Won’t someone think about the children?!?!

As the latest in a long line of crazy, homophobic, subliminally racist, old conservative zealots, I present to you:

L. Brent Bozell III and his screeching harangue on the state of modern comic books!

Warning: Clicking on this link might cause your head to explode. Also, there are the penetrating glares of Robert Novak and Ann Coulter to contend with.

I don’t even know where to begin with this one.

I think I’ll start here:

That isn’t the only blow DC Comics is striking for diversity — and its search for a bigger audience. Others include the Blue Beetle, Firestorm and The Atom — now reinvented as Mexican, black and Asian heroes, respectively. Then there’s the Great Ten, a government-sponsored team of Chinese superheroes. Some have joked that DC could really be groundbreaking by creating a superhero that’s ugly or fat, which would add quite a dash of diversity.

I expect him to fly off the handle at the new lesbian Batwoman, that’s a given, but to imply that it’s a bad thing for DC to create and market Latino, black, and Asian characters… ballsy, Bozell, ballsy.

In the end, it’s hard to take seriously the rant of someone who has such a basic factual error in the second paragraph. Was anyone here aware that comic books are not even called comic books anymore? We’re going to have to change a lot of the copy on the website now…

Some people need to come to grips with two facts:

1. The sepia-toned days of your youth are gone (if they ever really existed).

2. Most comics aren’t for kids anymore.


  1. I find that most people lamenting the state of decency in comics appear to have never laid eyes on one. They have absorbed some idea of what the medium is usually like through some sort of cultural osmosis– most likely their memories of the first Superman movie– and have extrapolated a nonexistent past out of it. Every time someone asks why comics/cartoons/movies can’t be like they used to be, I think of that WWII-era Superman comic cover where he’s attacking a Japanese soldier and the caption reads, “You can slap a Jap!” A friend of mine recently bought one of those $5 Walgreens DVDs of old Popeye cartoons for her kids and had to turn it off because Bluto had started smacking the s*** out of Olive Oyl. Good old days, indeed.

    Blue Beetle (of whom Bozell had probably never heard before writing the piece) is not white, and this is worthy of comment to the author. So if it were just white guys on every page punching each other in the face until their teeth flew out, that would be perfectly okay for the kids. Bozell would have nothing to say about that, apparently. He misses that.

    I do enjoy the idea that a conservative crusader would be saying, “I miss the good old, morally unambiguous days of comics, when self-appointed fascists would take the law into their own hands and beat people up in leotards with their young wards.” If he had been born 50 years earlier, Bozell would have been attacking the very comics he seems to be pining for here because Batman and Robin were “obviously” gay and taught disrespect of authority.

  2. Does anyone else find that the ad on this same page featuring a hot young girl with a decidely come hither stare undermines their wistful moaning for lost wholesomeness?

    It’s the one for the “Imagine No Liberals” t-shirt, and made me think of other, umm, online human events–ahem–and certainly not the article. Oh, irony.

  3. PV, I was thinking exactly the same thing. I was going to post on it, but then my mind started to wander too. In fact, maybe I should go and read that article again. I only read the articles. I swear.

  4. Not defending this guy, but I don’t agree with Conor’s colnclusion that he is implicitly bashing D.C. for having Black, Asian, or Latino superheroes, he just mentions it as part of their diversification. In fact the first sentence in the next paragraph is, “There’s nothing wrong with heroes that appeal to a broader youth audience.”

  5. It’s all abut tone and inference and this guy’s tone and inference are all wrong. He’s very combative in the way he describes the multi-cultural characters: “strikes a blow”. He did not have to phrase it like that; he did it for a reason.

  6. I love that he equates sexual orientation with sexual deviancy. And brings up the fact that there’s anime porn when it really doesn’t have anything to do with the issue at hand.

    Well, I guess it sort of does have something to do with it, because this guy’s opinion is clearly that comic books used to be sweet and pure and now are sullied with opinions that aren’t his own. It’s ok when they’re conservative propaganda but if it has a liberal bias, it’s perceived as undermining our civilization.

    So very predictable. Didn’t the same thing when The Simpsons pushed the line on animation?

    And of course there’s the fact that there have been gay characters in comics for a while, just not nearly as well publicized.

  7. I hope you guys don’t mind, but I would like to plug a podcast that I do with a friend. In the episode we just posted, we talked about some homosexual characters that have been in Marvel and DC comics in the past. I got the characters from a list I found on Wikipedia. Here is a link to the list.


    Our podcast is called “That’s Good to Know.” It can be found on Itunes, Podcast Alley, Odeo and a couple other places. The discussion is towards the end of the show. Enjoy.

  8. I went through and looked at all of his articles on that site (I didn’t read them all only those with topics I was interested in.) He doen’t restrain himself to finding wrong in comics any media he doesn’t like he wants to be rid of. The feeling I got was if he was in charge all TV would show was religious services.

  9. Better that than CSI!


  10. I thought the implication he was trying to make in mentioning the new Atom, Firestorm et al was quite clear. Just another way to subtly stoke the flames of the more intolerant part of his fan-base. This is my favorite part:

    “Even more striking is the business formula: The comic book industry is making the big bucks not on paper, but on the silver screen. Marvel Comics has had an amazing run at the movies, with massive box-office results for the “Spider-Man” films and now a monster third sequel in the “X-Men” movie series. On the other hand, Marvel isn’t making much money in the old-fashioned publishing way. One recent estimate had them making only 22 percent of their revenues on the printed page.”

    And just what is his point here? He’s condemning Marvel for the SUCCESSFUL strategy of marketing their properties in a medium that reaches a much larger audience? How is that relevent? It’s a clear effort on his part to excite readers of his column, who most probably are disgusted by most TV shows and movies, to spread their bile toward the comic book industry. Honestly, I thought he was going to start railing on “the liberal hollywood movie-makers”, and thought he may even go so far as to take a swipe at Israeli-born Avi Arad.

    Conor, thanks for posting this. I think it deserves disgussion. I’d hate to go back to CAA days, as this guy seems to desire.

    A question about another current issue that iFanboys everywhere should read up on is the current Net Neutrality debate in Congress, too.

  11. Dustin – I completely agree with you on your interpretation of the writer – the entire article was just dripping with condecesension and judgement.

    In regards to Net Neutrality – we are (well at least I am) following that debate VERY closely a its the one political issue that could actually affect us all if it goes the wrong way. My only hope is the government’s inability to actually get anything done will keep anything bad from happening…But this is a site about comics, not politics, so we try to steer away form topics like this…but we very much care and everyone who reads this should care too and call their locl representatives and tell them that you do not support a tiered internet!

  12. See, this sort of article is insidious in the way that it accuses comic book diversity of being. I read the thing and didn’t realize until the end that the author was the sort of narrow-minded bigot that equates homosexuality with sexual perversity, an idea that the medical community discarded at least a decade ago. I honestly don’t understand how people like this can go on believing that gay characters in comics don’t reflect the diverse population of the real world.

    “Who would have predicted, 10 years ago, that the comics would become a red-light neighborhood where sexually perverted superheroes would be packaged to elicit from children fascination and sympathy?”

    So it’s perfectly okay for kids to sympathize with sexually repressed superheroes who solve problems by beating people up (Ahem, “Quiet or papa spank” anyone?), but gay cowboys and lesbian crimefighters deserve no sympathy at all? Now that’s just cold. I mean, he doesn’t even harp on kids being exposed to gay characters… he reserves his moral indignation for the idea that kids might actually CARE about gay characters. Now, that’s some seriously deep hate.

    And since when did the Comics Authority Association become the subject of nostalgia? I remember when Marvel first stopped using it a few years back. Not decades, years. And why did they finally stop bothering with the Comics Authority seal? Because a ratings system made more sense in today’s culture. The idea of submitting comic scripts to a censor for approval was so outdated that Marvel was one of the last companies to finally do away with it. In what twisted reality is a censor preferrable to the freedom to choose between “All Ages” stories and “Mature Audiences” stories?

    Answer: Napoleonic France. Also, Communist China. And strangely, the Republican National Convention.

    Thanks for posting this and getting a discussion going.

  13. Please remember that the medical community and the scientific community are VERY POLITICAL. WBR LeoP

  14. It’s best to ignore these guys. Intolerance is the way of the past. They’re obviously already preaching to the choir. Don’t give them a wider audience by reading their junk. Maybe they’ll just go away. Well, they won’t go away, but the fewer people they infect with their outdated ideas, the better.

  15. Well my goodness, what should my reaction should be? You guys have really it put it so well, I have absolutely nothing whatsoever to add, but to say that Horatio is absolutely right on this:

    “It’s best to ignore these guys. Intolerance is the way of the past. They’re obviously already preaching to the choir”

    I think the reactions here are just typical mass majority American reactions circa 2007 – they want these people and their divisive politics, hyposcrisy, and unenducated hate mongering elsewhere, as we got serious issues to discuss, and this is just unproductive grandstanding desperate for attention as think sink into the obscurity after your thankfully brief flirtation with power. The more desperate they become as America rejects them now, the more horrid in their rhetoric they become. They are totally becoming desperate and unhinged.

    I am so familiar with their by the standard by the play book, repetitious “standard talking points” I don’t even need to read this guy’s article to know what he says.

    “There’s nothing wrong with heroes that appeal to a broader youth audience” :

    This is such standard old chestnut. Usually come in the form of “I don’t mind black people, some of my best friends are black people, but if you don’t watch out those n***ers those will steal you blind, lazy bastards.” Totally transparent hate politics, Americans are so weary of this on all sides.

    Poor Rebulicans and true Republicans -fanatics like this are destroying their party, splitting it apart. Thank goodness for men like Chuck Hagle, R-Nebraska.

  16. ooops, typo–
    meant to say,
    THEIR thankfully brief flirtation with power (the right wing intolerant christian fanatics). Just take a look at the comment on YouTube by people like this — after the November election, their comments just got more and more Arkam Asylum crazy and more and more crazy discontected from reality.

    But again, I feel sympathy for thoughtful conservatives and indepedents, who deserve more principled, thoughtful, and Chuck Hagel truly concerned for the welfare of the country, and others like him, and get crazy Ann Coulter paraded around on the corporate media shilling her latest trash book instead because she’s a poloriazing spectacle rather than a thoughtful representive of more thought provoking conservative views.

  17. Poor Rebulicans and true Republicans -fanatics like this are destroying their party, splitting it apart. Thank goodness for men like Chuck Hagle, R-Nebraska.

    Exactly. You can be Republican and Christian and not be an intolerant boob. The more moderate conservative leaders need to speak with a louder voice.

  18. I think when members of both parties treat the institution of Congress and each other with the same respect people do on this forum, it’s just great for the country. i told somebody I work with who doesn’t read comics about this forum, and he said he thinks the trend on the internet is the same, but another guy who moderates a forum only deletes spam and bots and lets all else go unmonitored, that’s not good. But we’ll see… I just saw a great video sent me of a hearing in Congress, and the comments section after the video was full of juvenile ickiness and “go team” and “boo on you” stuff. Icky.

    Cheers to iFanboy for setting the standard. (Sure do keep me in line too!)