Thursday, January 19, 2012

DC Comics Gets a Lot of Coverage Today

DC Comics got a fair bit of both positive and negative news coverage today, as they unveiled yet another new logo, and got ripped into by Fox News for having too much sex and violence in their comics.  I'll go into each item, and add my take on them.

New Logo
Probably the more popular item of the two, DC has introduced another updated logo design, with some slight variations done to commemorate its various properties.  They'd updated before, in 2005, with a blue and white design that I thought was pretty slick and relevant, so this most recent one is a little mystifying to me.  Their justification is that it coincides with some of their more recent milestones, like last year's relaunch and same-day digital delivery of their titles.  They also say it's more digital-friendly.  Here's a few of their more well-known logos and the basic new one:

The new design.  Yay?
The old classic logo.
The 2005 redesign.  Sweet.

The new logo, as you can see, is basically a D, peeling away to reveal a C underneath.  I suppose it's pretty, in its way, but I feel pretty underwhelmed, particularly when you compare it to the bold, blue and white star design from 2005.  Despite the reasons they've given for the newest logo, I can't help wondering if they just got pissed at whoever designed the 2005 logo and just want to cut that person off from anymore royalties.  It feels pretty corporate and uninspired, even with the variations, and I have a hard time imagining how this particular change is going to benefit them at this time.

If I've given you the impression that I care passionately about this item, rest assured that I really don't. Overall, even if I don't care for the new logo, I'm pretty unaffected by this development.  I've never been the world's biggest DC fan except for a few titles, and their logo sure as hell isn't going to assure that I buy more comics from them.  It's their playground, and they can do what they want.  I just think this development's a little on the mystifying side.

Fox News DC Debacle
Bleeding Cool news broke this story, and followed up on it later in the day.  Basically, the Fox News syndicate in Washington, D.C. (heheh) seemed to have a problem with the amount of sex and violence in today's superhero comics from DC, accusing them of essentially using the New 52 relaunch to pack their wares with too much of both.  Here's the video that Bleeding Cool originally embedded on their site:

In response, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund published an article advising comic book retailers how to defend themselves against a hostile media attack.  That we need to keep these kinds of defenses in place is a pretty sad comment about the state of American journalism these days, but it's unfortunately not surprising.  News outlets often go for these kinds of unjustified "gotcha" pieces, unfairly portraying their subjects in a negative light using flawed logic and juvenile reasoning.

In a prime example, the reporter acquires a bunch of these targeted comics--which have a "16 and up" label on them, for crying out loud--and takes them to a freaking middle school, showing them to the kids there and asking them for reactions.  Clearly, these kids are below the intended reading age--flaw number one--but that may not necessarily stop them from wanting to read or buy these kinds of comics.  This gives way to flaw number two: any comic shop worth its salt will have distinct sections for children and adult buyers.  Essentially, if they aren't peddling it as kiddie fare, and have other materials for younger readers, then why are you getting bent out of shape about this?

Personally, this kind of story makes my blood boil, at least at first.  I see a lot of unfair attacks in the news these days, particularly when it comes to the issue of censorship and freedom of expression.  In comics, as with most industries, the market dictates what is popular, and what will sustain the industry.  If there's too much sex and violence in comics for you, guess what--you don't have to read them.  Attacking comic shops for selling comic books to a particular market is like attacking the Harry Potter books for promoting witchcraft: the people doing the attacking probably haven't read them (and therefore don't have a proper context to judge them), and their fear, more often than not, makes them look like drooling idiots.  Most kids with a basic understanding of life can figure out what's fiction and what's not.  Sensationalizing something by attacking it is only going to make them aware of it, and likely more curious about it.

And it's that final thought that brings me back to my calm.  Societal disapproval of a particular event or form of media often leads to it becoming more popular because of the sensationalization poured into it by the disapprovers.  They're basically shooting themselves in the foot, particularly in this day and age.

So, if they want to make more comic book readers by trying to vilify comic books, stores, and publishers, go right ahead.  We'll be here.

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