Art Censorship: Dark Musings #29 – Yes, Comics Are Still for Kids

The following article was written by Andrew Zar, owner of DarkBrain Comics. DarkBrain is a massive comic project that has already produced over 800 pages of content in full color and with music and voice-over narration. Re-published with permission of Andrew Zar. Copyright© 2012, DarkBrain, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Original article appeared on Andrew’s blog, Dark Musings.

The image above is from the comic Spartacus Blood and Sand by Devils’ Due Digital and is marked as “Adults Only (AO)” - Copyright by Devils’ Due. Still, even the AO title has no nudity, because, of course, all adults are afraid of nipples.

Comics, as an art form, has a long history of being restricted and marginalized as “just for kids.” This is pervasive (to the point that every time I describe DarkBrain I lead with “web comics… but not for kids”) and many times over the years extensive successful efforts have been made to censor and restrict the medium itself from exploring any adult topics from sex to drugs to violence.

Modern day, mainstream comic artists are restricted from doing content that is currently easily published in other types of art from fine art, to movies, to novels, to magazines.  Yet, comics are still discriminated against, very heavily.  Currently, the most heavily restricted item is nudity… while excessive and super violent gore is now considered mostly acceptable.

But, what really burns me up is when the industry tries to “grow” – you know, expand their market, attract new readers.  After years and years of catering to the young adult crowd, the comic industry has created a self-fulfilling and limiting marketplace.  Comics are for kids, and they still are, and they will still be.  Embracing adults is just something comics don’t – and seemingly won’t – do.

Example: The comic Spartacus Blood and Sand.  Based on the STARZ cable tv franchise, which displays intense violence, nudity, and rather explicit and edgy sex, the comic doesn’t hold back… with the violence.  There are beheadings with massive blood spray (sometime blood covers almost half the panel), entrails fall out, limbs chop off – they even show a young boy killing another young boy and his eye flies towards the reader.  Visceral, violent, very much in line with the shows it is based on.

Comics, as an art form, has a long history of being restricted and marginalized as “just for kids.” This is pervasive (to the point that every time I describe DarkBrain I lead with “web comics… but not for kids”) and many times over the years extensive successful efforts have been made to censor and restrict the medium itself from exploring any adult topics from sex to drugs to violence.

Modern day, mainstream comic artists are restricted from doing content that is currently easily published in other types of art from fine art, to movies, to novels, to magazines.  Yet, comics are still discriminated against, very heavily.  Currently, the most heavily restricted item is nudity… while excessive and super violent gore is now considered mostly acceptable.

But, what really burns me up is when the industry tries to “grow” – you know, expand their market, attract new readers.  After years and years of catering to the young adult crowd, the comic industry has created a self-fulfilling and limiting marketplace.  Comics are for kids, and they still are, and they will still be.  Embracing adults is just something comics don’t – and seemingly won’t – do.

Example: The comic Spartacus Blood and Sand.  Based on the STARZ cable tv franchise, which displays intense violence, nudity, and rather explicit and edgy sex, the comic doesn’t hold back… with the violence.  There are beheadings with massive blood spray (sometime blood covers almost half the panel), entrails fall out, limbs chop off – they even show a young boy killing another young boy and his eye flies towards the reader.  Visceral, violent, very much in line with the shows it is based on.

Till next time,
Andrew Zar

The image above is from the comic Spartacus Blood and Sand by Devils’ Due Digital and is marked as “Adults Only (AO)” – Copyright by Devils’ Due.  Still, even the AO title has no nudity, because, of course, all adults are afraid of nipples.

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Posted in Art Censorship, Free Speech, Literature Censorship
One comment on “Art Censorship: Dark Musings #29 – Yes, Comics Are Still for Kids
  1. Rob Haward says:

    Actually I really love to read your post. It’s such a great a source of information, and this give me all sorts of new ideas regarding comics book. Thanks a lot!

    dui attorney Olathe

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