Comics aren’t always for kids

Peach GirlThis post plays into the great Catch 22 of comics. I recently read (on how an 11-year-old girl in Orange County, FL, apparently checked out a copy of TokyoPop’s Peach Girl from her local branch of the Orange County library system. As you can expect, her parents were none too thrilled when they realized their daughter was reading a manga comic about rape, swinging, and drug use.

For you see, the great Catch 22 of comicbooks, (and you ladies, who are all hepped up about Harlequin’s new line of Romance comics should take note of this), is that if it is a comicbook it is automatically for kids and has to be “G”-Rated. However, if it is targeted for adults, it is automatically pornographic, because comics are supposed to be always automatically targeted for kids and are always Rated “G.”

And there’s the rub, for as hard as we in the comicbook industry try, we are just never going to get past the popular perception that all comicbooks are automatically for kids. Personally, I believe that it is the publisher’s responsibility (or the distributor) to know their clientele, and if they see that their products are being ordered by public libraries, they should inform those libraries to scan the contents of the books before automatically assuming that they are for kids.

Needless to say, if the books aren’t kid-friendly, and libraries are ordering them, then the publisher (distributor) should be proactive and inform the librarians of that as well. If we are serious about protecting our industry, it is important for all of us to act as watchdogs on the industry’s behalf.

Of course, that could just be me. In the mean time, there is a discussion of it going on at The Great Curve, a comics board were I sometimes post.

The Perfessor

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The Perfessor

Writer with Attitude, and things to say!

4 thoughts on “Comics aren’t always for kids”

  1. When you’re talking about an R rated comic book featuring a swinging young girl, don’t say “And there’s the rub,” okay?

  2. I clicked through to the product page. This comic is rated T for Teens 13+ – not that much older than 11. And the blurb makes is sound just like an episode of The O.C. or any other teen show:
    Can Momo confess her love to her classmate Toji, or will her best friend Sae steal him away. It’s a bittersweet drama of growing up and fitting in that will charm girls everywhere.

  3. OK, perhaps you’re correct. Still, while it certainly isn’t the most outrageous pun I’ve ever turned, it was — I assure you — easily the most unintentional.

    The Perfessor

  4. For the record, I have no idea if the image I chose to illustrate this story was in fact the cover of the issue that the California teen checked out of the OC library. Also, I happen to know that mainstream Japanese comics (as is Japanese TV) is much more violent and “risqué” than its (their) U.S. counterparts.

    Thus what is “acceptable” for Japanese teens may simply not be acceptable for the same audience here at home. Still, I think that — especially given this cultural difference in acceptability, and rating standards — it would behoove TokyoPop and/or their U.S. Distributor to make the U.S. audience aware of these differences.

    The Perfessor

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