Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Kids and Comics

I have a 5 month old son, and I love him to pieces.  When we found out my wife was pregnant I had dreams of designing the Spider-Man bedroom of my dreams if we were to have a boy.  It turns out that everyone I know would outfit it for me since Griffin has already gotten a ton of Spider-Man stuff already.

But would I want him to read a current Spider-Man comic book?  I'm not so sure.

Now I should actually say right off the bat that I am not reading the Spider-Man books these days, for reasons that I will explore in another post in the future.  So let's just switch this to modern comic books in general.

As the comic book audience has aged over the years, so has the content.  Back in the day it was unheard of to use a swear word in a comic; "hades" was substituted for "hell", "blast" for "damn", and so on.  There was violence, sure, but it wasn't gory or over the top.  The books were smart and never talked down to the reader, but the content was appropriate for all readers.

Nowadays we have books like New Avengers #35, which features a savage beating of the superheroine Tigra by the Hood, a character I'm fairly happy to know nothing about or have an interest in.  I understand that violence is part of comics, I love a good comic fight as much as the next guy, but I don't want nor need to see violence on this scale depicted.  I certainly do not want my son reading this at the age of 8, the same age that I was reading Stan and Steve's run on Amazing Spider-Man in the reprint Spider-Man Classics line.

The line between good and evil is very blurred in comics these days.  I feel that I have a pretty strong moral center, and I feel that a big part of that is from reading about heroes who do the right thing simply because it's the right thing to do, like Captain America, Superman, and Thor.  Now Superman is throwing people off of buildings, Captain America is the new Nick Fury, and Thor is running around telling people to shut up and calling them a pain in the ass.

I appreciate that Marvel and DC have been putting books out aimed at kids, and that's good, but there was a time when comics were suitable for all ages, with something for the kids and something for the adults.  Some of the best movies are like that, and I miss the days when comics could do the same.

As it is, when it's time to introduce my son to comics, I've got a stack of beat up Spider-Man Classics by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko waiting for him.

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