Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff in Concord California has been following the recent discussion on comic book content (see "Buddy Saunders of Lone Star Comics on Comic Book Content" and "Jay Bardyla of Happy Harbor Comics on Comic Book Content") and had this to say:

Reading the Talk Back comments from Buddy Saunders and Jay Bardyla (both retailers I respect a lot!)--

Buddy laments that there are too many comics that are in an "over-arching adolescent-driven genre of death, graphic violence, and now even a push-the-envelope trend into sadism.  Whatever this stuff is, it is not adult in any meaningful sense, and moreover, it is steadily pushing comics into a narrowing alley of diminishing readership."

Jay says that any retailer decrying the lack of all-ages material is "out of touch and "there is quite a bit of all ages material out there and today is not the same as yesterday."

What Jay may not understand about Buddy's comments is that more comic titles used to be accessible to a much wider audience of all ages without having to write down to younger readers and without having to be over-the-top for older readers.  These days, publishers "narrowcast" each title for a much smaller, more specific audience. Sure, there are lots of titles that fall into the "kiddie fare" category, and some of them are quite good for younger readers.

But more often than not, when parents come in with their younger kids to buy comics, the parents want to buy the characters they were familiar with---only to find that publishers have included content not appropriate for their kids or that the stories in those comics are steeped in decades of continuity, making them appealing only to a "diminishing readership" of the Secret Society of Long-Time Comic Fans.  So the parents are relegated to buying comics that look like they are strictly for kids.

There is a wealth of good stuff for younger readers and there is a lot of stuff that, while "not adult in any meaningful sense" is targeted to readers over the age of consent. As times change, the audience has splintered.

So Buddy and Jay are both right.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of