Porn Proof Your Child



Porn Proof Your Child

The Leap from Comic Books to Graphic Novels
2009 Roland Mann


Comic Hero
What are Graphic Novels and should I keep my kids from reading them? Part 2
For nearly as long as there have been comics, there have been "underground" comics, some of which are hardcore pornography. Underground, or "independent comics" as they're often called in the industry, began to flourish in the '70s with the advent of the comic specialty shop—a store which specializes in selling comics and comic-related material. It is estimated there were 5,000 comic shops in the United States in the middle '90s before the comic book bust. Now estimates suggest well less than half that number.
Graphic novels grew out of the sales successes of The Dark Night and Watchmen. Over the years, publishers found that mainstream bookstores like Waldenbooks and Barnes and Noble would shelve a graphic novel—printed like a traditional book—in their stores while they were less inclined to find rack space for magazine-style comics. So publishers began to search frantically for material to release in the graphic novel format.
Graphic novels then can be a wide assortment of material. The term "graphic novel" is an umbrella term which refers to any comic book style story printed in a squarebound format. Much of the material published is simply reprinted comic book stories collected together to present a longer story; generally, they contain 80 or more pages of comics. Publishers often seek a new audience at the bookstores while trying to encourage longtime comic readers to buy the "collected stories."
Graphic novels also include "manga," another popular sub-genre. "Manga" is simply a term used to describe Japanese-style artwork in the comics or graphic novels and should carry neither a positive nor negative connotation. Manga, like American-style art, has both good stories and stories to avoid.
Regrettably, comic companies did away with using the Comics Code Authority, a "seal of approval" indicating that the comics were okay for kids to read. When I began editing comics in the early '90s, we followed the code. By the time I left Marvel in '96, we didn't.
So if parents can no longer trust the Marvel and DC brands, how can they know which graphic novels are okay for kids to read? The answer is both simple and frustrating: parents must monitor what their kids read.
n the same way we don't let them watch television shows or movies without knowing what they're seeing, we shouldn't let them read a graphic novel without first reading it—or at least skimming it. Currently, there are few websites devoted to illuminating age-appropriate material. The occasional blogger will recommend a few select titles, but a good starting point is http://comicsintheclassroom.net/. Trusted friends can also be the source of confidence regarding graphic novel reading material.
This article does not intend to suggest there is no good material to be found in graphic novels. Quite the opposite. Comic storytelling is a tried and true story medium and has a proven track record of drawing kids into reading. We just have to be careful which graphic novels we let them read . . . we need to be parents!
Roland Mann is currently a freelance writer living in Oxford, Mississippi. Roland is a writer and former editor for Malibu and Marvel comics, a former University instructor, and a former newspaper editor. His latest graphic novel, an adaptation of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, may be ordered from www.campfire.co.in for free worldwide delivery. He has completed two novels, both of which are "under consideration" by people who can publish them. One of them is also being considered by a local film company as a possible screenplay. He blogs regularly at www.rolandmann.wordpress.com.


 

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