Monday, April 14, 2008

Truth In Advertising: Titans#1 (NSFW)

In a more honest world, this is what the ad for Titans#1 would have looked like:





But seriously, folks, this is just sad.

I've been following various Teen Titans incarnations since I started reading comics. In fact, "Teen Titans" was one of the books that first got me hooked on superhero comics when I was a kid. And I'm not talking Wolfman/Perez Titans. I'm talking Haney/Cardy Titans. Old school Titans. Back when I was 9 years old and starting to read my older cousins' and friends' comics.

Being a Titans follower has had its peaks and valleys. For every "Requiem for a Titan", "Judas Contract", "Who Is Donna Troy?", "Technis Imperative", or "Titans Tomorrow" storyline, we've had to suffer through stuff like the Deo Kids or "A Very Special Damage", or Bill Jaaska. We've seen Dick Grayson evolve from Robin to Nightwing, but we've also seen Cassie "Wonder Girl" Sandsmark devolve from a spunky, independent young heroine to a needy codependent who keeps getting her ass kicked. So it hasn't always been easy.

But the Titans were one of the first indelible impressions the superhero comics world made on me when I was a nine-year-old kid.

Now picture a modern-day 9-year-old reading Titans#1 and seeing this:

Not a pleasant thought, especially if you are the parent of said nine-year-old. If my pre-teen nephew or especially my pre-teen niece were reading something like this, I'd fling it away from them as if it were a poisonous snake.

I won't lie to you and say that I don't find the image of Starfire above pretty. But I'm a grown man. If I want to see pretty pictures of naked or scantily-clad women in erotic poses, I have plenty of options. There are plenty of places I can read that.

The question here is whether an all-ages superhero team adventure comic should be one of them.

And, no, I'm not going the old Freddy Wertham route here. I'm not asking "Should DC be allowed to publish a book like this?"

I'm asking whether or not they should publish it.


Well, at least there are Titans books out today that I would have no qualms about giving to my younger relatives.

Too bad the main current-continuity books aren't among them.

(Special thanks to Samantha.)


At 8:26 AM , Blogger SallyP said...

Every time I see exerpts of this, I am SO glad that I didn't buy it. Man, that's a lot of boobage.

At 12:20 PM , Blogger mordicai said...

I am not sure on that one. If the Teen Titans were being marketed to kids (DC scrapped its digest line? Shame, the only kids who I see read comics are reading Marvel Adventures or the old DC digests...I know those are the only ones I recommend...) then I agree I guess? Then again, hasn't Starfire had a "I am not a messed up post-Puritan American, I do not have your problems with bodies & sexuality" going on?

At 10:02 AM , Blogger Anon, A Mouse said...

"I'm asking whether or not they should publish it."

SHOULD any publisher publish ANY comic? Comics aren't food or shelter, they're entertainment, and you could say there's far more meaningful things that could be done with all the resources required to make them. So, on an absolute scale, probably not.

Once it's decided that purely frivolous entertainment production is acceptable, however, "should" is really all a question of personal preference.

SOMEONE thought they should. So they did.

I think the far more interesting question is "why do people think they should NOT have published the comic?" I think it would be telling to see how many answers break down to, essentially, "I just don't like the way they did it" and how many actually hold any meaning beyond that.

At 8:51 PM , Blogger notintheface said...

Ok, I am going to admit that Starfire was a bit of a cheesecake figure from the moment Marv & George created her. Her less-inhibited nature was also there from the word "go". I also remember such moments as showing her and Nightwing in bed in the Baxter series, her nickname "Balloon-bod", and the outfit Tom Grummett briefly gave her post-"Titans Hunt". So the cheesecake is inherent in her history.

But with Marv, George, and Tom, there was more to her.

At 3:16 PM , Blogger chris said...

Great write-up, thank you.

This kind of thing is so frequent, and comic sales are so low, that I can't believe that nobody sees the link between the two.

And no, it is not necessary to publish comics for children in order to make them accessible for all ages. I would give a kid any DC or Marvel from 1985 or before with zero hesitation.

As far as those comic being "dumbed-down" for children, that's false - it ain't children buying all those Showcases and Essentials.

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