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The Fifth Color | Not your daddy’s comics

Marvel MAX Explicit tagIn the past few weeks, there have been a plethora of comic book conventions, each with their own unique announcements, promotions and exclusives. But rarely do you get the juicy gossip! These guys have their patter down so well that fans get what they came for, and no one slips up and calls anybody a whore in public (although we still hold out hope for a Frank Miller sighting next year). Marvel’s long-awaited return to San Francisco, home of the X-Men and Axel Alonso, was surprisingly polite and succinct. No major movie news, no grand proclamations, but still an exciting look forward to what lies ahead in 2011.

But you were kinda hoping somebody threw a chair.

Saturday at the Spotlight on Jason Aaron panel I heard something so ridiculous that I marched out of that room with my jaw on the floor. Sadly, Jason Aaron didn’t say it; in fact I would much rather be talking about him and his work. Aaron is a humble, talented and completely brilliant writer, but what EiC Axel Alonso said was far more controversial. Something that left Alonso and myself just stupefied.

Axel Alonso said in front of a very modest crowd at WonderCon that he works with people that think Marvel Comics should not make R-rated content. That there are some professionals in the industry that believe every comic should be PG rated or lower.

He didn’t understand it and neither do I.

The fact that he said this while sitting next to Jason Aaron, a writer who has told some gripping Punisher stories as part of the Max line, made it all the more surreal. Not to mention making it my most juicy tidbit of gossip out of San Fransisco last weekend.

Who are these ‘people he works with’? I mean, it’s one thing for Chris Claremont to want to hearken back to the comics of the ’80s, but an entirely different matter if the Editor in Chief works with these ‘people’ every day. How much Max content are we not seeing? How much of this PG or lower attitude has to do with Disney’s recent acquisition? Are there secret comic Nazis taking away your freedom to read swear words in your funny books?!!? Panic! Scream! Run from your computer into the night because nothing of what I’m about to say has anything to do with that. There are no thought police in your comics, no First Amendment rights being taken; Alex Alonso, I believe, was simply frustrated with the same problem anyone has when bringing up comics to the media of the masses.

Comics aren’t for everyone, but everyone should have comics.

Earlier that day, a man praised the Distinguished Competition for their current Flash comic. His son had enjoyed the recent Johns stories and the fan had been able to share that enjoyment as a family. A father and son, sharing a love of comics together? That’s pretty great stuff. He asked Dan Didio if they had plans on doing more all-ages Flash comics, but did note that the Johnny DC stuff had been too ‘kiddie’ for his son’s tastes. In return, Didio brought up an interesting point that comics weren’t always shared between parents and kids the way they can be today. After all, moms were the leading cause for thrown-away comics back in the day. Comics went through a huge congressional inquiry that instituted the Comics Code Authority and set a precedent for sequential art being a child’s medium in the public eye.

Is sequential art a child’s medium? Oh my dear sweet Lord, NO. I am absolutely positive anyone reading this is probably above the age of 13, mostly because I’ve never really sure who reads this (Hi Mom!) but also because comics books are an all ages art form. ‘All ages’ meaning that people from 9 to 99 enjoy reading comics. Each one of these people enjoy reading comics in a way that is singularly theirs. There are so many readers that there is a market for everything from Justin Bieber books to adaptations of classical opera. So why shouldn’t there be comics with adult material? Ad I’m not just talking about boobies and gore, but material and concepts that would either bore or confuse younger readers. Kids don’t want to watch the Godfather not because it’s violent, they don’t want to watch it because it’s ‘boring’.

Marvel self-rates its own books. They do this not just to lure in high profile creators (which is a bonus), but because society changes so fast they have to keep up with both social mores and popular tastes. Back in the day, zombies eating brains would have been the herald of delinquency! Now, zombies are huge, and Marvel needed to give the right readers what they wanted, without giving four-year-olds nightmares.

Companies have to be honest with their content and provide an accurate rating for the material they usher onto the shelves. I think the MAX imprint does a fantastic job clearly labeling comics of a mature nature. The label is big, it’s bold, you can’t miss it; it’s on the order form, it’s in the title. It has grown some of the finest mature and unique comic writing and art, not to mention solid successes and fan favorites. Thanks to Alias, Jessica Jones is an Avenger. Thanks to Garth Ennis, the Punisher isn’t an outdated caricature of ’80s machismo. In contrast, kids imprints don’t do as well. The Marvel Adventures line has been woefully promoted, despite some truly entertaining stories from the likes of Paul Tobin and Peter David. Perhaps as controversial as adult themed books are, specifically ‘kids comics’ are equally niche and difficult to market. You can’t promote Punisher: MAX in the same way you promote Civil War, but then again you can’t promote Power Pack the same way you promote Civil War. If the extremes get left by the wayside, all we have left is the middle.

While there always will be comics that shouldn’t be given to kids, the industry and its fans should focus more on quality than ratings, or labels. Surprisingly, I would guess that kids simply enjoy the medium of artwork and storytelling. New generations will grow up to think comics are cool/uncool based on their merit, rather than how they were promoted or labelled.

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39 Comments

Apollokid9000

April 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm

I think the struggle that comic companies ( the Big Two in the particular ) have with rating their comics and figuring ways to promote said comics is a core issue in regards to potential growth of the industry.

Alonsos’ statement sheds light on a problem – comic creators leaning too far to one side.
Wanting a majority of a publishing line to have one unified tone is limiting. Ironic being that comics are possibly the medium that has almost no limits in terms of what stories it can tell.

Whenever a preview of an “all ages” book gets posted up, the comments have an echo of “looks alright but it’ll never sell, why even release something like this?”.

Granted, even thousands of comments on the Internet can represent only a fraction of the comic consuming public. Yet when most of this small sector of potential buyers pre label a book as DOA before it even gets shipped, it doesn’t bode well. For all the promotion and marketing a company can do for a product, often times the most effective or counter intuitive form of promotion is word of mouth.

I never understood people that said that comics made today aren’t for kids. I remember being about 9 and getting my first Savage Dragon issue and seeing him thrown off a cliff and impaled on the rocks below and thinking “oh my gosh, they killed the main character!? I have to read the next issue NOW!”
I remember buying Spider-Man comics and not only was I not intimidated by the continuity but just hearing something like “Oh man [hardcore villain] almost killed me last time we fought!” or some other harkening back to previous events made me want to read MORE.
As children, were any of you readers honestly concerned about reading age appropriate material or having an easy jumping on point? Do you think that’s changed?

I certainly don’t want a Punisher or gritty Moon Knight or Deathstroke book to NOT be done but I want it kept on it’s own imprint or label or whatever. I don’t necessarily want to be cruising through my action-adventure capes-and-domino-masks superhero title and have people get their arms torn off or eaten on camera.

My wife was at a marketing conference at Disneyworld this week and a marketing rep from Disney spoke. He mentioned Marvel as a recent acquisition and pointed out that it provided a demographic that Disney did not current have an “in” with – boys. Disney has princesses sewn up, but nothing that is specifically for boys. The licenses with Universal are still in force, but when those go – allowing DIsney to create superhero-themed rides – I fully expect to see a serious shift to more accessible material at Marvel.

Hoffman: no offense, but your article wasn’t very clear to me, at least at first: were you shocked there were people who wanted comics to be more ‘PG’, or shocked there were not? Later on it seemed to get its subject focused, but once again by the last paragraph, you had me wondering again. That’s what happens when you use sarcasm; it’s not as easy as it looks. Keep that in mind for next time.

Anyway, I do believe that comics should be a medium for all ages and genres; everything from Power Pack to Punisher Max. The idea is to sell to as many people as possible, after all. However I also believe they should be clearly labeled so the customer (not just kids) can decide if they’re for him or her without having to browse through and end up watching scenes they’d rather not as a result.

The problem, I think, is that some companies fudge the issue intentionally. As in, if they think a comic needs a boost, they’ll thrown cheap shock stuff in regardless of what the rating of the title is supposed to be. DC in particular is guilty of this. That Flash series the father and son you mentioned shared so happily? They were lucky it wasn’t The Flash from the “One Year Later” period, which a) sucked out all the fun from Impulse by turning him into a wangsty adult and b) ended by having him KILLED BY HIS FOES. Not “tune in next issue to see him come back healthy and kick their asses!” but just DEAD. How family-friendly.

My thought is this: I think this has a psychological origin; that many people have innocent pictures of children swirling about their heads. There seems to be a lot at stake in believing in childhood innocence; that children don’t have sexual feelings (younger you are the less you know what it is about, but you still have them), that children don’t have violent phantasies; or somehow children are exempt from all the ordinary pit-falls of being human. I am a teacher and was in a gr 1/2 class yesterday reading the children’s story Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight by Ralph Cosentino. After finishing this short, and innocent book, the kids had to draw a picture of what happened (one event), some characters in the story, and a picture of the setting. What I found interesting is that 90% of them chose to highlight the fact that Bruce’s parents die. This is a minor detail in the actual story–rather glossed over–but their little minds needed to explore it and I was receptive to it. Many an educator would like to think that parents don’t die and children are somehow unable to begin processing such an idea. Adults who are unable to acknowledge the reality of children are probably defended against their own difficult experiences or attempting to maintain a phantasy of what children and childhood is.

Content really isn’t the issue, kids are more likely to want stuff they think they shouldn’t have. Rather the price inflation and move to specialty stores are the (hard to solve) problem…

Captain Temerity

April 10, 2011 at 10:40 am

The inherent problem Marvel and DC has is that they publish books that have the same characters in all-ages titles as their more mature lines.

When the first Punisher MAX stories came out, they guested Spider-Man. And kids who like and want to read a Spidey book may’ve gotten this one by mistake (in the extremely rare situation where a retailer didn’t shelve it correctly, or, more likely, by a parent who didn’t know any better about the content), and received an unfortunate surprise inside as he got pummeled by the Russian.

Granted, Marvel and DC take steps to assist in that not happening, and that’s good. But they’re examples of companies doing it right. Not all do. The new Butcher Baker book from Image was on the regular shelf at my retailer because she had no idea what was inside until a conscientious customer pointed it out to her. Considering how similar things have affected other retailers (thank you, CBLDF, for being there!), that could’ve been a huge problem.

I like having comics span all ages, all storylines, all ideas… I want to be able to pick and choose what I want to read based on my interests, and feel like everyone else deserves the same. Even the most horrifying thing I’ve ever read in a comic (a Verotik story by Hart D. Fisher), as much as I didn’t enjoy it myself, I appreciated the fact that we’re in a country where it was allowed to exist, and I worked in a shop (at the time) that carried it, and kept it in the adult section for those who should be able to read it if they wanted to. But… There was a rape scene in Identity Crisis, a book that, for the most part, I liked, except that part. And I didn’t feel it was appropriate since there was no indication of that kind of content going in. I’m no prude, but that’s not your average superhero fair. Some of the hyper-violence perpetrated by Superboy Prime in Infinite Crisis was also a little over the top. These things don’t bother me as a reader, but as someone who wants kids to be able to read comics, and families to share them.

Kids always want something more adult than what’s intended for them. When I was a kid, I read comics with stories that were far more advanced than what kids comics are aimed for. Sure, I enjoyed Harvey and Archie comics, but I also enjoyed Justice League and Batman Family and stuff that was more advanced. I had multiple Earths to deal with, and I was never confused by that. If Sandman had been around I probably would’ve read that too. Kids want something, they find a way to get it, and they’re usually resilient to handle it. But if parents don’t know better, and they find out the “kids comics” they’re giving their children aren’t really what they thought they were, then that can be a real problem. So the marketing of things like MAX and Vertigo and Image and so on really needs to be diligent. We’ve almost had violent video games banned in this country, which would mean NO ONE could get them. Comics would be an easy target after that.

“So why shouldn’t there be comics with adult material? Ad I’m not just talking about boobies and gore, but material and concepts that would either bore or confuse younger readers.”

I liked when Warren Ellis said everytime he goes in a comic-shop, he sees wall of super-heroes comics and he can’t help the feeling to see them as “comics about nurses”. Neil Gaiman’ SANDMAN tended to proove that the field of comics could expand and remaining interesting for anybody.

did I forget to say “Alan Moore” somewhere too ?

Kids understand a lot more than parents think. I remember when I was 8 or 9 I was watching old horror movies that had sex and heads being crushed and chopped with machetes as well as everyone in the movie smoking pot. I knew what porn was and liked it(most kids find there dads porn stash and flip through it, so in case you think you have it hidden from your kids in with your socks or on the top shelf of your closet, your kids will find it). Your kids know a hell of a lot more than you give them, think back to when you were a kid(I know it might have been 30-40 years ago) what did you know that your parents did not want you to.

If I had a kid around the age of 8 or 9 I do not think I would have any problem letting them read any of the main Marvel or DC books.

“When the first Punisher MAX stories came out, they guested Spider-Man.”

That’s actually incorrect Captain Temerity. When the first Marvel Knights Punisher stories came out they included Spider-Man and Daredevil. As far as Punisher MAX, only Nick Fury and Micro made appearances. Big difference between MAX books and MK books. Best thing about Punisher MAX was its total lack of capes, IMO.

Just look at what happened to sales once the bright and shinny heroic age started. Its like old man Quesda once said “write comics for adults and kids will follow” Meaning Just write mature stories that challenge the readers and are not watered down and you will find your audience. What i see too much of these days is old men trying to recapture youth. Too much nostalgia, too much jacking off their own egos. What would be a more fascinating story? the one where spider-man deals with the death of aunt may and his identity being public while trying to keep his marriage together and fend off Doc Ock and the sinister six? Or the one where he gets a get out of jail free card and doesn’t even remember what he sacrificed in order to have him fell like kid again? I would pick the first and make my writer work. I would pick the first and tell my readers we are dealing in a medium that is fun and challenging and more sophisticated than the critics will lead them to believe and to hang on for the ride.

If you are old enough to be reading the MAX line of comics, and you still want to read about superheroes, you are retarded. That’s it, in a nutshell. Grow the fuck up people.

It seems like you’re more concerned about how your favorite heroes are treated to suit your taste rather than the “mature” content.

Captain Temerity

April 10, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Good call, Steve-O. I kinda’ had a feeling I was a little off on that.

Still not kid-friendly, but a far, far different book than a MAX title. You’re absolutely right.

Spider man is not my favorite superhero at all. And i just used him as an example nothing more.

It seems to me that people in the comic book industry and fandom are so obsessed with telling themselves that comics are for adults, that they create these mostly fictional arguments.

Its bizarre to hear the rally cry for adult comics which have always existed and are firmly entrenched in the publishing portfolios, while any discussion of family friendly comics is scoffed at for its pointlessness.

Honestly, it would help to know if Axel Alonso is referring to specificindividuals who actually said all comics should be PG or if he is instead using hyperbole to mischaracterize complaints regarding content made by professionals who fear that comics have lost a major audience by marginalizing young readers.

I’ve never actually heard someone who reads comics say that they should all be for kids, yet I have heard countless rants about how they should be more “adult.”

I don’t know who I disagree with more; the casual observer who ignorantly assumes that comics are just for children or the overly self-conscious comic fan who thinks that violence, rape, and vulgarity are all that make comics worth reading. I am certain however, that it is the “comic fan” and not the casual observer, who is more harmful to the industry.

Madmike: “If you are old enough to be reading the MAX line of comics, and you still want to read about superheroes, you are retarded. That’s it, in a nutshell. Grow the fuck up people.”

That’s a really narrow minded view and an asinine comment that completely misses the point of the article. I am grown the fuck up, thank you very much, and I very much enjoy The Walking Dead and Punisher MAX. I also love me some Batgirl and Spidey. Not everything has to be one tone or one level of maturity. Good is good and enjoyable is enjoyable. It’s like Almond Joy and Mounds. Sometimes you feel like blood, boobs and profanity, sometimes you don’t.

I’m the father of four who are all in college now. When they were elementary age, it was MY responsibility as a parent, to know enough about the product, to buy it, or not buy it, or share it with my children.

Frankly, I’m offended by labels companies use and don’t trust them anyway.

Besides, if I’m going to expose my child to it, then it’s my responsibility. I’ve never thought any of these comics, even the MAX imprint, or Image, or whatever, would harm my children once they reached junior high age anyway.

Marvel’s MAX imprint is one of the best things of the last 10 years or so and my only problem with it is that I don’t think Marvel uses it enough. This should be what the Epic imprint started as years ago and be Marvel’s mature imprint similar to DC’s Vertigo.

There’s content out there specifically for young children, and that’s great. Don’t take away my MAX or Vertigo or whatever.

Maybe the main distributor, Diamond, ought to work with the publishers and put out a Free Comic Book Day Parent’s Guide where publishers can tout what they specifically recommend for what age groups.

After being to my share of conventions, and listening to creators talk, I honestly do not believe that many are mature enough to write or draw “mature” material. They think the way to write a grown up book is to have the violence and nudity, and that isn’t the case. How many creators are there that could create “How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less” or “Incognegro”? Not many.

Then, how many of today’s comic buying public actively seeks out mature comics with grown up themes? This is why it is easier to buy graphic novels at Barnes and Noble than my local comic shop because those books are not even ordered.

The average “comics fan’s” point of view of what they consider “mature” content to be is pretty sad. Not all adult comics have to have violence, boobs, sex and drugs. If you’re still a “fan” that enjoys Batgirls as well as Punisher MAXes, you’re not really reading anything with “mature themes.” They have the exact same kind of content just at different degrees of swears. The “Slavers” arc in Punisher Max was one of the most trite things I have ever read.

It also seems to be only the “fans” that talk about the need for validation of comics, how they need to “prove” they are capable of handling “mature themes.” Kim Deitch, Joe Sacco, Chester Brown, Chris Ware, Los Bros. Hernandez, Peter Bagge, and plenty of others have been producing mature, thoughtful for decades. Then again, they weren’t made for the “fans” anyway. They also seem to be the only ones who embrace the terms “comic book” and “cartoonist” without any shame.

Bill Cosby once pointed out that too many young comedians wanted to be like Richard Pryor because they loved to hear Pryor use cuss words. They didn’t realize or appreciate that Richard was extremley talented and just as funny when he used G-rated material. Take those same young guns and ask them to work in front of a mixed audience and to work “clean” and many of them can’t do it. But Pyror could. So could Redd Foxx, who was also known for his very adult humor. Some of the young guns not only don’t have the talent to work clean, more often than not their “adult” act was nothing more than feeble low-brow comedy laced with profanity.

There are people who aren’t talented enough to tell stories and also leave a little to the imagination. They need the shock value, the “mature themes” to help make up for their weaknesses.

I’m an adult and I rarely buy any “mature themed” comics. I don’t need to see some grim and gritty superhero who really takes care of busines and plays by his own rules. When I need “grim and gritty”, I find Walter Mosley and walk the mean streets of LA with Easy Rawlins.

“It seems to me that people in the comic book industry and fandom are so obsessed with telling themselves that comics are for adults, that they create these mostly fictional arguments.

I don’t know who I disagree with more; the casual observer who ignorantly assumes that comics are just for children or the overly self-conscious comic fan who thinks that violence, rape, and vulgarity are all that make comics worth reading.”

I love how you assail the idea of people making “fictional arguments” and then claim that people think that “violence, rape, and vulgarity are all that make comics worth reading” as if anyone has ever said that.

Brian F said:
“That’s a really narrow minded view and an asinine comment that completely misses the point of the article. I am grown the fuck up, thank you very much, and I very much enjoy The Walking Dead and Punisher MAX. I also love me some Batgirl and Spidey. Not everything has to be one tone or one level of maturity. Good is good and enjoyable is enjoyable. It’s like Almond Joy and Mounds. Sometimes you feel like blood, boobs and profanity, sometimes you don’t.”

Well Brian, blood, boobs, and profanity aren’t mature, just vulgar. Superheroes are for children. Just like cartoons, and toys, and Sesame Street. If you can embrace your inner child and enjoy them for what they are, good for you, if you think they need to be vulgarized to suit your prurient interests, then you are a socially retarded baby-man, and part of the reason this industry is in it’s death throes.

“Thanks to Garth Ennis, the Punisher isn’t an outdated caricature of ’80s machismo. ”

Except Punisher was more than that before Ennis wrote him.

the thing is, there is a HUGE difference between “adult comics” and books that’re just gratuitously violent, sexual and sweary for the sake of it.

Just like movies and video games, there are titles available for every age and every level of enjoyment. Just because something is “all ages” doesn’t mean an adult can’t enjoy it. See any Super Mario game. Both adults and kids enjoy it. Most Pixar movies fall into the same category as well.

There’s something for everyone in the world of comics. Read what you enjoy and hopefully, the younger generations will too. They don’t HAVE to read the all ages stuff (dependant on their age of course), but the interest in exploring new stories and themes has to be there. I think developing the interest is the problem and the common view that “comics are childish” helps facilitate that problem.

There shouldn’t be an issue with developing different lines for different ages. The variety should be kept, not condensed into a “one-size-fits-all” publishing method.

“Well Brian, blood, boobs, and profanity aren’t mature, just vulgar. Superheroes are for children. Just like cartoons, and toys, and Sesame Street. If you can embrace your inner child and enjoy them for what they are, good for you, if you think they need to be vulgarized to suit your prurient interests, then you are a socially retarded baby-man, and part of the reason this industry is in it’s death throes.”

Hey madmike,
you’re statements is veto when you say the word “retard”.Also ,what do you mean should all comics be less with any forum of nudity or violence.Yes,I do agree their should be very less especially the Superhero comic form but you can not limit this industry ,look if you suggest this then film should have do the same.

My big gripe with things like Civil War is not violence, profanity, or sexual matters, but a shocking sense of character amorality or worse. I can enjoy Marvel Adventures and Wolverine: Best There Is, everything by Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore I’ve ever read and a fair amount of Grant Morrison, but I can’t enjoy a fascist Tony Stark who betrays his friends, or a Reed Richards who thinks his uncle should have caved to McCarthy in the 1950s witch-hunts — no matter how little violence, sex or profanity Civil War had in comparison to some other books.

I don’t think a content-specific ratings system covers matters like that very easily.

I also want to add to MadMike,
Animation originally was not meant for children it was intended for adults.Also ,Toys are becoming a very adult thing most people who buy figures are older people for the most part it is a collecting thing.

Since I don’t generally consider comics to be of educational value, Madmike misses the boat. I read both superhero and non-superhero books for the entertainment. Just like I enjoy comedies on television instead of dramas.

However, I do not think people who prefer dramas are any less intelligent nor less mature than people who choose comedies.

When it comes to entertainment (adult or otherwise), we should be allowed to enjoy what we do—and be moderate in our indulgences…

Comics, as a medium for telling stories, can and should be about anything, the same as films or novels. However, superheroes as a genre, is clearly meant for children. Dressing it up with sex, profanity, and other forms of vulgarity is much like those children’s beauty pageants where they dress six year old girls up like hookers. It’s wrong, and only someone who is retarded in some way would think otherwise.

Oh, and SANDMAN, there is nothing wrong with the proper use of the word retarded. It is not a slur. It means, less developed mentally than is usual at a particular age. Stop being afraid of words, or soon the thought police will retire the entire English language.

I said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until the people working for the Big 2 and their fans finally “get it”.

1. The MARVEL ADVENTURE books are not for “all ages” they are obviously aimed specifically at young kids. Those books are over sanitized and often talk down to the readers, which is one (of many) the reasons why those books sell like crap in the DM. The CCA approved all ages Marvel comics are more mature than the MA books.

2. SPECTACULAR SPIDER-GIRL (and the other MC2 books),X-MEN/X-FACTOR/NEW MUTANTS FOREVER, X-MEN FIRST CLASS,THE FAMILY DYNAMIC,THUNDERSTRIKE,the last CLAN DESTINE mini series,the last BIG HERO 6 mini series,and just about every single Marvel CCA approved Marvel comic from 1961 to 2000 are TRUE “all ages” comics. Those comics didn’t talk down to the readers and dealt with mature subject matter in a tasteful and subtle manner. Unlike the MA books, these books were written in a LAYERED all ages manner that appealed to readers of all ages on different levels.

3. As the superhero comics from the Big 2 became more “mature”, sales of their books started and/or continued to fall. So clearly, aiming at a more “mature” audience hasn’t helped the Big 2′s comics sell any better.

4. Except for Ennis’s PUNISHER run and the first SUPREME POWERS series (which started shedding readers pretty quickly), the MAX line of books sell like crap.

5. IMO, the MU and DCU superhero (and other genre comics that take place in those respective universes) should always before all ages and be written in a tasteful layered all ages manner without (a) talking down to the readers (b) telling over sanitized silly/campy stories and (c) shying away from mature subject matter. On the flip side, non Marvel or DC superhero comics like INVINCIBLE,ASTOUNDING WOLF MAN,SAVAGE DRAGON, NEXT MEN,and SPAWN should be aimed squarely at older teens and adults.

6. If the Big 2 want to tell more explicit “adult” superhero stories with their characters, those stories should be either out of continuity or stand alone stories that are not referenced in the main books.

7. Those fans who want to read more “adult” superhero comics, should stop selfishly asking for the Marvel and DC superhero comics to be more “mature/adult”, and move onto other comics (including superhero comics) that are more appealing to their more “adult” tastes.

8. No matter how “mature/adult” you make the superhero comics from the Big 2, MOST non comic book readers are not going to start reading those books and will still think of those books as “kids” books.

hoo kares, I think they should make marvel comics more mature not necesarily R all the time though. I fyour worried about the kids they have there ‘marvel adventures’ stories

funkygreenjerusalem

April 11, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Axel Alonso said in front of a very modest crowd at WonderCon that he works with people that think Marvel Comics should not make R-rated content. That there are some professionals in the industry that believe every comic should be PG rated or lower.

He didn’t understand it and neither do I.

Maybe we’re confusing comics with the superheroes.

Comics are a medium, and superheroes are a genre.

The fact that he said this while sitting next to Jason Aaron, a writer who has told some gripping Punisher stories as part of the Max line, made it all the more surreal.

I think it’s superheroes, created to be all-ages, being used in R rated stories that has people annoyed, rather than them thinking an entire medium should be limited to PG.

Marvel self-rates its own books. They do this not just to lure in high profile creators (which is a bonus), but because society changes so fast they have to keep up with both social mores and popular tastes.

Or, to be more accurate, it doesn’t cost any money.

Also, they can rate the book on the audience they’d like it to have, rather than the actual content.
Some of their all ages superhero stuff has references and actions that wouldn’t get an all ages rating from an independent body.
(The best example of this, and I’m sure they’ve been better since, was in the early days of self rating, where an Ultimate X-Men comic, rated all ages, had Jean Grey in bed with Wolverine, post coital. Later in the issue, she threatened to stick a candle stick up his behind – no independent body would rate that as all ages, but Marvel did as they wanted the Ultimate line to be all ages).

Having had to go to classification seminars and training days for work in film/television, changes in society are reflected in ratings when they are done independently – if Marvel claims that as a reason for needing their own rating system, they are flat out lying.

Personaly I don’t even mind if kids read Kickass or anything with gore. But at least have a label on so parents can have a clue what their kids are watching. And have a greater distinction. You read stuff like Secret Invasion and you have heroes slashing aliens left and right. I’d rather they wouldn’t have that on a regular super-hero comic but today’s writer doesn’t seem to understand the limit. You could have people die but you don’t have to show the graphic details. And if you want to do that, create a comic that would have that and put it in MAX. I’d rather The Ultimates be MAX where the creators could do what they want than have them be sneaky and have a super-hero beating his wife without showing blood. I read David Finch’s Moon Knight and the art was great but it should have been MAX. Somehow I doubt Doug Moech would have produced that comic. Same thing with Wolverine: The Best There Is. Let the comic be MAX and let the creators have more freedom while taking it away from the regular MU.

As I read a comic book and encounter profanity, boobs, sex, or blood, I can tell you what doesn’t go through my mind:

“This writer/artist is so incredibly creative and imaginative! This book is destined to become a classic!”

What does go through my mind:

“Oh, look – the writer/artist has gotten lazy; he couldn’t think of anything new and creative, so he re-used the same old tired clichés.”

@J.K

but you can say that about any writing not just comics the big problem is that we see people like Terintino doing all the gore fest and cussing but he get praised for it.

So if all writers form comics and movies and books have foul language does it make them all lazy?

Maybe ,it is time to say look we do not mind seeing the violence ,sex or nuidty but it is start to not shock us anymore and we fell that you guys are becoming very lazy in how your write.

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