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Shaenon Garrity on Comics on the Culture War's Hidden Front
posted June 27, 2006

I've noticed this subtext, too, especially as regards gay issues. I think it stems from the still-common underlying assumptions that a) comic books are for children, and b) homosexuality doesn't belong in children's entertainment, no matter what the context. I'm particularly fascinated by the appearance of multiple articles about Superman's supposed role as a gay icon, apparently based entirely on the fact that the director of the new Superman movie is gay.

Coverage of manga often dabbles in both homophobia and cultural jingoism, with the underlying message that of course you can't trust those freaky foreign types not to fill your children's innocent American heads with gay smut. This is, of course, entirely true, but I'm all for gay smut.

It should be interesting to watch the reaction to Lost Girls as it cycles though the critical community, as its very premise seems engineered to engage the "comics as children's literature" issue head-on, in the most confrontational way possible. That price tag might shut it out of the more amusing circles of mainstream attention, though.