And I can't go dying! There's too much to do!
With the big stink around some of the stuff DC put out in the reboot, DC had to respond, and respond they did. This brings us to ratings systems and responsible parenting. I'm a big fan of ratings systems because the alternative is nasty things like censorship, and nobody wants that. The comics industry has been very good about posting their ratings right on the covers. If something is meant for mature readers there's no question about that because we're told so up front.
Back when I was a kid we had the Comics Code Authority which had some pretty strict guidelines and, for the most part, the major publishers complied to it with most of their books. There are many who think the code was some terrible thing and it hindered artistic expression, but when a parent saw a kid reading a comic with the code stamp on it they had a bit of reassurance that there wouldn't be anything like say Catwoman giving Batman the full cowgirl on a rooftop. My folks never looked through the comic they got me. When I got an issue of DETECTIVE COMICS in the mail I could sit down and read it without my mom or dad looking through it first.
The first time my father looked through anything I purchased was a comic magazine which I believe was called "Comic Things" which talked about comic book stuff. It was like WIZARD but, y'know, fun and good. He picked it up when I brought it home and gave it a quick flip through. Nothing objectionable was in there, so no problem. This is what's known as good parenting. Your kid brings home something new that you're not familiar with, then you need to get familiar with it.
So why didn't they look through my comics? Pretty simple. DC and Marvel were names they trusted to publish material that they were comfortable with me being exposed to. Now, its decades later, and I'm the parent. I'm the guy at Comic Kings trying to recommend a book to my friend's wife for their kid to read because he likes superheroes. Looking through the main rack away from the kids area I only spotted one title that I felt comfortable recommending to the kid, who was about the same age I was when I started reading comics. Not very comfortable.
DC has a point. If you have a problem with their books then you shouldn't let your kid read them. But something that is pretty sad is that they have lost the trust of responsible parents whose kids love DC's characters and want to read their books. They seem to have no problem with this. The Starfire controversy isn't just about portraying a particular character as an alien sex-being. Its about portraying that character as such when very recently she was portrayed as an adorable wholesome character. Its creepy.
DC's not going to change what they're doing. All their eggs are in one basket now and they're fully committed to what they're doing. I'm very sad that I can't let my kids read the comics that feature characters they like, but its been that way for a while now. I do greatly enjoy some comics out there that are directed at mature readers, but the balance has shifted in the audience. We've gone from the majority of comic being things that people of all ages could enjoy, to the majority of comics being things not suitable for little kids to read.
There's still some really great kids comics out there, and they're worth finding, especially if you have a little reader in the house. However, as for the DC's new "52", the message is clear, kids aren't the target audience and you should keep the books out of their hands.
Nice little tune. I always thought what they did with the video was really, really clever.
That's a wrap for me. See y'all Friday.