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

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg,

I know what you mean about comics "growing up," and I, for one, greatly dislike that they are often becoming too "mature" for kids -- kids need superheroes like Superman, Captain America, or Captain Marvel

I applaud your effort!

December 13, 2004 at 4:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course kids aren't buying comics these days, so the creators of comics are gearing their stories to the audience that is supporting them with their dollars.

I was just wondering if you actually have heard of Doctor Wertham and Congressman Keefauver and the massive damage they did to lives and livelihoods in the 1950s based on pre-conceived biases and junk science in the 1950s, when the children being warped by comics were your grandparents?

I believe the complete text of "Seduction of the Innocent" is available online these days. You'd probably enjoy it.

December 14, 2004 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Greg McClay said...

I have heard of Wertham and "Seduction of the Innocent" though I haven't read it. The concept of responsibility is neither junk science or a pre-conceived bias. Thank you for writing.

December 14, 2004 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Ed Sizemore said...

Greg, I applaud your attempt to rate comics based on content. I think publishers should take the time and responsiblity to let the potential customer know what they are getting into when they buy a comic. I have no problem with comics that want to deal honesty with issues of drug use, rape, violent crime, divorce, etc. I just don't want to buy those comics. So if a particular story arc of a comic is going to be for mature audiences then the publisher should say so, to help consumers make informed choices.

I like your reviews. I do have two minor suggestions. First, maybe you should put a spoilers warning on your website, given the detail your reviews contain. Second, could you define your use of the term depravity for us. I think that you might replace this category with categories for profanity and mature themes instead.

December 15, 2004 at 10:03 AM  
Blogger Shane Bailey said...

I just want to say while I may not agree with you on your views I support you in standing up for what you believe in. You have the right to do that despite what anyone says or believes.

That being said your ratings seem pretty subjective. When something is rated on Morals it always will be. Whose morals do we work from? In this case it's your own, but should that be a "ratings system" for all?

I don't mind a ratings system, but that doesn't stop people, even kids from getting what they want. I see kids going into rated R movies all the time. I see kids with other kids looking at porno mags that their friends have. What prevents this is responsible parenting.

Now, having said that, ratings can help the parents realize what's in a particular movie or book, but it shouldn't replace a parent actually going through the book or movie, as you have, and seeing for themselves.

Good luck.

December 15, 2004 at 3:13 PM  
Blogger Velvet Marauder said...

Come on, Greg, are you SURE you haven't read Wertham? Because you could call your blog "Seduction of the Innocent II: Electric Boogaloo."

Hey, I'm not hatin' over here. You're free to write whatever you like and I'm down with free speech, even if I don't agree with you. But I do have a question, and I'm not being snarky here, this is a real question:

Why do you read those comics? Seriously, bro, you could flip through the latest Superman/Batman or even look at the cover and realize, "Wow, this is a 4 on my Depravity scale. I'll pass." I'm to assume that you actually buy the comics you read. What do you get out of them? Clearly they are offensive on some level to you. Why support a product that doesn't adhere to your idea of morality?

Thanks
VM

December 16, 2004 at 4:25 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

"Velvet Marauder" asks why Greg reads these comics; maybe it's because Greg enjoys them himself but doesn't think they're appropriate for his own kid or nephew or whatever (that's my own perspective, anyway). The point here is that characters and concepts which are marketed to kids in numerous other forms are, in the context of the comics they appear in, not all-ages appropriate. Unfortunately, the comic companies don't let people know that themselves.

December 17, 2004 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger Velvet Marauder said...

I understand his point, and to a certain level I agree about marketing to children. But aren't ALL superhero comic depraved and violent on some level? I mean, superheroes solve problems by hitting people.

I do think it's strange to complain about violence in some of the books Greg reads like, say, a Batman comic book, which he seems to feel is marketed only to kids. Maybe I'm splitting hairs, but I think the character is marketed towards adolescents - all of the films were PG-13, for instance. By Greg's current standards would the 1930's origin of Batman, where young Bruce watches his parents get gunned down, receive marks against it for violence and depravity?

VM

December 17, 2004 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

I've commented elsewhere, I don't think (certain) comics need to be age-specific. The examples I gave were the Byrne/Claremont X-Men or the Frank Miller Daredevil. Those books were all-ages accessable and more sophisticated reading than most of what's on the shelves today. I first read them when I was about nine and can still enjoy them in my 30's.

As for the violence test, applying that unilaterally rules out Bugs Bunny and the Three Stooges as well. What's relevant is the way it is portrayed; an artist doesn't have to draw a pool of blood and brains splattered on the wall to convey his/her point-- if they're a good artist, anyway.

None of this is an argument to neuter ALL comics, as some people take it to be. I love my Vertigo books and the various horror/crime titles that I collect. Certain titles should remain all-ages accessable (not "kid-specific", see my above examples) so that they will be available to more readers.

I'd also point out that in the last 10-15 years when characters like Superman and Spider-Man were morphed into "Watchmen" wannabes, sales of comics in general have gone down the drain. That doesn't bode well for the future of the medium.

Lastly (you're wondering why I don't get my own blog...), for those that think kids simply wouldn't read comics these days: Harry Potter seems to be doing fine, and I see kids where I work getting excited over Spider-Man toys. There just aren't any comics for them.

December 18, 2004 at 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want a signed copy of Fred Wertham's book, I have a first printing for sale, online, through ebay ($499.99... it's a rare title in any shape!).

Meanwhile-

you don't let kids under 16 drive cars, so there are 'standards' for what the maturing mind and body can handle. Wertham was a little obsessive about 'seeing' things in comics that weren't there (erotic angles purely of his own projection), but what WAS there that he did criticise (gore-o-rama) was too strong for kids under 13, -unless they live in Iraq.

Thanks for the site.

Happy New Year.

"Barebiblios"

January 4, 2005 at 8:48 PM  
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