Wednesday, April 4, 2012

See, Comics Aren't For Kids!

So, I'm toodling around the DC Comics digital site-a-ma-gig, because they have some comics on sale. Such as...

Batman #1 for only 99¢? Yowza, who could resist that?

Yet as I am about to download it, I look over at the right side of the screen, and I see...

"Rating Ages 12 and up"

Really? 12 and up? Well, I guess the Joker is in it and he kills some folks, and he gets killed and all. But really, I know I was a lot younger than 12 when I read a reprint of this issue for the first time. And I wasn't scarred horribly (at least, not so I noticed).

So I curiously poked around the DC Digital site ("powered by Comixology"). Next stop? Action Comics #1. And, lo and behold...

"Rating Ages 12 and up."

Oh c'mon--Action #1?!? Superman's origin is deemed inappropriate for youngsters? You know dang well pre-teens were among the biggest customers of comic books back in the day. But now the first Kal-El adventure is deemed not child-friendly?!?

OK, maybe the Golden Age was a seething cesspool of violence and mind-corrupting content. Let's take a look at the relative kid-friendliness of the Silver Age. How about Justice League Of America #21, the famous first JLA/JSA crossover. It's hard to to think of a safer, less inappropriate (dare I say bland and bloodless?) example example of comics safe for all ages, right?

"Rating Ages 12 and up."

Well. Maybe it's just a DC thing? So I went to the Comixology site to check how they handled Silver Age Marvels. Howzabout Amazing Fantasy #15?

"12+ only"

I guess "with great power comes great responsibility" is a lesson we shouldn't teach to 10 year olds. Stan and Steve--famous for being too intense for the youths.

A quick further dash around the classics from Origins Of Marvel Comics--Fantastic Four #1, Amazing Spider-Man #1, and others--all said the same thing:

"12+ only"

But here's the funny part. If you go to Marvel's own site, and surf the selections in Marvel Digital Comics, those same issues...have no ratings at all! The modern stuff, after the ratings were adopted...those have ratings listed. But the classic Silver Age stuff? No warnings at all.

So this seems to be Comixology's doing. And my highly unscientific survey tells me that they've slapped "12+ only" or "Ages 12 and up" on every single Golden and Silver Age comic they've got.

If I were to guess, at some point Comixology decided that every comic they carry had to be rated...but they didn't want to spend the effort to read through and rate all of those unrated comics, so they just called them all 12+ to cover their butts.

Of course, I don't have kids, and I can't claim any kind of special knowledge in child psychology or the like. So maybe all of those comics I read before I was 12 really were bad for me. I mean, I watched unedited Warner Brothers cartoons, rode a bike without a helmet, went to the local park unaccompanied by an adult, and ate lots of white bread and refined clearly I was living on borrowed time anyway, and society was too stupid to realize that uplifting stories of heroes were bad for the young ones.

Still, come on, Comixology...I really think it's OK to let 9 years olds read Action Comics #1.

1 comment:

SallyP said...

Children are so fragile...we must protect their tender little minds.