It’s really difficult to explain why.
I’ve been to Japan and they have cartoon characters on police cars. Adults read manga on the train and no one cares. Back home in the Dominican Republic my aunt has a comic book collection that follows a Latino teenager and no one looks down on her, in fact she is envied for having it. Grown ups watch cartoons and it is considered okay. In lots of European countries they are huge fans of Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck comics and again it’s not something that’s shunned or frowned upon.
Honestly I don’t see many comic book fans as being so different from people who are devote sports fans, women who know a lot about shoes or people who have hobbies.
Society here for whatever reason determines that this is socially acceptable and being a fan of something else isn’t. I think most people are never going to stop thinking that comics and cartoons are stuff for kids and that comics are nothing more than, like Goody said once ‘biff boom sock.’
I’m not saying there aren’t people like ‘The Comic Book Guy’ out there but there are even worse sports fans, music fans, etc. Being too much of a fan of any one thing, heck too much of any one thing isn’t good for anybody. A lot of us are fans of comics but we have other hobbies too. Lol if you’re posting on SRK I imagine you have at least some fascination with video games at least.
If you want I can talk about how ‘heroes’ came about and maybe therein lies the problem in some ways. This will just be about super heroes. I do have to delve into religion for a bit and I know it is a sensitive topic for a lot of people. So my apologies before hand. I myself am not an athiest and I do believe in something but that’s probably beside the point.
Long ago, people believed that gods like Zeus, Thor, Hercules etc. etc. were real people. At some point in time people decided that those characters were BS and the Bible was real.
The Bible, has nowhere to go really storyline-wise because there are people out there that think it’s real. No one is going to write the further adventures of David or Teenage Jesus Christ because people would demand they be sent to Hell. Of course the church has added, edited and even tried to fix the Bible’s ‘continuity’ many times throughout the years but these are things not known to the general public. Or known to the public and ignored.
But the stories of heroes still managed to flourish in books, plays, theater and within the last 100 years or so you had books like Conan, Zorro, James Bond and so on where stories of heroes continued.
With movies and TV they still go on but in today’s day and age it seems the notion of heroes and expanding mythologies really flourishes in super hero comics. Grant Morrison made this analogy before in a much smarter way than I ever could. I tend to agree with him here.
Morrison also said that if you were to take every single panel Superman has appeared in and laid it out before you you can see his entire life span. I imagine if there is a God in Heaven that this is the same way he would look down on our lives. It’s something that is not possible in any other type of medium. Which is why I really think the stories of heroes and the sense of a grand ‘mythology’ really flourishes in comics more than anywhere else.
Our society, in the United States seems to be split into 2 extremes. Obviously there are variations but I’m really dealing with these extremes since they are most likely ones that seem to determine what is socially acceptable and what isn’t.
Ever since Darwinism, you have people who are athiests, don’t believe in anything or at the very least are not certain of anything.
Then you have the extreme religous set, people who think that the Bible was hand written by the man upstairs and it is an actual detailing of events.
It doesn’t seem like either extreme is willing to care about people following the day to day events of these heroes. Hardcore athiests will probably think that you are just escaping to a world of kiddy BS. Hardcore religous people will probably think you are being blasphemous.
These two extremes seem to be the ones that determine societal norms amongst people. Seriously, look into politics or watch an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher. We are a nation of people who either wants to seperate church and state or wants to marry church and state.
That is not to say that there aren’t athiests or devout religous people that don’t enjoy comics because there are.
I’m not saying that Marvel and DC elevate to a high standard all of the time because they certainly don’t. I’m fine with that. I don’t need a comic book to change my outlook on life all the time. Sometimes I just want to read about someone getting punched in the face. Though there are times when comics come out that seem to elevate the genre. Morrison’s All-Star Superman or Hickman’s S.H.I.E.L.D. comic. Obviously anything written by Alan Moore. I just don’t see even 100 of these changing the perception people have about comics.
Perhaps this may be over explaining things. Maybe this is just a country where people are in such a hurry to grow up, get their driver’s license, get a job and move out that they feel everyone needs to leave ‘childish’ things behind. Maybe it’s just as simple as that.
I was reading an article that said that grown men in Japan are looked down upon for playing console video games. Handhelds and cell phone games are okay because they are just ‘killing time’ on the train but not console games. It’s interesting that here no one cares if you are an adult and play video games, it is deemed socially acceptable nowadays. To an extent anyway.
Different strokes different folks I guess.