Why Comic Books Are Important Comic books are important because they represent a segment of the population that like to fantasize that they can escape the hardship of everyday life. In comic books they can be the hero, the nemesis, or a third party that may or may not become pivotal in the end. A person may identify with a certain character because the personality the superhero or villain embodies what the person visualizes, or identifies with. Comic books are important because the scenarios that the people face exhibit situations where confrontation isn't necessarily the only answer. The quandaries faced enable a person to see a situation and how it is dealt with. Comic books allow people to create their own versions and see how different scenarios are played out, which can result in new ways of defusing stressful situations. It may permit a person to see situations in life differently and hence; think outside the box when warranted. Comic books are important because the venue in which they are supplied is an alternative to regular book reading. They are shorter in length so a person who is more visual will get additional enjoyment out of a forty-eight page comic book versus a short story or a novel. It would be less time consuming and allow the reader to engage in other activities. Time management and comic books are synonymous in the vein of everyday life. People seem to have little time to read. The busy lifestyle, the children's needs, all those requirements play a role in time constraints. Comic books offer a solution to the active person. The reader is limited in time so he or she must be enthralled immediately to gain full attention. Once the reader immerses himself or herself, the ambiance changes. He or she is thrust into an unknown situation that demands total attention. The plot thickens and the hero is cast in circumstances that demand a resolution. The confrontation ensues and against seemingly impossible odds, the hero finds an answer in an unlikely place or person. Once the comic book is finished being read, very little time had elapsed. Yet the reading of the comic book doesn't end there. The reader now has time to dwell on what transpired, what could have been done, what should have been done and a myriad of other possible outcomes. That can be done while daydreaming or at a quiet time when you're alone. The significance of contemplating the different endings of a comic book induces thought. The what if landscape could produce an unexpected epiphany. It might help with a problem that had eluded you and the answer to your dilemma was spelled out. You might have to apply it differently than the comic book did, but the answer could have been contained within the story. Comic books are important because people need them for an outlet. It channels our thoughts to construct a better picture of how we need heroes to behave, and what limits we set upon them to handle crisis that inevitably happens. You could argue that delving into the importance of comic books is inane. But looking at the bigger picture and what comic books represent, I would argue the reciprocal. The Golden Age of Comic Books By and large, the accepted time frame for the golden age of comic books ran from a period from the 1930's through the mid-1950's. It was a prosperous time for the American comic book realm. Many of today's super heroes were inaugurated during this stage. Super heroes flourished in the golden age of comic books. Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman, Robin and Hawkman were some of the heroes that a new company called Detective Comics or DC comics, launched. During the 1940's a precursor to Marvel Comics, called Timely Comics, introduced their version of the super hero genre. They included Captain America, The Human Torch and The Sub-Mariner. Ironically, the Captain Marvel comic books from Fawcett Comics outsold Superman and his associates during the golden age. There were literally hundreds of super powered and non super powered heroes that came and went. The advent of world war two helped propel the comic book industries popularity. It was an inexpensive means to relax, read and imagine the good guys prevail over the bad guys. In those days, Superman regularly helped the allies thwart Hitler and the axis powers. What better way to defeat the enemy than to watch the heroes in action? Defeating Hitler was on everyone's mind, and the stress relief comic books provided was helpful to a young man in a foreign land engaged in daily battles. Superman, Batman and Robin helped the war effort by advertising war bonds. Uncle Sam may have wanted you, but the super heroes lending themselves to the war propaganda helped the cause. Which one was more influential in the golden age of comic books: a sickly looking old man who wanted you to fight, or young powerful super heroes that could do incredible damage to the enemy? The answer is evident. The war was significant and powerful in the development of the super heroes during the golden age. However, there were other factors too. There were comic books during that period that were not based on super heroes. The genre started to change during the latter part of the golden age, especially after World War Two. Westerns were taking firm root in society as the readership declined for the super heroes. Horror, romance, satire and science fiction all filled the vacuum that was left during the decline. The downward trend was precipitated by, in my opinion, the ambiance of the times with McCarthyism and books being published that suggested comic books and their ilk were detrimental to the society's young people minds. The introduction of the funny comics during the golden age were well-liked too. Bugs bunny and Donald duck premiered. The funny comics instilled laughter in the audience and that was important. The importance of laughter during stressful times cannot be overstated. The atmosphere was rife with the arrival of the cold war and the atomic age. Bomb shelters littered the country. With that being said, the funny comic books helped people express amusement in their daily routine. Whatever genre people chose to read, the Golden Age of comic books influenced the shaping the comic book market. The Silver Age of Comic Books The silver age of comic books lasted approximately from the late 1950's to the early 1970's. During this period, a few attributes of comic book characters started to develop. One of the most interesting developments was the incorporation of science fiction into the storylines. With science fiction at the helm, you could inject a myriad of stories. The stretching of known boundaries put a new spin on tales. Whereas, the scenes usually took place with normal circumstances, now the writer's and artists were given free rein. The lack of limitations produced many out of the ordinary comic books. In the silver age of comic books, Batman and Robin could be placed anywhere where they were not confined to earth. I mention the two since they are not super powered. The comic book companies took ordinary, though highly skilled, super heroes and could place them is rockets, visit alien worlds and fight for the good no matter what type of society there was. This brings an interesting thought. The societies in other worlds clearly had good people versus bad people. In the silver age of comic books, they took human traits and manifested them in aliens. There will always be good and evil, that is a given. The aliens had special abilities that transcended humans, but they were perpetually war-like. Conflict must arise in order for the super heroes to justify their existence. Metamorphoses abounded in that era. With the fusion of science fiction into the comic book format, super heroes and villains could be transformed, or mutated, much more easily. The weapons in use were foreign and that could make even Superman pause. The conflictive nature spread beyond the science fiction realm. During this era, the comic book publishers began to integrate more humanity into their characters. They were not necessarily robotic in their mannerism and emotional appeal, but the humanizing of the comic book heroes suggested a transformation had taken place. It took internalized personal melancholy to rise to the surface and manifest itself to create a more human character. A hero or arch villain could be produced dependent upon the character's personality. As with any conflict situation, the reader had to be enthralled with the super hero. Could a person relate to what the comic book writer's were hoping to convey? You have to remember adding human emotion and personal tragedies was new to the genre. The reaction was positive and that tradition continues to this day. In the comic books of that age, another character was transformed. Aquaman began in the golden age and revamped in the late 1950's. Originally, Aquaman was deemed a negligible super hero, but as the silver age took root, his role expounded. The personal conflict surfaced when it was revealed that his arch nemesis was his half brother called Ocean Master. Another attribute that changed for Aquaman during the silver age was his ability to live outside water changed from being able to live inside or outside water indefinitely, to him needing to get to water every hour. All the changes that took place in the Silver age comic books represented a modification that society dictated. The alterations are a necessary step to keep the comic book industry relevant. The Bronze Age of Comic Books The bronze age of comic books is generally considered from the early 1970's to the mid 1980's in the American culture. This period saw a continuance from the silver age. However, during this time the comic book publishers were introducing a darkening of plots with more adult themes. One of the most central events that characterized the darkness inception was the death of Gwen Stacy. She was Peter Parker's long time girlfriend. For the first time in comic books, the arch- villain (in this case The Green Goblin) took a life. Gwen Stacy epitome was cut short. Now the public knew that realism in the comic book world had taken a bold new course. Never again would the comic book world be the same. That occurrence underscored the end of one era and the beginning of another. The mature content was a wake up call. Comic books once again took on social issues. The social problems were dealt with the appearance of minority comic book heroes. The heroes for hire co-starring Luke Cage embodied the industries intent on implementing African-Americans despite condemnation claiming he was just another ethnic typecast. Prior to Luke's entrance, the Black Panther and Falcon were a staple in the comic book world. Both the Black Panther and the Falcon were more resistant to the social outcry of Luke Cage. Perhaps it was because there were no stereotypical portrayals within their respective comic books. Another important addition, lending the credence of minorities in comic books, were the X-Men. Humanity was shown to be prejudiced against the X-Men because they were mutants. Apparently, the next step in human evolution was hard to swallow in the Marvel comic book universe. When people do not understand something, or are in fear of it, then they rebel. The representation of X-Men seemed analogous to the minority concerns. On a collective scale, the issues surrounding the X-Men portend a shift in the perception of the human race. If civilization cannot handle, or accept the mutants as they are, then how are we, as a whole, able to accept minorities? The bronze age of comic books addressed those concerns, and others, with realism (as far as realism can be attained within that context). On an individual level, people were not accepting of the X-men. They feared what they could not comprehend. When that transpires then fear turns to rage then to violence. Violence usually ensues when ignorance runs rampant. The analogy of the X-men to minorities is a first-rate one. The prejudices faced by both the X-Men and minorities may have taken different paths but the result is the same. The Bronze Age of Comic books helped define what America was thinking at the time. The end of the Bronze Age of comic books is littered with speculation. Some suggest that the "Crisis On Infinite Earths" was the beginning of the end, but there is no definitive proof. Other people claim that the Bronze Age of comic books never really left and that it continues with the dawn of the Modern Age of comics. By either account, the Bronze Age of comic books was an important one where social change took place on more than front. The Modern Age of Comic Books The Modern Age of American comic books of is thought to be between the mid-1980 until present day. This age saw a continuation of the Bronze Age with a notable exception. The independent comic book publishers grew and rose from obscurity. Some of the more well known people from the two big comic book publishers to independent comic book companies. These include, but are not limited to Pacific, Eclipse and First. Why would someone who had made a name for themselves change companies? In independent comic books, the writers had more freedom of expression. The creativity would have been a prized commodity. No limitations or restraints produce some very interesting comic books. With such freedom, they would be able to personify their works. Moreover, the waned influence that the Comic Code Authority experienced was a boom to the comic book industry of the Modern Age. Horror stories and science fiction once again became popular. The novels of Conan the Destroyer were put into comic book format with much success. Given the popularity of Conan, other venues showed up. Dracula started making a comeback. Dracula once had an encounter with The Batman. The ability to fuse two genres, horror and super heroes, enabled the comic books to showcased two great characters. Thus, the artistic expressions of the independent comic books were enhanced because the readers had the pleasure of experiencing fine artwork, without the limitations imposed by the other mainstream comic books. The culmination of changes that rippled through the comic book industry created a need for the creation of an anti- super hero. With super heroes and arch villains exploring their dark side, it became apparent that that endeavor needed exploration. The Batman had experienced a metamorphosis that turned him into a darker character. Jason Todd, who was the second incarnation of Robin, died at the hands of the Joker. Another comic book hero that personified darkness was the Wolverine. From his introduction, Wolverine had a bad attitude. He was the quintessential anti-hero. He was a super hero who helped people in need. However, the darker side held sway. He is a mutant and knows people's perception. He still does the right thing, albeit sometimes he barely manages to hold his temper in check. Daredevil typifies a hero who possesses a dark side. The devil costume he wears is supposed to instill fear in criminals. Yet, wearing a devils costume also illustrates his darker side. Indeed, Daredevil's original costume was yellow and it would be a stretch to see any significance germane to his other half. Another attribute that casts him in the category of anti-hero is his blindness. He knows he is different from the rest of society with his amplification of hearing, smelling, tasting and "seeing". Daredevil still maintains a resolute personality, a key ingredient in any super hero. The Modern Age of Comic Books inception is hard to pinpoint. It could be a continuation of the Bronze Age with minor changes, or it could be an entity by itself. What matters most is the comic book industry continues to evolve and create make believe characters and make them believable. Comic Book Collections One of my favorite hobbies is the collection of used and new comic books. I possess over fifteen hundred and fifty comic books that include first printings, autographed copies and graphic novels. Almost all of my collection is super heroes. Why do people collect comic books? As with most young boys, comic books fascinated me. Adventures to strange planets, odd beings bent on destroying earth just because they can, and the super heroes who must stop the perpetrators. If you take all the elements needed to draft a story, shake and toss the ideas around, brainstorm and throw in a little drama, then you got a good story. I had comic books growing up but never realized the potential market for it. On occasion I find a comic book that I specifically remember reading as a child and look at how much it is worth today. I am amazed and a little mad that I did not keep them. My current comic book collection commenced in the mid-1980's when comic books were only seventy-five cents. I was living at home and paid little rent. I happened to notice a comic book store not far from where I had worked. I walked in and entered another world. The best part was the comics that were reduced in price. I would get bags full and read with delight into the wee hours of the morning. Other times I found autographed copies from the artists or writers and would buy those. When Batman and The Dark Knight series came out I managed to get all four first printings. Unfortunately they were stolen, along with some other valuable merchandise. My comic book collection contains a great deal of graphic novels. I enjoy both the comic book and the graphic novel. Oftentimes I come across people who collect comic books and they try to explain to me that they do not read them; they retain it for the potential value. While I do not engage in that practice, if you believe the comic books you buy will be worth something, then by all means do it. I know some of my comic books are worth money but that is not a consideration when I buy them. If I want to read a particular comic book, and it is worth money, I will read it anyway. It may deflate the price, but to reiterate, that is not why I buy them. A great many people buy covers for their comic books. That is a very good idea. However, you want to make sure the bags are acid free or it will affect the look of your comic books. Storing them in a dry, cool place is preferred. Boxes that are equal in size to the comic book are a good idea since they bend very easily. People collect comic books for various reasons and it is good to know how to take care of them. The possibility of comic books rising in value is hard to predict, yet it can be done. It takes a bit of research and some luck but the risk is worth it to many people. I collect comic books because I love to read them and determine how the hero will eventually catch the criminal. Whatever the reason, comic books are a staple in our society. Comic Book Companies The genre of the comic book culture has many ardent fans. The readership proves that true. In that venue, the proliferation of comic book companies is astonishing. There are over one hundred comic book companies and many more that are defunct. The competitions to produce, advertise and distribute comic books are daunting. Each company tries to produce a character or characters that appeal to the masses. There are exceptions to that. There are underground comic book companies that cater to a different segment of society. Sometimes they lead to mainstream because one or more of their characters gains acceptance. The mainstream comic book companies like to create characters that exhibit abilities that the public enjoys. Oftentimes it works. The hero of the story is believable enough that it gains acceptance. The acceptance is crucial for the comic book company to survive the harsh struggle it has to endure. In other circumstances, the hero or villain does not relate to the readership and it quickly fizzles into obscurity. It is a painful process to the company, or the individual, that does not fulfill its perceived duty to the readership. All the painstaking work that goes into developing the whole spectrum of a comic book company is intimidating. The creation of a hero into an actual comic book denotes time, effort and a great deal of persistence. If the persistence is not enough, the reader will never have the pleasure of seeing your creation into fruition. The list of defunct comic book companies suggests that many people have tried taking the plunge into creating a comic book company and failed. Unfortunately, failure is a realistic expectation in any business venture, especially the comic book world. When you think of comic book companies, the two biggest and most popular are the DC comics and Marvel comics. Likewise, there are many independent comic book companies. Each one are vying for you to sustain their existence, and for your hard earned money. The latter one is understandable. A comic book company cannot survive without paid readership. The more circulation, the greater the money. Supply and demand. The law of economics. All of those maxims hold true. Once the comic book company gains credence, their ability to construct more characters enhance their share of the market. The comic book figures are a representation of the comic book company. Marvel comics contain more cosmic powered heroes and villains than its main competition. DC has a horde of figures that originate from outside the confines of earth, but do not possess nearly the power levels of Marvel. Other comic book companies, such as Dark Horse comics, use licensed merchandising figures such as Star Wars and Buffy the vampire slayer. Since Dark Horse comics is the third largest of the comic book companies, it must work. Using established characters from television and the movies was a natural extension of the comic book world. The popularity of the characters was well known so the market was already in place. A comprehensive list of current and defunct comic book companies is easy enough to obtain. The reasons behind the success and failure are another matter. Some of the reasons expounded in this article should make them more lucid. Rare and First Printing Comic Books Rare and first printing comic books are an industry that comprises serious minded individual's intent on getting their moneys worth. There is a great deal of information that needs to be understood prior to getting into the business. The values placed on comic books are based on rare the comic book is, was it a first edition, and most importantly the condition of the comic book. A good comic pricing guide is essential to determine how much, if any, your comic book is worth. A prime example of this is my comic book collection. When the Batman's Dark Knight Series came out, I bought the first issue. I purchased it because I liked the concept of an old Bruce Wayne trying to gain back his lost youth. The streets had fallen to the younger generation. In one segment he fought, and barely won, a young person. In his prime, Batman would have had no problem taking the young man out. However, old age crept in and he had to deal with his lost youth, and his mortality. I never took into the account that it would end up being worth anything. Imagine my surprise when I learned DC had only made a certain number of issues, never dreaming the popularity would ensue. I bought the three remaining first printing issues. They were worth, to me, a lot more than I paid for them. When they were stolen, I was devastated. I was crushed because I loved the comic books and not because they were worth a little money. The pricing guide's most famous company is The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. It has an extensive list of every comic book and a guide to its value. Some of the grades of the comic book affect the pricing. Here are a few brief examples. Mint- Mint condition comic books are probably as good as the comic book will ever be. Everything from the fresh colors, to the absence of rust from the staples, to the different shades of white the paper is. Who can say if such a condition exists? I would love to see someone's version of a mint comic book. Near mint-, this condition has somewhat lower standards than the mint. Negligible flaws are to be expected, but none that would hamper the price. Very fine- very fine condition has outstanding looks that are entreaty in nature. There are many more categories to take into consideration when buying comic books for their value. The monthly magazine, Wizard, also has a pricing guide for comic books but I do not believe they are as comprehensive as The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. Rare and first printing comic books can be very lucrative if you know how to play the game. It takes patience and a keen, discerning eye, coupled with knowledge of the market. Without the knowledge of the comic book market, the rest of the objectives become useless. A great deal of research is required. Going into a situation blind is not recommended unless you have deep pockets and a jovial disposition. Comic Books And The Movies The movie industry is abuzz with comic books being adapted to the full screen. Not only is it profitable for Hollywood to produce comic book characters, but for the comic book industry too. There have been low budget movies and television series based on the more popular comic books. Usually the low budget movies do not fare well. The blockbuster comic book movies usually use well-known actors and the difference between the low budget movies and the high-end movies are palpable. The television industry has had a love affair with comic book heroes for generations. The old serial shorts showed a popular comic book hero. The special affects were limited with the era but it introduced the character into the mainstream. The advent of radio-helped pave the way for the comic books to hit the ordinary folk that would never had the exposure to them. As time advanced so did the technology and the special effects. Certain comic book super heroes needed to employ certain feats to appear to fly and see through walls. Wires were strung on the costumes, and hoisted in the air to appear to defy gravity. Boulders that were huge in size were actually made of paper. All kinds of primitive devices were used to entertain us. And entertain they did. The advances in the special effects department gave Hollywood its first glimpse into a lucrative enterprise. In 1978 the first big blockbuster came onto the scene and the movie industry was taken aback at the amount of money that was made. The comic book industry took notice to and continued with three more sequels that never matched the first one. In 1989 Batman came out and it was an instant success. Jack Nicholson portyrayed the Joker with fervent appeal and was the only actor, at the time, to receive a share of the profits. There have been a few Batman movies and each successive one had better special effects. The comic books had finally come into majority of the households. The Hulk, the Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer, Spiderman, The Punisher, and soon to be released Iron Man. With so man famous comic books hitting the big screen, the relationship between the movie industry and the comic book business have cemented. Obviously, it benefits both parties. The movie empire can be assured on profits, especially if word of mouth is positive. Nothing can sink a movies fortune than a negative response from people. I am not referring to the critics. Ordinary people who spend their hard earned money are more influential than the critics. It helps the comic book domain by getting more and more people exposed to their comic book heroes and villains. Thus, people who normally would not read comic books could be persuaded to buy some. Comic books and the movies enjoy a relationship that has endured for a long time. Each successive generation will be able to watch new movies with different comic book characters. And each one will bring about changes in how the movies are made and the special effects they use. Comic Books and Graphic Novels Comic books and graphic novels today represent a significant shift in how society is feeling. Society as a whole portends what direction we are headed. Comic book companies recognize that. The graphic novel is an extension of a comic book in that it conveys content as a whole verses segmenting it. Graphic novels are typically longer in length and cater to a more adult audience since it deals with more mature content. If there is a mini series, in either Marvel or DC comic books, or it is well liked, they are more apt to put all the parts into one main book. That book is called the graphic novel. Adding graphic novels to the comic book forum helps boost sales and augments customer loyalty. The customer loyalty in comic books and graphic novels are paramount for the small and big comic book publishers. It is an effective means to bring in more advertising income, boost readership and maintain the level of professionalism that is required. Within the framework of comic books and graphic novels, the genre is important. You have the fictionalized version, the science fiction, science fantasy, and real life stories. If you add all those components, you get a vast network of titles to read and or collect. The fictionalized comic book and graphic novel encompasses a great deal of books. There are literally thousands of both types out there. The independent publishers are just as good as the mainstream ones. Graphic novels and comic books offer a slew of topics to choose. You can read about real life people like Malcolm X or made up characters similar to people you meet in the street. Some people who read graphic novels and comic books read all but the super heroes. They consider it a waste of time because of the unrealistic aspect to it. In graphic novels that are not germane to super heroes, the reader gets the sense that they could relate better to them, if portrayed with a sense of realism. The younger readers are interested in stories and artwork that are totally outside the realm of what older people are in to. That fact produces some diverse comic books and graphic novels. A great many graphic novels foretell of an impending disaster and the main figure in the story (usually a young person) is the only one to avert the destruction. There is a plethora of graphic novels with this subject matter. For the same reason, comic books for the younger crowd do an excellent service providing content that are easily assimilated into their culture. Comic books and graphic novels are dissimilar from each other. However, the dissimilarities are not necessarily that extensive. Both are creating what the discerning reader conveys, but in a different format. The graphic novel's name implies the content is more mature in nature. However, the differences inherent in both products produce the same result. They attract an audience. The graphic novel may be longer and have variant content than the comic book, but both grant the audience entertainment. Comic Book Merchandising When a comic book hero becomes famous, the natural inclination is to profit from it. The merchandising of comic book characters is such a venue. The advertising agencies are cognizant of that fact, and so are the comic book publishers. The merchandisings of movies are popular too. Star Wars is a prime example of that. The movie came first. It became such a success that they sold posters and action figures of all the main characters, and a wide assortment of related materials. To put the merchandising power in perspective, consider George Lucas's Star War films. All six of the movies grossed almost three and a half billion dollars. The merchandising of the Star Wars totaled over nine billion dollars. After you consider that, they made Star Wars into comic books! Merchandising comic books is a serious art. If done correctly the amount of revenue could be staggering. Never the less, there are points to mull over. The location of the action figure in stores, are they displayed prominently where they will receive the most attention? Is the box packaged in such a way that it lures the target audience to it? In addition, one of the most important items is the price. The price has to be reasonable to the public. The merchandising of comic books also takes form in tee shirts. You can acquire a Superman logo tee shirt from any comic book store. Moreover, you can buy a Superman logo tee shirt at any local mall. The mainstreaming of merchandising in local stores put the super heroes in the forefront of people's consciousness. If you are bombarded with something long enough, it becomes accepted and more people are apt to buy it. There are psychological and sociological studies to determine the best course of action for merchandising company's products. People's nonverbal movements can be observed to determine if a product, in this case an action figure, tee shirt or anything related to the comic book merchandising, is pleasing to the consumer or not. Facial expressions are an important indicator to see if a person will purchase your merchandise. Another key area is word of mouth. When you see a movie, and really liked it, you are more lilkely to tell everyone you know about it. When a comic book company makes a movie, they advertise it extensively. The fast food restaurants are an excellent place to market their merchandise for young children. What better way to advertise than go to a local Burger King, Wendy's or McDonalds and see the latest comic book movie's (or any other movie that pertains to children) main characters as action figures? There are so many aspects to merchandising comic books and the respective super heroes. It does not take a qualified expert to see the prospect of making copious amounts of money through seemingly harmless venues. The operative word I chose was seemingly. Only time will tell the effects of the barrage of advertising merchandise that takes place on a daily basis. Merchandising for comic books is no exception. Comic Books From Around the World There are a vast number of comic books to choose since their inception. When someone thinks about comic books, they think of everyday comics and their heroes in this country. However, comic books do not always come from the United States. The vast majority of the world has comic books. The European Union houses copious amounts of comic books. France, British, Italy are just some of the different nations that partake. France has had comic books for a long time. The comic book author generally decides when the next installment comes out. Since it is the discretion of the author, he or she may take months or even years for the next issue to be published. The audience does not seem to be bothered with waiting. If it is the will of the author, so be it. The amount of comic books that are produced from France is significant comparatively to the populace, which would indicate that it is a popular form of entertainment. If there are many authors to choose from, then this lends to the idea of people not caring how long it takes to buy the next installment. The reader can buy a different title from a different author. The British comic books are not as well know as their American counterpart. One of the more popular comic books that hailed from Britain was the Judge Dredd series brought to life by Sylvester Stallone. Although it brought to light a comic book character from Britain, most people did not know it originated from there. Marvel comics opened up an office in Britain in 1972. DC and Dark Horse comics did not open up offices there until the 1990's. It seems the English enjoy our comic book heroes as well as we do. Italian comic books are strongly influenced by other countries. They prefer more adventure like stories that tell tales. Unlike America, where once a week you can find a new edition, Italian comic books come out monthly and are usually longer in length. The Italian comic book publishers immensely enjoy Walt Disney characters. They are the largest manufacturers of Walt Disney figures, other than the United States. The Japanese also love comic books. In Japan, they are referred to as Magna. They are known for their exaggerated facial features, which were inspired by American authors. Japan had requested help from comic book artists from America to go over to learn contours, shapes and colors to help revise their comic books. The result was the exponential growth of comic books. It appears that America has a big influence of comic books from around the world. The result implies that everyone, no matter where you reside, wants a form of pictorial entertainment. The pursuit of amusement with a glossy cover, colored pages depicting figures that face immeasurable odds, only enhance the benefit of reading comic books. The world needs a release, and through the sequential formats they provide, there will be a never-ending deluge of comic books to read. America is not alone in its need to escape and absorb into a fantasy-based comic book. Comic Book Awards When you think of comic books, one of the last things you think about is if any comic books receive any accolades. Is there such a thing as comic book awards? Apparently there are. In America alone, there are several companies that the awards are given to different comic book genres. One of the main companies that provide awards to the comic book industry is called The National Cartoonist Society Awards, which houses fifteen categories. A panel of judges does the selection. There are regional chapters and the general members do the voting. Another comic book award company is the comic buyers guide fan awards. The first year the awards were handed out was in 1983. The awards are broken up into several different categories from favorite publisher to favorite inker to favorite comic book hero. In 2003, the most current year there are statistics, the favorite publisher of comic books was DC, which held a forty-six percent majority, with Marvel receiving about twenty-three percent. Dark Horse had a merger two percent (rounded up) of the votes. The favorite comic book was the JSA (Justice Society of America) with almost eight percent of the votes. The favorite comic book hero was Batman with a little more than fourteen percent of the tally. Americans are not the only country to give out awards for the comic strip and comic book industries. The now defunct Eagle award came hailed from England. In addition, England has, up until the year 2002, an award company called the National Comics awards where a panel of judges award the best comic of the year. All other awards are nominated by everyone and are open to everyone. France, Spain and Japan all have their equivalent awards. France has an award called the Grand Prize of the City of Angouleme where a living author, cartoonist or scriptwriters are recognized for their lifetime contribution. In Spain, one of the awards given is called the Haxtur Awards. The Haxtur Awards celebrate the best long story, best short story, best cover and a host of other awards that are given annually. The Japanese have a slew of awards. One of them is called Japanese Cartoonists' Association Awards. The nominations are open to all artists who submit their work. The Association creed is the enrichment and expansion of cartooning in Japan. Another example of Japan's dedicated environment for fostering the art of comic books and its artist's is the Media Arts Awards. Its inception was in 1997 and like its counterpart, all nominations are based on artists who submit there works. These countries, others not mentioned, and ours help spread the word on comic books and their wide assortment of personnel. The bylaws in their charter differ in there nomination process and the awards given out, but they represent an industry that achieves greatness through their respective works. To receive tributes is an honor and helps sustain the industry. Bestowing the awards also helps the respective nations lure potential artists within their country to seek out jobs related to the field. The awards and the ceremony help cement the artists and the comic books.
The Science Fiction of Comic Books The science fiction of comic books always fascinated the public. Where else could you read a forty-eight page comic book and find alternate universes or parallel universes? One could read a science fiction short story or a novel, but to see a visual representation of what the writer and artist rendition of foreign life is truly a unique experience. The connection between you and the comic books version of alien life forms or parallel universes can be similar or way off base. That is the beauty of the science fiction of comic books. You never know if the comic books interpretation of alien life and alien technology were meant to persuade you into their way of conceptualizing the unfathomable, or not. Perhaps it is their version from when they read comic books when they were young. Comic books have a plethora of instances where alien life forms want to destroy the earth. The strange beings seem only to want to destroy and conquer. When a comic book portrays a benevolent species that traveled millennia to reach earth, we are immediately suspicious and resort to violence. In comic books where there are alternate timelines, havoc ensues and the hero or heroes must return to the correct timeline. They were sent there on accident from a science experiment or some other apparently plausible explanation. The science fiction of comic books tends to bend the current law of physics and stretch some truths to fit neatly into a good explanation. After the ramifications from the story are fully examined, it becomes necessary to find new ways in which to use them in future narratives. Thus, one storyline has many possible outcomes for future comic books. If a superhero destroys an alien bent on destroying earth and his body dissipates, then you would think the alien is gone. However, matter cannot dissipate. So where is the creature? It seems likely it will be back in the future to reek more wide spread destruction on the unsuspecting populace. On the other hand, it could be a robot that infiltrates machines, and has wrested control from us. Alternatively, it could be ourselves from the distant future that depleted their natural resources so they come back to steal ours. Whatever the reason the strange beings wage warfare with us, or we are beamed to a different reality, the imagination is the clear winner. Almost every kid sometime or another wanted to take a story they read from a comic book and try some type of experiment. Those kids are the future scientists and perhaps in the meantime, our comic book creators. The science fiction of yesterday becomes the science of tomorrow. The science may be dubious in comic books but the thrill of pretending you are in the shoes of someone else always held me captive. The comic books will always be filled with science fiction themes and plots based on real science and pseudo science. However, the real magic is that they can implement the two into a comic book, and turn a make believe story into a great work of art that will be remembered for a very long time. The Ever-Changing Powers of Comic Book Heroes From time to time a change, in one or more comic book hero's powers, occurs. There can be a multitude of reasons behind this. Has the comic book hero become stagnant? Has the readership declined over the past several months? Did a metamorphosis happen while fighting? Did a depletion of their power make room for the change? And, of course, the ever popular experimentation. A mad scientist creates an experiment, an ordinary individual gets in the way, and his or her DNA is altered. He or she is then morphed into a super hero or a criminal based upon their disposition. Another version to that is a comic book super hero or villain get in the way of an unsolicited experiment that went awry. Their molecular structure is mutated, which begs some questions. Does an ordinary citizen received powers? Do the super heroes or villain's powers stay the same? Do they exhibit the same powers, only augmented? Do their powers change until it is unrecognizable from the original? Is the change a temporary one, or is it a long-term modification? Will their powers ever go back to normal? These issues are explored and examined, sometimes in minute detail. The details that go into explaining the ever-changing powers of comic book heroes are appealing. In the framework of comic books, where fantasy merges with the imagination, the predicaments in which precipitates the change of the powers suggests that the storyline was born, bred and raised for sometime. Superman's powers changed him into two separated beings. One being was red and the other being blue. Each one was a separate hero who displayed different characteristics. They eventually combined and recreated the Superman we are familiar with and love. The account took one year. The semantics behind the change suggested superman needed revamping. The mighty Thor has seen his share of transformations. He possessed the Odin power for a while. Thor has his share of problems, and will continue to so because the readership can relate to his problems or vices. With Superman's changes, the reader is confronted with Superman's problems and can debate the best way to handle them. Many more comic book heroes have had their power altered in some way. It seems to be a staple in the comic book world. Amending a super hero is necessary in that type of environment. Introducing nemesis's and other comic book heroes perpetuates the genre. Moreover, if there were no further introduction of contrasting characters, the storylines would fizzle up and new ideas could not germinate. It is therefore sometimes essential to introduce old comic book characters with a twist. They can come back from the dead, or believed to be dead, and emerge to take on a criminal. It has to make some semblance to the discerning comic book reader. If the hero returns under circumstances that would seem suspect, the public response would be swift and ruthless. People expect some sense in the comic book world. The ever-changing power of comic book heroes advocates a winning attitude for the comic book reader and the people who create them. When the two parties are in unison both sides win and the reader is left with a palpable appetite for more. The Comic Book Code Authority The comic book code authority was formed in 1954 because people believed that the comic book industry was becoming too graphic and violent. The content was deemed inappropriate for the populace. Some of the restrictions included the misrepresentation of the police, judges and governmental representatives. In addition, the drawings of vampires and werewolves were prohibited. Titles could not use terminology like "horror" or "terror". While the comic book authority had no legal jurisdiction over the comic book publishers, they yielded a large influence. Some comic book companies went out of business while others prospered. The restrictions placed were meant to help society deal with the comic book industry. Society began to loosen some of the taboos of that time, and the furor over the language suggested that the loosened traits needed to be reined in. In such times, it becomes necessary to look at why the comic book code authority was set up. In 1954, McCarthyism was at its peak. Censorship abounded and the who, what, why, where and when all dealt with Communism. A natural branch with that scenario was the printed material. While there are no direct links to such a statement, one must consider what was transpiring during the period. Celebrities were blacklisted if deemed outside of conventional standards. Comic books could have linked the publisher with Communist propaganda if the material was considered subversive in nature. Again, this is conjecture on my part. Any words or statements can be intentionally misconstrued and false analogies can be applied. Another prominent explanation is a book written by Dr. Frederic Wertham entitled 'The seduction of the innocent'. In the book, Dr. Wertham espoused that the super hero genre had helped incite the rise of young people's misbehavior. The public chorus of disapproval was pivotal in the implementation of the comic book code authority. Both issues helped sustain the need for something to be done. The mentality was in place until the 1960's with the advent of the flower child era. Without the suppression, underground comics took on a life of their own. They developed comic books that were distributed through unconventional means. That process enabled the fledging comic book industry not to adhere to the restrictions the comic book code suggested. In 1971 Stan Lee, the editor- in -chief did a three part mini series of Spiderman that depicted banned drug use. The code stated that the topic of drug use was prohibited, so Stan Lee took the seal off for the three issues and then put it back on. That took a lot of courage to defy the code. Considering the wide spread use of illicit drug use, that was an important step. If a topic that is controversial is banned in comic books, then how do you draw attention to its negative side affects? That was the quandary the comic book code authority faced. It did not want to become irrelevant. In the 2000's the influence of the comic book code started to diminish. More and more publishers wanted to branch out and create comic books that illustrated topics that were more controversial. The comic book code authority of today is not what it used to be. Marvel comics no longer align themselves. Instead, they created their own code. Some of DC comics still submit to the comic book authority, but will publish it despite their ruling. Archie comics regularly send their comic books to the comic book authority for approval. What was once a powerful and prominent organization has been reduced to a minor player in the comic book world. Social issues in comic books One of the primer changes in comic books today is that they address social issues. Social issues in comic books became prevalent in the last thirty-five years. The revamping occurred when society decided to address social concerns. Some of the comic books of today tackle homelessness, drug use, minorities, gayness and the homophobic consequences. It is important to note that such a slant toward portions of society in comic books make people conscious of alternate ways of living. The concept of homelessness has always been in the forefront of humanity but never depicted in comic books. The idea of comic books portraying people living in the streets or in some other seemingly derogatory means should not escape notice. Civilization is growing up, albeit more slowly than what is needed. Comic books reflect what emerges through an underground current and washes into mainstream. Those changes happened slowly, but with the advent of controversial issues being tackled, the changes are happening at an accelerated pace. Today comic books mirror what society is thinking. If an issue becomes germane to warrant people's attention, then the comic book industry will usually incorporate it into their storylines. An additional important element to consider in comic books is the rampant drug use. If a person is a drug user, the comic book industry takes notice. The prevailing notion is if it affects society, then it should affect how the comic books echo modern day life. Drug use is widespread and needs to be dealt with. What better way than to integrate it into a comic book. Let the superhero, the villain, or an ordinary citizen have a drug problem and see how the issue is handled. Not all resolutions are handled correctly and that is the realism that makes social issues in comic books important. Not even the good guys come out ahead all the time. The homelessness and the drug usage are modern day blights. The topic of minorities is dealt with realistic implications. By the same token illegal aliens are minorities and they take great pains to make our culture sensitive to both their plights. In a sense comic books are our watch dogs of our way of life. Moreover, the concept of homosexuality in comic books has had their share of controversy since the public's perception is skewed by the theological mindset. The topic is mentioned, but the comic book industry has treaded lightly since a backlash could crop up. Despite the long held view that controversial views should not be addressed in a public format, and best left at home, a new prevailing thought has emerged. The comic books of today take torrid subject matters, encase them in a comic book format, then let the paying public decide if their gamble paid off. The result is a new significant way of looking at public perceptions and gain insight to a varying way of looking at those issues. The comic book industry realizes the customer is the real hero. They can decide whether a character lives or dies. By giving the characters depth and exposing them to real life dangers, the comic book industry can be assured on continual readership. Message Boards For Comic Books Check out the search engine Google and see how many message boards, discussion groups and general forums there are for comic books and you will be amazed. There are close to two million hits. There are many redundancies in the hits but you get the point. Message boards for comic books is a place where like minded people can discuss what is coming out new in the comic books, what you don't like, or what you are fond of. Comic book forums are also a place to pool your resources and find out tidbits of information. You can find sneak peaks of issues of comic books that have not come to the stores yet, and catch a glimpse of where the main character's storyline continues. One of the more interesting message boards for comic books is where comic book heroes and villains alike are faced off against each other. It does not matter if they all come from one comic book universe or not. A multitude of entries pit individuals battling it out or they have clusters of comic book characters battling it out against another group. What is interesting to note is the passion the person who initially wrote the message and the responses. People take this subject seriously. I have read arguments between adults on who can win whom. In order to relate to the message boards for comic books, you should either delve into the comic book heroes and villains history, or already have at least a basic knowledge of who is who. In an archetypal scenario, you have two super heroes and a criminal versus two criminals and one super hero. The battle is drawn and in your mind, you try to ascertain who is likely to beat who based on their power levels, their intelligence and the weapons they employ. When you take into consideration those factors and add location, or which universe they would be fighting in, it can draw dissimilar conclusions to many different people who know the comic book arena. If someone disagreed with your conclusion, that person based it on his or her perception. In some message boards, people can get mean. They will taunt you on your apparent lack of knowledge of the characters and call you derogatory names. Since message boards are not an exact science and comic book personas are not real, it makes little sense for that type of behavior. A great deal of the administrators that oversee the message boards allow this because of freedom of expression. There should be a point where someone steps in and either strips them of their privileges, or give them a stern warning. Having divergent opinions in a comic book forum, or any forum for that matter, is a healthy way to debate on topics you are interested in. Why make fun of someone that has a difference of opinion? Variation is a good thing. It is a necessary ingredient to maintain a healthy regard for other peoples view. Message boards for comic books should be fun and with the intent to inform and to learn peoples views. Like-minded people share a responsibility to keep forums pleasurable while being careful to respect others and their ideas. Learning New Words From Comic Books When someone thinks of comic books, they probably don't take into account the cache of words that are displayed on each page. Most people think comic books are for kids and a waste of time for adults. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been a comic book fan since I was a child. Many of the words I've learned through the years were the direct result of reading comic books. When I was young and had comic books to read, I had the dictionary with me. My copious vocabulary is, in part, due to reading comic books. How can someone expect to decipher what was be revealed when you can't understand words and their usage? The same is applicable with regular books, but comic books are shorter in length so the words being used have to be chosen carefully. The square that the characters are contained in can only have so much dialogue. The selected words have to be descriptive, yet alluring to make the reader remain interested. To augment your vocabulary, comic books are a great place to start. I vividly remember not knowing a particular word. I could not translate the meaning from the context of the sentence. A dictionary proved invaluable. Learning new words from comic books entails very little work. You have to have and know how to use a dictionary and thesaurus, and you have to have the desire to find out what the words mean. The accumulation of words through reading of comic books can help in tests for school. The vocabulary section of some of the levels of educational requirements would elevate the national average, if everyone who read comic books did the required look up of words they did not know. Some would view that as a grandiose statement. Even an ignorant and ludicrous proclamation. If a person has an insatiable curiosity and an eagerness to learn, comic books are a great format to get started. Children aside, a great deal of adults read comic books. From white collared to the blue collared, age and work statuses are irrelevant. When I go to a comic book store I often see men wearing ties and people wearing tee shirts. In addition, I often hear conversations on what new things are happening in the comic book world. It takes a life of its own when you stand there and listen in on other people's discourse. The exchange may help you understand where a mini series is headed or what happened to a certain villain or superhero. If you're not sure of something the clerk usually is more than knowledgeable in that genre. I have asked several questions on a particular super hero. One of the clerks knew nothing about the character I asked about. The other clerk was well versed and helped explain what I was not understanding. In the final analysis one can find enjoyment reading comic books. And you can learn new words from reading comic books. If you happen to have a large vocabulary, then you can still benefit from reading comic books. It would take you a shorter amount of time to read them and still learn in the process. I have learned words from reading comic books and I believe that anyone can if they have the yearning to take the little extra time it requires. Heroes And Villains In Comic Books Heroes and villains in comic books have made their mark in society. Not just in comic books but in literature throughout the ages. Essentially literature and comic books bring to life the drama associated between good and evil, and it is that premise that becomes an indispensable guide to understand human nature. In a nutshell, you will not know evil if you have never experience goodness. The antithesis holds true. If you never experienced good, you have never experienced evil. In comic books, the heroes and villains try to ante up the stakes by pitting their resources against one another for the sake of besting the other. The heroes usually come out victorious but criminals can be just as successful. If the heroes always won, it would make comic books dull and uninteresting. The villains have to be counted on to cause ruckus and mayhem otherwise; the storyline does not coincide with a balance that must be struck. Today's comic books have smarter criminals, weaponry that is more sophisticated and more behavior that is aggressive. Does this make the hero more steadfast in his or hers reaction to the villains aggressiveness? It depends on the hero. You do not have to possess superhuman powers to outsmart a villain. In today's comic books, a hero can employ a great deal of cunning to outsmart a villain. The comic books of today offer a recipe for the balance of power. A villain usually takes on a key role and if the hero does not thwart the diabolical plan, the hero may lose confidence. In that vein, the comic book looks at the human condition. Why was there failure? What could have prevented the villain from escaping? With the loss of self-belief, the hero of the comic book must take necessary steps to assure success or the villain, sensing something amiss with the good guy, can utilize plans that are even more ambitious. With the balance askew for the time being, the hero must reassert his or her authority to impede the villains plan. The hero does not have to be in the superhero genre. It could be any comic book that pertains to the right or wrong in making a decision. Heroes and villains in comic books enable the reader to make choices, and within that framework, can get a better understanding of what both the villain and the hero had to do to succeed. However, success is only a temporary distraction. It permits a continuation of the story. So then, who is really the victor and the loser? If both hero and the villain continually face off against one another, where and when will it end? Quite possibly nothing short of the demise of one or the both of them. Perhaps the villain may go to jail, but eventually he or she will be released and the comic books prevail. There is clearly no winner or loser. The only winner will be found out in the next installment. Moreover, the only loser is the person who does not read the next issue. Crossovers In Comic Books One of the most popular and noteworthy of the comic book business is the crossover between DC comics and Marvel comics. The crossovers commenced in 1975 with a tie in with the wizard of oz. In that comic book, it was Superman and Spiderman. Whether you like the comic book crossover or not, the sensation it caused reverberated throughout the comic book world. Many more crossovers continued with the intent on bringing up lackluster sales. Their popularity proved that the concept of incorporating both universes into one storyline was feasible and profitable. However, issue abounded. Whereas in one crossover Superman had heard of the super hero Spiderman. In another crossover, both had never heard of each other. That should not have happened. There is no fluidity. Each comic book heroes envelop a very different universe. There could be no way Superman ever heard of Spiderman. In 1996, the two comic book companies tried again with the four part series. In this crossover, two cosmic beings that were identified as being some sort of brothers became aware of each other existence. The testosterone coursed through the brother's veins and he would not accept the other. They challenged each other through their respective universes super heroes. The comic book readers decided five of the winners of the eleven main contests, with various clashes taken place within other super heroes. The Marvel and DC writers determined the outcome of the other six battles. The five battles that the fans voted and decided the winners were Spiderman versus Superboy with Spiderman being victorious, Superman beat the incredible Hulk, Wolverine defeated Lobo, Storm defeated Wonder Woman and Batman defeated Captain America. Eventually the brothers accepted each other's presence to thwart the destruction of each universe. The acceptance concept in the end placates the comic book writers. The comic book readers (in my humble opinion) were left a little flat. There will never be a clear winner because it is up to the reader which comic books they like. Opinionated people will always choose their favorite heroes. The scenario of comic books battling it out makes financial sense. There can be no clear victor since opinions are subjective. Both Marvel and DC attempted to rectify the dilemma of characters not knowing each other by employing two things; creating a character that could breach both universes. His name was aptly called Access. The other event was the creation of an amalgam universe where two super heroes merged into one being. An example was the merging of Spiderman and Superboy. That created the amalgam character of Spiderboy. Access created the amalgam universe to try to stabilize the two universes. The popularity of the comic book heroes prompted the two main companies to continue with the crossover concept. Superman met the Silver Surfer. The Green Lantern met the Silver Surfer too. Galactus and Darkseid met. Galactus attempted to devour Darkseid's planet (known as Apokalips). Galactus easily defeated Darkseid's minions and Darkseid's Omega Beams, but he could not consume the planet because it did not have any living force to it. Galactus was amazed by Darkseid's attempt to thwart him knowing he would not be able to garnish power from his planet. Darkseid make clear that Galactus would have done the same thing if the position were reversed. The financial aspect to the crossovers that had been looked at. The reader's loyalty also helped propel the continuation. Since you cannot please everyone in the comic book genre, the introduction of comic book heroes visiting each other in their respective universe makes sense. Creating Your Own Comic Book Hero Making your own comic book hero is not as easy as it sounds. Many things go into starting one. What are your hero's names? What are his or hers powers? Who are the nemeses? Does it have the same science that is on earth, as we know it, or divergent one? What weapons are there? Is their planet in trouble? Other factors to consider are; will you do the writing, the artwork, a creative consultant or the idea person? All of the above? How technology advanced is your planet? Social issues? Physiological disorders of the villain or the heroes? A comic book heroes name should reflect the hero. Birdman should look like a bird. Many comic book heroes are based on mythological deities and have exotic powers. The name of your comic book heroes should be researched to make sure the name is not being used elsewhere. The powers that your comic book heroes will have will determine the villains. Who would want super powered beings that constantly chases after a minor criminals? It makes no sense to the balance of power. Conversely, if you have comic book superheroes that have no powers, or limited powers, then the villains can be considered right for your story. Then again, it would make interesting stories if the villains were super powered and the heroes were not. It would take the heroes brains and match it against either the villain's intellect or his might. It could be a combination of both the attributes. The antagonists come large and small. Do the criminals in your comic books fight against each other or is there an affiliation that gives the heroes a headache? Do they have a base of operations in your comic books? Are their weapons a force to be reckoned with or is the technology still in its infancy stage? Do the heroes fly or is there spacecraft that enables them to leave their planet? The pollution option could be told and how they are dealing with it. The population is a concern, is it a concern in your world? Are there the rich and the poor who have continual conflict? Is your society a magical one or will the magic be only for the elite? Would they be impervious to everything? So many choices that can be entertaining and difficult to choose from. The government could be interesting in your comic books. Do the governments of the world approve of the superheroes or are they determined to outlaw them? Your comic books should resonate with richness and character appeal. The appeal can be shown in many diverse venues. Will the artists portray your conception of the heroes and the villains? Will you need special ink? How about the writers? Do you share a commonality with them? Who will manage the storyboard? How much influence would you allow before deciding that you can no longer recognize the people you created? The amount of time it takes to create your own comic book heroes and villains are dependant upon the time you have to work at it. I have touched the surface of creating you own comic book heroes and villains. There are many more details to consider. The average person has no inkling of how to go about making their own comic book heroes. The tips discussed here should help but as with any endeavor, you will need to see professional guidance. Conflict And Its Resolution In Comic Books The conflict and its resolution in comic books is an interesting aspect to the comic book world. The non-superhero comic book has conflict resolutions in them because that is the basis of that type of story. In comic books, the detective gets a client who has a problem that needs to be resolved. The detective seeks out clues and it builds into a climax where an answer needs to be found soon. The conflict captures the reader's attention and the resolution is tied into the main character's persona. If the detective is inept then the conflict and its resolution may disappoint the reader, or the incompetent detective may get a flash of brilliance and captures the bad person. Whereas the main character is portrayed as competent then the chances of catching the criminal is expected. In comic books, from time to time, the bad person is just as intelligent as the good one. A nemesis that can thwart the hero of the story has alluring appeal. It may take several issues of the comic book for the hero to take the bad people into custody. If a hero becomes to strong then the reader loses interest. A balance should be struck where the hero screws up every occasionally to make them appear more human. Additionally sometimes heroes can become an antihero. Their methods of incarcerating criminals might run contrary to their counterparts. Their intentions were noble but their techniques were suspect. Usually the hero does not understand other people's reaction since the punishment should fit the crime. They become disenchanted with the heroes around them. If they belonged to an affiliation, they soon leave and strike out on their own. That scenario is played out because it is central to have a comic book hero have their own magazine, or it helps build up suspense should he or she come in contact with the other heroes again. In comic books, the antihero and the hero dilemma underscore a growing trend. To humanize a character, whether or not he or she is a hero, is important. The antihero feels rejected by his or her peers, which is a human emotion. Many people feel rejected so they can relate to the conflict the hero is facing. Sometimes a resolution is not around the corner and the hero actually becomes worse. The methods employed turn out to be far worse than intended. It usually takes most of the heroes to confront the antihero and make him or her see their discrepancies. If the antihero comprehends his erroneous methodology then change is likely to happen for the better. If a resolution is not found then the antihero usually falters and you are likely to see him or her becoming the main nemesis. Consequently, the conflict and its resolution in comic books is a decisive way to figure out where you stand. Do you agree with the antihero and the means employed? On the other hand, do you agree with the antihero but not with how it was handled? Are the heroes in the right? Such questions only enhance the imagination. Conflict and resolution in comic books are good recipes to sustain readership. Concerns With Comic Books One of the areas of concern with comic books is the violence. The violence contained in some of the comic books today is common. With more realism being demanded, comic books of today assimilate real life situations into their plots. The perilous undertaking of the hero or villain can be justified with a realistic approach. If people want what is transpiring in today's world then comic books will emulate that. Parents should caution their children with some of the content published in various comic books. The graphics displayed today are amazingly realistic. Children need to be aware and make responsible choices. With that being said, the content being viewed on television makes children desensitized to explicit situations. The graphic composition of some comic books are illustrated through various categories. The super hero comic books usually will be more graphic than a non-super hero comic book. The question of reading a graphic comic book can be dispelled when a child's age is taken into consideration. The comic book business has a rating system, but if you make an analogy to the movie companies rating system then the existing question remains. At what age would be appropriate for a person to read a graphic comic book? There is no easy answer to that question because each household embraces different standards. Family A allows their child to watch adult movies but family B does not. They watched the same movie but in different homes with differing standards. Common sense should dictate. However, common sense is not so common. If a superhero, villain or civilian gets wounded in a comic book, how much should the artist show to illustrate their point? Should blood rush out in steady bursts or would a trickle suffice? Again, it depends on the content of the comic book. What kind of brawl was it? What, if any, kind of weapons were used? The result is dependant upon the battle itself. Therefore, to suggest a toning down of bloodshed would diminish the realism that is being sought. Ultimately, it is the parent's decision to monitor what the children read while being cautious not to initiate censorship. A delicate balance must be in accord with the parent's belief structure. A parent raised on comic books might be more apt to let their children read them while a person who grew up in a stricter household would not. What becomes right or wrong is distorted when viewed on an individual basis. Collectively a standard exists with the current rating system in place. Individual bias toward comic books need not render the system obsolete. Individuals should view comic books according to the genre and read within the family's belief structure. In addition to the graphic content of comic books, a different component surfaces. While it is not widespread, cursing does appear in comic books. The harsher of curse words are not necessarily shown but the more accepted ones are. Children are going to learn derogatory words through friends, school and the parents themselves. Even a great deal of novels contains curse words. In comic books, the curse words are placed there to demonstrate a point of how the characters are feeling. The anguished faces that are drawn suggest that a curse word would be nestled in there to express their position. Whatever side of the table you sit on, the comic books graphic content and the colorful metaphors are an intricate part of the experience. Comic Books In The 21st Century Comic books have been around for over seventy years. Comic books in the twenty-first century are quite different since its inception nearly a century ago. The industry has matured and the characters are more fully developed. The villains are more villainous, the superheroes are more powerful and the relationship between the two has evolved. Comic books in the twenty-first century possess much more complicated storylines. Sometimes subplots are incorporated in the story so when a future occurrence materializes, you are cognizant of it. The sophistication of comic books have made Hollywood squeal in delight as the comic books come into the film industry. Mainstream society has a voracious appetite when a hero is brought from the pages of comic books to a full length film. While there had been movies, serials and television shows that purport to portray the costumed heroes, it did not do them justice. It took time for technology to catch up to reprise the comic book hero. Comic books in the twenty-first century allows readers to read and conceptualize the story, then watch the big screen to see if the writer and director had the same perception as you did. Oftentimes I was delighted at the movies, despite the fact that I had a different version of what should have been done. The twenty-first century of comic books can also be considered the bane of superhero characters. In today's world heroes can be hurt or even die. The demise doesn't usually last long by human standards, but in a comic book's life, years could have transpired. The realism sought by the writers and artists are a testimony to the alteration that have taken place. If a character dies, you feel their death. You feel cheated. Revenge on the villain is sought but is tempered by the wisdom of the prevailing heroes. The heroes knew what they were getting into when they donned their costume, and the realism displayed on the pages suggests the artist and writers were attentive too. On occasion you may even feel you were present when the incident occurred. If someone was injured, either a scar or another feature was incorporated within the next comic book. The comic book industry slightly altered the looks of heroes as the time went by. The characters do not usually age, but in some cases age had been affected. Another factor to consider is why the comic book industry changed the looks of their characters. Perhaps another artist took the reins of the hero or villain. Maybe an update was needed because some of his or hers costume or hairstyle looked out of place, or do not reflect, today's styles or trends. So much has changed over the years that some characters are unrecognizable from their origin. Whatever the case may be, the evolution of comic books is here to stay. I applaud the decision to update the comic books so stagnation does not ingress the industry. The comic books in the twenty-first century remind me why I continue to read them. I had been enthralled as a young boy reading comic books in my bed. I read them as an adult and am just as captivated. The content and looks may have changed but the messages are still the same.
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