Comics to make you cry

Great Scott! (I've always wondered which Scott they're talking about.) Its Friday, August 20, 2010. I heard yesterday that economically this is being called "the Summer of Recovery" by the White House. Funny. I wasn't broke in June.

Buncha jerks.


Recently a study was done claiming that super heroes are not good role models for young boys. I dove into this. This could have led to a biting commentary about how superheroes are portrayed and the writing of comic books and that whole "the medium has grown up" blather. But no, it was a weak sauce attack on Ironman, specifically the movies, for showing off 'bling' and womanizing. Ironman is the logical choice for criticism since the movies are currently the hottest superhero property going. Its also a fair criticism of the character as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr.

Unfortunately it ends there, and hits upon its main point: superheroes don't help young boys to talk about their feelings. And at that point mentions of superheroes get few and far between revealing this for what it is, and that's a waste of time. This 'study' is obviously cashing in on the current popularity of superheroes in movies to get attention to their crap. But its a study by someone who claims to be intelligent and know what they are talking about, so unfortunately someone is going to take it seriously. Hopefully not in the way "Seduction of the Innocent" was taken seriously.

According to this study young boys are encouraged to take on the social roles of "macho man" or "slacker". It is now obvious that no actual comic books were read in pursuit of this research. It also criticizes the role of superheroes comparing them to "action stars" who are in stories of violence and action. I guess they would much prefer the current JMS Superman storyline of him walking down the the street and being douche. The stupidity of these "findings" is just mind boggling. For the past few years it seems that every other writer has been hell bent on making Superman cry. And the comparing them to "action stars" is accurate because that's what superheroes are. If you can bench press a bus, who wants to stories about you having tea and discussing literature.

Are superheroes bad role models for young boys? That depends on the character. You probably wouldn't want your son wanting to grow up idolizing the Punisher. However there is no shortage of characters that are good role models like Superman, Batman, and Spider-man. A guy with power to do whatever he wants but uses them to help whoever he can. A guy who through through horrible tragedy uses it as a motivation to become something great. A guy that doesn't have things easy, but doesn't walk away from his responsibility to do what's right.

And yes these characters do share their feelings on a regular basis. There are pages and pages of captions featuring their inner monologues. Sure, they share their feelings with the readers, and not often with each other. There's usually not much time for that when the planet is about to explode. Still, it does pop up here and there, like when Superman was talking to the Flash about being worried sometimes of not being able to live up to people's expectations of him. Of course a bit after that he prevented the Moon from crashing into the Earth and wrestled the renegade King Angel of the Bull Host. Really though, its not up to comic books and superheroes to teach kids personal relationship skills and how to deal with their emotions. That's the job of parents. Comic books, specifically the superhero genre, are escapism. Its entertainment. Its great when entertainment can be educational, but mostly its their so people can have a bit of fun for a while.

Ultimately, this study is pointless and seems to come from the viewpoint that men and boys should all talk about their feelings and emote about everything. Newsflash: we're guys. Us talking about our feelings typically boils down into a couple of sentences, and then we move on.

Unless you have a blog and tend to ramble a lot.


Starting things off this week with TINY TITANS #31. This issue was hoot with a birthday party for the clone of a clone, fun with the Brainiac Club and the Tiny Titans meeting the Little Legion of Super-Heroes. This series is a hoot with its little jabs at the mainstream DCU. It consistently finds a way to be perfect for little kids yet still have enough charm and clever bits to keep an older audience smiling.

Always remember to be careful what you ask for.

Moving on to my read of the week: SUPERGIRL #55. Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle continue to knock this title right out of the park. This book struggled horribly under big time writers like Jeph Leob and even Greg Rucka, but Gates has captured the character so wonderfully that this book is just a joy. I've been a fan of Igle's art since his run on FIRESTORM. Its spot on and does a great job of making Supergirl look attractive without making her look like jailbait.

This issue has Supergirl taking on Bizarrogirl! That's right, a Bizarro Supergirl! Gates and Igle absolutely nail how dangerous Bizarrogirl is while simultaneously making her hysterical. Also we continue to have the supporting cast be incredibly strong in this book. Doctor Light and Gangbuster are really fun in this book. I've was never really a fan of either character before them being in this book, but they fit perfectly and play well off Supergirl. A great supporting cast is really what cements a solid superhero comic and Gates' run on this book has really set up a great cast and a great tone for the series. Top to bottom, a good time.

Shifting away from DC over to Dark Horse, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: RILEY hit the shelves this week. Its written by Jane Espenson who wrote more than a few episodes of the TV series. Art is handled beautifully by Karl Moline who many will remember as having handled the art on Joss Whedon's first comic book FRAY. Great writing and great art, but this is an issue that feels out of place. Its a set up issue for events that have already transpired in the series. It doesn't give any huge insights into the storyline that we need to move forward. It has the same feeling as WORLD WAR III or BATTLE FOR THE COWL. Its an unnecessary book even though it is a really good one.


There's a new channel on YouTube which I gave a shout out to a while back: Black Box TV. They just posted their first full episode this week. I'm not putting the video up because I want everyone to go subscribe to it. Its cool, creepy stuff and the sort of thing that's been sorely lacking from YouTube.


Continuing our little Muppets themed tribute to Linda this week because I forgot to get a birthday card. Hopefully this'll prevent her from using her powers to reign much doom over me. Its like a pagan offering, only fuzzier.

That's all for Friday. Enjoy the weekend!


emmahouxbois said...

Well said about that stupid study, Marty. I was thinking about saying a few words myself, but I can't really speak from a place of authority about masculinity anymore. One of the many things that irked me about that "study" is that it was only dedicated to how male superheroes affect boys. What about the effects of female superheroes on girls? You've certainly got a worthwhile perspective on that side of things too.

Marty Nozz said...

Right now, if you're picky and choosey, and you can find great role models for girls in comic. Wonder Woman (away from the JMS garbage), Supergirl (Gates version), current Batgirl, and Oracle are all good solid role models. But being a role model does not mean that one has to try to live their lives just like that model. You look to their example and try to gain insight through their experiences and courage through their achievements. I'm cool with my daughters looking up to any of the characters I've mentioned.