The Aquinian

Superheros can be teachers

Comic books have undergone some prohibitions for the sake of protecting children’s innocence but wouldn’t reading comic books beneficial?

It seems as though the tales of heroes and use of the English language would be encouraged.

In 1954, psychiatrist Fredric Wertham published a book called “Seduction of the Innocent.” It basically said that comic books were corrupting children. It said that Superman was an un-American fascist, that Batman and Robin were gay lovers and other ridiculous things.

The same year the United States Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency had hearings specifically about comics and their influence on delinquents. Cities began to organize public burnings of comic books and there was some outcry to ban them.

These factors resulted in the formation of the Comics Code of Authority. This organization basically censored the comic book industry before finally becoming defunct in 2011. While the CCA had no official power over publishers, most retail outlets would not carry comics that did not have the Code’s seal of approval.

The Code’s prohibitions changed various times over the years, but it was initially excessively restrictive and remained quite drastic until it was slowly relaxed in the 1980s.

Besides violence and sexuality, things like vampires and werewolves were banned first.

The code even had a problem with a Spider-Man story depicting drugs negatively that the U.S. Department of Health had specifically requested. Non-stereotypical depictions of homosexuality were not allowed until 1989.

As times changed, the code began to lose its influence. Parents had other things to be frightened of now.

In 2001, Marvel stopped using the code. Simpsons comics publisher Bongo stopped in 2010 and then DC and Archie stopped in 2011.

By this point, DC and Marvel had both published non-code approved comics under sub-brands targeting adults.

Although the CCA is no longer in use, the comic companies still have their own rating systems to insure that kids don’t read adult comics. At least now there’s no censorship like there was under the rigid conditions of the Code.

But there never should have been. I think we can all agree that as long as things are labelled for the appropriate age group, it’s fine. I also think every parent should be trying to shove comic books onto their child.

The only reason I have a clear understanding of the English language is because comic books made it a necessity. If you want kids to read books, start them on comics.

But there’s more to it than that. Even in today’s anti-hero obsessed world, many comics still provide a good moral education.

For all those students forced to read Aristotle talk about habituating people to the proper virtues, comics can do this.

What kid doesn’t want to be a super-hero? We should want kids to want to be super-heroes. Super-heroes are depicted as noble and selfless. They overcome the odds with persistence, determination, courage and ingenuity. They overcome their own darkness and sacrifice for those they care about.

These are desirable qualities. Comics can inspire people to aspire for greater things. They’re also a medium with a lot of strong and independent women, and there are also now many LGBT role models in mainstream comics.

If everyone had Spider-Man’s ideals or Superman’s behaviour, we’d live in a utopia. Even titles like The Walking Dead show some admirable qualities. The characters struggle to retain their humanity and their compassion in the most abominable circumstances.

My point is that people, especially impressionable children, can learn a lot from these fictional heroes.
Comics shouldn’t be frowned upon, they should be embraced.

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