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Brutally Honest: What's Up With Naked Thor?!

Does the industry need to re-evaluate comic book ratings?

  
  

    
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? 
227 Comments
Edited by LittleSocrates

...whoah. If I'd been a kid reading Thor, I'd be surprised. And more kids are probably reading Thor with that new movie coming out.


EDIT: Though as a Teen comic, I think that's actually okay. There's more graphic content on Sunday Night ABC than there is here, and the same goes for episodes of The Simpsons. Are you saying you probably wouldn't let a 13-year old watch The Simpsons?
Edited by EdwardWindsor

A universal system is a good way of keping things simple and making it simple for people in terms of potential content. As for the teen rating i would say that scene was in some ways more graphic than the sex and violence scene (Domino and Wolverine) and that issue while also quite gorey was a Parental Advisory.

Edited by The Lobster

Uncanny X-Force is a "Parental Advisory" rating.


So says the little bar code thingy.
Posted by EdwardWindsor
@The Lobster : Sex and Violence Arc has nothing to do with uncanny xforce different members and different team behind it. But your correct about the Parental advisory part thats my bad.
Posted by Overlander

Kudos to G-Man for being a responsible parent!
Also, kudos to Sara for calling out poor ratings.

This is why my kids don't watch or read anything before my wife or I have reviewed it first. Helping them understand content and right and wrong in society and the consequences of actions is what responsible parenting is about. If the publishers want to help parents raise a new generation of readers, they need to be better about self-policing.

Posted by Shieldbearer

With as many teen pregnancies these days, I am sure teenagers are not as surprised as children of the 70s or 80s may have been. Also Sex Education is starting younger and younger these days.

The president is even suggesting Sex Education in some form to start as early as Kindergarten. If you don't believe me, check out this link from the Washington Post.

 http://voices.washingtonpost.com/parenting/2008/09/sex_ed_how_early_how_detailed.html

Now is it right and moral to do so? I would gravely say no, but the moral climate is changing amongst many things these days. What was once sacred is now giving rise to the hedonistic lifestyles projected on the youth. Believe me "restraint" and "discipline" is not the way of the future but of the past as conservative values give way to liberal ones.

Posted by Jost1

How is this out of line at all? It's adult subject matter MAYBE but with what's available online today how is this even remotely anything to worry about? I'd have no qualms whatsoever about letting a 13 year old read this.

Maybe it's just Americans who worry about stuff like that.

Posted by InnerVenom123

ROFL! Thor's hammer is just shooting sparks tonight, I see?

Posted by The Lobster
@lazystudent:  I know.

I was referring to what Babs said in the video, her and Tony couldn't decide what the rating was in Rick Remender's Uncanny X-Force series.
Posted by EdwardWindsor
@The Lobster :  My bad once again then dude, just ignore me iam clearly alittle crazy right now
Posted by EnSabahNurX

I'm agreeing with babs on this and believe its a little too explicit. It's not just the art but the dialogue that pushes it even further I'd say its mature content not T+

Besides if they were going to use that dialogue the scene should have been more suggestive that blatant, because it showed and said too much, at least have them wrapped in a sheet instead of awkward shadows
Posted by No_Name_
@The Lobster : I indicated that in the beginning of the video. And in the article. 
Posted by sj_esposito

Sarah, I see where you're coming from but I disagree with you; I think that type of dialogue is perfectly within the boundaries set by the rating system.

T+ is for readers 16 and older -- that means late-teenagers -- and it states that it may contain suggestive themes. That's exactly what this dialogue is, suggestive.

Now, I'm not saying this is appropriate for a Thor comic that is most likely going to be read by at least some younger readers, but for readers 16 and older, it's fine.

Posted by The Lobster
@lazystudent:  No problem man, everyone make's mistakes. Plus it's kinda hard to figure out who's talking to who sometimes on this site. A lot of new members don't even know how to use the reply or quote buttons.
Posted by Jost1
@EnSabahNurX: Explain to me how it's even remotely unsuitable for teenagers.  Is this the 1950s?
Posted by EdwardWindsor
@The Lobster :  true that lol
Posted by Jost1

Do people want to go back to the days of the Comics Code or what?

Posted by SC

Lol, what? Last arc had blood raining from the sky and mass genocide, killing, throat slashing so eyes almost popped out. I dunno. Violence is even more blatant ain't it? No? Yeah? For me its just a matter of gratuity, and imbalance gender wise that could be an issue. Violence wise and nudity and sexual overtones. Flicking though, everything seems okay to me. A bit cheesecakey? Pretty organically though (like the time Volstagg was sans shirt!) 


I see worse stuff everywhere else. I use to be a 13 year old boy too, before the accident (long story) wouldn't have really made me or any of my friends notice any more or less. 

...is this a movie tie in thread....? Maybe its a country thing... 
Moderator
Posted by Evpraksiya

Does the industry need to re-evaluate comic book ratings?


it's like with WW... EPIC SHIT 
Edited by The Lobster
@Babs:  Whoopsie, my bad. Wait a minute....Uncanny X-Force is a mature comic, but it seems so tamed. What with Wolverine calling Deadpool a "Ding Dong" instead of something else.
Posted by No_Name_
@sEsposito7 said:
" Sarah, I see where you're coming from but I disagree with you; I think that type of dialogue is perfectly within the boundaries set by the rating system.T+ is for readers 16 and older -- that means late-teenagers -- and it states that it may contain suggestive themes. That's exactly what this dialogue is, suggestive.Now, I'm not saying this is appropriate for a Thor comic that is most likely going to be read by at least some younger readers, but for readers 16 and older, it's fine. "
And I totally respect your opinion! I guess I was a little shocked to see that scene in a comic that didn't have a "Parental Advisory" rating, is all. However, while the dialogue is indeed suggestive, there is still a little bit of nudity! I don't know, that's just my opinion. It's interesting to see where everyone is coming from though. :)
Posted by Jost1

Even for 13 year olds this is absolutely acceptable. In fact I would encourage more of this sort of thing for young readers. I mean why is it dangerous to show this, when it's fine to have violence in every third panel?

Posted by No_Name_

I think the issue is less about what's IN the comic, and more about a "universal rating" that all publishers would use across the board- just like in movies, video games and television. 

Posted by Kenjav

 "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"

Wow. Really!? What about the creators' work being censored by networks, like that Buffy episode about a school shooting (which if you've seen, delivers an important and sensitive message), or waiting months for a 'Director's cut' to be released to DVD to fully appreciate a film because it was hacked by the studio to conform to the censors' demands? No way.

If something, this should serve to shut people whining about Disney buying Marvel, and fearing that all would be toned down and made family-friendly (that is not the issue here, I know, but I just want to say: where are you people now, huh!?)

So, yeah, I think that is a terrible idea.

Posted by Neuron

Certainly there wasn't anything here that a 16+ old person couldn't handle.  It seems to fall squarely into "graphic imagery" and "suggestive themes".  I could think of much more graphic visuals and language that would be more apt to fall under the Mature rating.

In response to the ending question, sure, a universal video game style rating system certainly makes sense.  I know I would appreciate it.

Hey, isn't this a family site??!  Why are you showing Teen+ material on a site that might have kids on it?!   /s

Posted by Jost1

There are no ratings for books, and there probably shouldn't be any for comics.

And in an ideal world, no ratings for film either.

Posted by Aiden Cross

Personally, i don't see the harm in it.

Edited by ArtisticNeedham

I agree with you Sara, I have thought about that lately too.  There was a Spider-man Comic, not sure if it was an all ages comic, or marked as a Teen comic, or mature, but Spider-Man is something every kid would gravitate to.  Anyway, a guy gets his head chopped off right there on the page, not off panel or obscured but cut right off.
And the sexual content is getting pretty out there too, like in this Thor comic.  And if I was 13, I doubt my parents would let me get that, but maybe a little older I would.
It makes me actually wonder,
What comics are out there that are actually all age comics?  What could any little kid read?
I was talking to my mom the other day about maybe donating some old comics to a children's hospital and she said I wouldn't be able to because of the sex and violence.

Anyway, shameless plug, my comic Monkey Boy is trying to be an all ages comic.  It want it to be suitable for all ages, like the old Marvel comics where its written for adults, but safe for children to read.






maybe comics should just adopt the movie rating system, G, PG, PG-13, R, and so on?
Posted by SC
@SC said:
" Lol, what? Last arc had blood raining from the sky and mass genocide, killing, throat slashing so eyes almost popped out. I dunno. Violence is even more blatant ain't it? No? Yeah? For me its just a matter of gratuity, and imbalance gender wise that could be an issue. Violence wise and nudity and sexual overtones. Flicking though, everything seems okay to me. A bit cheesecakey? Pretty organically though (like the time Volstagg was sans shirt!) 

I see worse stuff everywhere else. I use to be a 13 year old boy too, before the accident (long story) wouldn't have really made me or any of my friends notice any more or less. 

...is this a movie tie in thread....? Maybe its a country thing... "

Thanos Imperative was T, had him nude at one point in berserker rage and killing people! (or was it GOTG... which was T too?...) lol 

Astonishing Thor actually had the act in it (but you know, they were up in the sky far away so not details could be made) though dialogue was specific.. that was T... 

Moderator
Posted by -Vigil-

I would love a global rating system for comics, and the external oversight would mean the ratings could actually be trusted. I've run into similar problems myself. Props to you for caring about this, Babs.

 @LittleSocrates: You're correct, I wouldn't let a 13-year-old watch The Simpsons. I'm 22, and I find it too crude to watch myself.

Posted by weaponx
@sEsposito7 said:
" Sarah, I see where you're coming from but I disagree with you; I think that type of dialogue is perfectly within the boundaries set by the rating system.T+ is for readers 16 and older -- that means late-teenagers -- and it states that it may contain suggestive themes. That's exactly what this dialogue is, suggestive.Now, I'm not saying this is appropriate for a Thor comic that is most likely going to be read by at least some younger re aders, but for readers 16 and older, it's fine. "
I agree with all of this. Besides, what 13 year old is going to know what "stir" means. And if I was 13 and read the part about not being warm, I would think, hey, they are in bed and Thor is not beside her to keep her warm. No harm in that. I think what was writtien in this brutally honest write up was more implicit than what was in the comic. I was confused what was stated about the rating... so is this for 16 year olds or 13 year olds? 13... maybe a little too much for them, but not a big deal... as Tony said, they see a lot worse and hear a lot worse at school I am sure. 16... Not a problem at all.
Posted by SC
@ArtisticNeedham said:
" I agree with you Sara, I have thought about that lately too.  There was a Spider-man Comic, not sure if it was an all ages comic, or marked as a Teen comic, or mature, but Spider-Man is something every kid would gravitate to.  Anyway, a guy gets his head chopped off right there on the page, not off panel or obscured but cut right off.
And the sexual content is getting pretty out there too, like in this Thor comic.  And if I was 13, I doubt my parents would let me get that, but maybe a little older I would.
It makes me actually wonder,
What comics are out there that are actually all age comics?  What could any little kid read?
I was talking to my mom the other day about maybe donating some old comics to a children's hospital and she said I wouldn't be able to because of the sex and violence.

Anyway, shameless plug, my comic Monkey Boy is trying to be an all ages comic.  It want it to be suitable for all ages, like the old Marvel comics where its written for adults, but safe for children to read. "

LOL, wow, thats awesome. Your art? Really nice design! ^__^

Thor the Mighty Avenger was praised and fawned over and it was all ages. Some sites last yeah recommended it as Marvels best comic book. As in out of 100 books from all companies. All ages book, Thor the Mighty Avenger ranked highest. Like only 6 thousand people brought it and it got cancelled. Really sad. Hardly any sites really appreciated or recognized it too. Just a hand few of people. I brought like 3 copies myself of each issue. I guess no one actually wants all ages comics? Maybe just the idea? *shrugs* 
Moderator
Edited by JonesDeini
@sEsposito7 said:

" Sarah, I see where you're coming from but I disagree with you; I think that type of dialogue is perfectly within the boundaries set by the rating system.T+ is for readers 16 and older -- that means late-teenagers -- and it states that it may contain suggestive themes. That's exactly what this dialogue is, suggestive.Now, I'm not saying this is appropriate for a Thor comic that is most likely going to be read by at least some younger readers, but for readers 16 and older, it's fine. "

Hell, it's fine for 13 and older to me as well. The world's a changing place, and kids are far more aware of what's going on than we give them credit for. When I was 10/11ish I knew about sex and knew that when heroes hugged or kissed their girl friends that was a polite substitute for sex. People make such a huge deal out of sex and sexuality and that's what gives it so much power when really it's not that big a deal. That seen is nothing in my opinion. I got cousin's in the tweenage range who watch Degrassi, Gossip Girl, etc. all shows which deal with sexuality and sex a lot more explicitly than any comic for their age rang at the big two. I definitely wouldn't title this as a mature comic, not in the least. Preacher, The Boys, Punisher Max, Y: The Last Man, Unknown Soldier, those are mature comics with really intense imagery, dialog, and concepts. Not even X-Force is mature to me. The violence is much toned down from the Kyle/Yost run to me. 

@josty81 said:
" How is this out of line at all? It's adult subject matter MAYBE but with what's available online today how is this even remotely anything to worry about? I'd have no qualms whatsoever about letting a 13 year old read this.Maybe it's just Americans who worry about stuff like that. "
It is. Show all the violence you want, but boobies?! Egad, man, dear God no!!! Americans get really nervous about sex even if it's only hinted at. Sexual repression/obsession is a part of the universal american unconscious. Thanks puritanical protestantism!!! 
Posted by MooseyMcMan

I'm pretty sure I've seen/heard more "explicit" stuff in PG-13 movies. 


Also, G-Man's got a 13 year old kid? You're getting old, man! ;)
Edited by sj_esposito
@Babs said:

And I totally respect your opinion! I guess I was a little shocked to see that scene in a comic that didn't have a "Parental Advisory" rating, is all. However, while the dialogue is indeed suggestive, there is still a little bit of nudity! I don't know, that's just my opinion. It's interesting to see where everyone is coming from though. :) "

And I respect yours! I'm not saying it wasn't a bit suggestive... It certainly was, but not in a way that, in my opinion, was inappropriate for a 16+ audience.

But like you said, the real issue here is the rating system.
Edited by Wolverine0628


I would absolutely LOVE a rating system I could trust.  Otherwise, you have to gamble, try to judge by the author, or thumb through half of it before buying it.

 

I know there are going to be a lot of different opinions on this, though.  As a Christian, I prefer cleaner comics with a minimum of filthy language, sexual scenes, etc.    That just isn't necessary.  Take 'The Long Halloween,' for instance.  That is a very clean book, and it's arguably one of the best ever written.

Posted by aztek_the_lost

I think parents shouldn't trust rating systems and censor their own children how they see fit, that's all


back in the day my parents tried to censor my comic reading, so I just stopped letting them know what I was reading
Moderator
Posted by JoseDRiveraTCR7

Most 13 yo watch porn, so I'm sure this isn't a problem.

Posted by sj_esposito
@Wolverine0628 said:
"


I would absolutely LOVE a rating system I could trust.  Otherwise, you have to gamble, try to judge by the author, or thumb through half of it before buying it.

 

I know there are going to be a lot of different opinions on this, though.  As a Christian, I prefer cleaner comics with a minimum of filthy language, sexual scenes, etc.    That just isn't necessary.  Take 'The Long Halloween,' for instance.  That is a very clean book, and it's arguably one of the best ever written.

"
I'll agree with you on one thing: TLH is one of the best graphic novels ever published. But I don't understand how a story that involves a serial murderer -- and not the kind we usually see in comics -- is 'clean'. Why, because there are no curses or depictions of sexual themes (and I think there were some sexually-tense scenes between Selina and Bruce)? That doesn't make any sense to me. By nature, the story of TLH is not 'clean'. You said you prefer comics without vulgar language and sex, but you're alright with murder and maiming?
Posted by JonesDeini
@aztek the lost: 
Word, parents first job is to BE PARENTS. Sick of them passing the buck and saying . The "___ " industry needs to do x, y, z. for us. New Flash, their job and motivation is to make money through entertainment. It's YOUR JOB & PURPOSE is to decide what's appropriate entertainment for your kids. 

@JoseDRiveraTCR7: 
A good bit of 13 year olds are having more sex than the adults on this site...of course they're doing it stupidly due to their state mandated abstinence only education, but I won't get on that soap box...
Posted by Blindside002

Ok yeah sorry Sara but you are definitely being way to PC about this. Think about PG-13 movies, there is sex in those all of the time as long as things aren't shown and the act isn't too graphic. I'm sorry to say but it is attitudes like that which are giving power to the people who keep trying to censor stuff like Violent games and call the sex scenes in say, Mass Effect, as an offensive sex scene. That scene is fine since everyone as young as 11 would have a basic idea of what they were doing in a bed with barely any clothes on even if the scene was less graphic and the dialog was changed.

Edited by hrodvitnir

What Thor was in those panels? I only noticed Sif.

In all seriousness though, I have to agree with some of the others here, the dialog and everything is suggestive which does fall into the definition of T+, and honestly I remember when I was a kid I had some older comics from some smaller publish that didn't submit to the CCA and those were a lot racier.

Of course I also remember my first issue of X-Men, Uncanny X-Men 234 that had Madelyn Pryor running around naked in the desert for half the issue(aside for strategically placed wisps and hair), and that was approved by the CCA.  

Posted by ASLAN186

What bothers me is not the nudity or the dialogue itself, but rather the implied use of sex as a metaphor for love. Having this scene take place in the bedroom serves to represent the intimate nature of their relationship. However, what it also does is reinforce the idea that the intimacy of their relationship comes exclusively from engaging in sexual activity , and what can happen is an impressionable mind can develop the association that sex = love. While it is true that sex is perhaps the greatest expression of love, the converse is not true. So what can ultimately happen is people going through life with idea that love comes from sex and not the other way around. IE "I should have sex with this person so they will love me."
Because the stereotype of personal intimacy is so often portrayed in media through the device of sexual intercourse as we develop it is easy to get the idea that intimacy can ONLY be achieved by sex, which leads to unhealthy relationships.

Posted by The Poet

I agree. Being of a younger age than most (I still believe myself a child personally though most people consider me an adult), I can see how a scene like this might be inapropaite for young veiwers.

If the comic publishers want to have thier own regulation system (which I suport etiher way), then it would be wise of them to know what age ranges some "activities" would be alright.

Moderator
Posted by Doctor!!!!!


Thor got BUSY!!!!

We need more awesome stuff like this!!!

Posted by Vance Astro

Thor should be naked in every comic.

Moderator
Posted by TransgressionsofSociety

The world is a very weird place.  PG-13 movies have full blown sex scenes which goes to show how inaccurate ratings can get.

Posted by Amor

I think one of the easiest arguments here that hasn't been made is the fact that they have a show on MTV called "16 and Pregnant". Pretty sure 16 yr olds know that babies don't just happen and they know what it takes to make them.

Seeing as how the rating is T+ and is stated to be for 16+, not 13+ like said in the video, and in the comic nothing was explicitly stated i would say this is pretty tame.

I understand the argument for the whole universal rating system. But its more about what gets put in those mature comics that has a fairly large diversity in how explicit they get. You have people getting smacked with a horse penis in one and sex just being talked about blatantly in another.

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

wow.....now i feel even more imasculated......thanks alot Thor.

Posted by NeoMantis

The only shocking thing about this is that anybody could be shocked by it.

Sheltering your children to the point where they are not aware of the fundamentals of human reproduction at age 16 is not "responsible parenting".