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2009 March 30
by Cleo Calbot

The discussion in class today about the age-specific-ness of Watchmen brought up a lot of questions for me. While I will agree with Alex M., that most superhero comics are simpler than Watchmen, comics in general seem aimed at young males.

So, what classifies a comic (or other work) as something not acceptable for the younger generation? Is it the profanity, the sex, darker concepts? At what age do we stop forcing our children to watch wholesome Disney movies and allow them to watch/read the “darker stuff”? And if Watchmen is aimed at adults, then why is it in graphic novel form? For many adults, comics have a negative stereotype as being for the children, and very few would even attempt to pick up this work from a bookstore’s shelves.

What about gender-specification? Women’s comics are romance-fests and men’s comics are virtual massacres…Yes, there’s a stereotype there, but upon perusing the local comic store, I noticed it everywhere I looked. So, yes, I feel Watchmen is a comic aimed at men. I don’t believe that women can’t enjoy it, but no attempt was made towards any strong, likeable females, I feel. But, is that what it takes for women to read comics?

*is confused*

2 Responses
  1. March 31, 2009

    I agree with you about the audience for Watchmen, but I did really enjoy it. I didn’t identify at all with either of the female Superheros. I thought I was going to like Laurie, but she was too uptight about Jon’s weird situation. I’m sorry but if a guy can be two places at once and maybe devote two of him to pleasuring me, I think I’m okay with that, even if it isn’t “normal.” 🙂

    In trying to answer your question about comics appealing to women, I just read an article, cited below, that shows that attempts to appeal to women from the comic book industry ended up appealing to men. They tried to have strong female characters, but then the men really liked them and so they became more scantily clad and the objects of male desire rather than heroes in and of themselves.

    I think this is worth discussing further in class tomorrow.

    Lavin, Michael R. “Women in comic books..” Serials Review 24.2 (1998): 93.

  2. Alex M. permalink
    April 1, 2009

    Hm, I think it is interesting that you point out the inherent conflict of Watchmen. Gore/violence/sex/generally more sophisticated concepts = more mature audience, but graphic novel = kids? I know there is a stigma surrounding the medium, but what about other graphic novels with some of the same concepts? We couldn’t say Maus is only for teenagers. What about Epileptic? I honestly think that graphic novels really just need better PR because artists and writers are definitely elevating the form (although I am not sure that I would place Watchmen under the category of elevation, but my point is adults can definitely appreciate it).

    As for gender, chea, it’s definitely for teenaged boys. But what about the Dan Dreiburgs among us? Those who have put away childish things but have not forgotten them? Also, I was not sure about the “romance fest” thing until I remembered manga. It’s all romance and drama. So drama for women, gore for men. That’s definitely doing a disservice to everyone. I guess I just don’t know how to answer that last question.

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