Adults only keep the Kiddies away

The Plastic Man mourns his wife while holding her burned body

If anyone ever tells you comics are for little kids then you have every right to slap that person for not knowing what they’re talking about.

Comics have this image that they are juvenile unsophisticated picture books, but for anyone who reads them you know this is not true.

Sure there are crappy comics out there and there are ones more marketed towards children-like Betty and Veronica, and Archie. Yet there is a failure to see that comics are also sophisticated and more adult themed.

Comics today deal with touchy topics like finding faith, dealing with AIDS, connecting to humanity and the loss of a loved one. Of course there are comics out there that are simply written to be cool as well.

Lets look back a few years ago to an event that happened in the Justice League- Identity Crisis. Yes Identity Crisis, a comic at the time that in my opinion could be viewed as slightly controversial. The event itself was written by novelist Brad Meltzer and was about the importance of family.

The story essentially all starts with a villain Doctor Light, Light was a villain that had raped and beaten Sue Dibny, The Plastic Man’s wife. Certain members of the League felt that it was within their best interest to wipe the villains mind, and Dibny’s as well.

Fast forward to the future and Ray Palmer, The Atom, is getting a divorce with his wife, Jason Todd, Robin, is keeping his father up at night worrying about his safety and finally we have Captain Boomerang meeting his son for the first time.

Eventually, in the story Dibny is murdered and the League can’t find out who the murderer is. The loss of his wife has driven The Plastic Man crazy, believing that it had been Doctor Light who had murdered her.

In the attempt to find the culprit Captain Boomerang is murdered as-well-as Jason Todd’s father. Ray Palmer eventually finds out that it had been his own ex-wife who killed Dibny. Palmer’s ex-wife had murdered her and caused the murders of Captain Boomerang and Robin’s father. She did this in a mad attempt to reconcile her marriage with Palmer.

Palmer’s wife is brought to justice but the league is now in emotional ruin.

The Identity Crisis was a story about family, about the family you have and how you should treasure it.

Now is that a story written for kids, is that a story that is juvenile? The answer is no it is not a kids story it is a story with adult themes meant to touch the reader emotionally.

Identity Crisis isn’t even the exception, almost all comics are written more for adults these days. Grant Morrison’s “Animal Man” deals with animal rights issues; Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” was about environmental ones; Joes Sacco’s “Palestine” talks about the time he was a journalist in the country and Brian K. Vaughn’s comic Ex Machina is set in a post-9-11 New York that deals with real world problems.

Comics are more than just capes and cowls; comics are tools for social criticism and commentary it just takes a little looking to find it.

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2 Comments

  1. Thought you were going to talk about the main two barrier breakers – Return of the Dark Knight and Watchmen.

    Nice Post and Blog.

    keep up the good work

    • yeah I felt like those were probably obvious choices so I stuck with something a little newer


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