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Are Comics Still For Kids?

Are comics today being written with kids in mind, or are more predominantly being written for adults?

Warning! If you have not yet read JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4, you may want to stop reading this article now: spoilers below.

By now most of us have picked up and read JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4 and in the process, we've witnessed the apparent death of a particular character that takes place rather abruptly in the issue. And even if you haven't picked up the issue, chances are that you have at least checked out an article where this is discussed (like the Five Developments from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4 article, for example), or happened upon a forum post or two on Comic Vine or listened to the Comic Vine podcast. Basically, you know that Catwoman was shot in that fourth issue of the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, and it is likely that you are also aware of how very graphic that moment was when she was killed: being shot in the head was enough, but the series' artist Brett Booth really zeroed in on the panel making sure audiences could see there was no question about whether or not the character was brutally murdered. This scene happened to take place in a rated "Teen" comic, but was it too graphic for its target audience? After reading the scene I admit it triggered an immediate response in me: putting aside the fact that one of DC's most famous heroines was brutally murdered on panel, the scene begged the question of whether or not comics were still being written for kids. Was this graphic scene too graphic?

Let me be clear: there are comics which are specifically being written for kids. Comics like Skottie Young's OZ series which serves as a retelling of the Wizard of Oz story consists of at least six collected volumes thus far. Another good example is the recently released HEROBEAR AND THE KID, a series by comic creator Mike Kunkel which, if you haven't read, you can do so by checking out the full Free Comic Book Day story that was posted on Comic Vine by going here. And although these are two very good examples of all-ages comic book series, they very specifically target a particular audience. Picking up and issue of HEROBEAR or Oz you can bet there won't be suggestive themes or violence, just a lot of wholesome fun.

Yes, as an adult, I still love Herobear and find I can still appreciate the way the story pulls at the heart strings of my 6 year old inner child, but when I pick up that book I know exactly what I am signing up for. While I can appreciate the depth of a story that was written for a young target audience I still recognize that this comic is written with a child in mind. But can the same be said for so many of our superhero titles? And should our superhero books be written with kids in mind?

Going back to Catwoman's murder in the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4 for a moment, let's consider the rating of that particular comic: "Teen." What does that mean? Well, according to DC Comics' ratings website, "Teen" is "appropriate for readers age 12 and older. May contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes." Comics, in general, (superhero comics, specifically) tend to be relatively violent. But what exactly signifies "mild violence"? What's the threshold? Maybe a punch or a kick, but a gun to the head and a bullet through the brain? The death of Catwoman in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4 was rather graphic in general for any comic book of any rating, be it Mature or otherwise, but a rated Teen comic for "kids 12 and older"? I remember wondering whether or not that moment crossed some sort of line. Who can determine what the threshold for violence should be in a particular comic? Who knows, really. Yet it's not everyday you pick up a comic book and see that a well known character (or otherwise) has been shot to death through the head. That a pretty big deal. And it is certainly not a scene I expected to see in a "Teen" book.

Graph via Graphic Policy data taken in 2011

Back in 2011 Graphic Policy conducted a survey using Facebook that looked at the demographic of comic readers based on the total population of Facebook users in the United States who "liked" comics on Facebook. That total number came to around 1.2 million individuals in total. This data was then broken down first by gender and then by age. According to this data (which is really skewed and problematic), 31 to 45 years olds "out-number" the "17 and under" population by a pretty wide margin. Readers ages 18 to 30 that were surveyed came in at around 771,340 while readers "17 and under" tallied at 168,280. Although this information is only taking individuals who use Facebook into account, it is indicative of the fact that the majority surveyed are, very obviously, young adults. So what about all those kids who aren't allowed to use Facebook at the age of 12 or 13? They, obviously, were not surveyed and therefore unaccounted for.

So let's go back to the original question: do you think that sometimes comics are too graphic? Should the ratings on the cover match what happens on the inside of the issue? Do you think that many of our superhero comics are still written with younger readership in mind, or do you think they are mainly being written for adults?

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Posted by Hawkguy

Depends. I feel Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, BMB, Hickman, and sometimes Waid feel more mature. But there is some Marvel and DC oriented towards children Lil' Gotham, Adventures of Superman, Legends of the Dark Knight, Nova, the comics based off of TV shows, Hawkeye are all good examples of comics that children could get into.

However, kids should avoid Image comics... at a very far distance. Well, except maybe Super Dinosaur.

All this being said, I think ratings are sufficient and should be displayed somehow. I do know that some specify that they are for MATURE READERS, while others can be judged just by looking at the cover (although the baby variants and future LEGO variants are/will be misleading).

Edited by thenexusrebound

I had read an article years back that says there is a trend. You get into them young for the art and seeing them as cartoons or your parents read them. Then you leave and come back when you are in your late teens you read them again for characters and story. Personally that was how it was for me when I was young I picked them up based on art. So there could be some credence you only fully enjoy some stories when you grow up. I was even picking through some of my old comics the other day and the stories were 90's style graphic, which at the time was pushing. I know I got one of my friends in trouble back in the day for him showing his mom Dinosaurs for Hire.

Edited by Reignmaker

I recently posted a comment similar to this in another thread, but I really do wish comics would be more kid friendly. There's something seriously wrong with the industry when a 7-year old can't pick up a mainstream issue of Batman or Spider-Man.

As an older reader, I wouldn't mind picking up a MAX equivalent or something like that, but I think it's dumb that we have to point new readers to the happy-bubbly looking stuff that passes for kid fare these days. Did we have to resort to that fluffy crap when we were little? Of course not! Then again, there wasn't multiple pages soaked in blood every issue like there is today either.

We've gone overkill in both directions. No wonder comic readership is shrinking.

Posted by Hawkguy

We also need to consider that, although ratings exist, they probably won't be followed by store owners and children. Parents will also tend to ignore them. I know this from experience. There were many times when I was younger and my parents were with me at EB games or BestBuy just to purchase an M rated game for me, which for the most part are much more vulgar than comics. Store owners didn't care so long as my parents were there, no warnings were given, the only concern was $.

What I'm saying is, either the store owners become strict or parents become more informed and involved in what their kids are using for entertainment. This shouldn't involve a huge 18+ sign on a comic, or a "BLOOD, VIOLENCE, PARTIAL NUDITY" stamp pasted on it.

Posted by Mercy_

@hawkguy said:

What I'm saying is, either the store owners become strict or parents become more informed and involved in what their kids are using for entertainment. This shouldn't involve a huge 18+ sign on a comic, or a "BLOOD, VIOLENCE, PARTIAL NUDITY" stamp pasted on it.

Here's the thing about this. It's one thing for a comic book store to sell an M/T title to a kid when there's no parent there...but if a parent is clearly there with the kid, buying it for them, that's entirely on the parent. I absolutely agree that parents need to be more responsible with the media that their kids are interacting with. It's not on the person selling it to make sure that it's within limits if there's a parent right there.

I work two jobs, one at a comic book store and my second is at Target, so I've seen this with video games a lot. I'm not sure if this is a state or federal mandate (or a Target one), but when we scan a video game that has an M rating, we're prompted on screen to scan an ID. We can not scan anything else, or sell that game, without scanning the barcode on the back of an ID (or entering the ID number). If you're there with your kid and you hand over your ID, you are giving permission for them to have that game. If you haven't done your research as to what that game entails and later find out that there's something in there that doesn't sit well with you - that's entirely your fault.

And just to be clear, when I say 'you', I mean it in the general sense, not YOU, specifically.

I also think parents don't give their kids enough credit and that video games especially get an undeserved reputation in mainstream media and news. That doesn't change the fact that it's not on the seller to police things (if there's a parent/adult present). It's on the parent or adult to do their research to see if this is something that they'd be comfortable with their kid reading.

Moderator
Posted by AlKusanagi

The price point alone means comics aren't for kids anymore. Back in the day I could take my 5 dollar allowance and ride my bike to the closest convenience store and get five comics. Now that won't even get you two.

Posted by pikahyper

I think most comics are still written with kids in mind as a portion of the demographic but people tend to forget how desensitized kids are these days and publishers haven't forgotten this, the ones that are not desensitized and probably have good involved & watchful parents keep them in the Archie/all-ages sections but all other kids are reading the mainstream stuff starting at around 8-9.

Moderator
Posted by lightsout

First off - I want to give you a (non-sarcastic) slow-clap for pointing out the flawed nature of that study. Too many bad numbers out there that people put so much faith in. That said, I do agree that it's probably spot on, that "young adults" are reading the majority of comics. I also think that 12 is probably too young for the content of some mainstream Superhero comics I read (especially that Catwoman scene)- THOUGH I obviously like the content and just think that the warning should have a higher age. 14 maybe? That's high school (in the US) so that feels old enough. I also think young people are (sadly) becoming more & more desensitized to violence & other mature themes in various forms of media, but that's a discussion for another day.

Posted by krunkeela

@babs: wow man, put a spoiler alert or something in the title. :(

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

well, I'm 16.

Posted by Hawkguy

@mercy_: I agree completely! I just feel a warning should be issued. I remember buying God of War with my dad, and he was told it has nudity, sex, violence and gore, that's all I feel should be done. The store owner/seller only has the responsibility at the purchase level, and that's a legal reponsibility. I'll admit, comics aren't brutal for the most part, not the Big 2 anyway, and won't cause any trauma to kids. The only problem for younger audience comes with character histories and complexity in storylines.

Edited by etragedy

Every so often the big two go through periods where they try to soft pedal everything and get really lame. Of course comics aren't for kids - kids pretty much play video games. Adults who grew up with comic books read comic books. There are of course comics for kids, and the big 2 finally realized this, which is why we get things like Marvel Adventures and Tiny Titans and whatnot - but as long as they don't get an editor that wants to come in and gut things they think is too adult all is good (and during even those dark times we can always turn to the Vertigo line or indie publishers.

Edited by papad1992

Two words: Fredric Wertham.

His book Seduction of the Innocent is a must read for comic fans... it made me chuckle at his extreme views on comic books, their roles in society (during the late 1950s), the graphic content (murder, sex, and drugs), and the future of comic books themselves.

Edited by ectoborge

I think there is definitely a difference between Catwoman's death and anyone who dies in Luther Strode.

From what I saw the blood looked stylized against the black. There wasn't any brain matter are torn flesh. It just looked like a Headshot from a T rated videogame.

Not to downplay Catwomans death but I'm surprised no one has talk about this villain sooner.

Edited by Sleepbutnodream15

No, I think that most comics (just talking about Marvel and DC, and their main lines) are not for younger kids. I think most comics are aimed for high schoolers and above.

When I first really got into comics almost 2 years ago, I wanted to read Batman and the X-Men because those were the superheroes I loved as a kid. Now, looking back, I realize that I never TRULY knew those superheroes until I read their comics. The cartoons I watched as a kid (along with all the toys and other junk) only gave us watered down fractions of my favorite superheros. But the comics showed me their whole, true essence. And their true essence is a lot darker than I thought when I was younger. It's funny because now, being a huge comic book fan, every time I see a little kid wearing a Batman shirt, I think about how his Batman and my Batman are completely different characters. Or better yet, his Batman is more incomplete than mine.

Posted by LifePool

@hawkguy said:

Depends. I feel Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, BMB, Hickman, and sometimes Waid feel more mature. But there is some Marvel and DC oriented towards children Lil' Gotham, Adventures of Superman, Legends of the Dark Knight, Nova, the comics based off of TV shows, Hawkeye are all good examples of comics that children could get into.

However, kids should avoid Image comics... at a very far distance. Well, except maybe Super Dinosaur.

All this being said, I think ratings are sufficient and should be displayed somehow. I do know that some specify that they are for MATURE READERS, while others can be judged just by looking at the cover (although the baby variants and future LEGO variants are/will be misleading).

Since when is Legends of the Dark Knight a kids book? o.O I recall a genetic abomination killing its creator and than being kept as an exhibit in the Batcave...

Posted by FoxxFireArt

Well done, Sara. I'm pleased to see that someone is finally bringing up the topic of violence. I've often been confused why people will get uncomfortable about sex in comics, but give a pass on violence. As if violence is a natural way of living, but somehow nudity is the aberration. I'm not saying that I have a problem with violence. I just get irritated when people question if a shower scene is needed is necessary, but don't question the level of violence. If anything, violence is celebrated in comics.

It's hard to image that kids are even remotely the target audience of comics. Just look at how they market. Do they ever talk about reboots or new series being more "kid friendly", or do they more emphasize how things are "darker"? Just look at female costume design, and you can see right away that they are targeting horny males.

I'm no prude about T&A, but it's ridiculous how Catwoman can never seem to have a functioning zipper. Why are all the women in skintight body suits or bikinis? Poeple like to point the finger at manga, but I don't see how comics do things much better in that area. Seems more like equal offenders to me.

Even when they do make "kid friendly" comics. The major publishers never promote them. Thus, your target audience never even realizes they're there. You're more just hoping that the adults will see these and buy them for their kids. Problem with that idea is that those parents are normally already into comics and just looking for something for their kids.

That all depends on if said adult comic consumer is even considering if the content is age appropriate. Back when I worked in a theater, I once saw a woman buy ticket for her teen daughters (12 to 14, maybe) for the movie SUMMER OF SAM, the film about the Summer of Sam killer who terrorized the greater New York area in 1977. She just looked at the title, didn't even look at the rating, and bought the tickets. She had no clue that this R Rated movie had a graphic orgy scene. Not until I told her, and she changed the movie.

Manga to Anime Comparisons: Death of Bell-mère:

In manga the line of graphic death can be crossed as well, but with exceptions. Shonen magazines are published toward young boys, thought WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP in fact has a 50/50 male to female readership. I've seen scenes where violence can get pretty graphic, but they don't really show the "death" that often. That sort of violence is saved for Seinen series, which targets late teen and adults.

A perfect example to compare to Catwoman's 'death'. In the series ONE PIECE, Arlong murders Nami's adopted mother, Bell-mère: In the original manga version, he shoots her in the head, but the shot is never actually seen. We just hear the gunshot off panel. When this very scene was animated, where Arlong aims is changed. He aims at her heart. This sort of censorship happens a lot when a scene is animated from shonen.

To answer the questions you pose -- took me long enough. I don't see a problem with comics getting graphic. I'm also not so sure that it would be reasonable to rate the comic series by the individual issue. It makes more sense to go by series. However, it's the job of the editor to then keep the creative team in check to fall within those guidelines.

Posted by thenexusrebound

@pikahyper: I don't even think it is desensitized. I think in some instances it just goes over their head to a point. The other day I was watching Justice League and JLU and I watched them as a pre-teen up until their ends. Same with Batman, and some of the story arcs were pretty dark, but they went over my head as a kid. I just thought it was cool Batman or the X-men were on tv and I wanted to read the comics. Did my mom thumb through them and see some of the more mature content I missed, yes. That said they were still 90's and early 2000's "Dark/Mature".

@alkusanagi: I agree with you there. Maybe kids get bigger allowances now, but when I was young if I wanted comics they came out of my allowance.

Edited by Pokergeist

I for one enjoy the graphic Violence. You think the kids in Africa, Asia hot zones, and Middle Eastern tribes are not actually out there killing grown men with machetes? Its a ugly world. My entertainment should not be ignorant and happy thoughts.

Life is ugly and I do not let my own kid read the stuff that is graphic unless I either put it in context or I feel he is old enough. Till then, let the kids have their Nick, Disney, and other happy crappy **** till they are old enough. we have clear titles for kids, and we have clear things for adults. The Catwoman being shot is not at all that graphic to me.

I was raised on Terminator, Aliens, and Tomb Stone as a kid. Yet no one p!$$ and moan back then and most of us kids from the 80s are doing fine.

Posted by The Mast

Comics are written for people who read comics. It's that simple.

They shouldn't be written with KIDS in mind inherantly just because they feature people in costumes and colourful characters. With that said, kids do read them...so they shouldn't be written like a Tarantino flick. People should be aware of what they're buying their kids, or store toward what they're selling kids. It's pretty simple, to me.

It's a parent's job to protect kids. Not artists. I watched Alien when I was far too young to not be scared. My parents didn't blame James Cameron. It was their fault for not screening it or protecting me from the tape.

Besides, what's a "kid"? At 14/15, I guarantee they've seen worse than almost anything in comics and at the awareness of their parents, most likely. It's parental responsibility. I was listening to Public Enemy at five. I wasn't going around saying "bad" language. I was always raised with the express awareness that I don't repeat or take seriously what I hear or see on in music or film.

Edited by akbogert

I recently posted a comment similar to this in another thread, but I really do wish comics would be more kid friendly. There's something seriously wrong with the industry when a 7-year old can't pick up a mainstream issue of Batman or Spider-Man.

As an older reader, I wouldn't mind picking up a MAX equivalent or something like that, but I think it's dumb that we have to point new readers to the happy-bubbly looking stuff that passes for kid fare these days. Did we have to resort to that fluffy crap when we were little? Of course not! Then again, there wasn't multiple pages soaked in blood every issue like there is today either.

We've gone overkill in both directions. No wonder comic readership is shrinking.

I really agree with this. When I first started reading, I picked up Batman, and a few issues in I actually had a moment where I realized I was actually shocked at how not okay the main Batman book was for young people, despite how popular he is and how I'd always (as a non comic reader) assumed he was safe for kids.

@mercy_ brought up the parallel to the gaming industry and I think this is a situation where that industry has comics beat by a mile. The industry itself has made sure it is as responsible as possible for trying to educate parents and readers as to the content of a particular product, to the point of actually making it nigh illegal to sell an M-rated game to a minor. With comics, it's harder to be the responsible parent, particularly when (as Babs points out) "teen" can mean something like JLA 4.

So implementation/enforcement of the ratings system is one issue. But another, I think, is the ratings themselves and how loose they are. And that's not specific to comics, because I've seen (for example) my share of PG-13 movies that I felt very strongly should have been rated R.

Anyhow, no, I don't think that comics as a mainstream medium are even predominately for kids. Costs are prohibitive, content is dark and gritty in places it has no business being, the violence has been escalated substantially from what most people outside of the medium would ever have guessed, and the comics with characters most kids know by name -- Spidey and Batman, for example -- are anything but kid-friendly.

Posted by pikahyper

@thenexusrebound: good point, I do think some of it does just go over their heads but probably not a big portion, it is just like all the animated movies that come out for kids but have undertones that make it enjoyable for adults.

Moderator
Edited by Reignmaker

@babs: wow man, put a spoiler alert or something in the title. :(

Yeah, I just found out by clicking on this too. I guess waiting for the trade isn't acceptable.

Edited by Grimoire

The numbers look right to me as the only comic readers I see around where I live are mostly around 20's or above with little to none being kids or teens I find. lol

The saying "Comics are for kids" is way outdated these days.

Posted by Lurkero

Is the headline question really up for debate? Comics have completely switched from children to adults as the audience.

Besides, with violence being more accepted in media, the publishers were able to follow their main audience as they aged. Same thing happened with videogames.

Edited by iceslick

@babs, I totally disagree with you on this issue of violence in comics. America needs to grow up and realize we don't live in a peaceful world with butterflies and rainbows. Violence in media lets up be aware of that sadly we need to let our kids know there's a danger in this world. I was expose to many violence as a kid, even child abused ( I was exposed to Freddy, Jason and Chucky and by the way, I am against child abuse) and look how I turned, still a wonderful and nicest person in the world! Violence can't be influenced and force a child to act on it unless they are not discipline too and learned that it's bad. If we don't let children know that there is violence. They will be too caught up on how "peaceful" this world is and then realize the danger when it's too late. We need to make our children feel strong and not weak when the violence comes to them. I do agree on the book was not written with kids or pre-teens in mind. But, I don't think everything should be cautions about that. It's really up to the parent to see if it's worth it for the kid to read. I also hope you understand the ages of these ratings are listed in. When it comes to video games rated T for teen are meant for teenagers 16 and up. That's what I think the T for teens is meant for comics as well which is the acceptable aged to be expose to violence in this country. PG-13 for movies even have a certain amount of violence like The Dark Knight. So, I think you should have put more thought on this for the article. As of late I also want to saying I think parents are being too lazy as of right now to teach or discipline their kids about violence. Look at Anime in Japan even they don't that much of a censors on their shows and i'm pretty sure there kids are doing just fine. So, you can't blame the violence. It's really up to the parents! I still have love for you though Sara, I hope you don't misunderstand and think I have any hate for you. It just happens to be that I have a different viewpoint on this matter.

Posted by ccraft

I had read an article years back that says there is a trend. You get into them young for the art and seeing them as cartoons or your parents read them. Then you leave and come back when you are in your late teens you read them again for characters and story. Personally that was how it was for me when I was young I picked them up based on art. So there could be some credence you only fully enjoy some stories when you grow up. I was even picking through some of my old comics the other day and the stories were 90's style graphic, which at the time was pushing. I know I got one of my friends in trouble back in the day for him showing his mom Dinosaurs for Hire.

Same way for me too.

Edited by Danial79

At $4 a pop, comics are definitely not for kids. I can barely afford them as a working adult! As far as the violence goes, I think it's fine for the 12+ age. I was watching horror movies at that age, many when I was even younger. Unless the kid already has issues, seeing a drawing of someone getting shot, isn't going to affect them.

Edited by Reignmaker

@akbogert said:

@reignmaker said:

I recently posted a comment similar to this in another thread, but I really do wish comics would be more kid friendly. There's something seriously wrong with the industry when a 7-year old can't pick up a mainstream issue of Batman or Spider-Man.

As an older reader, I wouldn't mind picking up a MAX equivalent or something like that, but I think it's dumb that we have to point new readers to the happy-bubbly looking stuff that passes for kid fare these days. Did we have to resort to that fluffy crap when we were little? Of course not! Then again, there wasn't multiple pages soaked in blood every issue like there is today either.

We've gone overkill in both directions. No wonder comic readership is shrinking.

I really agree with this. When I first started reading, I picked up Batman, and a few issues in I actually had a moment where I realized I was actually shocked at how not okay the main Batman book was for young people, despite how popular he is and how I'd always (as a non comic reader) assumed he was safe for kids.

Yeah, publishers pigeonholed themselves into a corner, by choosing to mimic the style introduced by The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen of the 80's. They were great stories, but this competition of one-upmanship when it comes to grit has really hurt the overall offerings. Not that there aren't some quality kid friendly books available, but it's pathetic how obscure they often are. Not to mention they get canceled every other year.

And people who say it's fine just how it is, or that children are already desensitized and should read the same stuff as us - those people don't have any kids.

Posted by Malonius

IMO, Marvel made the switch to writing it's main titles for older teens and adults starting with Avengers Disassembled in 2004. It's not just a question of more graphic depiction of sex or violence, it's about the complexity, intensity, depth, and subtlety of both the story-lines and the relationships between the characters. Marvels Ultimate line of comics began in 2000 and was also aimed at older teens and adults from the get go.

I think DC probably decided to start writing for older teens and adults starting with Identity Crisis in 2004, though I think it still tried to generally hit a PG rating until the New 52. Now both major companies seem set at about a PG-13 to R rating.

I think this is all fine and makes a lot of sense when you consider the cost of comics and the age range that actually buys them. All the Avenger's franchise and Nolan Batman comic book movies that have come out lately have been rated PG-13 so it just makes sense for the comics to do the same.

Posted by StMichalofWilson
@the_mast said:

Comics are written for people who read comics. It's that simple.

They shouldn't be written with KIDS in mind inherantly just because they feature people in costumes and colourful characters. With that said, kids do read them...so they shouldn't be written like a Tarantino flick. People should be aware of what they're buying their kids, or store toward what they're selling kids. It's pretty simple, to me.

It's a parent's job to protect kids. Not artists. I watched Alien when I was far too young to not be scared. My parents didn't blame James Cameron. It was their fault for not screening it or protecting me from the tape.

Besides, what's a "kid"? At 14/15, I guarantee they've seen worse than almost anything in comics and at the awareness of their parents, most likely. It's parental responsibility. I was listening to Public Enemy at five. I wasn't going around saying "bad" language. I was always raised with the express awareness that I don't repeat or take seriously what I hear or see on in music or film.

I agree with his comment

Posted by SideburnGuru

I'll try to be informative about this. I'm 19. Graduated from high school last week. Huge comic fan, in school filled of "spoiled" kids. Not saying I went to a rich school, it was definitely NOT a rich school, I'm saying this school was filled of a good chunk of kids who got alot of their money for doing absolutely nothing. Hell, they would own up to it.

Price tag in mind, the spoiled kids that I knew? Didn't bother with them. The kids who want to read comics? Usually can't afford them on a constant basis. That being said, if high schoolers have an issue with picking up comics, I can only imagine how much it would suck to be in elementary or middle school and want to pick up some.

I get not all comics need to be for kids. I totally understand that. However, the fact that it's now risky to pick up an issue of Justice League" or Avengers with the risk of someone getting shot [Brutal or not], it's saying something. I don't want them to pamper for kids, however I feel there should be some comics where the heroes do act like heroes, but not with brutality everywhere. I also feel there needs to be a price change coming sometime soon. I doubt it, but it'd be damn nice.

I actually got to intern for awhile at a comic book store. It was probably the most well known in the area. There were barely any kids coming in. Just adults for the most part. Sometimes some college kids, but that was on rare occasion. It's a damn shame too.

Posted by AllStarSuperman

I have on 11 year old I'm friends with. I'm trying to get him into comics. Out of all the ongoing titles I read, action comics and superman are the only ones I think are appropriate. There's no way he's gonna read nightwing or smallville even.

Edited by JamDamage

I think some titles are written for a younger audience in mind. I also believe they haven't been written for kids in a looooong time. I remember jumping back into comics in 88 or 89 and trying to figure out what the hell was going on with Uncanny X-Men. There was so much adult stuff going on. It's what lured me in. The adult tones. It got even more so when a lot of writers started Image and those titles were with out a doubt aimed more for adults. Plus when Wolverine got his first solo title we got to see the little guy finally killing all sorts of bad guys with a lot of blood too. I also bought Killing Joke and DKR in 88 or 89 and you can't deny the seriousness of those stories. We also had Arkham Asylum going along with it. Look at Dinsey tho. The reason they bought Marvel. They didn't have demographic or age unit to sell a product to that specification. That answers that.

Posted by iceslick

@reignmaker: That's totally not true. I didn't have kids, but I did had to raise 3 of my little brothers all my life. So, I know how it is the raise children. Kids ARE desensitized to violence, you just gotta show them how to be.

Edited by Herokiller12344

No. At best they're for horny and violent 14 year olds. Companies like IDW and CN still make lots of kids stuff, but DC, Darkhorse and Marvel have long since abandoned small kids as the target audience.

Posted by ULTRAstarkiller

Ya it's not too intense for me I'm fifteen and I wouldn't want to read it if it wasn't bloody and had sexy scenes(cause then it'd be unrealistic and stupid).

Posted by YoungJustice

It really depends on how mature the kid is. I mean, I was watching Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill when I was 8...

Posted by Herokiller12344

@the_mast: "Besides, what's a "kid"? At 14/15, I guarantee they've seen worse than almost anything in comics and at the awareness of their parents, most likely."

I don't know what kind of kids YOU hang around guy, but most 14/15 year olds don't see men and women being ripped apart and/or otherwise brutally beaten and killed on a regular basis

Edited by Reignmaker

@sideburnguru said:

I actually got to intern for awhile at a comic book store. It was probably the most well known in the area. There were barely any kids coming in. Just adults for the most part. Sometimes some college kids, but that was on rare occasion. It's a damn shame too.

Yup. It's because of marketing. Publishers have made a conscious choice to market towards the 18-30 male demographic and practically ignore everything else.

And every Free Comic Book Day we get an influx of these cheap, half-assed children books that get pushed to the front of the store for our "new readers." It's really a sad strategy and I've begun to believe that it's more for short-term PR than anything else.

Posted by Reignmaker

@iceslick said:

@reignmaker: That's totally not true. I didn't have kids, but I did had to raise 3 of my little brothers all my life. So, I know how it is the raise children. Kids ARE desensitized to violence, you just gotta show them how to be.

I raised my siblings too, dude. Raising your own isn't the same thing. Your perspective will change. I promise you.

Posted by SideburnGuru

@sideburnguru said:

I actually got to intern for awhile at a comic book store. It was probably the most well known in the area. There were barely any kids coming in. Just adults for the most part. Sometimes some college kids, but that was on rare occasion. It's a damn shame too.

Yup. It's because of marketing. Publishers have made a conscious choice to market towards the 18-30 male demographic and practically ignore everything else.

And every Free Comic Book Day we get an influx of these cheap, half-assed children books that get pushed to the front of the store for our "new readers." It's really a sad strategy and I've begun to believe that it's more for PR purposes than anything else.

Pretty much, I completely agree with that.

I actually help set up with Free Comic Book Day when I can volunteer, and I always notice that. And the kids don't want cheesey, "HEY WE'RE KID HERO" books. They want to see their favorite super heroes looking awesome. What the publishers don't get is, they should look awesome while also not having to be super malicious at the same time.

I mean, one character I love "The Tick" was in Free Comic Book Day. No one picked it up, EXCEPT for a few adults. Most kids skipped by it.

Posted by chipsnopotatoes

Comics are definitely not for kids. I keep repeating that to my friends who have young kids and let them borrow graphic novels from their school library unsupervised.

Comic book deaths are so cheap and ridiculous though. So much that people are not even going to blink when these 'dead' characters immediately get up like Wile E Coyote after he gets hit by an anvil.

Posted by kennybaese

On one hand, I see your point, on the other hand, it's kind of the same issue that video games are facing at the moment. The short answer is that, no, comics aren't really for kids anymore. The medium has matured to the point that it doesn't need to cater to children to sell, and the price of comics has increased to the point, that kids aren't buying them anymore anyway. Adults are either buying them for themselves or their children. While I will concede that the rating on this particular issue of this comic was probably inadequate, in general, if a 12 year old is reading this book, it's because a parent bought it for them. As such, the onus is on the parent to police the media their children are being exposed to, not on the creators of the media to self censure because a parent could potentially buy their young teen a comic without flipping through it first. Again, the rating on this comic is definitely flawed, but movies have proven time and again that ratings systems in general are flawed. The responsibility for the media a child is exposed to always falls to the parent, not the media itself, unless it is being marketed as particularly child friendly, which most comics aren't.

Posted by RazzaTazz

I guess in terms of the question it is referring to superhero comics. Because comics as a medium can do a lot more. I am reading the comic version of the Diary of Anne Frank at the moment, and comics are used for all kinds of other purposes than just superheroes. Some even used them to elicit some political responses in events like the Arab Spring. That is kind of aside of the main issue though.

In terms of superhero comics, the tricky part is that so much of the characters is based in another time, when superheroes were only for kids. Characters that are freed from such constraints can become quite popular. For instance, Batman has a code where he will not kill, but that is partially based on the fact that early Batman stories were aimed at children, and no one wanted a child to think it was ok to kill people because Batman did. This aspect is still with the character though. As the bounds of what is acceptable has changed, then other characters like the Punisher or Deadpool become popular, in part because they are not restricted in the same fundamental way. One of the real reasons that batman doesn't kill the Joker, is partially based in the fact that the characterization comers from a different era. If the Joker was a Punisher enemy, he would not last five minutes. So i guess to answer the question it really depends. I think part of what makes the medium special is that there is a kind of innocence to the medium, but it can also be very interesting when it is made edgy.

Moderator
Posted by charlieboy

Comics haven't been for kids for decades. It is primarily a medium for adults. I rarely see kids in the comic store.

Posted by SergeStorms

@foxxfireart: Your points about sex and violence are dead on. In the US, we have a populace that sees sex as something to be closely monitored in the media and violence at any level as something that is basic entertainment. It has been this way for quite a few decades. And if we are to look at this from a behavioral and societal level, exposing children to sex is not harmful to the development of a child but exposing the child to violence is very harmful and desensitizes the child to it. The child accepts it more and have a greater propensity to violence. This is not made up. This is not an anecdotal theory of how somebody sees a war on TV. This is a subject that has been extensively studied through testing. I am not saying that the kids who read The Dark Knight will become murderers, although they may give up on comics presenting them with any kind of intelligent and logical story. But it does present a world that is not in tune with what they see and what they are taught is appropriate for working through problem solving and decision making. It can over time make kids think that the world works differently from what they see. And to get back to Hurwitz, the problem with comparing his work with the teen novels that present the tough, hard and sometime violent side of life is that his are gratuitous nonsense and the best teen novels do present a more intelligent and worldly depiction of the fears and problems of young lives. Comics are not aimed at kids anymore, and a lot of them are not aimed at anyone other than those that have bought into the ultra noire esthetic. The Catwoman head shot is not only a graphic gratuitous death scene (and insulting because no one thinks she is gone) but also a lazy plot devise where the desire to make a splash has overtaken the desire to write a good story.

Posted by Girth

I think a big driver of comics being more adult are the movies. For a whole decade more and more adults have been going to see the superhero movies. The comic industry saw this and decided to make their stories a little more darker and grittier. Now there are still some comics meant for kids , but that number has shrunk.

Posted by akbogert

Comics are definitely not for kids. I keep repeating that to my friends who have young kids and let them borrow graphic novels from their school library unsupervised.

Comic book deaths are so cheap and ridiculous though. So much that people are not even going to blink when these 'dead' characters immediately get up like Wile E Coyote after he gets hit by an anvil.

I'd hope that slapstick entertainment wouldn't have been passed off to children had it been as gratuitous as comics tend to be. If Wile E & Roadrunner or Tom & Jerry involved blood and dismemberment I don't think the ridiculousness of it would make it any less offensive.

Posted by manwithoutshame

@reignmaker: I agree with you on principle but 7 year old kids aren't buying comics. Marvel and DC have to tailor their products to the people who pay every week to keep up with their favorite characters, and that's mostly adults.

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