Finally some breaking news! Fox News is reporting that comic books contain sex and violence. Can we get Stan Lee on the phone? The old maestro deserves a chance to defend his profession against these wild allegations.
The piece's title makes the shocking claim that "Relaunched comics use sex and violence to sell," which makes you wonder what a medium that largely targets teenage boys was doing before. As anyone who's picked up a comic book in the past thirty years can tell you, sex and violence are near constant staples of the medium. It's a bit like saying food uses taste to get eaten.
The story focuses on DC Comics, which has apparently tried to out-punch and out-sex its rival Marvel recently with darker, more graphic story lines. But you have to reach pretty far back to find a time when comics weren't sexualized (Wonder Woman's been lasso'n since 1941), and they've always had high levels of bone-crunching violence. The report quotes a psychologist who refers to the sexual imagery in comics as a "misrepresentation of reality," essentially reiterating what a comic book is. Thanks for that. The good doctor also thinks today's offerings are akin to "fictionalized Playboy for kids," which seems to imply that Playboy is non-fiction, but I digress.
For the Mother Geese at Fox, the basic lament is how gosh darn gritty everything has gotten since the era of Adam West. They yearn for a simpler time of more loose-fitting tights, of chaste KAPOWs and demure BAMs and other outdated onomatopoeia. In other words, mature content is fine as long as it's obscured. (Their best example for the good old days is Archie, that ginger lothario who had a different girl for each day of the week.) Indeed, for most comics, the violence was always there (what do you think happens when Superman punches someone? A mild concussion?), and there's always been a lot of sex, albeit sex thinly veiled by spandex jumpsuits.