Comic books, back in the day, were the dose of tiger balm to the congested chest. They were painful narratives that made us think, that put our problems into the perspectives of a false world so a hero could show us they can be solved and the villains of our lives vanquished. Unfortunately, the solutions are solely on the page or on the screen, now with the Netflix series’ of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, but does that erase the effect they have on us as viewers and readers?
Do the shows take some issues too far? Present them too blatantly or too straight-forward for escapism?
Are they too real and too relevant? Or exactly what we need?
Something else to consider would be whether or not the intention of comic books is still escapism. As entertainment becomes increasingly politicized, the escapism aspect may sit on a balance with a desire to provide political commentary. If you wanted to do that more broadly, too, you could look at the balance of escapism and commentary in modern comic books or their adaptations (like Daredevil/Jessica Jones/Luke Cage), which I feel like is what you might be trying to do. There's an excellent article about Ta-Nehisi Coates discussing his run of Black Panther which touches on this --> http://kotaku.com/ta-nehisi-coates-is-trying-to-do-right-by-marvel-comics-1769418783 – Sadie Britton6 years ago
I think the subjective nature social consciousness makes this a hard question to answer. Comics have always run the gamut from utterly ridiculous to uncomfortably real but a lot of that is in the personal interpretation. Most comics aren't going to be as clear in their messaging as Captain America punching Hitler in the face. The X-Men arose as an allegory for the Civil Rights movement but not every white comic reader in the 60s was thinking "I see, this is like how we treat black people". However black comic readers may have connected with the story in a different way. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage both seemed overtly political but technically were recreations of plot lines that were decades old. When Brock Turner is making headlines, Jessica's inability to consent holds more weight. When Black Lives Matter plays a large part in the political sphere, a bulletproof black guy (in a hoodie) holds more weight. Your environment and your gender/racial/sexual identity change whether you view it as a nice work of fiction or a very political one. – LC Morisset6 years ago
Whoever decides to write a piece about this topic, must keep the line about comic books being "the dose of tiger balm to the congested chest." Otherwise, no success will be achieved. – T. Palomino5 months ago
The lore of "Trese" is as mysterious as it’s intriguing, because the comics are based off Filipino mythology. This is quite uncommon to write about, as the comic book industry is vastly dominated by the super-hero genre, with issues coming out with brand new storytelling that haven’t won over the public lately, but rather pushed them away. There are several reasons for the decline of the American comic book industry, such as a focus on a character’s sexuality instead of writing a substantial story or rewriting a character that has already been established years ago to fit the present narrative.
Consistency, originality, characterization and creativity seem to have been shoved aside to push an agenda forward. This agenda also drives comic book readers away, who can’t stand to see their favorite characters becoming a figure of representation and diversity. This issue is problematic, as comics themselves offer a deeper introspection into the universe created by the writers; this is their vision they’re willing to show to their potential readers through the characters, story and lore they create. The more original and creative a story is without the problems associated with diversity and representation, the more interested readers will be in comics.
The "Trese" series have been ongoing since 2005 and have recently been given a Netflix adaptation, due to the success of the comics in the Philippines. What has been observed is that not only is it still coherent and consistent in its story-telling, but the originality and creativity in its lore keeps eliciting curiosity and a need to learn more about Filipino myths. The black and white style used by the creators also compliments the essence of "Trese", fitting the theme of horror. Such series that have remained unaffected by the drastic turn in the comic book industry is a rare sight to behold nowadays. It would be interesting to analyze the pros and cons of "Trese" to understand why and how the series succeed where American comic books have been failing for some time.
As an introvert, I can’t help but think about my hidden talents and gifts. And as an advent comic book reader I couldn’t help to review old comics like Jean Grey from X-men, The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, and Batman. I’m sure I’m missing quite a few other heroes, but the connections are there and could be analzyed a bit further. For instance, how introverted superheroes are extremely sensitive, intelleigent, powerful, and, potentially, deadly beings/mutants. These superheroes can also encourage people who don’t necessarily enjoy being social that they can explore and utilize their gifts and/or talents and should contribute these ‘powers’ to the greater society.
An extremely interesting topic. It's intriguing to wonder how a hero can be quite introverted, and have a greater effect on the surrounding world as well. It's a point to make that introverted characters may have extroverted personas, kind of like mask or 'another identity' that masks their inner one. Could make them ambiverts or really great actors. I'd want to explore the dynamics of lesser-known heroes as well. – HollyDavidson5 years ago
Essentially, most superheroes are introverts in their public lives in order for them to be able to maintain a balance between their multiple roles. A good topic which would make for an interesting read. – Vishnu Unnithan5 years ago
For the past few years, the popularity of comics have surged. Statistically, in 2015 comics and graphic novels sales topped $1 billion, including print and digital. Why is this? The rise of cinematic universes such as the MCU and DCU is one obvious answer however, looking deeper, there are other reasons. First off, has accessibility contributed? With different apps providing libraries of comics for a subscription-like price becoming increasingly popular, is print dying down? Then there is services like Netflix showcasing original series like all the marvel ones or Riverdale, each having comics as source material. Will these new forms of accessing comics hold the popularity rate? Or will it die down again only to be re-birthed in many years?
Superheroes resurge in popularity during rough times. http://edition.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/books/03/18/superhero.history/index.html?iref=24hours Just like musicals. In the times we live in right now, I guess we could all use a little song and dance as well as faith that somehow we will get through. – Munjeera6 years ago
Examine the negative association between comic book readers and adults. Is it still seen as childish? Have comic books been viewed any differently in the past decade? How can this social stigma change, and does it even need to change?
This is an interesting topic. I took a class on comic books, and funnily enough, there were books written about why comic books are not only unsuitable for children, but undermining society because the content is too lurid--basically claims similar to contemporary arguments against video games. It's intriguing to see how the stigma has shifted, and comics are still a misunderstood medium. A book to research for whoever takes this is Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, which argues that comic books cause young people to cause more crimes. Such claims within range from saying female nudity is only there to obscure gay relationships (a homophobic argument) to stating Superman is a fascist (highly questionable). – Emily Deibler7 years ago
I bumped into someone who said he doesn't read comic books, he reads graphic novels. And he doesn't watch cartoons, he watches Anime. I thought this was an effort to avoid being classified as being interested in childish things. – DrTestani7 years ago
Agreed. Graphic novels are hugs and a good example is Maus by Art Speigelman. – Munjeera7 years ago
I think more and more of mainstream society is losing the image of comic-book reading as a childish thing, no doubt due to the humongous pull of comic- book movies. I think we've made huge progress in the last ten years. – J.P. Shiel7 years ago
In defense of the adult reader, I'd discuss the fact that lots of comic books are not even written for children and delve into deeper, darker content matter that might not be addressed in any other format. Someone else mentioned this book above, but The Washington Post said that Art Spiegelman's "Maus" was "impossible to achieve in any medium but comics." They are a storytelling tool like any other. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky's "Sex Criminals" for instance, is a lighter, and yet equally adult comic not for the eyes of children. – RjWignall7 years ago
I think perhaps the writer of this topic should discuss the imaginary boundary between comics and graphic novels many people try creating to distance themselves from the "childish" content of comics, as DrTestani mentions above. It might serve as a good foundation for one's arguments/explanations.
The writer could even discuss the emergence of underground comix around the 1960s/70s - comics exclusively targeting and specifically created with an adult, mature audience in mind. It certainly distorts the idea that comics are made only for a younger audience.
The discussion of the changing tone in superhero comics might also be useful. One can see this in The Dark Knight and Watchmen, which deliberately subvert a lot of the expected content of superheroes in comics - in order to attract an older, mature audience. – karebear76 years ago
While there are an ever-increasing amount of female readers/fans in the world of comics and superheroes, there also seems to be a never-ending supply of chauvinist fans who respond to titles such as Ms. Marvel or Batgirl with hostility, often using such charming phrases as "what is this feminist bullshit?" to describe their feelings. In a medium already hyper masculinized what does this behaviour suggest about comics fandom and its audience? Maybe also mention attitude toward female cosplayers, creators, and characters.
Over the summer a friend expressed an interest in starting to read comics to me, however he seemed overwhelmed and eventually disheartened by the idea. Too many titles, too much history, and too expensive… it can be a little much for people on the outside. It’s become a somewhat accepted fact that actual reading of comic books is a subculture. Look into how this small readership (vs cinematic and televisions viewers) effects the industry. What can be done to make people more interested in picking up the titles? How do we help people with the interest start?
A good way to go about this piece could be to offer tips for people who want to get into the world of comic books. It could also work well in list format. – Marcie Waters7 years ago
If anyone should want to get into comic books eventually, as I do myself, it's perhaps best to look at what scholarly authorities on comic literature consider to be the finest examples of comic book stories, characters, or franchises; and then look to see what might interest you most. Personally I'm more into the independent comics, the unique comics, the ones that lie outside your typical Marvel and DC super-hero series (Judge Dredd, Tank Girl, Hellboy, Vampirella). Most of the main pantheons don't really interest me as much. But if I ever wanted to explore say... X-Men, or Batman, or Wonder Woman, I'd probably look to the compilation reprints that I can buy on Amazon Kindle, rather than picking up some hard copy that used to cost fifty cents. Buying comics digitally, what ever you can, makes for an easier price tag, and a smaller foot-print in the house. You can't collect them in quite the same way. But if you're just starting out and you want to read them rather than build up a stock pile of them, it's probably best to go digital and piece meal it out just to get a taste of a few things first, before you dive headlong into a particular franchise. – FilmmakerJ7 years ago
Over the last few years, I’ve been thinking about graphic novels and comics beyond a "medium." Last year, /Critical Inquiry/ released and issue dedicated to comics and media that include a variety of articles from academics and industry icons (e.g., Chris Ware) that are looking to push the boundaries of the art and aesthetics of the genre. For example, Ware has been pushing (and practicing) a view of graphic novels that plays with the idea of the physical object of a book containing the narrative–this, he notes, is something he’s been thinking about as digital comics have become more popular. One of the more interesting projects I’ve seen recently is by Özge Samanci: GPS Comics ((link) She’s also written an article for the International Digital Media and Arts Association exploring how to move graphic novels from discussions of medium to genre: (link) While I dig the idea of comics as a genre, I wonder if there would be a way that we might talk about graphic novels and comics as a aesthetic method rather than as a medium or genre. Thoughts?
I was about to say, "Hey, I took a class on this!" But then I realized. Hmm, for thoughts on how to approach this, maybe the post could start out talking about the concept of comics as a medium (there's also that article where the author examined comics as a language), and then go into why the aesthetic method may be more fitting. There's the GPS comics you mentioned above, as well as the "Building Stories" box of narratives we looked at in class. I'd be fascinated to see someone take this on. Also, there's Topffer's original goal of comics as an accessible education method to consider. – emilydeibler7 years ago
Thanks, Emily. I taught that class. :) – revfigueiredo7 years ago
With Ms. Marvel and Batgirl of Burnside as just two examples, how are Marvel and D.C. writing young women as heroes? What sort of plot devices do they use to make them relatable? In what areas do they succeed or fail? Furthermore, analyze whether or not these characters have been successful in reaching a wider demographic for the comic industry.
Comic fans love their heroes, and their tested and true stories that have been rewritten and reimagined for well over half a century. Recently, however, there’s been talk of creating new heroes, new teams, and new identities that better represent our modern ideologies and culture. What really makes a new hero worth publishing? What sort of criteria should be followed to give a character the longevity of the greats? What aspects of our society can we fuse into new heroes to further the ongoing mythology of the superhuman? Analyze whether it is about diversity, history, relatability, or something else entirely.
I like this topic and think it would make a great subject to analyze. I think as our society has evolved new heroes, teams, identities, etc. have been created that are emblematic of modern ideologies and cultural trends. The question of what makes a hero "modern" and what characteristics define this new type of character would make a great topic for exploration and discussion. – Morgan R. Muller7 years ago