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Comics and age appropriate content / ratings (or the lackthereof)

LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
edited June 2010 in Graphic Violence
I've been thinking about this subject lately and thought I'd make a thread here to discuss the topic of age appropriate content in comics.

Both of the "big two" publishers are every bit as guilty in this, so this isn't an exercise in finger pointing.

The thing that really got me thinking about this was the latest issue of Daredevil which came out this past Wednesday. Issue #507. In it Matt has a pretty intense battle with a squad of ninja assassins. Now. Don't get me wrong. I love me some Daredevil and I love me some ninja action. But this issue was particularly brutal, bloody, and violent, and I found myself thinking about who these books are being marketed towards.

Being a guy in his 20s, I personally don't have any issue with blood, gore, or violence (or nudity, language, or sex) but these are comics that are sold pretty much everywhere and can be picked up by kids of all ages.

To use an example from the DC side (just to keep things fair), the first two issues of Brightest Day, which is being marketed as a new, brighter direction for the DC universe, has implied child rape followed by a fairly brutal murder in one issue, followed by another very brutal murder in the next issue as a mother beats her family to death with a guitar hero guitar.

Now. Like I said, I personally don't have anything against violence or blood. But it seems irresponsible to me to not have any sort of filtering system in place to keep this sort of content away from children.

And these two books aren't the only example of raw, brutal violence. Take a look at any flagship title, whether it be Batman, Spider-Man, X-Men, or Superman and you will find that basically every mainstream comic in print today contains content that would be considered "R rated" if it were a movie.


I haven't really thought this through enough to have any sort of proposed solution. I'm mostly just thinking about how raw and uncensored mainstream comics have become. The stuff that is in these flagship titles would have been put in a MAX or Vertigo book as little as 5 years ago, and now its mainstream. The need for an adult MAX/Vertigo line is almost nonexistent these days since you're basically getting the same blood and gore content either way.

I realize that there aren't a whole lot of new readers coming into the comics medium, and the majority of the readership are males between the ages of 18 and 40, but that doesn't mean that kids don't read comics. And when you have at least 1 summer blockbuster super-hero movie per year, its very likely that a few kids will want to get into comics. But there isn't a whole lot of content available for that age group.

Lucascraft on

Posts

  • TexiKenTexiKen Dammit! That fish really got me!Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    The frustrating thing about it is that Marvel quit using the CCA and used their own system but never really check the content of their books, which can vary from issue to issue like the Geoff Johns Avengers #71 issue, where it took retailers and internet mumblings about it to have Marvel change the rating and delay the book a week because of it.

    And we have DC's current gore kick and Marvel's past actions. It's kind of hard to beat the Vertigo or MAX label or banner, where you know what you're going to get.

    It's shouldn't be a matter of the reader having to police the works but the publishers themselves, and it seems to get ignored enough to be more than one-time snaffus.

    TexiKen on
  • grim123grim123 Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    there are the marvel age books

    grim123 on
    Aww nutsack.
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  • Garlic BreadGarlic Bread i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a bitch i'm a Registered User, Disagreeable regular
    edited June 2010
    Someone asked Joe Quesada why they can show The Sentry tearing Ares in half with his guts spilling out all over the page, but on the same page someone says "Holy &(#*(" instead of "holy shit"

    His answer was "brian bendis has a really foul mouth and the things we block out would disturb you man!!", which translates to "i don't have an acceptable answer, sorry"

    Garlic Bread on
  • WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I find the funniest thing ( altho I agree overall that marvels losing it's sense of title/place/overkill/) the article complaining, rarely mentions how bad the violence has gotten, but they SUGGEST kinky sex, so that causes a stir.

    I'd rather my nephew glance a boob or a dirty joke when he digs thu than some of the overboard violence we've seen of late , or at least keep it contained to the M/R titles.

    ( and not saying stop the dark stories, it just doesn't have to be so graphic, more subtle instead of the Gorn overload that's come with SAW and such)

    edit: also what Keith said about language fits this too.

    WiseManTobes on
    Steam! Battlenet:Wisemantobes#1508
  • LucascraftLucascraft Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    @Keith: Yeah, there seems to be a double standard or hypocrisy or something with regards to what gets censored. In my opinion, a little bit of foul language is less bad than someone getting ripped in half with their guts spilling all over.

    Lucascraft on
  • Silver_MageSilver_Mage Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    When I was buying single issues, I always had to tell my 10 year old brother that he could not read my spider-man comics. Never thought I would have to do that.

    Silver_Mage on
  • WiseManTobesWiseManTobes Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Baby Thor and Beta Ray needs a series right now!

    WiseManTobes on
    Steam! Battlenet:Wisemantobes#1508
  • NODeNODe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    So what's the concern here exactly? That violence is a crutch or that "kids" can't buy these comics?
    I'm not sure why anyone's surprised at the violence/sex disparity, it's true in TV and movies, why wouldn't it be true in comics?

    NODe on
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I always though that certain comics were labelled correctly. Moon Knight was always for mature readers.

    But if I'm honest, there is no limitation in terms of read literature on age and explicitness, a kid could buy Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan with no problems in England and that has hardcore sex and violence. But I have no problem with this, it's a parent's responsibility to ensure what their child is reading is suitable. Often complains about this kind of thing are made by parents who don't want to make those choices, and I believe that kind of parenting to be a problem.

    Solar on
  • ZeromusZeromus Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I'm not sure there's any good way to have ratings or restrictions without curtailing creative freedom, but DC in particular could benefit from its editorial staff not being completely psychotic when it comes to violence and sex. Like, "Rise of Arsenal" is utter garbage published under a Justice League banner. Super violent and full of drug use and sexual assault, the thing is just a mess of a story that no one wants to read. That's the biggest problem. But I don't know that I think it's so heinous that, say, a 13-year-old couldn't read it, and anyone below that age has a market of age-appropriate stuff (Johnny DC, Marvel Adventures, good trades) to choose from.

    Zeromus on
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  • NODeNODe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Zeromus wrote: »
    I'm not sure there's any good way to have ratings or restrictions without curtailing creative freedom, but DC in particular could benefit from its editorial staff not being completely psychotic when it comes to violence and sex. Like, "Rise of Arsenal" is utter garbage published under a Justice League banner. Super violent and full of drug use and sexual assault, the thing is just a mess of a story that no one wants to read. That's the biggest problem. But I don't know that I think it's so heinous that, say, a 13-year-old couldn't read it, and anyone below that age has a market of age-appropriate stuff (Johnny DC, Marvel Adventures, good trades) to choose from.

    It's a mess because it's horribly written though, which might be what you're saying. It's not inherently a terrible comic because of those themes or level of violence/sexual content.

    I'd much rather see a crusade for comics that are well written/edited than a crusade for comics "for the children", which already exist in spades.

    NODe on
  • CadeCade Eppur si muove.Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Kids read comics these days?

    And here I thought it was largely the 20 plus crowd with the industry having an unhealthy obsession catering to those that remember what was made 30 plus years ago.

    Cade on
  • NODeNODe Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Cade wrote: »
    Kids read comics these days?

    And here I thought it was largely the 20 plus crowd with the industry having an unhealthy obsession catering to those that remember what was made 30 plus years ago.

    Which is another thing, I don't think any of the places I found my comics as a kid would even carry any these days.

    NODe on
  • TexiKenTexiKen Dammit! That fish really got me!Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think one of the problems is that for the longest time characters would "die" off panel or in a way that you never saw them die, so in order to make death seem more permanent (as opposed to just being more creative and not using the same characters for 50 years) we had to have deaths on panel, and they had to be the kind that show the character is dead.

    And then they still couldn't leave well enough alone so they bring characters back to life who clearly were dead and dead, so they had to change it up a bit and make it more intense with rape pages (they're in!).

    TexiKen on
  • SolarSolar Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    While we're on this issues, I still have a massive problem with the way sex (or the lack thereof) is shown in mainstream comics. For some reason violence to the level seen in Siege #2 is acceptable but no form of nudity or sex is? And I hate to point fingers but this is primarily an American problem which can be seen in US-made TV shows, comics, movies etc. The amount of time I've seen people in American TV shows having sex in their underwear and thought "WTF?" is mind-boggling.

    Solar on
  • MunchMunch Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I think it was Kirkman who once said something to the effect of that, while he can show all the gore and mutilation he wants in Invincible, the moment he lets an artist draw nipples or sex, he'll start getting letters from retailers, they'll stop carrying it, or they'll put it in the ghetto "Adults Only" area of their store reserved for Heavy Metal magazine and Tarot.

    Which I think is sort of bullshit. Powers had a dude fucking a monkey, and Deena Pilgrim's superpowered vagina, and I don't recall hearing any kind of outcry.

    Personally, I don't worry too much about explicit content in regards to offending minors or people with more conservative values. It should probably be labeled to reflect the content, it should have a good reason for being in the story, and it should, in the case of corporate characters, probably take into account the character's place in pop culture history.

    I'm perfectly fine with seeing the Punisher shooting people in the face, complete with full gory detail, but I don't really want to see Spider-Man in that kind of scene. Not because I'm opposed to that kind of content, or even opposed to kids seeing it. I just don't think it fits the character, or the universe he lives in.

    Munch on
  • Centipede DamascusCentipede Damascus Ho! Ho! Ho! Drink Coke!Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    A revamped CCA that functioned more like the ESRB would be great for comics. Marvel Adventures is awesome and all, but it seems like comics are nearly impossible to get into for kids these days until they're fifteen or sixteen at least.

    Centipede Damascus on
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