39 Comments
Posted by bob808

Who cares, people need to stop complaining about to much darkness in comics. There needs to be more sex and violence in comics just because it’s not age appropriate does not mean kids can’t read them. Parents should let their kids read non- age appropriate comics (talking to you Tony). Complaining about is just so stupid so to all those people who wants lighter comics suck it up and deal with it.

Posted by G-Man

@bob808: There needs to be more sex and violence in comics? Really? And I assume you are not a parent? You are entitled to your opinion but don't worry, I won't tell you your opinion is stupid.

Posted by RazzaTazz

@g_man: Great video! I agree with what you are saying, the problem is that the industry is market driven and they still have to give the fans what they want. This is one of the reasons that I have liked Wonder Woman so much over the years, as the character has never really become about sex and violence and more about the character.

I think the best way out of this at the moment is to basically search the dollar bins for the old stuff. As you say that things aren't that superhero like these days and people also complain about the price. The obvious solution is to look to the olden years. There are a lot of great story arcs that people have never read, just because they aren't current.

Moderator
Edited by Pixel_Kaiser

Ahaha, rad, I was not expecting this to be turned into it's own Ask and Ye Shall Receive video. Humbling and exciting! Definitely an important issue to discuss. Really, I think it's important to ask "does the story really need this?" before creators add stuff like beheading and child murder and graphic depictions of sex. Maybe it moves the plot, but I think a lot can be gained from showing as little as possible. No need for it to be all out there on the page.

With comics being such a nostalgic driven industry, I think sometimes people forget that kids love a lot of these properties too. And yet I can't give my friend's son any of my Spider-Man comics; Spider-Man, of all books, isn't appropriate for kids. That's kind of messed up.

I would have probably turned out to be a pretty different person without shows like Digimon and Beast Wars, which played a big part in shaping how I view narratives and character drama. Without comics for kids to read, how are they going to grow up to be comic lovers?

As for suggesting more all-ages books for you to cover, Tony, I think the recent attention Archie's Red Circle stuff has been great. I hope it continues when they bring back New Crusaders and when they launch Waid's The Fox. Mudman from Image is also really great; it isn't even specifically labeled all-ages, but there is very little there that I'd consider inappropriate. Which, really, is how it should be done. Same goes for Paul Grist's earlier work, Jack Staff, although the first volume is hard to find these days.

Posted by dngn4774

I don't really mind the gore and sex so long as it doesn't take focus off of the plot. I agree that their definitely should be more moderation with it but it shouldn't be G rated just so we could add children to the audience. These stories are meant to be complex because problems in the world aren't so black and white anymore. Hopefully their will be artists and writers who can fill the void between kiddy books and the more controversial mainstream comics.

Posted by Danial79

I have no problem with sex and violence in comics, as long as it doesn't cross into pornography territory like the latest Saga did.

Posted by mattwing87

I don't have a problem with comics being dark and violent. I grew up with them being that way since the 90s. Our world is becoming more dark and violent now anyways with all the bombings and mass shootings. X-Men and Batman won't work that well if they are light-hearted and humorous. It works for Spider-Man though. I do have a problem with the sex in comics though. If I wanted to see sex I would have it or look at porn.

Posted by redhood21

I think society as a whole is more open and accepting towards these topics and its natural for a kind of media to follow. Im not saying we should totally leave the rails (thats why we have MAX), but i dont think were we are right now is "the line". Also as we can see tones/styles/public issues change through time and its reflected in comics like the campy 70's and ultra muscled darker 80's....so i wouldnt be blowing the whistle or consulting Dr Ruth either.

Posted by flamous1990

I completely agree with Tony. I read about half the books DC puts out and the only one i feel is ok to have my 10 year old cousin read is The Flash. I mean I understand things like the Batman family books being dark but I don't see why there can't be at least one I could lend him to read.

Posted by Aurum19

I think it's ok for kids to watch and read violence, but not sex, that's going too far.

Posted by roboadmiral

There are some books that are clearly not for kids (like X-Force, which you might have noticed had a "Mature Content" label for just this reason), but I think folks are being a bit stringent about what comics their letting their kids read. Remember that Indiana Jones and Star Wars were considered family films.

The first comic I ever read was Wolverine #163. My older brother bought it and I was about 8.

And do you know what, folks? My eight year old brain thought it was amazing. At that age, or as an adult now, I would have loved Batman's Court of Owls story or The Others Aquaman run. It is of course up to each parent to determine what they think is right for their own child, but I can think they handle more than a lot of people seem to think. After my childhood, I don't think any little boy's is complete without having seen Jaws, Jurassic Park, and Terminator 2.

Quite frankly though, these children that are being worried about don't exist. The child comic readership is next to nothing, and I bet you those who are there are reading Wolverine and not Scooby-Doo. Before we even discuss this, there needs to be a readership to actually worry about. Kids have no reason to pick up comics. They're not targeted. And it's not because the comics are made mostly for adults. How many 10 year olds own a copy of the latest Halo and Call of Duty games? How many action figures sold every time a Lord of the Rings movie came out (another prominent memory from my childhood)? Give kids a reason to want to read comics beyond that their enthusiastic, comic-reading parents want them to. Then we'll talk.

Edited by Pixel_Kaiser

@dngn4774 said:

These stories are meant to be complex because problems in the world aren't so black and white anymore.

With all due respect, I think this sort of ideology is a big part of the problem! I don't think the graphic depictions of sex and violence adds to the complexity at all. You can have mature and deep storytelling without fountains of blood and whatnot; in fact, more often than not I dare say that the violence and sex only makes it more immature.

Posted by dngn4774

@dngn4774 said:

These stories are meant to be complex because problems in the world aren't so black and white anymore.

With all due respect, I think this sort of ideology is a big part of the problem! I don't think the graphic depictions of sex and violence adds to the complexity at all. You can have mature and deep storytelling without fountains of blood and whatnot; in fact, more often than not I dare say that the violence and sex only makes it more immature.

Again, blood and sex isn't the problem. Good writers will always find a way to make good stories (even if it leads to sex and violence which it tends to do at certain points, that doesn't mean it has to). The problem is when lazier writers rely on these gimmicks solely to create enough shock value that will push book sales. It's a cheap appeal to readers that satisfies the absolute lowest levels of intellect. What I'm against is going back to swipes with no hits or black blood just so a six year old can read the same book as me. I have no problem with these things being toned down but if you take them away you might as well rewrite the story yourself. If you think the book is inappropriate for you child then don't buy them. As GMan already pointed out they're are books that are appropriate for all ages. If you buy them instead DC might take the hint.

Edited by Sufferthorn

I think the Civil War is a pretty good example of good storytelling without excessive violence and sexual content.

Stan Lee himself said that there's a big difference between Action and Violence, and I paraphrase.

Action is when the Heroes or characters are struggling and fighting to overcome their problems and adversaries, but Violence is just that, it's there for the sake of being violent. Rape, Gore and Murder is violence, and is much different from action, and isn't about morality or fighting for a better cause. It's just gross...and frankly it's disturbing. No sane comic book reader really wants to see that.

And Stan Lee never seemed to have to show such things at any point to advance his stories. Although his stories were filled with Romance, Danger, and even the Death of Spider Man's girlfriend.(That's called tragedy).

More storytelling, more action, and less Violence. That's what I say.

Posted by thenexusrebound

I think there is a fine line that needs to be walked. I can see where Tony is coming from that some stories out now are not as kid friendly. My only concern is sometimes All-ages tend to come off as simply being comical with thin plots at times. I remember reading Animorphs when it first came out and I was 11. The stories had light hearted moments but also had dark undertones, but not to the point of say the current runs of batman and such. My mom also read them with me an honestly enjoyed them. When I have kids I want all ages stories like that, not just dumbed down stories so that the fit all ages.

I remember my first comics I picked up were Dinosaurs For Hire when I was 5 or 6, and honestly the mature content went over my head and I simply thought they were cool comics since their were talking dinosaurs. Only when I got old did I realize there was a lot that I didn't understand. Another example was Blade of the Immortal that I also started reading at 11 and it is extremely violent and mature, but again I started to get drawn into the story and have been reading it for the last 16 years.

My feeling is we need middle ground comics, a sort of transition zone comic line. I don't think kids should be treated like they can't understand mature themes (not sex mind you), but I would also not let my kids read Walking Dead and such before they are ready. All-age books can be well written so that they have comic relief, but can be solid story telling. Stuff like the Harry Potter stories are a wrote comic writers can go for the transition comics.

Edited by Queso6p4

Good question and answer. This is a huge issue. Like G-Man said, a lot of this responsibility lies on us the readers. Not buying a book is one step to take but another is to tell the publishers why we don't buy/want to buy a book. A lack of money does speak for itself but without a reason the publisher is left not knowing where to make corrections. Traditionally, comic fans have had much more direct influence on the medium than other subcultures because of fan letters, conventions,etc. so we need to keep them informed. Nowadays it's much easier to do so. I mean, come on, how hard is it to sit down and send an e-mail to DC,Marvel, Image, Valiant, or who mever?

I do respect dark comics as they do reflect an obvious growing reality of our world, but on the other hand there's also a need for light-hearted and fun books for that very reason. *Inserts a few shameless plugs* Unsounded by Ashley Cope-features an oddly matched duo that's accompanied by pervasive humor. Some serious issues are touched on . It has a Princess Mononoke feel to it as Ms. Cope has crafted a wondrous, involving world. God Hates Astronauts by Ryan Browne is downright hilarious, but I admit I haven't read all of it. It has a lot of randomness to it but it's suitable. I did read Blast Furnace by him and it made me laugh out loud a lot. These are all free to read and well-done so give 'em a look. I'm sure there are tons of web comics that are also fun but I don't really follow any so I can't offer any recommendations. :/

Posted by Runaway191

I think what's important isn't whether or not there's sex and violence in comics so much as how it's addressed. I actually have huge problems with censorship of things like sex because I think that the demonization of certain activities leads to stigma about different people's sexual preferences (be they re sexuality, premarital interaction, or simple nudity). I do however think that comics may have a problem providing sexual agency to women. Women characters dressing "provocatively" can conceivably be empowering, but oftentimes it's simply objectifying.

As far as violence goes, I dont necessarily think having it in comics is too bad either. I think glorification of violence can be problematic, but again, it's probably more important to talk about how it's represented rather than just blocking it out altogether

so yeah, all for the "smut," just keep having the conversations.

Edited by Vitalius

I think the problem isn´t sex scenes or violence scenes, it is how it is protaible in them. It might not be target to young audence but parents or partenal figure also should talk if kids should see or read about theme. No matter what, in any book, anyone can find females characters with sexy costumes or with "supermodel bodys". To not talk on sexual orietations, which can be good to least get more information about it or see it as role model. It´s same problem with sexual education, people won´t have sex just because they had sexual education but probably know the dangerous of unprotective sex and what they happen with them.

Edited by Super_SoldierXII

@bob808 said:

Who cares, people need to stop complaining about to much darkness in comics. There needs to be more sex and violence in comics just because it’s not age appropriate does not mean kids can’t read them. Parents should let their kids read non- age appropriate comics (talking to you Tony). Complaining about is just so stupid so to all those people who wants lighter comics suck it up and deal with it.

I have a feeling this will fall on deaf ears, but I'll plug it in here anyway.

Who cares you say? Parents should care (the more responsible and well adjusted ones certainly DO care). Society needs to care more. You should care too. You need but open your eyes and peek outside your own navel for half a second to learn why.

You see a whole bunch of action movies with top notch special effects and eventually, it takes a whole lot more to impress. The same holds true with violence in our media. Too many are growing numb. And that's most definitely not a good thing.

Try to study a little on how the human brain works, and consequently how people work ... it'll go far to elucidate the effects media has on you without you consciously grasping to what extent. You're a sheep. A mindless zombie if you will. Sad part is, like a wild animal kept too long in captivity, you've grown to accept it, even protect the institution manipulating you so easily - keeping you chained to "mindless drone" status spoon feeding self-destructive values and artificial needs to the masses.

You strike me as a chap commenting from the relative safety of him mom's basement, too sheltered, one who has yet to be a victim of the new breed of youth romanticizing violence and propagating it as a new fad (there are many forms of violence). If (hopefully not 'when') the violence and cruelty running rampant in the generations presently emerging strikes home, you'll be singing a different tune before too long. Heck, maybe you're one of those "violent" minded blokes I'm talking about herein! Never too late to "know thyself".

And yes, most sociologists worth their salt accredit a larger portion of said violence and, in a word, heartlessness to the content of modern media.

I'm not against violence in comics. However, when graphically depicted, they should come with a mature rating - one that vendors need to enforce much like your local convenience store does cigarettes. What's happening in our youth today has many an expert referring to the modern adolescent and young adult as a "lost generation". So yeah, you really should care - whether you're smart and "awake" enough to know it or not.

Edited by Arthurized

Sex violence in comics... Kids have full access to porn with internet easily. Wake up guys ! We ain't living in a Stone Age any more.

Edited by Reignmaker

Atomic Robo and Bone are proof enough that you can be an intelligent comic while still being accessible to all ages.

I don't have a problem with sex and violence if it fits within the context of what's being offered. When I pick up a back issue of 100 Bullets I expect there will be some level of dirt inside. Indeed, it's part of the story and it's part of what makes it noir fiction.

What I don't appreciate is all the needless violence and sex in mainstream superhero comics where it's included purely for the sake of it. Catwoman (sex) and Tony Daniel's run on Detective Comics (violence) felt this way to me. These are not good depictions of the characters and the junk included is just over the top. It's lazy storytelling where the "sleaze" is included merely for the shock value. The problem is it doesn't shock anymore.

I also think there's something inherently wrong with the fact that an 8-year old boy or girl can't pick up an issue of one of the big 4 (Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, or Wolverine) without being exposed to this stuff. Having "kiddy" comics isn't the answer in my opinion. Did we read "kiddy" versions when we were little? Hell no! We were reading the marque titles. But the content began growing up with our generation, beginning in the 80's.

I think Marvel has the right idea with its MAX line of books. Instead of forcing new readers to read Batman: The Brave and the Bold, we need to point mature readers to other offerings. The mainstream books should clean themselves up more. In doing so, I think they'd be more accessible to a wider audience and they'd likely sell more. I'm not saying they need to be all bubbly and lighthearted - full of unicorns and rainbows. But I do think the sex and violence is overkill at the moment - and 80% of the time it doesn't contribute to the most important aspect of the comic: the storytelling.

Posted by SavageDragon

The animation for Beware the Batman looks god awful.

Edited by drgnx

If you want sex in comics, I think they have dedicated books for that. But I agree that there is a line between action and violence, one of the reason I never liked Kill-Bill vs the genre it was styled after.

Posted by Hashbrowns

Common cost of a comic book: $2.99

Watching post-modern moral relativists arguing over "what's appropriate": Priceless

Posted by Cassius_Knightfall

IDW are currently making at least two good all age comics with Ghostbusters and Teenage mutant Ninja turtles. Neither contain gritty violence or adult language/scenes but are still great reads. Just check out the recent reviews of either series, pretty sure Katzman or Elfring review them.

Posted by Shallbecomeabattoo

I only started to love Batman comics in the early 90s, because they were dark and violent! My little 9 year old mind felt like a badass reading that stuff, so I don't think that kiddying it up is necessarily going to attract younger readers. As a kid, I hated being pandered to and I loved comics, because I had the feeling that they took me, as a member of the audience, seriously.

But I do also think that modern comics, sometimes cross the line into being of almost snuff movie quality (looking at a lot of Kirkman and Millar stuff), but then again... these are no kids books.

I think there are a lot of titles that are well suited to be read by kids and adults, like Waids Daredevil, Justice League, Superman, Flash, Wolvie and the X-Men, but then again, I am european, so I wouldn't mind that my young kid is subjected to some low sensual stuff, which could be a problem for parents with a more american attitude.

Posted by IcePrince_X

No love for Top Cow characters :-(

Posted by Drummer007

Those are good points @g_man. I plan on taking my 3 year old daughter to Free Comic Book Day and getting her her first comic. I haven't looked into what's out there for all ages but i thought there would have been more. I will support any good age appropriate superhero comic for now on. I was excited then disappointed when you talked about Superman Family Adventure. That one seems like it would be great.

Posted by doomsday31

The reason behind the more violent comics is because the fans of the original comics grew up. They wanted more violent.

Posted by RedHood1110

The problem with violence in comics is the nature of the stories being told. Superheroes are agents of conflict. They fight for one thing against another. They affect the world physically, dynamically, and with a visual medium like comic books, conflict relies on powerful action rather than a medium like novels where drama and conflict can be more easily portrayed through dialogue. Violence is the purest, most visual form of conflict, and conflict is what a story is dependent on. There's no entertainment in a story without obstacles to overcome. Nobody likes the stories of people who have it easy and do nothing. Violence entertains, sex sells, and unfortunately that means more money for the comics who cater to the desires of the most people.

There do need to be more comics that appeal to a broader, less adult audience. I'm glad that G-Man brought up Invincible, which is one of my favorite series. Invincible has some sex, and a lot of violence, but in Invincible, I never find the violence glorified, and neither does Mark. The sex is rarely promiscuous, and never depicted, but it is there. I think Invincible is a good book to ease a reader from less adult content into the world of the popular, gritty, dark, violent, sexual comics that have kept the industry afloat. I would say that Ultimate Spider-Man is another good book for younger readers, as is Atomic Robo, given that the violence is almost slapstick in nature. Tiny Titans is a fantastic choice, and so far, I think the new Nova might be good for a step up from that.

It's entirely up to parents to gauge the level of content they think is suitable for their children. My 12-yr old cousin recently told me that he liked the new Nova series because "it's like Star Wars and adventure and a kid goes into space to learn to be a hero", which is why I mentioned it before. If parents can guide their kids into a healthy understanding of the material, then it opens up new possibilities.

Posted by Malonius

The X-Men, Spider-man, and Avenger's movies are all more 'all ages' friendly than many of the comics featuring the same characters. Those movies have violence and danger without much gore and romance and flirtation without much sexual explicitness. Superhero comics are much more of a niche audience than superhero movies, cartoons, and video games they inspired. The audience for superheroes is indeed "all ages," but at $3-4 an issue superhero comics publishers must provide their audience exactly what it wants...which is apparently gore and sex.

Posted by Perfect 10

@g_man: lol. that comment that psycho left was just, beyond

Posted by Perfect 10

@doomsday31: i have to respectfully disagree. i'm 29 and started reading comics when i was 15 and dont want more violence or all these dark toned "gritty" books. that's for the new generation of kids. likes like music, in the 80s pop reigned then early 90s it was grunge. its all about the state of mind of that current generation. its all in the music, movies and tv shows, showing how violent the current youth market is

Posted by AllStarSuperman

Hey sorry about that dude who commented on your video, I was gonna say you were right about everything. I don't by comics for naked people. I buy them for story lines and action. That said the problem with kids comics is there art. If say they put Gary Frank or Kenneth Rockfort on a kids book a lot more people would buy it.

Also I am trying to become friends with a 11 year old. And he's super sheltered. Really I borrowed him the old Christopher Reeve Superman movies, Captain America, and the Avengers. And the next time I saw him, his mom gave me back the movies and basically said hes not allowed to watch that "stuff". I've let him read Superman Secret Origin and Justice League 1-6. I'm gonna let him read AllStarSuperman and Ultimate Spiderman 1-7TPB,but other than that I dont know what to do. With the way his mom is theres no way I'm letting him read Nightwing or Earth 2. So basically theres only so far I can go with this kid because of a lack of age appropraite comics...

Posted by teclo

Why do Americans see sex and violence as equally "dark" things? Sex isn't dark, it isn't evil, it isn't corrupting. It's like putting food and poison in the same group - "Oh, I never leave my kids around with food and poison!" There's something creepily neutered about a lot of mainstream American comics, a weird puritanical streak running through them.

Maybe there is too much violence, that really is an innately bad thing, but it's really jarring to have comic where everyone sleeps in their clothes, no one has sex, people don't swear they just say "Oh well god $%&! it", but then in the same book you have a man being ripped in half or someone being shot in the face. You think if you actually write "fuck" on the page, you'll summon the Devil or something? Like you're casting a spell so you have to swap in random symbols to break the magic? And you're so ashamed of your own body that depicting it is some awful evil, even in the book that has someone bleeding to death in an alleyway? You can show what's under the clothes as long as it's under the skin too?