Tho the recent months have been difficult for me financially and socially but I have done my best to
follow the issues of the comic community. And now that things are a little better for me I felt I should make a comment on one of them.
Whenever I hear someone shout on youtube or write on a blog or reddit “Don’t bring your politics into our comics.” there’s the immediate response that “comics have always been political” and once both sides have been riled up, we go straight to name calling and flame wars.
I thought about it for a bit and came to a simple, conclusion. Not saying its the right conclusion, but this makes the most sense to me.
It all depends on the theme/general ideology of the characters/comic book in question.
For example, Spider-man is all about personal responsibility. A lot of his stories focus on the fact that despite what happens to us we are ultimately responsible for the actions/decisions we make.
Batman’s tends to be about Justice, Punisher vengence, Hulk inner demons and the power fantasy of being able to lash out /overcome oppressors/ threats.
So from what I’ve listed , we can already guess that some political topics are a natural fit for some characters.
Now the stories stated as “political” are simply stories that do not work with the original themes of the character/comic. They are not an evolution nor a growth, but simply a betrayal of the ideas behind the creation of the character.
For example, a story featuring Sherlock holmes as a pimp…….. would not be taken well by anyone I’ld expect. Neither would a story about a stupid, crybaby Batman.
personally the best example of this would be one more day.
My reason for hating this story is that it betrayed the core theme of self responsibility. Peter Parker, the amazing spider-man was a character that screwed up ….a lot. But his story was about him getting back up from his mistakes and making restitution for those mistakes.
This was him making a deal with the devil to erase a mistake….He ran from the consequences of his choices and went the easy way out.
A divorce which would have hurt, would have grown the character and made him a lot more relatible ( I mean aren’t alot of American people divorced at least once.) and its a more natural story than the crap we got.
Now the current dilemma seems to be that modern comics in particular marvel, seem to be more concerned about making a point over telling a story.
Instead of picking a character/creating one that fits the point they are trying to make, they try to bend popular existing characters to fit their point despite how nonsensical the result turns out to be.
Conversely Superman rebirth worked so well because it restored the theme of superman which had been damaged by the new 52 and in particular the truth arc (while I didn’t hate the truth arc, it was really depressing to see superman depowered for several months with his id exposed by lois lane of all people.) Now hes back to being classic Superman, champion of earth, married to Lois, with the pleasant addition of a natural son jon kent the new superboy! (still waiting for conner’s return so that I can see them interact)
So basically the question is not whether comics are political, its whether the writer understands the character he/she is writing so that whatever issue/point the writer wants to make fits within the themes that the character represents.