing plans, it would be talents like Darwyn Cooke and Skottie Young. That they aren’t able to do that is alarming.

News From Our Partners

Comments

81 Comments

I would interpret Cooke’s meaning as: adult comics for adults, all-ages comics for all-ages, and kids comics for kids. Superhero comics, which should be for kids or all-ages at best, are now created to pander for an adult readership, by editorial mandate. I see a real hypocrisy in the DC/Time Warner/AOL machine on one hand producing stuff like the BRAVE & THE BOLD cartoon or licensing a brightly coloured blanket with a smiling Superman on it, drawn by José Luis García-López; and then on the other knocking out sleazy comics like IDENTITY CRISIS or THE RISE OF ARSENAL. There’s all kinds of mixed messages going on in that industry, and very little guidance for parents at DC. At least Marvel has aged-based ratings.

“You’d think that if anyone could force DC and Marvel into making comics for kids a major part of their publishing plans, it would be talents like Darwyn Cooke and Skottie Young. That they aren’t able to do that is alarming.”

And nope to that: only market forces could do that, I’m afraid. Maybe if the readership was allowed to become bigger and more representative of normal society than the Direct Market and their freaky Wednesday crowd. But that would only happen if the news-stand and digital distribution were embraced rather than held at arms length by terrified publishers.

Marvel and DC have plenty of comics for kids. They just aren’t the ones anyone talks about.

But the all-ages Spidey comic is a total delight.

Hi guys, this is Mike-EL from the Comic Book Syndicate. I think Cooke feels that the superhero genre has always been aimed at ‘youth’ as he puts it, and that the recent trend to make comics “mature” by inserting shocking violence and sex is something artificial that isn’t appropriate to its legacy as metaphoric fantasies for young people.

I think Cooke probably wants to see more comics like New Frontier — superhero comics that work on multiple levels, and can be read and enjoyed by kids and adults alike. I loved New Frontier, I don’t think anyone would argue that it tackled some serious issues deftly and gave incredibly meaty characterization, but I wouldn’t have a single problem with giving that book to a 5 year old.

I don’t disagree or agree — I’d like to see more comics like that, but I also acknowledge the place that something like Identity Crisis has, and don’t necessarily think that it’s pandering to a 45 year old readership — I was 19 when that came out, and loved it, and still think it’s a strong piece of work. I’d say that something like Rise of Arsenal, which is emotionally hollow and lacks the deftness of storytelling present in Identity Crisis, panders not to the 45 year olds but to the 16 year olds. They are the ones that love to see gore.

I wouldn’t say there’s that many comics for kids. I was in the Beguiling in Toronto the other day, an excellent comic store by any standard, and let’s break this down – their shelves are maybe five feet high, four across. They had two shelves for new comics, six for independents going back several months, and one each for DC and Marvel’s past few months. And one spinner rack for kids comics.

One.

These guys stock everything, and that’s all they had. And some of the issues falling out of this thing went back to the first Incredibles issues (what, a year ago?) Piled into this thing was Sonic, Boom Kids, Tiny Titans, Marvel Adventures, Archie and a few other bits and pieces. Everything else on those shelves were super hero, mystery, horror, etc. Essentially non-kids stuff.

That’s just the weekly selection, of course. There was also plenty of YA and kid stuff downstairs and elsewhere, but still… the skew seems something like 80-20?

Also, why were all the kids comics relegated to their own space, yet super heroes were sat happily next to comics filled-to-bursting with violence, language, and nudity?

Strange Adventures in Halifax has a different set up, it seems, where they place everything like-minded in the same section. Vertigo was off on its own. Hellboy and all its followers in another area, etc. Superheroes were on their own also. I was completely thrown, of course, because it’s so radical! but then I went to Blockbuster and got flattened by the nagging recognition that now hit me, full-neon, in the face.

Mark Kardwell hit it right on the head.

i agree with Skottie. and the fact is that in the past few years there have been some AMAZING comics directed towards kids. problem is, fans overlook them and critics ignore them (or they preface every review with the obnoxious “this is a great comic even though it’s an all ages title” line). here’s a short list of some savagely overlooked all ages titles from the past few years (and i’m sure everyone can add more to this list):

- Family Dynamic
- G-Man
- Mini Marvels
- Marvel Adventures Iron Man
- Marvel Adventures Hulk
- Marvel Adventures Super Heroes (especially the 1st arc)
- most of Marvel Adventures Avengers

and some more that’re not necessarily kid-focused, but could certainly work well for young readers:

- some of the kid-friendly Tales of the TMNT v2
- Street Fighter II Turbo
- The 99

“people who complain about the lack of kids’ books – and who are in a position to do something about it – are sort of morally obligated to do something about it.”

Perhaps publishers, but are you talking about artists? I would argue there’s a higher and more important moral obligation that artists owe, and that is the obligation towards their own talent. If Darwyn Cooke or Erik Larsen or whoever’s talent is creating violent adult material, and their heart is in creating violent adult material– then I would argue the moral obligation for them to create that material far supersedes any obligation to “live up” to opinions.

Plus: I’m not sure that “oh yeah, well put your money where your mouth is” is, is ALWAYS helpful. I wouldn’t say it’s NEVER helpful– where ideas originate from matters, and you know, sometimes ridiculous people say ridiculous things.

But, on the other hand… surely it’s better that they risk hypocrisy in an effort to contribute to an artform filled with ideas and vigorous debate, than just more people patting each other on the back on Twitter…? Better that Darwyn Cooke risked looking foolish than to be a part of the endless circle-jerk of the talentless. Though as to hypocrisy, I think there’s some value to what Neal Stephenson wrote on the subject, which I took to mean that espousing and believing in something and failing to live up to that is better than the alternative.

But maybe I’ve misunderstood your point.

Fact is, I’m not all that sure that New Frontier should be given to a child. The John Henry storyline is a tad heavy. The scene with the blonde child calling out John to the klan is an emotional scene that I don’t want my two kids to read until they are older.

I like how you (and Skottie Young) completely miss the point of what Cooke, Kirkman and Larsen are saying.

They’re not talking about making comics “for kids.” They’re talking about making well established franchises like Batman and Spiderman “for everyone of all ages.” All ages is not some short hand meaning “for babies.” They simply don’t like seeing the Superman Title deal with completely overblown badly done drama like Lois Lane getting raped, murdered, and then thrown in a river by Lex Luthor. ‘

This happens when writers (the ones without imagination) decide to destroy the book, and rebuild it to make it seem like their own creation, most likely in some desperate gamble for attention. This only helps to ward off potential customers, and make current customers pissed off and drop the title all together which is horrible because these mainstream books should be gateway products to bring more people into buying comics. Not to mention it’s just plain retarded, and gives the entire medium of comics a bad reputation.

They do not hate Adult themed comic. They obviously love them since they all write that kind of material, butt hey decided not to do this to pre-existing franchise characters, and create their own instead, so they can tell their own Adult themed stories, without ruining someone’s creation.

Derek has hit in right on the head.

Mr. Cooke is NOT referring to the need for more “Marvel Adventures” or “Tiny Titans” or whatever–he’s referring DC and Marvel’s mainstream output that features men dressed in colourful spandex that try to deal with subject matter NOT APPROPRIATE to a fantasy genre.

Elongated Man is a light hearted detective that dresses up in colourful leotards, and his stories are not the proper place to deal with violent rape.

Speedy is an swashbuckling adventure character, and nothing is added to his character by ripping his arms off and leaving them as bloody stumps.

The modern day Blue Beetle had a niche carved out for him by Keith Giffen et al, and entertained hundreds of thousands of people as a light hearted comedy character. And, like Daffy Duck or Peter Venkmen from Ghostbusters, is not improved by having a bullet put through his head.

While there are exceptions to this (Batman and Daredevil were created as vigilantes, and are appropriate to deal with gang violence ) trying to shoe horn graphic realism into superheroes makes all of us comics readers look like fools.

Bruce Timm summed it up best when he told Alex Ross he didn’t like his artwork because it drew attention to how ridiculous the superhero genre is.
Grant Morrison once expressed that there’s no point in trying to apply logic to superheroes, because, for example, no one CAN fly–so why try to explain it scientifically?

Any good writer will use the superhero genre in in proper function: as a METAPHOR. The colourfully garbed characters can handle complex psychological motivation, the intricacies of politics and law, or the heartbreak of being dumped by their girlfriend. They should not, however, be exploited to serve the will of what are essentially pornographers–pornographers of violence, OR pornographers of sex.

40 years later, no one remembers the shape and size of Uncle Ben’s bullet wound; they remember Peter Parker’s guilt. And that’s why the story endures.

-Mike-EL
The Comic Book Syndicate

Grim superhero comics are what moe is for japanise comics. Short term profit, long term cancer.

Abhay, I don’t think you misunderstood me. And I’m with you to a point. Saying something and risking hypocrisy is better than not saying anything. But isn’t saying something and following it up with action the best possible route?

You bring up an interesting point about someone whose heart and talent is for creating solely violent, adult material. I hadn’t really considered that scenario, but I guess I’d exempt a creator like that from any obligation on the grounds that they aren’t really in a position to make an all-ages book. I’d have a lot of questions for such a person though.

“And nope to that: only market forces could do that, I’m afraid.”

Mark, I probably wrapped up that last paragraph too early, but there’s a whole other article that could be written about making all-ages comics attractive to parents. As you say, appropriate content is only part of the equation. Price and availability are huge considerations too and there are probably others that I haven’t even thought of.

@Mike-EL: i find your argument interesting. i wouldn’t necessarily say i agree, but i could see how others would. the thing that fascinates me/troubles me the most about it is this: who should be deciding what is “subject matter NOT APPROPRIATE to a fantasy genre”?

While agree that it would be cool if there were less outright gore and more all-ages titles in the Big Two’s mainstream superhero lines, I would like to point out that the comics that I started reading when I was 8 and brought me into this medium for life were such child appropriate titkes like as Vampire Tales, Creepy, Vampirella, Werewolf By Night, and many others. Captain America had the President kill himself in my very first story arc.
I hated Spidey Super-Stories and only read kid stuff like Archie if that was all that was around.

Just sayin’……

I agree with most of what Cooke is saying except for the ‘catering to the perverted needs of 45 yr old men.’

The last thing Marvel and DC does is cater to their audience, even if they are in their late 30′s/early 40′s.

1) Marvel and DC despise the fact that their audience is aged. If they could, they’d trade the 35-50 yr old customers for adolescents in a minute. In fact, I think most of the things the big 2 does is done to turn their audience off, in the hopes that they will gain new readers from some place else.

2) All the terrible DC and Marvel event stunts are designed (poorly) with the deliberate intent to gain ‘New Readers’. Example? Death of Captain America. Obama in Spider-Man. Death of Batman… these were all promoted in the media: newspapers, tv and radio. Why? They’re hoping non-comic readers will jump on board, even at the expense of their current readers.

3) Marvel/ Quesada unleashed a firestorm of hate when he unmarried Spider-Man, claiming that a new generation of readers deserves to read about a single Peter Parker. Spider Man lost 60% of their readers.
I would say thumbs up but alas, the new, next generation readers aren’t exactly crowding the shop to buy single Peter Parker. It’s like, Marvel threw a party and none of the guests of honor wanted to come.

So no one is catering to the audience, normal or perverted 45 year old men.

Truthfully? The ONLY catering being done is to the over 40 yr old EICs and the perverted, sadistic and unskilled editorial staff they employ that keeps coming up with this crap.

I think kids can handle heavy, disturbing, or depressing stuff. It’s just when this stuff occurs and has NO EMOTIONAL REVERBERATION that it becomes inappropriate. Therefore, all comics published by Marvel and DC should theoretically be appropriate for all ages (with the exception of MAX and Vertigo books). Sadly, this is rarely the case.

No, I don’t think that creators who complain that more “kid safe” comics are needed but don’t make them by themselves are being hypocrites. Why? Because making such comics is HARD. It isn’t a matter of just removing anything potentially offensive; you need to *know* your audience and what interests them to bring them in (especially with so much competition from other media these days.) Quite honestly I doubt someone like Kirkman could make such comics, but that doesn’t stop him from having the right to point out that they *ARE* needed if comics as a medium are to survive. It’s like saying that you shouldn’t ask others to help poor people in other countries unless you yourself are willing to do it too. Most of us probably wouldn’t be very useful in humanitarian aid missions- we’d be more a hindrance than a help. But we still can express our opinion about it.

That said, I do agree that we need more all-ages comics, and the kid-friendly comics we already have need more exposure if they are to reach their intended audience.

re: Nick Marino

That is a difficult question, and I don’t claim to know the exact parameters. Comics can deal with any subject, but the emphasis, scale and point of view of every story changes depending on the genre.

I’ll use some movies to illustrate:

‘The Never Ending Story’ is probably not the place to deal with a the details of a young boy having his first wet dream.

‘The Princess Bride’ is would not facilitate a scene dealing with the conditions of Jewish people living in Europe in the middle ages.

‘Star Wars’ would not benefit from a scene showing how Darth Vader goes to the bathroom everyday.

These topics are not inappropriate in general, just inappropriate for fantasy stories “aimed at youth” as Mr. Cooke says.

Since Speedy wears read and yellow leotards and fights crime with ‘trick arrows’, I don’t think he is the appropriate character to subject to the horrors of bloody amputation. A horror comic like Son of Satan might work better, in which case the amputation would be used for the purpose of scaring or disgusting the audience. That is appropriate to that particular genre.

Any thoughts?

I’m really reluctant to say that there’s no room for dark storytelling in superhero comics at all. There’s obviously an audience for that and creators who want to make it, so – even though it’s not what I want to read – I’m all for letting them have it. Where I completely agree with Cooke though is that those stories shouldn’t be the main type that DC and Marvel publish while all-ages stories get pushed to a separate imprint. The main stories should be all-ages; it’s the dark stories that should be niche.

That’s in a perfect world. To get there, we first have to figure out how to package all-ages comics so that parents can afford and easily find them.

Crap. I did that thing I hate. When I said “all-ages comics” in that last sentence, I meant “all-ages superhero comics from DC and Marvel.” Most all-ages comics come in affordable graphic novels that you can find on Amazon or in most any bookstore, so they’ve already got this figured out.

Out of curiosity, has anyone extolled the virtues of these all-ages books WITHOUT extolling them as an attack on the mainstream Marvel and DC comics? Are the Marvel Adventures and Johnny DC books genuinely good, or are they just a refuge from unpleasant concepts that have invaded the ” canon “? If so, doesn’t it do them a disservice to play up their lack of gratuitous content instead of the quality of their story and art? And if not, isn’t it extremely condescending to the young audience that such material is best for them because it’s ” safe “?

“I think Cooke probably wants to see more comics like New Frontier”

So do I and who is Skottie Young? (Seriously, I’ve never heard of him)

Newsflash:
Kids today play videogames and watch cartoons.

And why would I want more kid friendly stuff? This is all about me and im a grown man.
So, are you all crazy? I bet everyone commented here is over 20.

Oh, and my perverted needs? Morrison on Batman.

I love Cooke’s stuff, but I really feel is one of these “Good Old Days” guys who likes to forget the bad wth the good. My mom certainly didn’t feel the Hellfire Club was all ages!
I think it would be nearly impossible to publish multiple all-ages and artistically credible comic books. Hell, Pixar seems to be the only studio that can make an all ages movie anymore and they have some of the most talented artists in the field. How do you expect DC and Marvel free-lancers to crank out high quality all ages material on a monthly basis when the guys and gals at Pixar can only do it once a year?
Here is hoping that a DC Showcase or Marvel Comics Presents comes along where all ages, continuity-free stories can thrive and be successful!

I find it interesting how divided this issue has become. It seems like, nowadays, something must be “super kid friendly” or “hyper adult themed” with little ground in the middle. But it’s that ground in the middle, I feel, that should be tended and groomed.

Fantasy adventure stories don’t have to be bleached and sanitized to be appropriate for kids to read. “The New Frontier” IS a great example of this, to me. There is, without a doubt, mature issues and situations in that story. Hal Jordan’s Korean war experience is startaling to be sure, but isn’t gratuitous or without thought or consequence for the character. While some parents would not show that story to their kids, some would. I don’t feel it’s as obvious a choice there as something as pointlessly grim and gory as what happened to Arsenal/Speedy/Red Arrow/Whatever.

Kids can deal with some heavy stuff fairly well when given the appropriate context. I find it interesting that the original STAR WARS is used so often as an example of kid friendly fantasy adventure when it shows one bloody limb removal, Obi Wan’s death, AND Uncle Owne and Aunt Beru’s charred corpses smoking outside their front door. Oh, and C3PO dropping dead Jawa’s into a fire. Removed from the overall context of the film as a whole, I can see the Helen Lovejoy’s of the world crying “Won’t someone think of the children!?!” But these scenes didn’t scar anyone for life or give kids emotional complexes. Kids are pretty darn tough, overall.

I don’t know how to get kids to read more comics. But I think we rely too much on icons and licensed character from other mediums to do it. Kids do like Batman and Spider-man but comics rarely gives them something that the current generation can call their own. The closest thing is Bone which does extremely well with kids.

And also companies really don’t market the all ages stuff well. Smaller companies don’t have the marketing department and bigger companies just don’t know what to do with what doesn’t fit in their mainstream superhero universe lineup. Take Joe the Barbarian form DC/Vertigo, which is a fantastic all ages book with a suggested for mature readers label on it. That’s just shooting yourself in the foot.

Kids are willing to read. Harry Potter proved that. The problem is creators are not giving them something they want to read.

I honestly don’t understand why this argument continues to exist in the comic book industry. When we have Marvel adventures, DC kids, Darkwing Duck, The Incredibles, Ect Ect. I wonder is Cooke and oter creators who bring up the Kids subject actually take the time to read these comics. There are plenty of kids comics what there is a lack of is top creators working on these comics. Darwin I’m talking directly to you..go do a year on Marvel Adventures Spider-man, Go do a year on Billy Bastion over at DC go to Tiny Titans. The argument should not be why there are no Kids comics but why do top creators choose to not work on them.

Another part of this argument that bothered me is. What about fans that like a more mature Superhero. I am someone who loves Superhero comics. But i just don’t like stuff like Watchmen (in fact i have never read that book) But i do like a mature story, stuff like God Loves, Man Kills, Grant Morison’s X-men run, Dark Knight returns and such. I don’t like the punisher or any of the silly Over the top stuff but i do want to read mature superheroes that take on grown up subjects along with the high adventure. What are we suppose to do here just stop reading? No we read what we like and Marvel and DC give people what they want with their Kids line. All-Star Batman and Robin was not meant for kids, But The Brave and the Bold from DC kids is. So parents take two seconds to read the comic and then just give your kids the books that are up to their level. Darwin help those comics to get a higher profile not by cursing about them(Irony?) But by working on them.

Personally, I think the comics industry in general should be more worried about expanding distribution right now. Changing demographics and content probably won’t mean a damn thing if the people you target can’t get it. What kid is going to know where a local comic shop is anymore without their parent being a comic nerd? Especially considering how some areas don’t even have a local comic shop. Until more people can get their hands on the material, I don’t think what the content of the material happens to be is really going to mean a damn thing to anyone but those who already go to shops every Wednesday. Priorities and all that.

It feels kind of embarassing and defeatist when I get somebody interested in comics and then have to go “well finding a shop might be tough but it’s the only way so here’s a locater online that will help you find one of a dwindling number of comic shops”; a problem that wouldn’t exist if the Direct Market didn’t stranglehold the industry. I don’t think it’s really coincidence that things started hitting the downward slope when comics became Direct Market only, with the exception of the Speculator Boom that crashed several shops and made the problem much worse.

@Brett: The Spider-Man audience change is a lot more complicated than that. When Amazing was selling in the ninety thousands, it shipped once a month and had three or four other titles that often sold like ass. BND had Amazing selling sixty thousand an issue on average, but it shipped three to four times a month and is often the top subscription for the company, which isn’t even saying anything about trades and the more workable status quo they have now.

Unfortunately, a large part of the problem is supply and demand. There simply isn’t a huge, or at least vocal, demand for all-ages or made-for-kid comics. I would argue DC’s Tiny Titans and Super Friends was one of the more valiant efforts to produce comic books strictly for that young age group.

The kids don’t have the money, the parents do. The parents rarely put much consideration into it unless it’s a comic-reading parent. And the kids who are old enough to have money also just want to read what everyone else is reading, not something that labels them age appropriate.

When I open up an issue of Amazing Spider-Man and you’re friendly neighborhood webslinging comic has the Lizard rape his assistant and then eat his kid, I’m done. When I open up an issue of Green Lantern and I’ve got a child sex ring going on, I’m done. Darwyn Cooke’s right. I don’t mind dark, gritty comics on the shelves, but I don’t want them in my Spider-Man’s and Green Lanterns. That’s crap isn’t what those comics are about.

@NIK

The Lizard is a monster. If he didn’t eat anyone, I’d call Bulls@#$ on that. You know, the Frankenstein Monster drowned a little girl and attacked a woman in her house. And that was in 1931. Maybe you should write very stern letters to Marvel, DC and Universial Studio’s. Not to mention the estate of Boris Karloff. And where was this “child sex ring” in the pages of Green Lantern? I am an avid Lantern fan and I think you are seeing things…

Anyway, I hate this arguement. Referring to the so-called “Hyper Violence” in todays comics, its a reflection of the times we live in. The same way Hollywood isn’t going to make an Action movie or a Horror movie like they did 40 or 50 years ago is because people have far different sensibilities. And if you don’t like that, F@#$ing tough, pussy’s. It ain’t 1953 anymore.

Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone wanted to make an all-ages Wonder Woman comic? I would have been ALL OVER THAT, and I generally couldn’t care less about Wonder Woman! What the hell DC?

@JohnnyHorror: I haven’t read the Spider-Man comic in question but isn’t Spider-Man kind of failing at his job if the Lizard is eating and/or raping people? Frankenstein didn’t have a friendly neighborhood webslinger to deal with.

And yes, the superheroes can’t always be on the scene, but you don’t need to be so graphic about it, which I’m guessing was part of the issue here.

Also pretty sure that NIK was referring to Brightest Day #1, which featured Aquaman fighting child slavers, one of whom was a pedophile trying to oh my god i can’t even finish that sentence that was a horrible comic. I think it can be considered a Green Lantern comic in that its title is taken from the first line of the GL oath.

@Dylan: It’s a bit more complicated than that. When Spider-Man realized the Lizard was back, he immediately went for Billy, knowing Lizard would be after the kid. But Billy was already kidnapped by someone else and put in the Lizards path. When Billy was eaten, it allowed the Curt Conners personality to be utterly destroyed, though eventually part of Curt becomes part of the Lizards new forms personality.

Apparently, the story is very, very good; I’m unfortunately not that far ahead in Spider-Man trades.

As for Brightest Day, well, I can’t see how it’s any worse than when Batman and Jason Todd broke up a kiddie porn ring, assuming nothing disgusting was actually shown. I realize some people would rather adult themes stay out of their comics – nostalgia for kindler, gentler days, I guess – but if you’re a hero you’re probably going to end up dealing with folks like that when not stopping the latest Riddler crime spree. Hell, back in the late 80′s there was a Batman villain who got his powers from eating dudes hearts.

Brightest Day’s not really a GL comic though; it may deal with the White Lantern, but otherwise the series is focused on the resurrected heroes who have little to do with the Green Lantern Corps.

@JohnnyHorror: I think you have something of a point, but I don’t think calling folks pussies is really necessary.

Though the point of times and standards of decency changing is pretty apt. Once upon a time people were scared when the mask came off in Phantom of the Opera, though that may seem ridiculous these days. Most of the folks who want things toned down are concerned about the kids and would rather these things be regulated. However, kids HATE it when adults do that and it tends to turn them off even more. So it’s a tough line to walk.

I just hope that the general buying market is not neglected- marvel and dc need to actively develop mini-series and ongoings for selling in grocery stores, pharmacies, best buy, wal-mart, and more.. just do it.. larger size, tabloid comics should be a regular feature at these stores..

Also worth bearing in mind, however apocryphal it may be, that Darwyn Cooke pitched an all-ages line to Marvel back in the day and was turned down, only to have Marvel scoop the idea and launch ‘Marvel Adventures’ shortly thereafter- which is why Cooke has not done any work with Marvel since.

It’s not as if Cooke is incapable of making kid-friendly comics, just that he isn’t interested in doing it in context of the Big 2 at the moment.

As always, blame editorial shenanigans :P

I agree wholheartedly with Mike-El’s comments on this matter – it is all about what is appropriate.
There are serious unpleasant issues in life that we all have to deal with and be aware of even at an early age, it is the detail that can at times be unnecessary. I remembering reading Cary Bates Flash as a youngster and that dealt with murder/manslaughter/loss of loved ones and the emotional consequences without the need to dwell on the actual act.
The truly great writers can produce work that can be read by someone who may not be emotionally fully developed and enjoyed as an adventure, whilst interesting older readers with more depth – unfortunately not everyone can be a Moore or a Morrison. It is the same with all artistic endeavours – people of lesser talent will try to copy (probably under editorial mandate) what has broken new ground and produce something that does not work in the same way.
The less is more effect is perfect for comics in many ways as the gaps can be filled in depending on your viewpoint/age/understanding – to be fair, it could be argued that Identity Crisis is close to achieving this (based on how i read people interpreting it on the DC Message Boards at first release, but then again it may have just missed the mark).
I did feel sad the other day reading some Batman stuff and thinking “would this have been too much at 6 years old?” – more in terms of stuff that was referred to rather than shown – at 6 I wanted to know what everything meant and would ask if there was a new word/concept.
The main problem in my opinion is the need (whether in “adult” or all ages comics) for what I would describe as emotional pornography – case in point being the Arsenal storyline, the death of Lian was completely unnecessary and felt as if it was just for effect.
Much as I admire James Robinson and Starman was a wonderful journey, Cry for Justice was interesting but unpleasant to read and most of it left me thinking “Did that really need to be said/done?”
I still hope that children can still pick up a comic and have the joy that I felt in the late 70s and throughout the 80s.

I would disagree about the hypocrisy of the likes of Darwin Cooke, maybe he is not geared professionally to produce a kiddies line, but his work is not usually in the realm of emotional porn and is readable by most ages. I would also disagree that top creators are not working on kiddies comics, maybe those who are accalimed for their “adult” or “serious” work are not but then are they suited to the task, you can’t tell me that the creators who produce the work in kiddies comis produced by the big two are not the top in their particular field – it is horses for courses – I am not desperate for Picasso to do the Flintstones and I am not eager for the Hanna Barbera cubist period. Darwin Cooke has as much right as anyone to express his opinion even if he cannot deliver (or is not asked to deliver) the works he describes.

In addition to what @the Hunter said, Cooke also pitched an all ages Wonder Woman book to DC within the past several years that he would have written and drawn, and he was also turned down by DC.

I think a lot of people are misconstruing what he has said. I don’t believe he is saying there should be more kid comics, per se; he is saying that the characters who have such a long, storied history of being all ages accessible should continue to be all ages accessible. He obviously believes there is a place in comics at large for more directly adult oriented works. But when it comes to Superman, Batman, Spider-man etc., he feels their stories should not contain “mature,” shock value, grim and gritty storytelling where you forsake the entire history of a character or franchise for a very short term gain. And whether or not you agree with his opinion on the matter, I feel he has already put his pen where his mouth is, so to speak, with his work on New Frontier and The Spirit. Both of those books contain smart stories that respect the context and history of the properties with which they deal. And that is what he believes these iconic corporate superhero comics should do.

Anyone who has heard Darwyn Cooke talk about the digital distribution of comics can attest that he is not a “good old days” kind of guy when is comes to the comics industry. So, I personally don’t think that nostalgia is the whole basis on his views of of these corporate comic characters.

I think Cooke is asking for Marvel and DC to stop raping their heroes. Take Daredevil for instance. When Andy Diggle took over the writing recently I gave it a try. It was interesting at first, Daredevil the leader of the Hand, then it degenerated into Shadowland. Ok, so Matt Murdock, who became Daredevil through a self sacrificing act, has now created what amounts to a concentration camp for any that oppose his will. So they have basically turned Matt Murdock into a modern day Hitler. This is an example of a comic not needing to be for kids, but how about just being intelligent?

@Mike-EL – i see exactly what you mean and i think you cite some really good examples of things that would be relatively inappropriate for said stories. i guess the only thing i can think of to counter that (not cause i disagree, but rather to play a bit of devil’s advocate and consider all perspectives on this) is: what is the audience for today’s Speedy stories? because even if he’s got a history as a younger, more kid-friendly hero, i don’t see a point in trying to do age inclusive stories with the character if there isn’t somewhat of an audience waiting for them. even mature readers don’t seem to care much about Son of Satan. seems that they want the more brand name heroes doing a range of things, including mature stuff. i mean, Speedy’s an especially interesting example because he was one of the first heroes to enter into mature territory with his drug addiction story back in the 70s. and that’s historically held up as part of the turning point for superhero comics in that the stories began to age with the audience. not saying that you don’t have a valid point, but i’m wondering if the market is so different now (due to its history AND its current readership) that there’s no financial impetus for DC and Marvel to even attempt mainstream all ages type storytelling with their characters when readers have shown they want more mature storytelling (and voted with their wallets).

Here is the COMPLETE interview with Darwyn Cooke, touching on his adaptation of the HUNTER:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UJYH5fzqh0

re: Genius Jones. I think you’ve hit it o the head. The ‘kiddie’ lines are not the solution. Cooke is referring to the mainstream titles–Amazing Spider-Man, Batman, Superman. To me, it makes no sense to market toys and underwear featuring Spider-Man to little kids, and then feature the Lizard raping someone in a Spider-Man.

I understand that it may seem like we’re “pussys”, as JohnnyHorror92182 so eloquently put it, but actually–its just irresponsible, AND its bad capitalism. You’re mixing up your demographics. Johnny, if you so badly want to see stories about rape and violence, then don’t read stories about men that dress up in colourful leotards.

What ever happened to showing things ‘off camera’? Its one thing to IMPLY that a rape has taken place, but another to show it (sorry, I did not read the Spider-man comic in question).

This way, the adults will understand the severity of the assault, and the kids will just know that the Lizard has done something bad. Remember, pre-pubescent children will not even understand the motivation behind the Lizard’s attack.

Another question: if Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter can all successfully make money featuring stories about magic, science fiction and fantasy–WITHOUT using graphic sex and foul language, why should superhero comics?

I haven’t been reading Daredevil lately so I can’t give much of an opinion about the current storyline butttt Daredevil has been a pretty dark character since Miller and the character previous to Miller from my understanding wasn’t much of anything and didn’t seem very successful.

Now I understand what Cooke is saying though to be honest I don’t fully agree. Even if I were to agree though I wouldn’t lump every single superhero of the big 2 in it together. Daredevil I would not put in the same category as Spiderman. What I would do is stick that adult sticker back on it (if it isn’t already there) and let them do what they want. Same with Punisher.

Characters like Batman are already dark and should deal with dark issues though preferably I’d say it should be dealt in a similar tone as say the Batman animated series of the 90s. Who here didn’t LOVE that series and watched it as a kid. Now who here has rewatched the show as an adult? Does anyone notice how DARK those themes are for a kids show(or even compared to adult shows) yet it is honestly without much argument, some of the best portrayals of Batman in any medium.

kinda agree with Mr Young
I started drawing an Irish Superhero comic which every age could read as I couldn’t find it to begin with in Ireland. The Wren! :)

@Fred : Good point – the last time a big name creator did something non-mature was Bruce Timm and JMS working on the comics that came with He-Man toys!

Poison Ivy, maybe? She does have that subtext with Harley.

All this arguing about having all-ages Superhero books seems redundent as kids are never gonna find them anyway. The whole market is made up of teenagers and older, I hardly ever see anyone below the age of 15 in comic book stores. Kids lines are always tucked away in some dingy corner of the store and the only way they reach kids if they happen to have a comic book reading parent or uncle or whatever.

You see so many stories about how guys got into comics when they were younger having picked up a book at a gas station or a news stand which is rapidly declining now, which in my opinion is a problem thats more urgent.

Having said that, I’m sure kids today would rather shoot a hooker in Grand Theft Auto then read comic books anyway, its a different world now from when I grew up (and I’m not even 20 yet).

It feels like there is a fixed idea of what comics should be or who they should be aimed at. 40 years ago, the vast majority of comics were aimed at kids but those kids grew up and wanted more and different stories, stories that reflected the maturity they now lived. They wanted their comic icons to come along and explore differently. Comics – like any art form – are not static. This is where they are – now. Kids today are different than when I was 6 in 1970. Expecting comics to ring true to your kid experience of yester-yore is absurd. There is a market for kids books but let’s face it – Tiny Titans and Marvel Super-Hero Squad are nothing like my reads of Justice League and Avengers of the day. The industry – like it’s audience – works and behaves differently than 30-40 years ago.

As a childrens’ book author – I love Scottie Young’s comment. The best way to make something happen is to participate in the effect you want to have.

Personally, I took offense to Darwyn Cooke’s comments. He seems like a good guy, and amazing creative and based on what I’ve read about him from fans and peers, he is in no way a homophobic person. However is incredibly awkward, even if well-meaning comment, was indeed homophobic. Too much time has been spent trying to decipher what character he’s talking about so let’s face it – he meant Batwoman. “I don’t want to see characters who’ve been straight for sixty years become lesbians overnight.” It’s pretty straight forward. If his comment was meant to address the inequity of kid friendly comics, he missed his target. And instead, drew attention to sexual identity as a negative. Kate Kane is this generation’s version of Batwoman and is clearly the analogue of the ’50′s version. What Mr. Cooke fails to account for is that 60 years ago the only options for characters were created in an all white, all heterosexual vacuum. Authors and artists had no other options for their characters but in this day and age, they do. Certainly not unforgivable but it would be nice if Mr. Cooke could articulate his character purity stance or desire for more all ages/kid friendly comics without referencing sexual identity as some horrid arbitrary application and give it the context it deserves.

I find it interesting how divided this issue has become. It seems like, nowadays, something must be “super kid friendly” or “hyper adult themed” with little ground in the middle. But it’s that ground in the middle, I feel, that should be tended and groomed.

______________________________________

I agree. Hell, John Byrne (who has been saying what Cooke has been saying for many years) has said that the creators who work on the MU and DCU superhero titles need to return to or learn how to those books in “LAYERS”. The aforementioned STAR WARS movies (and CLONE WARS TV show) and most CCA approved pre-Quesada as EIC Marvel comics (1961-2000) were all written in layers.

when it comes to all ages titles and kid friendly titles as a whole, there are a couple of things that should remeain present in the process.

1.The story, should still tackle subjects with weight, but certain aspects should be omitted, such as graphic violence and gore. Depictions of sexuality or sexual deviance.
These stories should deal with subjects that used to be taught by parents. such as right and wrong, Moral strength. Recognising the importance of things beyond yourself., helping your fellow man. Kids comics should be filled with adventure all wrapped up in a package of life lessons that are not revealed as such.

A PERFECT example of this would be the TV show AVATAR: The Last Airbender. This show revolves around kids trying to save the world. Kids coming to grips not only with their own place within that world but also on how their actions form the basis of the people they will become.
The show is filled with insightful information that is beyond the mind of the average Tween, but presented in a way that they understand without -dumbing it down- all framed within some huge action that has consecuences. Which itself is another very importent factor in kids comics. Kids should learn in the stories that their actions will have consecuences.

Current modern Superhero comics do not possess ANY of these positive factors.

you never want to talk down to a kid, but at the same time you also would not drop a bunch of “F” bombs during a conversation with one.

2.The art should be clean, consistent and approachable in all of the kid titles. Now this does not mean that they all have to look like Superhero Squad or Bruce Timm Batman, but you also do not want to fill it with massive shadows and hyper detailed work. So no David Finch on a superhero Squad book.

Now there is one more thing that should be done and I hope that ALL of the pro’s reading this listen to the logic of what I say.

These books NEED to be sold in outlets like 7/11 and the local Grocery Store on the bottom shelf and near the Point of Sale area.
why? Well, because you want to put it in the visual field of the intended target audience.
you also want to put it where the kid and the parent will both be at at the same time. Hence the point of sale setup. That is why candy, Batteries and Star Magazine are there. Its Impulse shopping.

Do not sell these books inside of Direct Market stores, because Kids do not go into them as much and also, Shop owners watch them like hawks for fear they will touch and by extension destroy their product and cost them lost profits.
I have friends who own stores, and have seen them make a parent pay for a $200 book that their kid snatched off of the wall and creased.
Just the other day a 10 year old was in my friends shop and tried to grab a t-shirt that was beyond his reach and brought the entire display down.

So, put these books in places that kids will go. And keep them seperated from the Adult versions of the same books.

3.) Pricepoint these books at a max price of $2.00 Even if you have to drop a few pages. Or, follow the trend of Archie comics and do digest sized books which are 1/2 the size of a standard comic.
$2 is more attractive to a parent and also more accessable to a child making his/her own money choices.

4.) MOST IMPORTENT; Once you have these titles, start getting smart and use your cartoon series as a way to promote the books. Most cartoon blocks have kids who take part in framing segments. Why can’t these kids be reading a Spider-Man kids comic or FF kids comic to learn more about the spectacular Spider-Man or Superhero Squad. Let them know they are availible at your local 7/11 or Jiffy Mart of Farm Fresh whatever.
The point being is the kids that watch the cartoon would learn about the books that thereby get them started on reading and eventually as they age leads them into buying more books and maybe supporting the local comic shop.
The same thing can be done with Video games based on comic books.

The Importent factor is promoting product to the proper audience.

Aside from Superhero characters, here are a couple of other genres that can and should be pushed towards the kids while keeping the things I already wrote at the forefront.

Monster books – Kids LOVE monsters. They get exited at being scared. Contrary to what slasher films may put out, you do not need to show any direct violence or gore to scare someone. Lighting and suspense can do that. Having the action happen off panel can allow the kid reader to imagine what actually happened to the victim. Sometimes that is even scarier.
Just look at all of the classic Universal horror films. They are great for anyone 8 – 80 years old and they do everything the way I listed above.

Fantasy Books – Lord of the rings while having some scares, is perfectly safe for the average 10 year old. Which is also the minimum age that the books should be geared towards. That way even the parent can get some enjoyment from it as they read it with their kid.

Kid adventure books: Something like the old Newsboy Legion books where the stars are regular kids who get involved in things bigger than them and have to figure out how to overcome them. (That is practically the entire hook of the Harry Potter books.

Its not that hard, it just takes thought and using some common sense.

Not every creator is suited for these types of books and little kids have zero interest in whether you got Todd McFarlane to draw it or Tom smith. they just want a fun adventure.

This is the kind of thing that Young and Cooke are trying to get across. Be creative. Come up with new Ideas. Do not pander to your audience and definitely do not change a characters core personality or motivation to satisfy some temporary Editorial mandate.

Finally, to those that disagree, yeah the comic Industry IS pandering to their existing audience because they spend money and vocally complain about Canon and continuity which puts a stranglehold on ANY POTENTIAL NEW GROWTH that the Industry might attempt. It makes them afraid to take chances on something new. No different than how some comic shop owners ONLY buy the stuff they know is going to sell.

@Mike-El: This is kind of funny, because from what I’m reading, implied and off panel is exactly what happens in Shed. Judging by the words of several reviewers, you don’t actually see evisceration or Conners eat his son, rape is only implied so on and so forth. Apparently, it’s a pretty gore-less comic and the death is apparently well done in service of the story.

Can’t state for sure, since I haven’t read it yet, but a couple of folks I’m reading praise from are the type who’d typically call this sort of thing out if it were super violent and used for shock, so I take a bit of stock in their opinion for now.

… I really need to catch up on Amazing Spider-Man.

The pandering to the existing argument is often used – along with the supply and demand aspect, but even worse than TV, the comics industry is often followed by completists, which means someone who follows the JLA will feel that they have to get Cry For Justice and the like and therefore some of the franchise sales maybe should be assessed slightly differently. Marvel could put out a terrible Wolverine book and it would sell. That shouldn’t be a justification for a drop in standards or content.
The same way TV people say – they watch it lets make some more, while not acknowlegding that when they all think like that they will all produce the same diluted rubbish with no scope to find anything new and the audience watch because they don’t have as much choice as they think they do.
I realise money makes the world go round but in an artistic endeavour there must be a need to entertain all sorts of people and also to stimulate as well as pushing the boundaries/ideas. If all media become a stagnant money making exercise where do they think all the creative people are going to come from? Talented people would be driven away as I would like to think they still feel a need to create.

1. Kids down want to read comics

2. A comic reader is a customer for 30+ years, and when he or she gets to be a young adult, I don’t want kid comics for the next 30 years.

In the past kids read comics for 5-6 years. ITS NOT THE SAME. As a publisher, are you going to concentrate on the very small kids segment, or the much larger age 18-60 reader?

As far as getting kids to read comics, the issue of violence (present or absent) doesn’t really matter anywhere near as much as the presence of overwhelming, suffocating NOSTALGIA.

Few kids want to pick up something that looks and feels old-timey, or something that hits them over the head with intrinsic “respect yer elders” messages.

But this is the way most mainstream superhero comics are nowadays–dripping with nostalgia for all the 35-year-old readers to soak up.

New Frontier looks kid-friendly, but then you realize that it’s so old-fashioned and nostalgic that few people under the age of 25 would be into it.

Seriously, violence does not drive kids away. One looks at the video games and movies popular with teenagers should tell us that. And, really, I think Cooke is being a little over-sensitive. The level of violence in 99% of superhero comics is NOT that bad.

But nostalgia? Yeah, the industry didn’t market nostalgia so aggressively in past decades.

“SHED” was the first Spider-Man comic that I’ve read in like eighteen years.

Anyway, absolutely “implied and off-panel.”

It’s a rough story to read, but the accusations in this thread are beginning to enter the realm of fantasy.

” These stories should deal with subjects that used to be taught by parents. such as right and wrong, Moral strength. Recognising the importance of things beyond yourself., helping your fellow man. Kids comics should be filled with adventure all wrapped up in a package of life lessons that are not revealed as such. ”

Is this an admission that parents no longer have to do their jobs, so storytellers are burdened with the responsibility of telling kids what society agrees they should hear?

Mike W., thanks for the great post.

The issue is not simple, and adding or eliminating violence is no guarantee to appeal to kids, or turn them away.

These are superheroes, dressed in colourful costumes, who stand in as SYMBOLS for heroism and self sacrifice. They’re also modern day myths. And while myths and fairy tales certainly dealt with dark, disturbing violence and rape, none of them got into the details of the acts. Because, lets face it, those would only serve the appetite of (you guessed it) perverted 45 year olds.

Just because Grand Theft Auto appeals to the lowest-common-denominator, childish hunger for violence doesn’t mean superheroes should.

Porn is far more popular than Superman, but that doesn’t mean Superman should be porn.

” I think Cooke is asking for Marvel and DC to stop raping their heroes. Take Daredevil for instance. When Andy Diggle took over the writing recently I gave it a try. It was interesting at first, Daredevil the leader of the Hand, then it degenerated into Shadowland. Ok, so Matt Murdock, who became Daredevil through a self sacrificing act, has now created what amounts to a concentration camp for any that oppose his will. So they have basically turned Matt Murdock into a modern day Hitler. This is an example of a comic not needing to be for kids, but how about just being intelligent? ”

It would be nice if people stopped using the word rape in reference to a disagreeable direction taken with a fictional character, and restricted it to describing, y’know, actual rape.

OK first off I apologize for not reading every comment but there are so many I’m gonna have to do it in 2 parts. Which is good, means people are trying to stay connected.

I am in Cooke’s corner on this. “New Frontier” is extremely all-ages. For those of you who wonder if kids can handle dark stuff in the right setting I refer you to Walt Disney. Specifically “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. Does anyone remember that the Queen sends her soldier and Snow into the woods for the specific purpose of killing Snow? She’s very clear on it. And how freaky is Malevicent in “Sleeping Beauty”? Now, be honest, how many of you saw these as kids and came out fine? What about your own kids or nephews and nieces?

Now, everyone is being very cordial and not naming names. Well, I’m going to do just that. Let’s start at the top. Both Joe Q and Dan DiDio (who, imo is worse on this than Joe)made a decision to take kids’ comics and make them the ghetto. And move mainstream titles to “mature themes”. Quotation marks are on purpose, there’s nothing really mature about them.

This might’ve started with Identity Crisis but Dan DiDio was pushing this on DC for quite a while. As soon as he could he got rid of the 13 and up “Young Justice”. In Wizard he was quoted as saying he canceled it because the big 3 logos were in the book and it should be selling based on that and since it wasn’t it had to go. I wish I was being extreme but look it up. He also was once quoted as saying ‘Lil Lobo was disrespectful to Lobo because it made him into a joke.

People probably get tired of me mentioning it, but Wonder Woman snapping a human male’s neck, while she has him in her control, probably wasn’t a great step forward. Neither was raping Sue Dibny. Let’s be honest they had a great light hearted detective team in Ralph & Sue but to satisfy Brad Meltzer’s ego, well, too bad Sue! Once other writers under contract to DC saw how rewarded Meltzer was they went that way. Rucka,Johns,Winick,Simone. They all went darker. Geoff Johns deserves special notice since he decided to basically destroy Impulse. Nice going Geoff. Impulse could’ve been a wonderful gateway character.

I’ll probably get a rock thru my monitor for this but Joe Quesada and whoever else made an extremely bad decision when they gave Brian Michael Bendis so much free reign. What was the first thing he could think to do for Avengers #500? Oh yea, let’s kill everyone! Because…you know…killing’s fun. He also hired Johns who is, imo, one of the worst writers around. The Marvel Adventures line is a treasure. I wish Power Pack got more promotion, but again, the Adventures, like Johnny DC, are considered the alternative instead of the rule.

Speaking of Marvel, sort-of, if you wanna see a creator who put his money where his mouth is, look no further than J. Michael Stravinsky departing Marvel over “One More Day”.

Finally I would like to turn to a few writers that seem to have it right. Kurt Busiek can always be counted on to make ALL-AGES fun, not just kids’ comics. Astro City has some great all-ages stories. The same goes for Mark Waid. In fact, I regularly hand kids Kingdom Come. And then there’s Frank. Miller that is. HIs Daredevil is intense! But it’s also fun and not so dark you can’t give it to a 10 yr old. Sure, DKR might be harsh for a kid but he also wrote Big Guy and Rusty The Boy Robot which was a great animated show and Dark Horse should be using them. Oh and there are other creators. Fred La Vente and Colleen Coover to name just two.

Someone also needs to get Neil Gaiman back at Marvel for some all-ages. I’d have a pre-teen 1602 in a heart beat.

One more note about marketing. Now, it’s true I have not read a mainstream DC comic since Wonder Woman became a murderer but when I get a Previews I do glance thru their section and all I ever see is blood, guts, and the promise of death, and mutilation. Marvel to a lesser degree. What happened to covers that told some of the story or showed our heroes being heroic? I got a lot of my values from superheroes. Things I use every day!

I would urge both of the big 2 along with Dark Horse and Image to really consider phasing us back to having the good ‘ol violence (which I love in the right context) be the alternative. And stop putting writers who are one trick ponies in charge. I’d also urge Marvel to call Darwyn up tomorrow and ask him to do an all-ages book.

Someone also needs to get Neil Gaiman back at Marvel for some all-ages. I’d have a pre-teen 1602 in a heart beat.

I apologize for the length here. If I’ve restated anything someone else has said or misspelled any names, please forgive me. I look forward to reading the rest of this thread.

P.S. CBR, please start asking everyone you interview about this.It’s a discussion worth having. Thanks.

I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the notion that violence and mature themes is pandering to perverted forty year olds. I’m twenty three; I got into comics when I was seventeen. I like a good number of comics these days – though I pick and choose largely because I don’t want to read crap – and the only “hyper violence” or truly mature stuff I see that’s really something that I imagine is not for a good manner of folks happens in Punisher MAX.

At times, I think people involved have a tendency to over-react. I’ve seen discussions where if the comic so much as subtly implied rape – in a comic in a western settings with outlaws who did that sort of thing – people would drop a deuce in their drawers.

Hell, I was barely into double digits agewise and I was watching movies like Aliens, which has rape and forced impregnation all over the freaking place, but with creepy aliens that choked you with their tail while they did it. Watched movies like Robocop, where a dude is blown away by submachine guns in a boardroom during a test of a military grade robot while I also watched the first TMNT film religiously. I’m fine. Not scarred for life. I know my experience isn’t going to mirror every child, but I sometimes get the feeling that the old “think of the children” chestnut has started invading the industry a bit too much; not so much as to get parent watchdog groups censoring things left and right like elsewhere, but you know what I mean. It’s almost like the industry itself is having some kind of mid-life crisis.

Obviously there should be some regulation of what is appropriate with this sort of thing, but I dunno. I like more mature themes with superheroes. I’d like to have those alongside kid friendly stories. But what is kid friendly? Because it all loops back to the fact that a lot of kids HATE it when adults try and tell them what is appropriate for them to see.

Got into comics heavily at seventeen, I should say. Excuse me. I had single issues that were bought for me back when I was thirteen or fourteen, but I dropped out of it a bit.

@Neil: No its not the publishers responsability to teach kids this and that is not what I implied. But, when I was a kid, Heroes acted like Heroes. I myself learned a lot of life lessons from comics.
and to respond more directly to your question, No. I think parents have not only given up on teaching their children the proper lessons in life, but they also continually show their children the wrong life lessons by their own actions.
Parents now have to work so hard just to make ends meet, that they do not think of their impressionable children.
I was watching Aliens and Robocop and all that but I was a teenager. I saw the Exorcist in the theater when it originally came out. I was young and did not understand half of the film. But it scared me.

My point on kids books, is that You shouldn’t talk down to them. Kids can tell when you do that and they do not like it. that said, you should still self censor yourself and not talk like a sailor in front of a young child. Just like a young child doesn’t need to see a slasher flick.
so if you are making a comic that you are gearing towards younger readers, give some thought to the violence in the book.
how much should you visibly show? How far should you take it? How in depth and malevolent should you write your villains?

It was mentioned earlier that only PIXAR is capable of making good kid friendly fare. Wrong!
they just do exactly the things I have mentioned. All of their films are loaded with lessons that teach and inform kids. Hell they sometimes even remind parents of things they forgot.
but you do not need to pander to kids because you think they will not get it.
Just use that rare commodity of common sense.

Another thing, is kids do not read anymore. Unless you get them started young and get them to realize that reading is fun. That is something that kids need more exposure to.

My 6 year old nephew is currently learning to read, from comics that I bought him.

rmember, kids are not mini versions of adults. as smart as they are or act, they have not developed the moral understanding of many of the subjects that they would be exposed to in a more adult themed comic.

I also feel that the Publisher should not give up on the current buyer base they have. That is why I said they need to have the kid themed stuff sold at different outlets where it would get wider exposure. You cannot build a customer base for tomorrow if you only put what your trying to sell them in a place where they do not go.

I also highly recommend that anyone here take the time to watch all three seasons of AVATAR: The Last Airbender.
The show is as Epic as The Lord of the Rings. It is geared towards kids 6-16, but even as a 44 year old adult, I found the story, the characters and the situations to be highly engaging. It still has a strong level of violence, but it serves a purpose to the story and is not there just for the sake of violence.
You can still and should have a level of violence even in kids books. If you look at any story in TV, Film or books, all of the stories are pushed foreward by conflict. It could be conflict with the self, conflict with the environment you are in or conflict with an enemy to self, family or life.
Say that enemy is going to kill another character within the story and you show him with a knife in his hand.

Is it neccessary to show him stabbing the other person, the victim 200 times in a multi panel dance of bloody death? Or, can the purpose be served equally well by just showing the guy with the knife, showing the intended victim as the knife holder lunges to attack and then showing the aftermath?
Both can focus on the emotional fallout that the killer might feel after the fact. But which version would be better for a younger reader?

The second half is the correct answer.

Just because we as adults are conditioned to view violence with a sense of detachement, kids are not emotionally prepared for that and in fact cannot seperate the two.

@Mike W: I’ve seen Avatar. Pretty good show, but I don’t have the mad love for it a lot of folks do. I’m more than willing to admit that such is clearly just me though; I recognize it’s quality and while I’m not sure it deserves ALL the accolades it gets and is maybe slightly over-rated, there’s no denying it deserves popularity.

On heroes acting like heroes, I guess it depends on what universe you’re talking about and when. When I was a kid, anti-heroes were the new heroes and they were definitely in. As for now, well, if you’re talking about DC, Infinite Crisis was five years ago, Identity six; since then I’ve felt like theres been more actual heroics in my DC books and that the mind wiping, spy satellite building anti-hero crap that had filtered in has been mostly left behind.

Marvel I suppose you could make a case for though. Cyclops has been leading the X-Men like a military lately and they’re not exactly the most heroic or tolerant team anymore. Iron Man was royally screwed up by Civil War. I guess it depends on where you look, but I’m more of a DC guy, so I pick and choose my Marvel readings.

I’m not sure about your assertion that kids are not prepared to emotionally detach from violence though. If anything, they’re probably more prepped for this these days than they ever have been. It’s all over the place and you can find things eight times worse in a T or M rated video game these days than in any comic; and lets not kid ourselves, those are the games kids want to play for the most part. Kids like violence in my experience, especially boys; hell, the superhero genre is rooted in knocking guys for a loop and throwing them behind steel bars. Hell, some adults get into violence as well, emotional detachment or not.

I guess it’s a problem of outlook. Some feel kids need to be shielded from violence. But as the popular lexicon moves more and more towards lots of it, the fight to try and make comics more like the old days makes them seem almost antiquated. I do think there’s a certain threshold that shouldn’t be crossed in general comics – save that for the mature reader stuff – but sometimes this position seems almost like people want to go back to times when this sort of thing just wasn’t dealt with and comics have a hard enough time being taken seriously by a lot of people – many of whom still think they’re only for kids – as it is.

I dunno. I guess we just differ on what we see as too much. I think there should be a general compromise, at least. Like a clear ratings system, if only so that it’s clear at a glance what comic in the main universe might be suitable for younger readers and what definitely is not. Have one Batman comic that does stories from a certain rating, another sometimes handles more mature stuff and so on.

Neil Kapit
September 6, 2010 at 11:07 am

” I think Cooke is asking for Marvel and DC to stop raping their heroes. Take Daredevil for instance. When Andy Diggle took over the writing recently I gave it a try. It was interesting at first, Daredevil the leader of the Hand, then it degenerated into Shadowland. Ok, so Matt Murdock, who became Daredevil through a self sacrificing act, has now created what amounts to a concentration camp for any that oppose his will. So they have basically turned Matt Murdock into a modern day Hitler. This is an example of a comic not needing to be for kids, but how about just being intelligent? ”

It would be nice if people stopped using the word rape in reference to a disagreeable direction taken with a fictional character, and restricted it to describing, y’know, actual rape

Sorry Neil, next time I post I’ll try to get it pre-approved by you. Wouldn’t want to use any words you think are inappropriate for the disagreeable direction my mind takes me.

@dl316bh;

I am about 50/50 with you here.

First, you point out a good generational shift that sometimes gets overlooked very often. For example;

Cooke, who is older than me grew up during the late Goldenage and earlySilver Age. His view of comics are aong the lines of that. New Frontier as a whole was in essense a love letter to the Silver Age that influenced him. He just made an all encompassing self contained story about it unlike what most other pro’s do and that is retell their particular Era.

I grew up with comics in the seventies and into the eighties. So I had the era that was still experimental with all of the Cosmic stuff and supernatural heroes up through the post WATCHMEN era.
So for me I saw the Heroes go from Heroic to Dark brooding Anti heroic. I missed a couple of years in the 90′s but have been collecting continually. So I have also seen them co from Anti-Heroic to possible Grey area.

This would be your Era as you stated in your post. The Anti-Heroic to in your view “Heroic” because they where darker when you started reading. But to me I see them not quite being where they were during my time. But I don’t mind that. To me, The Characters reflect more of the current culture which I am entrenched in.

Now for Someone like Cooke Todays comics (Superhero) are probably pure hell. Just a completely different animal from what he was part of.
Part of that also goes towards exposure as you stated. Well, todays writers are from the same era as me and foreward. They grew up on Scorcese and Speilberg and Stone and Stephen King for example and it has influenced how they approach a script.
I know how I write and I was influenced by those guys also.

I myself, feel that Artists like Cooke and some of the other great Artists from the Silver and Bronze ages who still wish to work should consider doing some titles geared towards younger readers and market them as such.

Now regarding what children can and cannot do, I think its the parents responsibility to decide what their child should and should not be exposed to. That said a great many parents I have seen these days are ignorent douchebags.
When I am at the expendables and the couple in front of me have their 4 year old sitting there (I see this often) it just makes me facepalm.
I disagree that “Kids can handle it” No they couldn’t. Most kids, even if they play shooters all day or watch films like James Bond or an Arnold flick where he kills a hundred guys and gets cheers and a pat on the back.
Those kids are viewing a skewed version of reality. All they are getting is the action with no showing of the repercussions of the action. No bad dreams. No prison. No Death Penalty. No hearing the victims family crying because he destroyed their lives.
to them its just hit (X) and respawn.
Or in this case, come back next month and read another story.

If you were in a situation of having a gun pointed at you by an adult, or the same situation but a 10 year old kid, the Kid is the one who you have a higher chance of getting shot by.
He won’t think about repercussions of what he does. Most adults would. Even those who play Call of Duty every day.

Also, I just watched Avatar so its just fresh in my head hence the exuberance. But it does hit a lot of the markers that have been discussed.

@Mike W: I guess there’s an interesting case to be made for readers feeling more left behind than anything. The generational shift ends up slowly upping the ante in what we – or hell, kids too – see in media. As I mentioned earlier, it seems almost crazy to think that once upon a time the mask coming off in the old Phantom of the Opera had folks fainting, but there you go, right? There are just some eras some folks grow up loving; and to lose that must obviously be difficult. But at the same time… it begs the question, aren’t things supposed to change? Horror films aren’t like they were back in the heydey of the silent era and with the occasional exception they sadly do not make action movies like they did in the 80′s.

I guess you could argue that it comes down to everyones ability to adapt; I’d much rather action movies were like they used to be and don’t enjoy some modern ones as much, but to some degree I try to adapt and have found some favorites.

I don’t know. I guess it’s just one long discussion that comes largely down to “different strokes”. I like heroism and heroic actions, but I personally think that part of the problem with the Silver Age is that aside from the titles that were completely insane, you had guys like Hal Jordan and Barry Allen that were partly reader stand-ins and didn’t have much depth or personality (well, from what I’ve seen anyways). I… admit I wouldn’t be keen to revisit those days, because comics have evolved so much since then, the stories were so simplistic and what was considered acceptable for… damn, pretty much anything was vastly limited. Comics code and all that.

I like some anti-heroes, but I don’t consider them my heroes despite growing up with them. But at the same time, something about the shiny veneer of the “old days” just doesn’t appeal to me and I have to admit that it’s largely why I wrote off the Silver Age from when I got back in heavily to about a year ago.

As for what kids can and can’t do… well, I guess we can’t agree on this. It comes down partly to parenting, but I’ve been a video gamer a lot longer than I have a comic junkie – since I was five at least – and I’ve long heard the “if kids are exposed to violence it might make them killers” and so on chestnuts that have been going clear into the 90′s. I mean no offense to you when I say this, but I don’t buy it there and I don’t buy it with comics, which are a far more static medium of storytelling with less of a connection than a story or actions you can control. In reality, a lot of the kids that are screwed up by “violence in media” are people that are deeply, deeply troubled to start with and clearly had signs that they needed psychiatric help that went unheeded. The media sensationalizes this, though; and thats how the bad reputation for media and the “think of the children” mentality takes root. Even when you stand up against it – Dee Snyder in the Senate against the PMRC, for example – you get railroaded because “think of the children”.

I can only speak for myself when I say what I’m about to. I’ve heard a lot of similar stories from other folks in my generation, but that’s heresay so I won’t go to that well. But when I was a kid and a teen? I absolutely RESENTED the people who acted like I wasn’t smart enough to know reality from fiction and like I would go kill someone or grow up emotionally stunted just because I played violent video games or listened to 80′s rock/metal. Adults were trying to tell me what I should and should not be able to be exposed to and I was some kind of patsy who would be deeply scarred by what I witnessed. I never felt I needed shielding or that I was some kind of idiot who didn’t know better, but that largely seemed to be what we were – and to this day, what kids still seem to be – characterized as.

Sometimes it reeks of a similar situation here. Only there are no more kids to fight back in the comics world, because kids haven’t been able to gain exposure to comics in years anymore. So we’re up to adults from my current age on up trying to say “we’ve gone too far, the children can’t handle this”. But where are the kids? It’s like trying to put a cast on a broken leg before you set it.

… I think I’m starting to lose sight of my point. I apologize if I have. And I mean no offense. I’m trying to explain my position in my typical too-longwinded-for-his-own-good fashion.

This post will be short. I have been playing games since my mom brought home Pong. I played Battlefield for about 2 hours today. I have a gaming website.

Kids for the most part CAN handle the stuff they see in comics today. No one has said they couldn’t. I just said they for the most part cannot seperate the action from the consequence. But you have to keep in mind that everyone is different and so is how the individual would react to it.

Parents should limit what their children are exposed to so that they can continue to be kids while they still can.
Even If your a parent and have decided you would not be like your parents were to you or whatnot, youshould still have some control over your children and be concerned for what they see.

also Dee Snyder. I remember that, he did a great job. But music and a comic book are not the same. You can sit and look at a single image as long as you want.

so take a book that I enjoyed a lot, Warren Ellis’s NO HERO from Avatar. Now my 6 year old nephew is still learning to read, but imagine a 10 year old getting his hands on that.

Back to the topic, I think those that have gotten vocal and begun pointing it out just want to see some of the innocence come back into comics.
For me its to late.

Yeah, I know everyone is different. I’ve just never felt like a lot of people give kids credit. It’s a feeling that was born from when I was a kid myself and has stuck with me even as I’m now an adult.

It’s strange, because the kind of stories or innocence there seems to be nostalgia for was born of censorship; being the comics code which pretty much watered down comics, in my estimation. Then there’s the fight against the perception that comics and superheroes are just for kids that still exists outside of comics juxtaposed against the rise of readers who now feel they should go back to being for kids. I don’t know, I guess I just don’t have the same love for the Silver Age as some do; aside from the insane stories that come from stuff like Superman and Jimmy Olsen, I wouldn’t want to go back to that era.

Perhaps this desire for innocence is trying to recapture some of childhood? I don’t know. I think the whole thing is complicated and I can’t say I believe the same things you do. But at least it seems we can peacably disagree here instead of the flame fests that usually encompass these kind of discussions.

As for “No Hero”, I’m a Warren Ellis fan, but I can’t say I’ve ever read it.

On Dee Snider and music… well, I don’t know. All those arguments that people tried to make. For me it just boils down to censorship. It happened with comics, which seems to have brought about the stories that there’s the affection for, it happened to music – though in that case they just went on producing the same stuff they were instead of the paradigm shift comics made – it’s happened to TV and to movies. I guess I just don’t buy it because if parents actually parented their kids like my mother did me, there wouldn’t be so many damn problems and people wouldn’t have to scrutinize every piece of media wondering what effect it might have on kids. Kids could actually experience these things while actually knowing the difference between fantasy and reality or right and wrong.

I don’t know. I guess there is no right answer. All I can speak for is how I see things and what I think.

This is slightly off topic but somewhat relevant. But I have to point this out.

The problem these days is that it is becoming harder to attract kids to comics. But at the same time, people don’t read comics see comic books as a passtime for children.

I don’t know what the solution is. Maybe if Neil Gaiman wrote everything at DC and Marvel. Coraline was all ages appropriate.

This is the most idiotic article I’ve ever read.

Michael May… you can’t go around quoting people trying not to step on anybody, implying stuff and not backing it up with you own opinion. That’s just embarrassing.

Shame on you!

Kids always want to read comicbooks. As someone who works in a comicbook store I notice this. Its having comics that kids can read that is the point.
Kids read more than we realise and so having titles that include characters they see popular is important. Good examples are Marvel adventures Avengers , DC’s Billy batson shazam, Tiny Titans, Mouse Guard, PowerPack, Marvel advs Spiderman, Batman Brave and the Bold , G-man and Ben 10 alien Force.

These titles tell great action , adventure, fun stories and kids love them.
Developing ongoing stories is whats needed, pretty much like a cartoon serial , Ben 10 case in point. They remember more than we think and can follow simple plot lines. Creating an all ages comic I found /find fun as working on action adventure and fun makes stories so much more great to create

How do we get kids to read comics? Simple. Get more comics into schools. They have to be appropriate for the ages of the students, and they can’t offend parents who are quick on the trigger. Kids scour the library/media center for something that they would be interested in reading. Let’s give them something from our hobby that they will love. They can’t play videogames, comic book dollars’ main competition, while they’re in school, and comic books and graphic novels are now acceptable (even encouraged) reading in many schools. Put them into the hands of those who want to read them!

This whole arguement just annoys the hell out of me.

Nobody would stop a child from reading Stephen King, or even a Charles Dickens novel

And yet when it comes to Superhero comics – a fiction rooted PURELY in fantasy – There’s this huge online presence of posters who feel like kids are being alienated by these ‘adult themes’ and scenes of violence and gore, and that these sacred ‘icons’ should be kept wholesome and morally immaculate…

Sorry, but that’s just bollocks.

The only people who want comics to go back to the way things were in the 80′s are actually the 45 year old basement perverts Cooke is referring to.

As a UK comic reader I grew up reading 2000AD. It’s available for kids to buy and it’s full of decaptations, boobs, guts and gore. It didn’t damage me, I never felt like I was being exposed to something bad or immoral – It was just silly, fun, F I C T I O N.

KIDS AREN’T STUPID!

They’re not being alienated by this stuff, if anything they’re being pandered to! Mark Millar and Brian Bendis write comics directed purely at the very same nasty little sh*ts that occupy our homes playing MWF2 and GTA! Who else do you think buys all that crap? And no, they aren’t about to go on shooting sprees because of this either. They’re just the same as you and me when we were young.

Who didn’t stay up to watch late night tv when our folks were away? Who didn’t borrow a porno off a school friend and learn what female anatomy looked like for the first time? Were were any more damaged for it? NO!!!!

Kids aren’t stupid, they don’t want the watered down non-continuity story about Spiderman bouncing around on Rhino’s head in a donut shop or whatever. They want to read what’s really going on – and they sure as bloody hell don’t want people watering things down on their behalf. THAT would be the most efficient, direct way to alienate the younger audience from getting into comics altogether.

And to the blog poster – your kid WILL watch Predator. And he will love it. And he’ll be fine. There is nothing you can do to stop that, and nothing in that film that could harm him whatsoever.

I believe if Marvel/DC really wanted to do an all ages comic they can. The truth is all the kids back int eh 80′s and 90′s as myself and my friends grew up as well as society has become more violent in every media you can think of none the less with sex and drugs in the mix, superheroes have lost their ability to keep the “imagination” up to speed with video games and other electronical devices. As we the “80-90 generation” grew up we left the gate open for the new “stimulate” our senses and wanted our heroes to grow up with us and forgetting why we loved comics in the first place. As a creeator myself, I do and plan to do appropraite material for all, I want my comics to be in the hands of adults as well as kids and we do and can make that happen especially with the technology we have, but it’s like the old saying goes “money makes the whole world go round” and thats what DC/Marvel are all about.
Plus tell me what kid will shell out $3.99 for 22 pages when they can get games online for less than that?

“Plus tell me what kid will shell out $3.99 for 22 pages when they can get games online for less than that?”

QFT

THATS probably the real question people should be asking when it comes to kids and comics. I only used to get £2 a week pocket money, so I wouldn’t be able to buy a comic at all If I was a kid today

I’ve come to the realization that a number of comics on the stands today aren’t aimed at me. I look for the books that I enjoy reading, and ones that I know I’m gonna grab to re-read more than once. That means fewer mini-series, no weeklies at all, and, no books over $3.99 if I can help it. If it’ll be collected in a digest or a trade, I might grab it then. Chris G’s G-Man is awesome. Some of the mainstream All-Ages stuff is hit and miss, but Batman: Brave and the Bold is pretty good. I’d recommend Tiny Titans, too. Marvel has been trying with their all-ages, but it’s pretty much like the Ultimate universe, there’s really no jumping on point…

Here’s the thing: All the examples of “kids comics” that have been mentioned are aimed squarely at kids, i.e., Super Friends, Tiny Titans, Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam, Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, etc. Fortunately, there’s some stuff in those books that appeals to readers of all ages. However, when I started reading comics in the early 1970′s, at the ripe old age of five, I didn’t have to seek out the “kids version” of Spider-Man or the Teen Titans or the Justice League of America; I just picked up the latest issue of, for example, The Amazing Spider-Man, and there was still character development and continuity and all the other things that made mainstream comic books entertaining for everyone.

Of course, now that Jeannie’s out of the bottle, she isn’t heading back to that circular sofa, and if adolescents and twenty-somethings can get pseudo-sex and violence from video games and animé, DC and Marvel are going to do everything they can to keep up.

I’m with Darwyn Cooke and Skottie Young on this, but it may be too late to fix it.

Leave a Comment

 



Browse the Robot 6 Archives