Lately the most interesting talk has been surrounding writer Robert Kirkman's manifesto encouraging creators to work on books they own and not for Marvel and DC. It's generated a lot of conversation, and yesterday Ron Richards--one of the iFanboy guys--weighed in. Ron seems to be a laid back guy. I like listening to the iFanboy podcast in part because of Ron's personality, so I hate to risk offending him by nit-picking about his post ('cause, y'know, he probably reads my blog all the time). But, nit-pick I must.
In his post Ron rejects Robert Kirkman's idea that Marvel and DC should focus on attracting younger readers in part because "comics are a subversive medium by nature and we should continue to embrace that." That's quite a statement to make. Comics certainly can be subversive, as in the works of Robert Crumb, but are they subversive by nature? Let's not forget that Archie is a comic book. So was Little Lulu. And Casper and Richie Rich and Donald Duck. Not only that, but if comics are subversive by nature, then the Franklin Richards comics Ron has been enjoying are by nature not comic books because as far as I can tell they are not subversive, unless we stretch the definition of 'subversive' to the breaking point.
I think that what Ron could have said is something like, "Comics have always had a subversive element, and we should continue to embrace that." That's a less extravagant claim, and one I agree with. There usually are things in a culture that need subverting and in ours comic books are well suited for that role. This less extravagant claim does not provide strong support for Ron's conclusion, though. Marvel and DC could provide kid-oriented content and still be producing comic books that are by nature comic books.
There's a lesson in all this, boys and girls: be careful what you say on the internet or some goof who's scraping the bottom of the barrel for blog posts will overanalyze any and every phrase you turn. Thank you and good night.