DC Comics has already taken heat from casual readers and fanboys alike for the hypersexualized treatment of Catwoman and Starfire in its New 52 reboot titles. Now it's Washington D.C. news station Fox 5's turn, and they're not pulling any punches, slamming DC for sex, violence and even Bruce Wayne's choice to have a few drinks.
"Today's comic superheroes would make Archie and Veronica blush," said reporter Sherry Ly as she kicked off her report. From there, the story goes through all the complaints you might expect: Starfire is practically naked and propositioning people for sex, Batman and Catwoman are doing it on a rooftop, Bruce Wayne is having cocktails, battles are too bloody, and so on.
But Fox 5 isn't just asking you take their word for it. They brought in Dr. Neil Bernstein, a child psychologist who's also concerned that comic books like these are dangerous for kids.
"It's sort of like fictionalized Playboy for kids at its worst," he said. "It's a misrepresentation of reality. It sends the wrong message."
Ly also got someone in comics to answer for these sins in the form of Jared Smith, president of Big Planet Comics in Virginia. Smith discusses DC's efforts to boost sales and pull in new readers, but never once does he deny that these are more mature comics. In fact, he says he steers kids to less graphic books when they come into his store.
But Ly needs to see how younger kids—you know, the kids who AREN'T supposed to read these—feel about the comics, so she takes some to a local middle school. That's right, the reporter who's concerned about kids seeing these comics actually goes and puts the comics in the kids' hands.
"There's a lot of sexual activity," one kid says while looking at Catwoman #1, while another looks at Detective Comics #1 and simply labels it "awesome."
Smith is seen throughout the report emphasizing that the books are intended for mature readers, but Bernstein doesn't seem convinced. He flips through the comics and notices ads for LEGO and milk and decides something fishy is going on.
"Why are we advertising for little kids in a comic book that's rated for mature teens?" he asks. Right, because adults reading comics would never drink milk or touch a LEGO block.
This kind of reporting isn't surprising. In fact, it's been going on in some form since the birth of the Comics Code in the '50s, as this amusing vintage video proves.
We get it. Parents want what's best for their kids, and they don't want to expose them to mature content too soon. Thankfully we've got comics retailers like Smith in the world who are willing to steer kids toward age-appropriate material. Let's just hope people like him outnumber the people who decide to plop the non-age-appropriate comics down in a kid's hands for the sake of a news story.
(via Bleeding Cool)