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Do Politics In Comics Alienate Readers?

Is there a place for politics in comic books, or is it a subject that should not be discussed?

I can't recall when I first heard it, perhaps because it made so much sense or because I first heard it so long ago; but I remember hearing that if you want to prevent an argument with someone, you should stay away from three subjects: religion, politics and sex. Unfortunately, these are the three most interesting things to discuss! Joking aside though, there is a lot of truth to that wise little phrase.

While the idea of "sex" in comics isn't "new" by any stretch of the imagination, politics and religion are by far, the touchier subjects of the three. While sex can serve to shock audiences, I would venture to say that it (as a subject) may not necessarily alienate reader; at least not in the way politics might. We see sex in comics a lot (just look at all the discussions we've been having recently) but religious and political discussions and commentary are subjects that comic book readers are exposed to a lot less frequently when they read comics, so when they do happen to take place, they can come across as incredibly shocking. Politics in comics is a very, very touchy subject, and that could be because it can be interpreted in so many different ways -- but is it a subject that should be "off limits" to writers, or is it something that writers can use to draw in readers and entertain their audiences? Do politics in comics alienate readers?

== TEASER ==

The most recent example of a political reference in a comic book was when a direct reference to the Tea Party (an actual conservative group) appeared in Captain America #602. The Tea Party, which is a real political movement in the United States became offended and the conservative community retaliated. Fox News claimed that labeling the protestors as "Tea Party" "[made] patriotic Americans into your newest super villains." Whether this is true or not is based on your perception of the issue. However, the uproar forced Marvel's former Chief Editor to apologize on behalf of the error, and promise to strip it from all future reprints of the story.

Many would see the appearance of the Tea Party in this particular issue as a way of acknowledging the current state of the American political system. It was as if to say yes, the conservative Tea Party exists and they are important to the current state of American politics -- that doesn't necessarily make it a criticism of conservatives or the Tea Party movement. In fact, this wouldn't be the first time that current American politics have crossed into a Captain America story.

During World War II, Captain America fought the Nazis, during the Cold War he fought the Russians, and etc. Politics have always heavily influenced Captain America stories because the whole premise of his character revolves around it. Many of the first Captain America appearances were a way for the creators to provide commentary on the current state of the country and the socio-political atmosphere. Does this mean that Captain America comics should steer clear of any influence of our current political atmosphere, because it might alienate readers?

Most of us who have read it would agree that V for Vendetta, written by Alan Moore, was a truly great story -- and it was extremely politically charged. However, unless you know anything about Alan Moore, you might not guess that V for Vendetta wasn't only a story about a masked revolutionary who stands up to a totalitarian regime; it's also Moore's commentary on what he truly believes is the best form of government: anarchism. Now, you can choose to read this classic graphic novel two different ways: one, can you read it for what it is, a great story; or you can read it with the thought that Moore very seriously believes that anarchism is the solution to all of our political problems.

"Anarchy is a romance. It's clearly the best way and the only morally sensible way to run the world. Everyone should be the masters of their own destinies. Everyone should be their own leader."

Even if you don't necessarily agree with Moore's ideas and political philosophy, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a great story, right? Some of the best stories have been birthed from political concepts like V For Vendetta, for example, which deals tells the story of an anarchist (V) who is trying to overthrow a totalitarian government. Moore, we should mention, is a self proclaimed anarchist.

Another example of stories that use political concepts and integrate them into their plot-lines are Judge Dredd comics. Judge Dredd is set in a dystopian future where what is left of the world is being patrolled by an oppressive political system. Several Judge Dredd story lines like Robot Wars (Progs 10-17) and The Devil You Know (Progs 750-756) are extremely politically charged; so much so that the entire premise of these stories is based on revolution and the overthrow of a political system.

Does that mean that we should take these books seriously, or should we simply view them as socio-political commentary? Superman Red Son is another example of the influence politics can have on a comic book. What would Superman be like had he been raised in Communist U.S.S.R.?

When creators inject their personal political beliefs directly, it can become a problem; but Alan Moore did this exact thing in V For Vendetta, and he gave us a great story. So is it possible to for politics to exist in comics without causing such a stir? What do you think? Do you want politics in your comics, or would you rather leave them out of it?

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Posted by marvelman93

I totally agree with black hood on his comment, In my opinion I don't mind comics with politics but it would be nice if they weren't always liberal like is there any mainstream comic that is pro conservative and with all the tea party stuff I ve been to a tea party rally it wasn't that bad I didn't here any racist stuff if all you belief is what you see on CNN then your not giving them a fare opiion.

Posted by SuperXAsh

My problem with political issues in comics is that they tend to be really... well... mishandled. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of actual discourse, and more along the lines of a SOAPBOX.

Posted by Fantasgasmic
Posted by thephantomstranger

@zzax said:

I think perhaps politics can alienate readers. There are examples where I know my enjoyment has been negatively influenced by the politics underlying the story.

However, I am not sure this is a horrible thing. You know what else alienates readers? Boring lifeless storytelling. While politically influenced comics do not necessarily constitute exciting or substantive, I would much rather a comic try to have a message that might alienate me than have no message at all. While I am not sure I want all my comics to become political commentary, I think there is room in the industry for a balance between pure entertainment and social commentary.

This ^^^^

Also if you can integrate politics and viewpoints into a story without giving one "side" more positive a view then another then you only offending idiots. Also almost anything that's written well works...doesn't matter if it's giant transforming robots or radiated mutants or political interpretations.

Edited by TheBlackHood

@AlexDM said:

@TheBlackHood: I'm sorry, what does that have to do with signs? And where did you get "intolerant" from?

You said:

"That panel is a flattering picture of Tea Partiers. Photos I've seen show poorer sign-making and English Language skills. Also, that cowardice from Marvel has alienated me."

Obviously you dislike and disagree with what the Tea Party is all about. I am not totally sold on their message either but I didn't stoop to attacking their intelligence.

Intolerance: noun. 1.lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.

So basically since you don't respect their beliefs you attack their character and intelligence as a group. I just find that to often be the case with the liberal left.

Posted by stambo42

Politics are present in any work whether intended or not. If a work makes any statement on anything, it has at least passively entered into pre-existing political dialogues. The fantasy of a superhero is politically charged even when stripped of every convention short of the basic definition... as are non powered heroes. The differences between Luchadore good guys (fancy moves and polish) and the heroes in American wrestling (salt of the earth brawlers) passively reflect on the dominant brands of Christianity present in their respective founding religious/national character- Spanish Catholicism vs. English Protestantism. History is political, culture is political. Even non-objective work needs to decide to avoid representation, and there are a couple of different reasons for this. Any way you slice it, it's hard to consider the rejection of form an apolitical act (especially when it desperately aims for this).

The debate comes down to the responsibility of conscious responses to the political frames in which the work (a comic in this case) already exists. Most work with a bit of maturity is self aware and must decide whether politics are a background fact, the driving force of the work, or somewhere in between. I tend to favor the idea that the difference between art and propaganda is that rather than telling you who or what is right, art frames a problem, respecting the viewer enough to let them form their own opinions on the matter. When comics wish to aim high, they end up engaging this.

I think it needs to be acknowledged that V is not a hero. He is an angry, ugly person who's actions are motivated by selfish retribution. He just happens to find himself in a place, by unintended design, to play a role in the overthrow of a totalitarian government. The comic is pretty clear that he is not motivated by idealism, he merely used it as a public face. The fact that V the revolutionary is as ugly inside as the Fascist monsters that spawned him is what makes V for Vendetta a mature and accomplished work, as opposed to the film, which is a mixture of fantasy and ambiguous leftist propaganda.

There is a great Moore interview where he addresses the argument that in an anarchist system, the biggest gangs would just take over. His reply is that we do currently live in an anarchist system, just not a very good one.

Posted by Superguy0009e

anyone want to start a thread on this? idk, really let your emotions on politics in the real world and comics let out? iwould def be down for that

Posted by moywar700

I'm saving the picture of communist superman that's on the hompage

The picture is just to too clever

Posted by Saren

Red Son was terrific.

Moderator
Posted by Darkmount1

*Sigh*. This has been touched upon in a LOT of stories. I think it goes far back as Steve Ditko's years on the Question. His Ayn Rand-based beliefs were always present in the old Question stories, same with his similar creation Mr. A. Probably best known from the Big Two are the Captain America "Secret Empire" story arc and Civil War. DC had that miniseries from '08, "DC Universe: Decisions", but I imagine it was not well recieved, right? Someone care to clarify? 
 
In terms of the question, I'd say keep them out of comics as much as possible, until there's a proper occasion to use them in a metaphorical sense. That's my take. But then again, I'm mostly centrist. If this was a four-player free-for-all Street Fighter II match, and my opponents included a liberal, conservative, and someone else (insert anarchist or tea partier, or something), I'd make it my goal to take 'em all out with one hadouken and one shoryuken each. 
 
What do you call someone without any political beliefs at all?
Posted by Jamiracles

Babs is just on point this week.

I think politics in comics is just like politics in anything. Its going to alienate somebody. No one person is ever going to say something that everyone can agree on.

At the end of the day people are going to hear what they want to hear. If they want a book thats going to defend their political beliefs (like Anarchy) they're going to seek that book out to justify their views. But in mainstream books politics are a way to shoot yourself in the foot if you're a writer. You're writing to the masses. No one wants to hear the Spider-Man they've identified with for years reveal to the world hes a Tea Partyer. Not only that but what happens if other writers are extremely against that political perspective? Its just a hot mess.

Personally i'm all for reading and witnessing risks like that though.

Posted by JPJordan

In my mainstream comics I absolutely detest anytime real world politics come into the story at all. I don't want any of that when I'm just trying to enjoy my weekly comics.

However, I don't mind if the comic was created specifically for that purpose, such as V for Vendetta, because then I'm buying this comic knowing what I'm getting into. Just keep it out of my superhero comics!

Posted by YukoAsho

The problem with any sort of political expression in entertainment, the author's bias is NATURALLY going to alienate people, unless the author is a master of subtlety. Why would a left-leaning individual want anything to do with Orson Scott Card's literature, for example, which nakedly depicts liberalism as a form of madness?

Politics, much like religion, is incredibly hard to do without being preachy or agenda-driven, and I'd prefer it left to the true geniuses of any medium.

Posted by YukoAsho

@Darkmount1 said:

What do you call someone without any political beliefs at all?

Centrist sounds about right.

Posted by Malonius

Socio-political commentary is a huge part of science fiction. It's about taking some aspect of human nature or culture to an extreme to explore the ideas in a different light. Marvel Comics has always had socio-political analogy as part of its background. So did Star Trek: TOS and DS9. Battlestar Galactica. Ender's Game, Starship Troopers, Gundam.....

Posted by HexThis

Awh, the Tea Party was portrayed unfavorably in a panel on a comic strip, somebody get a tissue box! If Captain America doesn't do it history quite simply will particularly with their collective bigotry towards the gay population...that's more offensive and cruel than some comic strip rendering.

Posted by Stompa

I think there is no problem with politics in comics as long as it is not discriminiating against anybody....no one has a problem when celeberties are mentioned in a comic so i have no problem with political ideas mentioned and used in comics.

Posted by No_Name_

@Fantasgasmic said:

Nice article Babs. I'm waiting for the followup about religious themes in comics. Maybe Batman: Holy Terror, JLA: Act of God, or Lucifer.

Great idea! Maybe I'll have to save that one for next week.

Thank you, and thanks for reading :)

Posted by Shadow_Thief

I'm fine with it when it makes sense within the greater continuity of the comic in question. When it becomes obvious that the story was basically rerouted so someone could push some kind of agenda, I get annoyed.

Posted by Sky_Jokiel

Writers create every story with some personal connection or inspiration... and if its their view on current future or past politics there should be no harm done... If you don't like the story then don't read it... It's just like the news... Should the news stop printing articles that reflect political parties in a negative way because it might effect their votes.... HELL NO... we live in a free country so we can express out thoughts and our beliefs and when it comes down to it that is what every comic book writer is doing... expressing their ideas through the stories of a hero (anti hero or villain)... We need personal influence in comics to have a truly creative piece and not socially acceptable main stream stories

Edited by Massagingmytemples

Hi Sara,

I mentioned this topic in an email I wrote to you and you were nice enough to reply. In answer to your question, I really don't see how you CANNOT keep politics out of certain comics. (Maybe with exception to Deadpool and Duck Tales of course. :D)

Here's a good example. I loved reading the Batman Knightfall Saga, and a few years ago I learned that Chuck Dixon was a real right wing homophobe. That really disappointed me, and now that I'm reading old trade paperbacks I try to see the artist in the art. (It's not too hard to find Machismo, ends justifies the means Jack Bauer kind of storytelling in comics these days.) Do I still think Knightfall was a great storyline? Absolutely. Will I be more conscious of a writers themes because of politics? Of course.

Here's a YouTube of Liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. Listen to her love of Graphic Novels, her reluctance to explain why she reads them, and her open-mindedness of reading more conservative titles.

http://www.youtube.com/user/ProgressiveOasis#p/f/23/IAPPBBkTT0k

If you're writing an agenda or propaganda then comics ceases being entertainment and becomes political punditry. But comic books have to power to make us aware of of corruption in government and corporate institutions, the power of an elite few versus the power of the people, or the struggle between the gods in the sky and mere mortals.

I'll write something more extensive about this on my blog.

Oh, and incidentally, the Tea Party doesn't need Captain American making fun of them. They have that well covered.

Edited by JonesDeini

@Daveyo520 said:

If they are politics you don't agree with, yes.

Indeed I think that more than any other thing is the crux of this issue. I've heard Cerebus is brilliant, but many will also judge the series based upon their disdain for Sim's political/philosophical/religious ideologies which permeate the work.

@TheBlackHood said:

I tend to think that politics do alienate SOME readers because the majority of comic creators seem to hail from one particular political outlook. I suspect that the majority of comic fans are also pretty liberal leaning which means including this type of political outlook in a book panders to your target audience. On the other hand, I tend to be somewhat conservative on a number of subjects, so I do tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to my politics being shown in a positive.

I mentioned before how I was shocked during the first part of the new "Mister Terrific" because they had Terrific working with a conservative Senator. My surprise quickly became a feeling of "I should have known that was coming" when Terrific flips out at the end of the issue and accuses the Republican of being a demon incarnate.

Personally I find that politics are best left to comics LIKE: V for Vendetta where it is the subject matter. Of course there are certain characters that I am fine with addressing politics because they where their affiliation on their sleeve as part of their character:

Green Arrow = Massive Liberal

Punisher = Eye for an Eye Conservative

The problem is that since most comic writers are fairly liberal, they tend to make their protagonists match their own affiliation and the antagonists match what they disagree with. What happens is that Conservatives are often cast as evil when they simply have different ideals.

Tabernacle preach, folk. Excellently said!!! I'm more liberal generally speaking but I think in regards to Cape comics and most books by the Big Two politics isn't handled very well or fairly.

Posted by Utandi

Great article!

Edited by Sammo21

I can take hearing a different political slant (as I am more conservative and libertarian)...hell, I hear it 99% of the time. Typically it doesn't make me angry (or excited if it's something I would agree with), but the last time it did was with Captain America and it's completely BS representation of what is without a doubt supposed to be Tea Party members. Not only are they shown as an ignorant mob but they are also shown as being kind of racist, which is such a pathetic and untrue meme at this point that it might as well be up there with "birthers" and "truthers". That was the last time I was fully conscious of the political slant being fed to me and it caused me to hate the entire storyline (which was the weakest Brubaker's done since taking the reins of Cap).

Was about as ridiculous as how border patrol people were treated in season 2 of Heroes in one of the earlier episodes. Dumb.

Posted by olcottr

I believe V for Vendetta worked so well because Alan Moore used his own character. With established characters, many readers have formed their own opinions on what they want to see in their comic appearances.

Posted by Eyz

Readers should be taken like babies, with kids gloves 'n' all.

If they'd get "traumatized" to the point of being alienated, they should be reading such books in the first place and go back watching some TV reality instead :P

'nuff said!

Posted by The Devil Tiger

Wrong question. babs : 
The real one is this : Is it possible to do interesting comics without political ?  
 
It's surely possible, but not easy. Especially in the case of Captain America, Superman and the X-men. Even in the most optimistic and goody-goody approache, it will have a political undertone and someone will end offended or alienated.
 

Posted by AlexDM

@TheBlackHood: I pointed out an amusing difference between the quality of the signs in real life and in Captain America. You turned a comment on English and sign-making skills into an attack on a group's intelligence so you could build a straw man of the left in America to cast it as a member of the thought police. I'm not American, didn't express any political views, and don't confuse writing skills with intelligence.

Posted by MetropolisKid41
@olcottr
I agree very well said. 
 
 
I think most of the good comics do have somewhat of a politcal lean to them, but they seem to be based more on a certain social issue, which makes them successful, in my opinion they go wrong when they start embracing a full political view or agenda instead of just the one issue. I guess I view myself as fairly moderate with a conservative lean, so when books or characters don't just tackle an issue but instead start an entire campaign for the liberal agenda it alienates me or I guess for a better term makes me uninterested in the story. I guess the best example I can think of would be Ultra-Liberal Oliver Queen at times during his "life" he has been written as a very loud liberal, which unless it was in a book where he was countered by a Conservative space-cop Hal Jordan was a little much imo. 
 
However, stories like V for Vendetta, Superman Red Son, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, etc are awesome.
Posted by Mattersuit

Also, Nikolai Dante. That pretty much involves the titular character overthrowing a (I think) totalitarian regime, and then setting up his own government.

Posted by MakoaWolf

@Babs:

I think, as some others have pointed out, it all depends on the writing. V for Vendetta was a fantastic book, with equally fantastic writing, but it was also the product of its times. I, for one, do not feel alienated by politics. However, if for some reason I get early warning signs that a given book may not be for me -- I just don't buy it. Some titles, like V, are classics of the field, and should simply be read for the sake of reading them. Even The Watchmen, for all that it is superheroes in gritty realism, was fairly political. The very end is political, what is Rorschach's line, "What's one more body in the foundations of your utopia?" I paraphrase, but I think it's enough. The politics are there, its just not always as blatant as Red Son.

Posted by Shieldbearer

@punisher131313: I agree with the agree'ers.

Posted by No_Name_

@Massagingmytemples: Thank you for that email! :) I'll have to check out that link with Rachel, I really like her (even if I don't agree with everything she believes in/says). Looking forward to reading your blog about it!

Posted by nolelantern

If you are a conservative Republican, you just have to accept the fact that most of the comics you read are written by folks with a predominantly liberal bias. George Perez makes Galaxy Communications an evil entity, and he not too subtly compares it to Fox News in Superman #1. Alex Ross makes George W Bush a vampire sucking the blood out of the Statue of Liberty, and paints Obama like Clark Kent changing into Superman. These comic book companies want to increase readership? Cut out the political crap.

Edited by FalcomAdol

Most of the best comics of the 60s and 70s are either overtly political or are set against political backgrounds. You just don't think of them as being political now because we weren't alive during the 60s during this period of social change.

Go back to X-Men, Black Panther, Captain America/Falcon, Amazing Spider-man (all inspired if not scripted by Stan Lee, and influenced by his political and social views), Man-Thing and Howard the Duck (Steve Gerber), Green Lantern/Green Arrow (Denny O'Neil)...

Without these comics, the medium would either still be reserved for children or it would be dead now.

Of course the republicans in the room just want more gun-toting meat-eating non-thinking characters. Rob Liefeld thanks you for his continued career.

Posted by kennybaese

Politics, I think, make a ton of sense in Marvel comics and next to none in DC, though that might change some with the New 52. Marvel comics have always need quite a bit more grounded and, as a result, political. DC has always been much more cosmic and mythological.

I think, even if you don't take sides, acknowledging political movements in a Marvel comic, especially in something like Captain America, makes sense. Comics, as much as their characters can be timeless, are most times a product of their times. Politics, especially in America, are a big part of life and a person's identity. Acknowledging them, without necessarily commenting on them, or making them a part of a character's personality, can be interesting.

Posted by Nova`Prime`

To me it really depends on the character. Another concern of mine is as a writer can you be objective with other view points that don't fall in line with yours. In that I mean if you're writing about a conservative topic do you make a sound objective statement about it or do you make said conservative character sound like an ignorant bigot, but the same can be for a liberal characters point of view, can you make them sound objective. I really think its in the hands of the writers to look in the mirror and ask themselves those questions and if they can't they shouldn't be writing about it.

Also to one of your final questions Sara I have to say I don't think politics should be used to draw in new readers, how often does that work. If the story calls for it and the writer can handle it like an adult I don't see the harm but if they can't and just want to use said character as a mount piece for their political views then they shouldn't and that when the editors need to step in and reign them in.

Posted by Fantasgasmic

@Babs said:

@Fantasgasmic said:

Nice article Babs. I'm waiting for the followup about religious themes in comics. Maybe Batman: Holy Terror, JLA: Act of God, or Lucifer.

Great idea! Maybe I'll have to save that one for next week.

Thank you, and thanks for reading :)

I forgot to mention The 99, an Islamic themed superhero team. That and JLA: Act of God is a pretty bad story, so it can't fall back on a good story if readers start to feel preached to.

Posted by Neuron

The comic book is just a medium. Any message is fair game for any medium; if people don't want it, they won't buy it. Stories that are heavy-handed are bad stories. Stories that are thought-provoking and provide a new way of looking at an issue are good stories.

Posted by No_Name_

@Fantasgasmic said:

@Babs said:

@Fantasgasmic said:

Nice article Babs. I'm waiting for the followup about religious themes in comics. Maybe Batman: Holy Terror, JLA: Act of God, or Lucifer.

Great idea! Maybe I'll have to save that one for next week.

Thank you, and thanks for reading :)

I forgot to mention The 99, an Islamic themed superhero team. That and JLA: Act of God is a pretty bad story, so it can't fall back on a good story if readers start to feel preached to.

I remember reading the first issue of the 99 and the JLA cross-over, and while the idea was there and good, the execution was way off. Some people liked it, but I did not.

Edited by Maxmachine

While some comic book readers might find politics a bit too much, i do believe some of the best comic books/graphic novels are entirely political.

V for Vendetta is one. By the way, it's my favorite comic book.

The Dark Knight Returns is very political, the early Frank Miller was heavily political. Born Again, Give me liberty, Ronin... they all had something to do with politics.

I do believe politics should be adressed in comic books as long as they are taken seriously and not just for propaganda.

Posted by Mercy_
@TheBlackHood

I tend to think that politics do alienate SOME readers because the majority of comic creators seem to hail from one particular political outlook. I suspect that the majority of comic fans are also pretty liberal leaning which means including this type of political outlook in a book panders to your target audience. On the other hand, I tend to be somewhat conservative on a number of subjects, so I do tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to my politics being shown in a positive.

I mentioned before how I was shocked during the first part of the new "Mister Terrific" because they had Terrific working with a conservative Senator. My surprise quickly became a feeling of "I should have known that was coming" when Terrific flips out at the end of the issue and accuses the Republican of being a demon incarnate.

Personally I find that politics are best left to comics LIKE: V for Vendetta where it is the subject matter. Of course there are certain characters that I am fine with addressing politics because they where their affiliation on their sleeve as part of their character:

Green Arrow = Massive Liberal

Punisher = Eye for an Eye Conservative

The problem is that since most comic writers are fairly liberal, they tend to make their protagonists match their own affiliation and the antagonists match what they disagree with. What happens is that Conservatives are often cast as evil when they simply have different ideals.

Very well said.
Moderator
Posted by GrimmThing

I prefer writers not use mainstream comic book characters as a vehicle for their political beliefs. Although if a certain political belief system has been a consistent part of a characters history I think that is fine but it obviously appeals to a certain demographic of readers alienating some and will have a direct impact on sales.

Edited by Wattup

I think this is one of the problems of the comic book internet community. Now, don't get me wrong, it's funky cool that we have this resource but one of the web's fallacies is that now we know more about the artists and writers than we previously did and that causes many knee-jerk reactions to their work. I don't care that if Dixon, Miller or whoever are conservatives because their work will never result in me hating gays or supporting armed conflict in the Middle East. I love Alan Moore's work but can't really see myself supporting full-out anarchism, either.

I think part of the historically political elements that both Marvel and DC did in their books spring from them being headquartered in a liberal region like New York City and were often a sign of the times with certain political upheaval. But now that both companies are owned big conglomerates, any political tone is definitely neutered. It's no wonder the best political comics are done by indie companies nowadays.

That being said, I just want to read GOOD comic book stories, darn it. And I'd like to believe that most comic book readers are intelligent enough to know the difference between a deftly woven politically-oriented story and full-out propaganda. At least, I HOPE they are.

I expect a new Civil War event to start imminently where Captain America and Iron Man tear the Marvel universe apart when they start arguing about the Occupy Wall Street movement!

Posted by HombreMan

Hitler vs Stalin:

Posted by Gylan Thomas

Seems an odd question to me.

Comics are a story telling medium. Like movies, novels and TV. Do movies, TV shows or books with political storylines alienate the audience? No.

If anything it adds diversity to the medium.

Edited by Timandm

@Babs: So is it possible to for politics to exist in comics without causing such a stir?

Absolutely. However, it's also possible that it will cause a stir.

Do you want politics in your comics, or would you rather leave them out of it?

IN please... Definitely in... There is simply no way to make a decent comic story that doesn't tick someone off on some level if people take it too personally. Imagine trying to write a story which MUST have some sort of conflict which does not in some way offend or tick off:

  • Religious groups. Christians, Muslims, Buddhists.... In fact, if you have Olympians or Asgardians or Demons, then somewhere in the world there's a religious group of people who are unhappy about it.
  • Extremists groups / terrorists / freedom fighters... Most of those who strap bombs to their bodies and run into a crowd of people to kill many and, in turn, earn their way into paradise do not see themselves as evil terrorists; Rather, they see themselves as Freedom Fighters... Presenting them as the evil twisted prats that they are, I'm sure offends them...
  • As you alluded to, if you have a favorite female character who turns into a sort of emotionally promiscuous sex feen, then lots of people are going to get offended.
  • Portray any world leader in an unfavorable light, and SOMEWHERE in the world SOMEONE is offended...
  • Don't put enough of someone's race in the comics - someone is offended
  • Have a character of a minority race who isn't exactly admirable (that's a euphemism) - someone is offended.
  • Have a female to scantily clad - someone is offended
  • Have a female who acts like a prude - someone is offended...
  • on and on and on and on and on....

It's ridiculous but it IS life...

For those who get angry with Mr. Moore's opinion on anarchy, I remind them about one of our most beloved presidents... Thomas Jefferson who said,

God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion. The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty

@hitechlolife said:

I'm interested in broader political topics being discussed in comics but it's hard not to cringe when a writer tries to do their take on the given charged, political talking point of the day. For example a recent Nick Spencer penned Secret Avengers had the Avengers take down an apparent wikileaks analogy ( Cap punches it in the face.).

Wow... what issue was that? I stopped reading secret avengers for a while...

Posted by Osiris1428

Yes, politics can alienate reads. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. When you talk about race, politics, sex, religion, yes, people can be turned off. Even if it is well written.

Posted by RedOwl_1

Honestly, I'm going to be simple: Whatever you do always is going to be someone who disappoints you

Posted by _i_am_jp

It's not about the subject matter, it's about how it's handled and told

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