It's been a while since I have done a "Brutally Honest" video/editorial because sometimes I find it hard to be "Brutally Honest" about something unless it really strikes me as being relevant. I think the issue that was brought to my attention yesterday, however, is definitely an important one, and is something we may want to take a minute to think about. I was browsing through the first issue of The Mighty Thor #1, which was released this past Wednesday, April 27th, and I noticed one particular scene that I felt was incredibly graphic. Yes, the panel is graphic in terms of the artistic depiction of the scene (which is gorgeous, by the way), but what really shocked me was the accompanying dialogue. In it, Thor and Sif are completely nude and in bed. Sif proceeds to ask Thor (in a round-about way) why he hasn't been "into her" lately. Read for yourself, below. == TEASER ==
When I read this scene it completely boggled my mind. I stopped reading the issue mid-sentence and I asked myself, "Is this a Parental Advisory rated comic"? I turned to the cover, and lo-and-behold, The Mighty Thor #1 is a "T+" comic. I admit I was sort of shocked. I honestly couldn't believe that dialogue that is that graphic would make it into a Marvel's T+! A mature, Parental Advisory comic, sure- but T+? I realized I needed a second opinion. I asked a friend of mine to only read that excerpt (he had read comics for years, but stopped consistently reading the last five years or so) and surprisingly, his reaction was the same. He too was shocked to see that scene in a comic that didn't have a mature, Parental Advisory rating. The truth is, the scene in this Marvel comic was more graphic than some of the scenes I've read in some of Marvel's Parental Advisory rated issues- like the last two issues of X-Force for example.
Back in January, DC Comics revealed that they would no longer be submitting their comics to the "Comics Code Authority," for approval; something that Marvel stopped doing back in 2001 when an issue of X-Force #119 was denied by the Authority. DC then revealed that they would be implementing their own rating system, and that it would go into effect sometime in April of 2011. The rating system is similar to the system Marvel Comics utilizes to distinguish the level of graphic nature that the reader will be subjected to.
The issue isn't whether or not comic book publishers should be printing scenes that incorporate graphic and mature content, because that's going to happen regardless; the issue is whether or not the concept of a universal rating system for comic books is something that needs to be considered by the industry. The problem with the Comics Code Authority is that it never evolved- a comic either "made the cut" or it didn't. I fully understand that in order to sell books, these publishers think they have to be "edgier" in terms of the art style and the content- but that doesn't mean they shouldn't ignore the definition of the ratings they established. The idea of having the comic book publishing industry implementing a "universal rating system" for the entire industry is not a bad one. It is something already done for films, television and video games, so why not for comics as well? What do you guys think?