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Light Of The Quasar: Comic Books Are Not Just For Kids!

 article about adult comics
2004-07-20 14:48:43
I've collected and been interested in comic books since I was ten or
eleven years old, maybe even younger. This not only led to me being one
of the best readers at my school, but taught me much about the rest of
the world. I didnt just learn about how the Incredible Hulk would go
nuts and beat the puss out of everyone and everything in his sight, I
discovered things like that Portuguese is the official language of
Brazil, not Spanish as I had assumed.

Nothing could compare to
these fantastic adventures that would compel me to visit the local news
store so much that I nearly became part of the furniture. School was so
boring and never challenged or excited my brain enough to be in the
competition for my attention against something that was both graphic
and literal that could be read and understood at my own pace, unlike
movies (nothing against teachers, I am friends with one and Im sure
that I did learn a thing or two). My interest in comics, soon became an
obsession and in the 90s, when comics had reached a great peak in
popularity, my friends became influenced enough to trawl through the
various titles and find their favourite character too.

Over
the years, comic companies took notice of the adult audiences that had
grown as the art of comics had also; this led to imprints that are for
mature readers. And when I say the art of comics, I mean not just
visually, but in a literary sense. If you look at the statistics, there
are many more readers (I dont agree with the use of the word
collectors) over the age of eighteen than below it. Of course the
renaissance in movies that are based on comics has surely had an impact
in bringing kids back to comics, but the majority of readers are still
older. Maybe one day we might see these different worlds represented at
movie award ceremonies, hell if Lord Of The Rings can win an Oscar any
flic can (don't ask...Im still upset with the ending of Return Of The
King).

Marvel Comics recently realised the popularity of an
older title that they had changed by replacing all the characters and
the creative team, but retained the same name, which was almost
blasphemy for many readers. X-Force was revamping gone wrong, while
some people found the new super hero team to be interesting, and found
it great to be able to jump onboard with new characters many fans were
still offended by the change and wanted their old team back. This is an
example of capitalising on a comics goodwill, then alienating many of
its fans who have become familiar with its great history and grown with
the title characters. It now seems that the title has been brought back
from the dead so to speak, as the old characters are returning and much
of the creative team has too. This problem of disregarding the
continuity of a title, for reasons beyond concern for the reader is
very selfish. Marvel seems to still adhere to the notion that there is
no history for a comic and can just change things at will. If you were
a reader of one of these books for an extended period of time you would
find the same frustrations many have had over a books history being
changed by something as simple as a change in writer. This example
shows how many complicated situations can arise in the comic world just
over what many non-readers would regard as a childish medium.

The
history of adult comics actually goes back a long way, my earliest
mature readers purchase would have to be Death: The High Cost Of Living
(Issue Number 3 of 3, 1993). This story was about Death spending the
day on Earth as a teenage girl called Didi; she was trying to see what
it was like to be alive and befriended a teenage boy. That really isnt
your run-of-the-mill kind of story that would be attractive to young
kids, or their parents, but it isnt as violent or rude as some of my
other favourites I would recommend, like Preacher, Transmetropolitan or
Howard The Duck.

All the adults out there who look at a
newsstand or go into their local store might want to think twice before
they dismiss these works of art on the shelves as kids stuff. Dont we
all make too many judgements by appearances? Have a look inside the
cover and actually read what it has to say, you may be surprised at
what you find.

See Matts blog at: http://lightofthequasar.blogspot.com/
Copyright Matt Holt, 2004





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