Tuesday, December 21, 2004


I'll be away starting tomorrow until after New Year's. This certainly isn't a merry blog but I do hope you have a Merry Christmas!

Flippin' Through

One argument in the comments, and I noticed in another blog, was that parents should be able to just flip through a book and decide if its appropriate.

I believe it was the November issue of Adventures of Superman that had a substory with the new big villain Preus. Preus has taken over some kind of tent community and is using them as forced labor. In the beginning of the book we have Preus making eyes at some of the women, and then one in particular. Later on we have him standing outside a cabin talking to two men who are his gophers. Preus has red stains on his front and says something along the lines that he needs another woman, that humans are somewhat 'fragile'. The two men look like they're going to puke. He basically raped the woman to death.

Unless you read 60% of the book you wouldn't have understood anything that happened. Simply flipping through wouldn't have caught it.

Also, this is the difference between violence and depravity. There was no violence to be seen but the story being told was 100% disgusting.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Identity Crisis #7 / DC

No CCA. No MR.

Someone mentioned spoilers in the comments. I'm not going to put spoilers in every post, this whole site is a spoiler by nature. But this once I'll give a heads up.


Jean Loring did it. Big whoop. Nothing violent in this issue. The only really depraved thing that happened was Ray Palmer allowing his ex-wife to be taken to a mental institution known as Arkham Asylum. You have to really hate someone to put them there. Nobody gets better, in fact people wind up dead pretty regularly.

Before Dead Chicks I had written about Identity Crisis a couple times on my other site, here and here. The depth of disgust I have for DC over this is hard to describe.

We have what looks like a brutal murder in issue #1, a rape in #2 and in #4 we have an innocent man die from a boomerang in his chest. A boomerang! And now in the end we have culprit who is simply a very sad and deranged woman.

I haven't gotten a page on the standards yet but here is a link to the CCA. I realize its dated but it does make a certain distinction that's important: "In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds." In this story the killer wasn't evil and the heroes weren't good. It was a giant sadistic story about nothing. To believe in everything is to believe in nothing and to believe in nothing is to believe in everything. That's a terrible thing to push on a child whose main purpose at that stage in life is to be looking for something.

And yes this was sold to kids. There's no Mature Readers label on this. Elongated Man lost his wife but Batman is on I think 4 covers, Wonder Woman on 2 and Superman on 1. I mentioned this on my previous post about Robin. It was his dad that was killed by the boomerang so if your a Robin reader you need IC for the story. Robin is in Teen Titans which is also dealing with IC fallout so back to IC. Sometimes I get mad at titles when they don't use footnotes like they use to (check out issue ### for the details!). Well... they did it in the most recent issue of Flash! and where did they point them? IC!

Shame on DC and everyone who had a hand in this.

Robin #133 / DC

CCA label.

Robin is one of the fallout victims of the current big DC event called Identity Crisis which my next post will deal with.

This issue wasn't that bad, one dream sequence with Robin seeing people close to him who have recently died, his father, one serious girlfriend, one not so serious (all from the past 4-6 months btw). In the sequence it shows the father with worms coming out of his mouth and nose. A rough view of death considering how recent the loss.

The really odd event in this book is one I wouldn't know how to rate even if I was still rating. The villain Blockbuster was lethally shot in the head in another Bat-title, Nightwing. There was some question about him maybe still being alive in this title. Turns out he is dead, but The Penguin had him stuffed. As an adult there's a certain humor in seeing one villain having another as a trophy. In a kid's book its a bit disturbing.

Friday, December 17, 2004


There have been comments about my ratings, particularly the depravity part. I think I'm just going to drop the rating bit altogether. The description should be enough for you to make up your own mind.

Depravity wasn't the best term but it was the only one I could come up with. I don't have a problem with the idea of violence or sex. They are both a part of life. It is the detail that the comics get into, far beyond anything realistic, that crosses over into depravity.

Aquaman #25 / DC

No CCA, No MR.

The ongoing plot line in Aquaman this year has been the sinking of part of
San Diego into the ocean and the residents being turned into
water-breathers. Somehow the shock off this has been overcome quickly and
organized crime is already a problem (go figure).

We have a scene where Aquaman confronts a local drug dealer (some kind of
liquid heroin) who is caught selling to a couple who used to be TV
celebrities before the sinking. They have given all their jewels for the
drug and now the husband prostitutes the wife to the dealer. This isn't
spelled out, we simply have the husband outside upset and inside when
Aquaman barges in the wife is naked from the back and the dealer is half

A little earlier several men are shown filing their teeth. These are the
henchmen of the deal and they attack Aquaman and his new female partner,
Lorena. One of the henchmen sink their teeth into the calf of Lorena.

There is another scene early on, its not explained in anyway. It shows a
polic officer with a machine gun, a corpse chained to his car, blood all
over. The grill of the car is a skeleton. No clue.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Outsiders #18 / DC

No "Mature Reader" label.

The second of a 3-parter dealing with kidnapping/child slavery/pedophilia.
It guest stars John Walsh. Whether
it should have a label or not because of the subject I'm
not sure. I'm not against subjects being talked about
its how they are being talked about if at all.

Overall the violence is mild until you get to the last
page where Roy finds his own daughter has been kidnapped
and the babysiter (man) is sitting on the floor, shot
through the head, a trail of blood leadin upwars to the
initial splatter.

What's important to note is that this title has
carried the MR label in the past. Which means they
are not being consistent in who they are trying to
market this to.

Violence: 3 Sex: 0 Depravity: 2

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Detective Comics #801 / DC

CCA labeled.

A very dark issue overall. Scene of a couple yelling and screaming at each, the wife pulling a butcher knife on the husband. Quick scene of two people smoking a crack pipe. Another scene of a society girl dead from an overdose, needle sticking out of her arm, eyes rolled to the back of her head.

Later the man who gave her the drugs is on the run to his dealer. He's in the dealer's apartment. He asks whats on the floor. The deal says its a tarp to avoid the mess. We get a shot of the man's feet on the tarp, then a switch blade, then of the man's feet again in a struggling motion and blood spilling to the ground.

There's some fighting between Batman and the dealer and his thugs, nothing out of the ordinary.

Violence: 3 Sex: 0 Depravity: 5

JSA #68 / DC

This has the Comics Code Authority label.

A timetravel story involving the current JSA (Justice Society of America) and the JSA of the 40's. Because of the time travel aspect its stated that what follows can be undone. Which means its also an excuse to go as far as they want.

Halfway through the book assassins are sent to kill the current Stargirl's family. It starts with her step-father being shot in the head, showing blood coming out the back.

On the next page, first panel, Stargirl strikes back blasting one of the killers' arm to the bone. Second panel, 4 killers surround and shoot her mother and step-brother. Third panel shows her baby sister crying. 4th panel shows a gun going off with Stargirl yelling her sister's name.

Next page Stargirl blows out the side of the house and stabs a killer through the shoulder with her starlance.

The next few pages show Stargirl with blood on her chest while she talks then leaves with a time traveler sent to help, leaving the out that she can still save her family.

I repeat, this has the CCA.

Violence : 5 Sex : 0 Depravity : 5

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Superman/Batman #15 / DC

This actually has the CCA on it which proves my previous post about its irrelevance.

This is basically an 'Elseworlds' storyline which means nothings real and heroes can die. Thats taken into account but its also seems to have been used for an excuse.

The cover itself shows Batman in background lying on rubble. You can't see his head but the blood on his chest implies the possibility that the head might not be there.

Phantom Lady is shown working in a strip club but the arguemet is made by Uncle Sam not to judge. Again, its an Elseworlds.

After a fight in which Batman uses magic to win he makes the statement: "But whatever Voodoo we beat out of that witch Zatanna before she died... it worked"

Batman shoots The Ray in the head.

Wonder Woman impales Batman on a sword, full page image. After which Superman beats on Wonder Woman for 5 panels ending with a full page image of Superman strangling Wonder Woman with her lasso. A site and theme I'm going to refer to often here is "Women In Refrigerators". The image of Batman dying is violent but the detail given to Wonder Woman's death is much more graphic and disturbing.

On the next page we have Superman 'shooting' another hero in the head with his heat vision.

Next to the last page shows 3 people reduced to skeltons from an atomic explosion.

Violence : 5 Sex : 0 Depravity : 5

The New Avengers #1 / Marvel

Other than the average 'blowing things up' no specific acts of violence are shown. No one dies, no blood, no gratuity.

Captain America uses the word 'Smartass' which bears noticing because along with Superman, Captain America is one of the few pure superheroes left.

Violence : 1 Sex : 0 General Depravity : 2 (The Cap incident counts more than you know)

Deadshot #1

I'll try and creat some fact sheets to go with this site you can follow what I'm talking about but in the meantime please bear with me...

The first problem is that this title doesn't have a "Mature Readers" label on it. It doesn't have the CCA label either but that's almost irrelevant these days.

First page has the main character (a villain but the 'hero' in this title) acting as sniper and shooting someone in another building.

On the fifth page we have another villain working Deadshot ripping an enemy into two pieces.

2 pages later Deadshot jacks someone up against the wall and sticks a gun in his mouth.

Much later we have a flashback panel of Deadshot in bed with a woman, he's drinking and she's snorting coke. Not long after that we have him in a gunfight where he visibly shoots 3 people in the head.

Violence : 5 (out of 5) Sex : 2 (out of 5) General Depravity : 5 (out of 5)

And here we go...

I've been reading comics most of my life. As I've grown up so have the comics. To the point where the realism (ie violence and sex) is comparable to what you see on television or in the movies. Heroes aren't very pure and villains aren't just criminals, they're monsters. Some would say this is good writing, I call it inappropriate. The heroes being sold in comics are also the heroes being sold as action figures in toy stores and in cartoons on children's television. You can't market a product to children and then sell a similar product meant for only an adult audience. Its wrong.

Its tempting sometimes to just give up on comics but thats not my way and it shouldn't be yours. Comic books have a major influence in our society and they should be subject to the same rules that music and movies are being forced to follow. Content should be clearly labeled and a product meant for one audience shouldn't be reworked for another. that's what I'm going to try and do. I don't read all comics but of the ones I do, if I see something that stands out as inappropriate (which is often) I'll post it here. Whether I can keep this up I'll be honest and say I don't know. But I'll give it my best.