Thursday, May 11, 2017

Reflections on Free Comic Book Day

Saturday was Free Comic Book day, an event I attended with my brother, sister, cousin, and my cousin's two small children. Its an event that we look forward to and plan for months in advance.

For those unfamiliar, the first Saturday in May the big comic book publishers provide an assortment of specially produced titles for comic book shops to give away. Our particular store allows each customer to pick 3 comics. It's a wonderful thing. Except...There were 50 titles  available this year. Of those titles, the official list counts 20 of them appropriate for all ages. Personally, I'd put that count closer to 15 and at least a half of those are based on either a television show or video game. This means that by the time we arrived at the store mid-afternoon, my cousin's boys were able to pick 1 title from the current list (both rejected DC's Superhero Girls, no matter how much I tried to convince them that it isn't a 'girl' book). They were able to find a couple of titles left over from last year but it was pretty slim pickings. Even we adults had some trouble as we don't prefer graphic violence and heavy swearing.

On the car ride home, while the boys happily ready Angry Birds and Sonic in the back of the car, we lamented the state of super hero comics. The early comics were aimed at children. While the heroes were all adults and fought villains, found themselves in peril, the content was perfectly acceptable for young readers. Now the only super hero comics that are aimed at children feature young heroes and tend to be more humorous.  As soon as the plot takes a serious tone, the content becomes more violent and psychologically dark. 

How did we get from these:

to these:

Consider this our open letter to comic book publishers: we need good superhero comics for kids. Adventure and daring-do without sex, gore, abuse, and copious cursing. 


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