Jim Crocker of Modern Myths on Why 'People' Don't Read Comics
'Can't Have It Both Ways'
Published: 06/22/2012 01:32am
Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--Seven Ways to Save Comic Books!").
Where do you find these guys?
"Believe it or not, I understand there are people who feel alienated by the inclusion of gay characters and storylines in comics who shouldn't automatically be dismissed as religious zealots and bigots."
Actually, they should.
Ok, maybe they shouldn't be dismissed, but their objectively incorrect opinion should, and with extreme prejudice.
The kind of people who feel "alienated" by the inclusion of gay characters, or characters of color, or non-Christian characters, or, or, or... are not a problem for superhero comics, except to the extent they're a problem for society (which they are, and the sooner they either die or make peace with the very simple and immutable fact there are different kinds of people in the world, equally deserving of respect, dignity, and compassion, the better off the entire world will be).
The idea that someone who reads The Atlantic, not exactly a bastion of Conservative Family Values, gets the vapors because DC waited until 2012 to introduce ONE GAY CHARACTER seems... incongruous. I suspect... an agenda.
News flash: Roughly 10% of Marvel and DC's characters are gay! Because that's roughly how much of the actual population is! Of course, if we confine that to just Marvel, who hangs around mostly in NYC, then we're talking about 6% of the population on the City, but the most gay Americans in one place, nearly half a million (twice as many as San Francisco). And look, Marvel is having a gay wedding, just like thousands of New Yorker's ecstatic about the state's recognition of their full rights as human beings. How awful!
There's no 'agenda' there, other than to drag comics storytelling kicking, screaming, and protesting too much into the 21st century. Steve really needs to actually choose one line of attack and stick to it: are the Big Two disorganized messes, unable to form a coherent storyline, or ruthlessly efficient political actors, coordinating their message of pernicious liberal bias? He can't have it both ways, only Starfire is that lucky.
Every time I read one of these pieces, I lament that these people only have interlocutors like Steve. That lady's main difficulty is that her sole interface with modern comics is someone who apparently hates modern comics. I'll agree that the current state of retail is pretty sad, but it's because we're under-capitalized and poorly-educated as businesspeople. There's lots of great comics out there, more than there ever have been. The majority of the mainstream is junky hackwork, but that's always been the case. Sturgeon's Law has never not applied.
But for Stan's sake, when someone comes to us with complaints like that lady's, smile, engage, and point her towards stuff she'd like. Atlantic reader disinterested in superheroes? NO PROBLEM. Check out the Hernandez Brothers, or Dan Clowes (he does The New Yorker covers!) or maybe The Influencing Machine. It's a funny and insightful book about actual agendas and how they get expressed and interpreted in the media!
All of that said, if she's really the kind of person who actually gets offended that gay characters exist, and that they occasionally get a token mention, then I'd rather she not read comics. We don't need her, or anyone like her, and good riddance. Feel free to let the door hit her on the way out.
The opinions expressed in this Talk Back are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.
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