What Has Happened to Comic Books?
“COMIC books have really changed!” So exclaimed one woman after looking through some of the comic books her brother was reading. An avid reader of comics in her youth, she remembered them as “light-hearted, stimulating, adventuresome and fun.” But now she found herself “shocked at the nudity and blood” that fill some comics.
“Nudity and blood—in comic books?” you skeptically ask. It does seem hard to believe that a medium once the home of “Mickey Mouse” and “Donald Duck” could now be infected with such decadence. One man therefore decided to investigate matters himself. After attending the “Comics and Fantasy Fair” held in Atlanta, Georgia, he reported the following:
“My remembrance of ‘the funnies’ [as they are often called in the United States] goes embarrassingly far back. So I was curious as to whether the comic book had really changed all that much. Entering the comic fair, my first impression was of a huge exhibition and trading center. There were enormous showrooms crowded with rows of tables and counters, on which were long cardboard boxes stuffed with magazines. An atmosphere of library quiet reigned. People of college age and breeding pored over the literally millions of comics up for sale. They seemed to know what they were searching for.
“As I glanced through The Comic Book Price Guide, it became apparent to me why these collectors found comic books so attractive an investment. Why, one rare comic (the most expensive single book) goes for $14,000! And dealers told me that fantasy publications now outsold and outearned almost everything on the newsstands except ‘adult’ (pornographic) magazines.
“Since displays proclaimed ‘The Best in Comics,’ my eyes searched for comics—the kind I used to read as a kid. What I saw, however, was out of my ken . . . Many were preoccupied with portraying the uncanny, the supernatural, the monstrous, the ghoulish and the horrible. ‘What in the world has happened to the comic books?’ I asked myself.”
This should be of concern to you if you are a parent! A survey taken just a few years ago indicated that 90 percent of youths in the United States read them. And they are popular with youths in other countries too. Have comic books really got that bad?