Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

June 27, 2006

Comics On Culture War’s Hidden Front

Is it just me, or is this the summer of comics stories with semi-creepy slightly homophobic subtexts? Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that the stories about DC's new Batwoman, the thrust of the movie Superman's story and the character's ongoing appeal, the controversy over sexualized kid-lit characters in Lost Girls and questions about the shelving of certain kinds of manga all have kind of unspoken, little-articulated darker sides, including but not limited to accusations of ruining "pure" creations for the sake of some abstract idea of political correctness, the notion that gay creators are out of control and unable to make art from a hetero point of view, the noxious and false notion that pedophilia is a mostly gay phenomenon, and that objections to depictions of sexuality are more justified if the sexuality in question is same-sex. Anyone else feeling this?

I could just be paranoid, I don't know, or I could be picking up on the inarticulate way all of us, including me, tend to talk about such material. It just seems to me that there's a lot of agenda-making and masked dialogue going on here, and maybe it's just more apparent in comics because the conservative nature usually on display in the funnybook world tends to be Warren G. Harding old. Again, I'm not sure. I would rather these issues were out front so they could be pulverized, but if such arguments have to remain just out of arm's reach let's at least reject the implication that comics are somehow any more suitable for such arguments than any other art form out there.
posted 12:51 am PST | Permalink

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