This post plays into the great Catch 22 of comics. I recently read (on Local6.com) 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.