Conservative comics: if only we hadn’t gotten rid of the Comics Code

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20990 900x1350 Conservative comics: if only we hadnt gotten rid of the Comics CodeLast week I told you about The Forgotten Man, a graphic novel adaptation of Amity Shlaes’ history of the Great Depression by Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche. As Shlaes is a well known conservative pundit, she’s been using outlets like National Review and Pajames Media to call for the Right to use comics as effectively as the Left to get their story out there, since comics are the future of education.

Now Dixon and Rivoche have written their own call to duty for the Wall Street Journal, entitled How Liberalism Became Kryptonite for Superman — it’s paywalled but if you google it you should be able to read it —or maybe this link will work.

Dixon and Rivoche look at Superman’s renunciation of his American citizenship in 2011 as the darkest day for heroism in the super crowd, and it seems this event still causes a bit of a rise in the gorge for some. Dixon has long been known for his conservative views, and a ruckus was raised in 2006 when he was assigned to wright The Authority even after expressing what some called anti-gay views. He’s certainly among those who feel that today’s heroes are just not heroic enough. The article includes a timeline of the march to the relentlessly grim ‘n’ gritty 90s:

In the 1950s, the great publishers, including DC and what later become Marvel, created the Comics Code Authority, a guild regulator that issued rules such as: “Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal.” The idea behind the CCA, which had a stamp of approval on the cover of all comics, was to protect the industry’s main audience—kids—from story lines that might glorify violent crime, drug use or other illicit behavior.

In the 1970s, our first years in the trade, nobody really altered the superhero formula. The CCA did change its code to allow for “sympathetic depiction of criminal behavior . . . [and] corruption among public officials” but only “as long as it is portrayed as exceptional and the culprit is punished.” In other words, there were still good guys and bad guys. Nobody cared what an artist’s politics were if you could draw or write and hand work in on schedule. Comics were a brotherhood beyond politics.

The 1990s brought a change. The industry weakened and eventually threw out the CCA, and editors began to resist hiring conservative artists. One of us, Chuck, expressed the opinion that a frank story line about AIDS was not right for comics marketed to children. His editors rejected the idea and asked him to apologize to colleagues for even expressing it. Soon enough, Chuck got less work.


I can see how Dixon would be alarmed over getting less work (but to be fair he was writing four or five books a month for quite a while and that is a pace that must end eventually for all.) But if you squint a bit the above seems to be pining for the good old days of the Comics Code—the industry weakened???—which seems to go against the call for free speech elsewhere in the piece. He also seems to think that comics are for kids, which, as we know, isn’t always the case and is probably the most damaging viewpoint of all for comics.

Dixon is best know as the co-creator of Bane, the Batman villain, and back during the last election had to be called on to defend his conservative bona fides when Rush Limbaugh nonsensically called the use of Bane in the Dark Knight Rises a liberal plot again Bane Capital and….say, does anyone remember anything that happened in 2012? So silly.

But then so much of this posturing (on both sides) is silly. I’m neutral on this call to action for more right-leaning comics. As several people pointed out in the comments to my last piece on the subject, many comics with conservative themes already exist.

But there is a terrible danger here. While I’m always in favor of expanding the comics audience, right wing attempts at satire have often fallen short in the humor department—so if you can’t be funnier than Mallard Fillmore, please, stand down.

Comments

  1. William Gatevackes says:

    And being funnier than Mallard Fillmore is an incredibly low bar to leap over.

  2. Conservatism almost always involves misty-eyed nostalgia for a golden past that never existed, so longing for the simplistic confines of the Code – and forgetting all of the harm it did – is a natural manifestation of that.

    I do have a degree of sympathy for folks like Dixon in their complaints that their voices are being given short shrift, because there is some truth to it: society is turning a deaf ear to them. But calling for other voices to be restricted (such as by the Code) to fix that, or even for them to be given an extra helping hand, is so completely incorrect. Not just because it doesn’t work, but because it smacks of the same outcome-based quota-promoting pick-the-winners thinking that conservatives rail against. They’re throwing out their own principles to save them.

  3. Travis says:

    So they are angry that an undocumented immigrant isn’t being used as a rhetorical bludgeon for the fiction of American Exceptionalism?

    There is nothing about “conservatism” per se that necessitates the ahistorical, counterfactual, ignorance that so often passes for it today, but apparently that’s the ride to which they have hitched their wagon so they shouldn’t be surprised when people roll their eyes.

    Aside: Was it Dixon’s choice to create the maudlin story arc in which Stephanie Brown becomes a teen pregnancy cliché?

  4. “Conservatism almost always involves misty-eyed nostalgia for a golden past that never existed.” – SO well said.

    And oh, that ever favorite “conservatives = moral majority” argument I hear over and over again. Let me know when it’s more than a catch phrase, and there’s actual proof of it’s existence (because so far, I’m grasping at thin air on that one. ;)

  5. Jason Willey says:

    I think that other than the very serious discrimination in the comics industry against right leaning writers, while left leaning writers are given way too much non-supervised time, the comics industry needs to tell stories, not play to agendas of the creators involved. For example when Judd Winnick (whose writing I actually enjoy most of the time) turned the Green Lantern book into “Kyle Rayner’s gay assistant who is bullied guest starring Green Lantern. “. I don’t mind the subplot, but it shouldn’t take over the book (such as interupting an exisiting storyline to bring the main character back to earth to serve the subplot. ) That is an example of liberalism out of control – the agenda became more important that the story. Say what you will about Chuck Dixon – but I never remember feeling his politics overwhelming the story. Batman doesn’t need to take down the NRA, or fight a guy named Romm Mittney, he just needs to have interesting stories told about him. “based on real events” is what is making Law and Order : SVU so hard to watch these days, do we really need that hacky writing in comics too?

  6. Travis says:

    “. Batman doesn’t need to take down the NRA, or fight a guy named Romm Mittney, he just needs to have interesting stories told about him. “based on real events” is what is making Law and Order : SVU so hard to watch these days, do we really need that hacky writing in comics too?”

    Dixon and co. are explicitly saying they have an agenda when writing their comics, but they were ostensibly prevented from exercising it. Being relentlessly nationalistic is an agenda, even if it’s your preferred one. The fact that you don’t feel it’s the role of a hero to stand up to bullies, or gloss over Dixon’s pregnant Spoiler storyline, or his G.I. Joe and Punisher work is telling.

  7. Jason Willey says:

    So it’s better to be the writer that killed her meaninglessly in WarGames than the one who made her pregnant (hint : two of the writers involved in Captain America vs. the Tea party were involved in her death) ?

    I think their point was missed – they aren’t being judged on their story telling or even their agenda – they are being pre-judged based on their political alignment. Much like what is going on in Hollywood or in Academics – one point of view rules all. It’s the new “Red Scare” and you better hope no one names you a conservative, because you will be blacklisted.

    AS for standing up to bullies – I don’t see the NRA or a Mitt Romney analogue as a bully. That is the problem with political stories, roughly 50% of the possible audience will disagree with you, and it may be their last straw, pushing them away from the book. Is it fair that people that want to read stories about Batman have to have politics jammed down their throats ? I would be equally uncomfortable if Superman started destroying abortion clinics.

  8. Travis says:

    Every single one of your responses is a non-sequitur. I don’t even know what to say about them.

  9. Hector Greenfield says:

    Conservatives are weird and always on the wrong side of history. They were pro-slavery, anti-womens rights, anti-civil rights, pro-segregation, don’t believe in evolution, think the church should control the state, hate science in favor of faith, believe in stupid and disproven economic theory, oh and they sided with the Nazis before Pearl Harbor.

  10. Hector Greenfield says:

    Captain America used to punch Hitler every week before Pearl Harbor, because he was created by liberal Jews in New York, which is why conservatives at the time hated him and threatened Jack Kirby.

  11. Joe smack says:

    Re conservatives siding with the Nazis.

    Well so did the left ie Stalins pact and joint invasion of Poland.

    I think you’re also find the communist parties in various countries also sided with Hitler once Stalin signed his pact.

  12. Joe smack says:

    Re conservatives are weird….

    I’m a conservative as are my friends and nine of us have the views you seem to think we do.

    I don’t know any conservatives who don’t believe in evolution.

  13. Michael P says:

    The writer who “killed [Stephanie Brown] meaninglessly” in War Games was noted conservative Bill Willingham. Try again.

  14. Joe S. Walker says:

    “I’m neutral on this call to action for more right-leaning comics.”
    But you give the story a derisive headline.

  15. Torsten Adair says:

    I agree…
    Superman should return to his golden age roots, when he battled corrupt politicians, and fought for equality, justice, and fair play.

    Oh, wait… The Right would condemn him as a pinko, just like they would Jesus Christ.

    To paraphrase the Great American Curse:
    We get the heroes we deserve.

  16. MWorrell says:

    Re: “Conservatism almost always involves misty-eyed nostalgia for a golden past that never existed.”

    That’s true of conservatives and liberals alike.

    Conservatives want to restore the moral climate of 1960, and liberals say, “The rules have changed… adapt to reality.”

    Liberals want to restore the economy of 1960, and conservatives say, “The rules have changed. adapt to reality.”

    They are both selling their supporters a bill of goods.

  17. JoeC_Mommy says:

    I think that it’s natural and normal for a writer’s work to kinda, sorta reflect his politics. He writes what he imagines. His imagination is housed in the same skull as his beliefs and his facts and his memories. Sometimes, they bleed into one another. Sometimes, they bleed into one another in black-and-white, in print. That’s biology, right?

    I think it’s pretext at best, propaganda at worst for a writer to have as his intention the promotion of his politics in works that are *not* known, or labelled, as political. I see a book fronted by a photograph of Mr. Limbaugh, I think partisan and political. I see a comic fronted by an illustration of Superman, I think adventurous and chivalrous and heroic, adjectives that I think are, and should remain, apolitical. Maybe that’s Pollyannaish. That Pollyanna, though, she was onto something.

  18. Never liked Dixon’s work and I can only recall buying books with his credit when artists whose work I liked drew ‘em. Found out about his politics well after I made up my mind about his work. Willingham; gave up after I got through the handful of Fables trades I impulse bought. Found out he was a Con later. There might be conservative comics writers I enjoy without knowing it. Failing that, maybe conservatives are just mediocre comics writers. . . .
    I do read some conservative prose authors, but mostly historical fiction.

  19. Steve Dallas says:

    I have to disagree to a point with Jason A. Quest. If the Code were still around, then the disgusting scene in Kick Ass 2 where a group of small children were killed with an UZI and a girl was gang raped would never have seen the light of day.

    And that would have been a good thing,as far as I’m concerned.

  20. Kurt Busiek says:

    If the Code were still around, non-Code books would still be around too.

    There were non-Code books for the entire time to Code existed.

    So rather than there being a censorship board to prevent anyone in the US from seeing scenes you don’t like, you’d still have to simply choose not to read stuff you don’t expect to like, rather than getting to make sure no one else gets fiction you don’t approve of.

    kdb

  21. James Van Hise says:

    It was an independent comic but back around 2006 there was a very conservative comic which was all about how if a Democrat became President that the country would fall because Dems were soft on terrorism. Whatever became of that comic?

  22. Kurt’s posts need to come with a ‘like’ button.

  23. horatio weisfeld says:

    If the Code were still around, non-Code books would still be around too.
    >>
    If the Code were still around at least we’d still have rules to break .. Now all we have is hot air. I’ve tried breaking hot air .. trying to break hot air is no fun.

  24. Dixon is still consistently getting work.

  25. Conservatives have never been particularly good at art. Just look at most Christian music!

    And by “art” I don’t mean “craft”. Conservatives are capable of drawing straight lines and writing complete sentences. They’re just not particularly inspiring in most cases…especially when they find it necessary to broadcast their sense of moral superiority at all times.

    Just shut up and draw someone punching someone else!

  26. @ James – are you thinking of the hilarious “Liberality For All?”

  27. Torsten Adair says:

    Conservative artists (general definition of “art”):

    Michael Ramirez, who won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning in 1994 and 2008.
    http://www.investors.com/editorial-cartoons/michael-ramirez/?nav=secondEditorialsCartoon

    There’s also Robert A. Heinlein, but I don’t know how much his conservatism influenced his fiction. (I’ll let the academics debate that.)

    There’s also Robert Penn Warren and Flannery O’Connor.
    And for inspiration? Ayn Rand.

  28. Glenn Simpson says:

    I’d say the super-hero genre is still pretty conservative in a lot of ways in and of itself. You still have individuals taking on responsibilities when the government fails (and the government is evil or ineffectual most of the time) and you have people who commit crimes getting beaten up with no consideration for what circumstances led to their committing their crimes. Not to mention the rather conservative notion that there are people who are simply evil.

  29. Jackie Estrada says:

    Heinlein wasn’t a conservative, he was a libertarian. Rand strongly disliked conservatives.

    I’m neither liberal nor conservative but I have to say that all I am reading in these comments is stereotypes, misinformation, and lack of knowledge of history. (For instance, it was the Democrats who were for segregation; Martin Luther King was a Republican, for goodness sake.) Democrats also opposed civil rights for women.

    I’m tired of people making blanket statements about people based on labels. Aren’t we supposed to be past that?

  30. Glenn Simpson says:

    I try not to use Democrat/Republican, unless I’m clearly speaking in the present tense, because I know the basics of the two parties have flipped over time. However, “conservative” and “liberal” have standard dictionary definitions that seem to correlate to certain mindsets fairly well.

  31. Jackie Estrada says:

    Well, that stereotype I’m seeing is conservative = religious nut, anti-gay, racist, anti-women, anti-poor people, etc. which doesn’t fit any conservatives I know, especially the ones who are atheist, gay, black, female, and generous givers to charities. I don’t think you can afix a “mindset” to such a broad categorization of people. I think of conservatives in primarily economic terms (pro-capitalism, free market advocates, small government).
    I haven’t read he comics in question and I don’t base my comics reading on what little I know of the political views of the creators. But I’m definitely turned off by blatant attempts to hit me over the head with a message. If a graphic novel or comic has an underlying theme that adds to the storytelling and makes the work cohesive, I find that much more appealing.

  32. “Martin Luther King was a Republican, for goodness sake.”

    That’s true if you’re talking about the well-known civil rights leader’s father, but Martin Luther King, Jr. was not.

    http://www.snopes.com/history/american/mlking.asp

    “A commonly circulated item about Martin Luther King which is not included in this list is the claim that King was a Republican. Such claims are based purely on speculation; King himself never expressed an affiliation with, nor endorsed candidates for, any political party, and his son, Martin Luther King III, said: “It is disingenuous to imply that my father was a Republican. He never endorsed any presidential candidate, and there is certainly no evidence that he ever even voted for a Republican.””

  33. Seth Hollander says:

    About Dixon, I decided to never buy anything more by him after my “Liberal” sensibilities were sickened by his writing on the 80s Punisher series. Each issue seemed to feature a paragon of “liberal” culture (I.e. a Hollywood producer or a anti-corporate crusader) who is revealed to be a Cocaine selling, woman killing monster that must be Punished…Every damn issue the same… That’s Agenda Writing for the Right Wing.
    I much prefer stories about Patriots and Business Leaders who are really Cocaine selling, woman killing monsters… Not trying to be ironic, my ironies are just who I am! What about you?

  34. William Owen says:

    When the Texas state GOP adopts as part of its STATE PARTY PLATFORM ‘gay-reversion therapy’, that speaks volumes about what conservatives and the right stand for in regards to gay rights, education, science and the “liberal plot to degrade America.”

    If you’re a conservative and you stand blithely by while politicians and political agents trade on the political affiliation you have adopted in order to push corporately funded ideologies and firebrand moral issues SOLELY to win elections, then that is what you by extension stand for. You either need to distance yourself from those people, or you need to kick those people out of your politics, because you can’t have it both ways. You cannot stand in a crowd of fools and then be upset when someone calls you a fool.

  35. R. Maheras says:

    Man, talk about historical revisionism! While Democrats have been forward-thinking in some cases, so have Republicans. Conversely, for every case of Republican backward-thinking, one can easily find examples of Democrats being on the wrong side of history. So any Democrat who attempts to paint Republicans with a broad brush of exclusion and racism, while ignoring their own sins, is also trying to paint over the historical record.

    For example, go back and look at congressional voting for the Civil Right Act of 1964. In both the House and the Senate, a higher percentage of Republicans voted for the act than did their Democrat counterparts. Branch Rickey – you know, the guy who hired Jackie Robinson and integrated baseball, was not only a die-hard churchgoer, he was also a Republican. Abraham Lincoln was also, of course, a Republican.

    And while Democrats today love to point to the southern states and say, “That’s where slavery used to be and they are all Republicans now,” they never point out that for 100 years after the Civil War, when Jim Crow and racism in the south was at its worst, Democrats embraced the south. It wasn’t until Jim Crow was dead that the south entered the Republican camp. Democrats conveniently forget that some of the worst racists in power in US history were Democrats (Woodrow Wilson, for example), and that some of the most segregated places in America were/are Democratic bastions (Chicago, for example).

    So while the Republicans have their problems, so do Democrats.

  36. Not ALL conservatives….

  37. Many conservatives do not speak up because they have careers to protect.

    And I thought Stephanie Brown died of editorial fiat.

  38. Rick Middleton says:

    I don’t understand how “grim and gritty” comics equate with liberalism. The father of grim and gritty, Frank Miller, is no liberal, and the style borrows from highly conservative entertainments like “Dirty Harry” and “Death Wish.” Dixon is probably right to assume that the comics industry is liberal, but that’s true of most media/entertainment/arts ventures, so I don’t exactly see this as sinister.

  39. TANSTAAFL says:

    Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress read as a pretty clear indictment against capitalism to me…so, I’d say he wasn’t a conservative. I’d lean toward libertarian as Jackie said.

    I think the pathetic choice between Republican and Democrat is part of why we have such poor voter turnout for our elections. What normal person identifies as such outside of a voting registry or if they stop to think about it? Neither party is free from bad ideas. Our only choice is between this rich guy or that rich guy. Take the money out of politics and we might get real honest people worth voting for. ]

    I take sides on issues not political agendas. I lean liberal, but that’s mostly because a lot of fiscal problems have social origins and social liberals are typically on the right side of their issues,.

    Bill Willingham was a good example of a conservative creator whose work I enjoy but whose politics I often disagree with.

  40. SAM COSTELLO WINS

    BTW, in my original piece I did not use the words “Democrat” or “Republican” — Jackie brought those into the conversation. I’m well aware that such policies change over time. I’m pretty sure Rivoche and Dixon would be comfortable being branded conservative, so that is the term I used.

    All that said although Jackie and I disagree on many things political, we share so much more including comics, ice cream, jazz music and all the rest. There are several other conservative comics folks that I am proud to call friend. We agree to disagree, but I TRY to make no blanket assumptions.

  41. Jackie Estrada says:

    I didn’t have a problem with your terminology, Heidi–it was the stereotyping by many of the commenters. And as I mentioned, I’m not a conservative or a liberal (well, actually, I’m a Jeffersonian liberal); I just really hate mindless stereotyping of any kind.

  42. Lorrie says:

    I’ll always fondly remember Dixon’s work on the Bat books, even though I hate his politics. And I’m pretty sure he’s the one who brought Stephanie back to life, just prior to him apparently being fired by DC for good. Always wondered what exactly happened.

  43. Ancalagong says:

    Dixon and Rivoche point is well taken; the entertainment industry, including comic books are rife with political correctness and are constantly glorifying their spiritual icons (feminism, homosexuality, the US is always wrong especially when there is a Republican President etc.) and anyone who doesn’t give sufficient reverence to those icons is outside the pale. Of course that’s going to turn off a lot of people.

  44. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Comic fans from the tumblr side should love Chuck Dixon. He created Stephanie Brown/Spoiler after all.

  45. Cory!! Strode says:

    A couple of points:

    It is a modern invention that Republican means Conservative and Democrat means Liberal.

    As for Conservative comics…the few I have seen that tout themselves as Conservative are just poorly done. Liberality For All is the most recent example, but they’ve usually been poorly done. It should be like any any fiction:

    Tell a good story, and if politics fits, cool. If you jam politics into your story where it doesn’t belong, you’re probably not telling a good story.;

  46. pullifer says:

    “I think of conservatives in primarily economic terms”

    —that’s great.

    the rest of us live every day with “conservatives” who define themselves as such due to their social/moral agenda. but because you don’t “know” any of those conservatives, we shouldn’t talk about them? sorry, no…

  47. Bill Willingham says:

    For the record: The decision to kill Stephanie Brown was made editorially and not by me or anyone else writing any of the Bat Books at the time. Knowing that she was doomed down the line, I decided, and received permission, to make her Robin for a short time, before the ax fell. My thinking was, why not give her one good moment achieving her dream (said dream being established by other creative teams before I came along) before she dies?
    When the Stephanie-as-Robin issues came out, and readership response was instantly positive, including a perceptible sales bump, I used this to bolster an argument to keep her alive and keep her as Robin for an extended time. Neither argument worked and the plans to kill her went forward.
    In the massive War Games crossover, the plot of every Bat Title Book was worked out in a big room, by every Bat Title writer and editor, most of whom are decidedly left of center in their politics. After the mega plot was done, and divided into individual books, we worked out who would be writing which issue, mostly by simple process of “who’s up in the batting order next?” That’s when I discovered I’d be writing her torture and death scene. I was unhappy with it, but did it, for which I accept the responsibility, such as it is.
    To somehow try to link the death of Stephanie Brown to my conservative politics is a bit silly, neh? We haven’t had Stephanie Brown Must Die in the conservative platform for nearly months.

  48. Whether or not an individual conservative supports or opposes reproductive choice, LGBT rights, raising the minimum wage, etc (things I have met conservatives on both sides of the fence about), you can’t deny that the voting records and views espoused by elected officials who define themselves as conservatives tend to oppose all of the above. Considering it’s their voting record that most affect people’s every day lives, you can’t blame people for generalizing along those lines.

    At any rate, there’s a hell of a lot of cognitive dissonance where Dixon’s opinions about comics are concerned. A teen pregnancy storyline is okay, but not one about AIDS? And part of the kerfluffle over him writing Midnighter was something he’d once said about gay people not belonging in stories for children, but that was a tempest in a teacup since anything with Midnighter in it isn’t for children anyway– but that does depend on whether one accepts the premise that comics are for children in the first place, and Dixon seems to be arguing both sides depending on which helps his argument, which is stupid.

    The thing is I’ve never heard a pure fiscal conservative complain about losing work. It’s always people who have expressed socially conservative views. Has it occurred to any of them that employers might be wary of hiring people who insult even a small part of their customer base? Especially in the comics industry, when those fans will come to panels and give them what for about it. Or do fiscal conservatives simply accept their fate from the all-knowing invisible hand?

  49. The one positive aspect of conservatives in comics is that even if their views are, as one poster claimed, “outdated,” they can serve as a corrective to the other side.

    No one should take as gospel a history of feminism according to Dave Sim (my chosen example of a comics conservative). But that doesn’t mean Sim has nothing relevant to say about the execution, as opposed to the ideals, of feminism.

  50. Johnny Memeonic says:

    The thing is I’ve never heard a pure fiscal conservative complain about losing work. It’s always people who have expressed socially conservative views. Has it occurred to any of them that employers might be wary of hiring people who insult even a small part of their customer base?

    If it were purely business then this would cut both ways and extreme liberal views would also not be allowed for fear of insulting the small part of the customer base that is extremely conservative.

  51. Wow. I mean WOW.
    Can we all go back and READ Jackie Estrada’s comments?
    She’s the only reasoning adult in the room.

    Thank you, Jackie.

  52. @gene phillips, As a feminist, I can confirm that there are many valid criticisms about the execution of feminism. Dave Sim made absolutely zero of them. He blamed polio on women’s cleanliness, ffs.

    @Johnny Memeonic, if you live in America, you’ve almost certainly nevermencountered an actual extreme liberal. You’ve got to go to Europe for that. What gets called “extreme liberal” in the US is more along the lines of “Equal rights for all means everyone, bodily autonomy is absolute, and also as a society we must take care of the sick and poor.” Anyone who would take actual offense at those sentiments (as opposed to mostly being put off by their heavy-handedness) are vastly outnumbered by both the people they wish to exclude and the people who just don’t mind. Plus there’s the bit where political viewpoints are changeable, whereas things like gender, race, and orientation are inborn traits, which is why it’s considered a dick move to try to deny rights and such on those bases.

    And as a point of fact, social politics have economic bearing on the groups in question. For example, women and LGBT people still have to deal with the possibility of having to chose between having a job/cheaper cost of living in one state or having more rights in another. Women who have more legal restrictions on obtaining birth control and abortion are statistically likely to have more children and will be more likely to go on public assistance. So when you do the math on it, social liberalism is the more fiscally sound option.

    Going back to Chuck Dixon and this AIDS storyline business, this didn’t happen to be around the same time that Neal Pozner (DC editor and Phil Jimenez’s partner) died of AIDS, was it? Can’t imagine why someone might have been called upon to apologize for being insensitive about the cause of death of a colleague/a colleague’s partner. I’m sure Jimenez wasn’t at all hurt by the implication that a loved one’s death was unspeakable around children (And post-Ryan White, surely Dixon was aware that children could contract AIDS too?)

  53. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Writing a wall of text about what the definition of “extreme liberal” should be does not refute my point.

  54. @Johnny Memeonic, cool, so you didn’t actually read what I wrote at all. Only one paragraph was about what gets called “extreme liberal” in America, and I did refute your point. My point was that very few people are actively offended by what “extreme liberalism” consists of (e.g. equal rights, sexual autonomy, caring for the poor and sick). They may disagree with what the form that all takes, they may feel uncomfortable at some of the behavior entailed, but not enough people (in the West at least) feel personally insulted by any of that to want to take a publisher to task for hiring a creator who expresses support for those ideas.

    For example, very few people (liberal or conservative) are literally offended (i.e. take it as a personal insult) by two men kissing. They may feel uncomfortable, but most of them can recognize that their own feelings have no bearing on the right of men to kiss each other, or for it to be depicted in media, even in that aimed at children provided it’s depicted as tastefully as men and women kissing in children’s media. Being literally offended is perfectly reasonable when someone suggests that the way you (or people you support/care about) feel and express love is inherently inferior and obscene. It’s absurd to be offended by men kissing because it has no bearing on your own personal life.

    As for Chuck Dixon’s whole “think of the children” angle, children learn how to feel about these things from the adults in their lives and to a lesser extent their peers. I know plenty of young children who watch Modern Family, think Princess Bubblegum and Marceline used to be girlfriends, and whose reaction to finding out Dumbledore was gay was “Oh, I thought he was in love with McGonagall, but I guess not.” Plus, some of us are thinking of the LGBT children– as a bisexual, in the mid-’90s (when Dixon didn’t think AIDS was appropriate for children to know about) when I was 9-10 years old (yes, we know even then) I took great comfort knowing that women like Ellen DeGeneres and Melissa Etheridge were out there. They kept me from hating myself when my parents were less-than-supportive, and their visibility also helped my parents grow beyond that themselves. Oh yeah, and us children in the mid-’90s were well aware that AIDS existed and even that it was common among gay/bisexual men, because we loved Queen and we all knew how Freddie Mercury died. Dixon and conservatives like him are trying to push a tornado into a bottle, and I have no sympathy for them for feeling alienated in the modern world– they should try being a queer person from the past millennium or two.

  55. My small little two cents: Comics, specifically Marvel, have never been loaded with ‘conservatives’. Not sure why we should expect that to change since it’s an especially artistic endeavor.

  56. Alexa,
    If you’re really interested (right), here’s an essay in which I averred that Sim was *partly* correct about the priorities of a group he chose to call “the Marxist-feminists.” A representative sample:

    “What’s interesting, though, is that though Sim and the 1970s feminists are philosophically opposed, they both scorn CHARLIE’S ANGELS because of its failure to conform to some aspect of reality: Sim because “real women” don’t have the power or capacity to beat men, and the feminists because “real women” don’t spend every hour of the day trying to fetishize themselves for the enjoyment of men.”

    The whole thing here:

    http://arche-arc.blogspot.com/2012/01/defining-psuedofeminism-part-ii.html

    Oh, and I would have no problem categorizing the group I call ‘the WAPsters” as “extreme liberal,” or alternately, “ultraliberal.” The position you describe above as “extreme liberal” I would view as just plain ol’ basic liberal, regardless as to how firmly liberals choose to stand by them.

  57. Chris,
    There have always been conservative artists in every medium, because artistic talent has nothing to do with political persuasions. Whether or not a given medium harbors more or less doesn’t change that more salient fact.

  58. @gene phillips, the point I was trying to make about “extreme” liberals in comics is that I can’t think of any liberal creator in comics that goes beyond what I just described above. Gail Simone is the main person I can think of who gets derided for her politics (social, mostly) and the most she ever really does is add diversity in her books and discuss the underlying identity politics on her Tumblr. So there’s not really a liberal equivalent to Chuck Dixon et al. to be forced out of the market, by the invisible hand or otherwise. And as I pointed out, you still don’t hear fiscal conservatives complaining they’re getting shoved out of work, it’s only the social conservatives (i.e. the people who insult portions of the audience over inborn traits.)

  59. I’m trying to figure out a way to make a joke about “fake geek conservatives” and how conservatives don’t read comics even though we see them cosplaying as John Gault all the time.

    Don’t worry, though, it’s just a joke!

  60. I regard “Women in Refrigerators” as extreme liberalism but you’re correct in saying that so far as we outsiders can tell, it seems to have had no deleterious effect on Gail Simone’s career.

    (I am definitely not endorsing the old “liberal media” schtick by making this tentative statement)

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