Friday, April 28, 2017
Golden Age Comics: With A Twist
Superhero comics are, supposedly, fun! Right? Except when you really think about it, they are not. When you read them in a historical and political context, they are blatantly sexist, discriminative, privilege-perpetuating pieces of propaganda garbed in bright colors and designed to distract people from their undertone. And it works! As Edward Bernays knew all too well, if you can serve a piece of addictive substance — video games, comics, TV in general — with some nice packaging, and if you can make sure that consuming it doesn’t require any active cognitive exercise, then soon you will develop an addicted population who, not unlike tobacco-addicts, would not only come to rely on the substance but would defend it with fervent zeal. To ensure that the process didn’t become too apparent it is necessary to present an appearance of avant-garde — grown people reading comics, adults pushing buttons on a keyboard and making like it takes intelligence to play video games, parents watching cartoon with their children — while quietly reinforcing all kinds of stereotypes under the hood. Take the Golden Age comics for instance. Not only are the gender stereotypes, and socio-political ones, silently reinforced through the
cosmetic and behavioural traits of the characters (all neatly divided along gender lines), but the same are also the guiding principles behind what each character is allowed, and not allowed, to say.
So, in the spirit of Direct Action subversion of cultural imperialism in order to pursue Social Justice and Gender Desegregation, here’s some twisted takes on the Golden Age comics from yesteryears!