22 February 2012

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

In the second chapter of Scott McCloud’s book Reinventing Comics, McCloud talks about the advancement of comics but instead of moving comics forward, he suggests that they need to move outward instead, in twelve directions. He refers to these directions as “the twelve revolutions,” but focuses on just three in this chapter. Gender balance, minority representation and diversity of genre are three of the most important factors to the advancement of comics and they’re all connected by one thing. The American comic book community has always been made up of a (in comparison to the population of the world) very small group of people, typically white, straight, males from upper middle class homes. McCloud begins to explain that the reason for the stereotype of comic book readers is because the same people that read comics are usually the same people that write comics and the same people that publish comics. Like most American establishments, comics have been both racist and sexist throughout their history. So with a narrow minded idea of what comics should be, it’s hard for the minorities to understand what comics could be. When most comics are written by a certain group of people, those comics are read by a certain group of people and in turn only that certain style of comic becomes successful in comic stores and eventually becomes the only comic being sold because it’s the only comic that brings in money to the store. McCloud explains that in order for comics to begin their expansion, they must start by breaking down the restricting walls that the comic industry has built around itself. Though there are some minorities in comic production and their recreational use, there could be a lot more, and if there are more people coming up with ideas for comics then more diverse comics begin to emerge and more diverse groups of people begin to pick up comics.
The topic of expanding comics is prevalent throughout McCloud’s first book Understanding Comics. There have been minorities in America just as long as there have been comics but for some reason the industry is not interested in them.  Ironically, for an industry that claims to be so accepting of new ideas for comics and stories and a fan base that is made up a lot of nerds are alike in the fact that they are most likely outcasts from typical society. They seem to be a very classic and stubborn American franchise in the fact that they are not open to minorities getting their chances at equal opportunities of creating comics.

If comics were more accepting, then Stan Lee's girlfriend wouldn't have felt so left out and would have had her own comics to read and maybe even her own comics to write. But because there's seemingly no place for girls or other minorities in comics, she dumped him. Though because of their break up he created some of his most famous characters. There are pros and cons to everything but an art and form of expression shouldn't be so subjugated.


  1. I think partial blame as to why the potential of the comic is being held back can be handed to the readers themselves. A new genre of comic will never succeed unless the current comic book readers are willing to buy it. Except for the very brave few, most comic creators are going to create only what sells. I agree that the franchise of comics has to be more open to new people and ideas, but so do the readers. Nice post!!

    1. YES!!! Brilliant point! And sadly, 100% true :-/

  2. Mall Rats, Doug? Really?

    This is a good post, but I'd like to see the connection between RC and UC made a little more strong.

  3. Hey...I liked Mall Rats. Only good movie with Jason Lee, well maybe besides Dogma, Dream Catcher, and maybe Stealing Harvard