Page 1 of 92 1231151 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 911
Like Tree911Likes

Thread: How Liberalism May Be Hurting Comic Book Sales by Darin Wagner

  1. #1
    Administrator
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    21,156

    Default How Liberalism May Be Hurting Comic Book Sales by Darin Wagner



    Darin Wagner writes for Bleeding Cool.

    If you are a conservative like me, you?ve been reading fewer and fewer comic books over the last 12 years. For those of you who know what I?m talking about, the weekly visit to the comic book shop has become either an exercise in irritation or a monotonous drill.

    You pick up a superhero comic book featuring a childhood favorite of yours, hoping to reignite some of that magic you felt way back when and you see that the opening sequence in the comic deals with an oil rig disaster. You immediately and disappointingly know what?s going to be said, either by your childhood favorite or by some other character given credibility within the story. You turn the page, and sure enough, your childhood favorite grumbles about his/her country?s dependency on oil or how inherently dangerous oil drilling is to the environment and how it?s not worth it or simply mutters to him-or-herself briefly about the evils of corporate America. That?s when you put the comic back on the shelf and your local retailer loses a sale. (Sound familiar? Brightest Day #5 contained a similar scenario featuring Aquaman.)

    You pick up another comic book featuring a superhero team you used to really enjoy and there?s a member on the team who shares a lot of the same socio-political views you do, but he doesn?t articulate them very well (by design, you can tell) and gets everything wrong (again, by design) and you realize that he?s the ?team jackass? precisely because he is supposed to represent you. (Another Brightest Day example of this; issue #7 where Steve Ditko creation Hawk says he wrecked a restaurant?s juke box because it was playing a Dixie Chicks song. Hawk was created to represent conservatism during the Vietnam War era, but today he?s apparently a reckless caveman who doesn?t understand the very conservative idea of private property rights.) So you put that comic book back on the shelf and if you haven?t walked out by now, you?re sure to get at least three more experiences like these before finding a superhero comic that is, at best, not very political.

    We see this all the time, don?t we? Black Canary just happens to make a comment about how supposedly unsafe SUVs are while pursuing a villain in one in the pages of Birds Of Prey. Over on the Marvel side, in the pages of Alpha Flight, a Canadian man parks in front of a fire hydrant while attempting to vote and he?s given a ticket for doing so. The man accuses the cop (Snowbird?s alter ego) of voter suppression and how she?s "harassing the patriots who are trying to change things"? to which she responds "Please, sir. We?re Canadian."

    It even extends outside of comics into animation. In the Justice League animated series episode "Paradise Lost," Superman and Wonder Woman are investigating a shopping mall. Wonder Woman looks at the interior of the mall and likens it to a temple. Superman replies "Yes, for those who worship their credit cards." Now, what are we supposed to make of this? Superman clearly doesn?t think very highly of shopping malls, at the very least. (This is odd considering that the character once symbolized something called "the American Way" of life, which was defined by, among other things, capitalism.)

    But back to comic books. Sure these little jabs and nods are individually nothing that can?t be dismissed? but they have a cumulative effect. They wear us down and eventually the excitement and magic of comic book superheroes becomes outweighed by our being annoyed. It?s happening more and more over the last dozen years: The people behind the scenes allowing their personal politics to bleed through into the stories of otherwise apolitical superheroes whose adventures are meant for everyone to enjoy. This in-and-of-itself wouldn?t be quite so bad if it weren?t always the same political views repeated over-and-over ad nauseum.

    Simply put, there?s too much liberalism in comic books today.



    One thing that those who disagree (most of whom are typically self-described liberals) will say is that there is conservatism in comic books because superheroes are inherently conservative. In saying this, they are implying that they are in fact balancing the scales by having these characters occasionally-to-frequently quip liberal adages. I have to disagree with that. The first comic book superhero, Superman, fought a liberal/social agenda in his first stories. The character only became a symbol of lawful authority later. Most superheroes, it can be argued, are apolitical by virtue of the reader?s ability to insert their own politics into the character when the writer has not already done so. Even Green Arrow could be a conservative character, rather than the liberal one we?ve had since Hard Traveling Heroes.

    Now, you might say, "Darin, you?re obviously unaware that Green Arrow is based on Robin Hood and as EVERYBODY ELSE KNOWS, Robin Hood stole from the rich and gave to the poor. He?d be an Occupier today." Well, yeah, that?s how those on the left view Robin Hood? but if you look more closely at Robin Hood you will find that the character more accurately stole from the state and gave back to the people? so one could just as easily say that Robin Hood would be a Tea Partier today and, therefore, Green Arrow could be too.

    Folks, I know comics are created by artists. I know that Marvel and DC offices are in New York City. I realized before I started typing this that asking for authentic conservatism in comic books from the Big Two to counter constant jabs, references and snide, preachy copy they print is like asking the mob to please leave garbage alone. I get that?



    ?but for the good of the comic book industry, this escalation and domination of liberal sentiment has got to stop and it?s gotta stop quick.

    Everybody knows that when an entertainer goes political, he/she runs the very serious risk of cutting their audience by at least half. The comic book audience has been getting smaller and smaller and I think it?s time to honestly consider that a big part of the problem is the content. It?s gotten so bad that some of the more open-minded liberal comic book readers I know are getting turned off because it?s so obvious what?s been happening. I know that some of you are going to reply with some variation of "I don?t see it" or "This guy is a troll" or "Shut up."That?s fine, go ahead and exercise that right? but it won?t help the comic book industry or make the audience grow again.
    Joe Kalicki, _OM_, ahlhelm and 4 others like this.

  2. #2
    Wrote the Book on Cool
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    394

    Default

    This is a joke, right?

  3. #3
    Dean of Cool University Victorian Squid's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    2,291

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael P View Post
    This is a joke, right?
    I've heard comic book readers who lean to the right in the U.S. make this point many, many times. One quit reading Fraction's Iron Man because of what he described as a long and boring green energy lecture or something--I don't read the book, so I dunno.

  4. #4
    Captain Cool
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,775

    Default

    Kudos to Rich for getting another side.

    It's funny that we always get hit over the head that we need more diversity but it doesn't apply to more conservative writers in a center-right country.

    As for politics, I actually do not want my politics reinforced in comics and I don't want the writer's politics in my face. Just have a hero fight a villain and leave your lame George Bush/corporate America jibes to yourself.

  5. #5
    Wrote the Book on Cool Union Jim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    York, UK
    Posts
    740

    Default

    Although I disagree with this article I'm glad to see one so well written.

    <devil's advocate> It could just be that those of us on the left find it easier to overlook political statements we disagree with in comics. I've read many Chuck Dixon (for example) books where his characters have said things I don't agree with politically, but they were still well written and I still enjoyed them. </devil's advocate>

    Also, just one little point. Robin Hood, fictional character that he is, stole from the state AND the rich. And the state he was stealing from wasn't a democratically elected one ;-)

  6. #6
    Wrote the Book on Cool
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    451

    Default

    See, I think it makes sense to be liberal in cases like Spider-Man or any given X-Man character (or the DC equivalent... still getting my bearings on that universe) since they're supposed to represent the general every-man or, in the case of the X-Men, a vocal minority.

    However, I always thought of Captain America, Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man to be conservative. I'm sure there are more examples of that, but superheroes have politics too, yeah?

    I mean, let's not forget Howard the Duck....

  7. #7
    Wrote the Book on Cool sleeve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    minne-snow-ta
    Posts
    721

    Default

    i really would like less of anyone's personal agenda in the books i read.

    i suppose my agenda is to have exciting stories with good art.

    to me, marv and george did it well, having bang-up stories, alternating with the runaways-type tales. they had kid flash be conservative, while still a decent (if a bit conflicted) guy. they even messed with church and state some in the dealings with brother blood and his made-up country ...

  8. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    1,793

    Default

    seems like it would be great if there were characters with thier 'own' political opinions and let it flow from there. maybe less of the writers putting thier views on the supes, but more supes debating the issues from where 'they' stand? i think any good writer should be able to write characters that both reflect thier views and those they dont agree with. i do believe there are some writers doing this today. if comics are going to be more then 'kid's stuff' then then need to get involved with real world issues and sometimes that includes politics IMO.

    one comment to the author though:
    if the weekly trip to the comic store has become a "monotonous drill" for you, instead of excitement and joy, then maybe its time to stop reading comics. Maybe you just are not a comic book enjoying type of person? Or maybe you WERE, but have changed a bit? If your politics is conflicting with your enjoyment of the book, then stop reading it. Or at least reduce your reading to those books you really like. i hope you can separate your politics from entertainment, but you have every right to feel the way you do.
    Last edited by GreyMouser; 01-05-2012 at 01:25 PM.

  9. #9
    Wrote the Book on Cool Union Jim's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    York, UK
    Posts
    740

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by myakoopa View Post
    See, I think it makes sense to be liberal in cases like Spider-Man or any given X-Man character (or the DC equivalent... still getting my bearings on that universe) since they're supposed to represent the general every-man or, in the case of the X-Men, a vocal minority.

    However, I always thought of Captain America, Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man to be conservative. I'm sure there are more examples of that, but superheroes have politics too, yeah?

    I mean, let's not forget Howard the Duck....
    I've always viewed Cap as being a-political, and maybe that's why as a non-American I enjoy the character so much. Cap fights for the people, not a political stance (hence the amount of times he's gone against his own government, Civil War not being the first time).

  10. #10
    Exceedingly Cool
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    145

    Default

    Bill Willingham. Mike Baron. Chuck Dixon. Frank Miller. Methinks thou dost protest too much.

    Hell, I stopped reading Fables because Willingham's conservatism, once I became aware of it, overpowered the rest of the story.

    Superheroes -- insomuch as they represent the notion that justice/peace can be achieved most easily though force -- are a fundamentally right-leaning concept.

Page 1 of 92 1231151 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •