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  1. #1
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    Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Are comic books a proper medium for teaching morals and ethics?

    Consider this:

    What kind of message(s) does Daredevil deliver to readers?

    What does Spiderman tell us, both directly and indirectly, regarding the situation that resulted in Uncle Ben's death?

    Is the Hulk really a hero, or is he a superpowerd adult having a tantrum?

    What are the greater moral lessons of Superheroes?

    What makes Batman savng a child from a burning building more remarkable than a firefighter saving a child from a burning building? Is it because the firefighter has a job to do in saving the child and because Batman does it by choice?

    I recently reopened a philosophy book I'd not read in some time called:

    Superheroes and Philosophy: Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way!

    In it various individuals explore the deeper meanings of childhood heroes. I myself had an interest in comics rekindled after reading a few chapters. Hence the sig change to include an Iron Man quote.

    I'm not a comic afficianado, BUT, that quote comes at a part in the Onslaught series that, to me, is still tear jerking to read. Busted and broken, Iron Man crawls from a medical table to his feet and rests on the rocky shoulder of The Thing. Urged by Grimm to rest, Iron Man challenges the notion saying that, if situations were reversed, Thing would do the same. He would keep trying.

    Now, it's not because of a deep love for Iron Man that I chose that quote, or that it's Iron Man who says it that brings a tear to me eyes, it's that IN that quote is, to me, the very essence of what it means to be a hero. To stand in the face of certain death and STILL fight for what you know to be right.

    ALTHOUGH, as Spiderman demonstrates in his cultural stance in Spiderman 2, even a hero doesn't always know what's right, and he gives up the mask for a time. Just as Colossus left X-men to join Magneto's Acolytes, just as Wolverine killed Sabertooth (if I remember right), just as Superman dropped restraint and began trying to kill Doomsday in the Doomsday series. Of course, Superman dies, and Doomsday survives, albeit being given one hellacious ass beating by the man in blue.

    Now, take all the philosopho-comic thought into consideration and ponder this:

    My cousin before he came to visit recently for my great grandmother's funeral, had a situation to deal with. This being a story he told me after getting here.

    He and his friends were standing outside their place of business, a funeral home (He prepares bodies). They see a woman being attacked by a dog. It's vicious and she's screaming for help. Before he can do anything, a friend of his named Jeremy darts off in the direction of the woman. Josh and Engy get in the truck and head that way. They get there before Jeremy, fight the dog off, and the situation ends. Jeremy arrives, and Josh asks him why he ran instead of taking a truck and getting there faster. Jeremy replies, "It was so fast, it was like, WWSD man! What would Superman do?"

    So, main question being, to restate, "Are comics a proper medium for teaching morals and ethics?" Why, or Why not?

    I myself say yes. Comics are accessible to younger audiences, and have pictures as well as the ability to stop and pick up later. The characters have increasingly complex backgrounds and lives (inspired by Spiderman, flubbed by Wolverine). The present a hero with extraordinary abilities in most cases, but not all, dealing with situations that COULD be dealt with in real life. I don't mean, "Oh my god, a man with robot tentacles is attacking the city!" but more of, "Here's great adversity in some form, I shall persist!"

    Spiderman has dealt with the loss of his powers and loved ones. From his Uncle Ben being murdered, to Gwen Stacy dying, to her grandfather being killed by Doctor Octopus. Spiderman has suffered loss.

    The X-men deal with isolation and rejection, many of whom are young with troubled backgrounds. Scott Summers lost control of his optic abilities as a child after suffering a head injury. Himself and his brother Adam (Havock) having been orphans. Or Wolverine (Most psychotic past EVER) having to live without knowing who he is or who he used to be.

    Superman, another orphan with ZERO chance of ever finding another like him.

    The Punisher's family was murdered.

    Batman's parents were murdered by Joe Chill (NOT Jack Napier or some "unknown assailant") right before his very eyes.

    Xavier's own brother hates him.

    the list goes on. BUT, they remain characters with whom children can relate, and still admire and learn from. So in that, I say comics are a proper, and even encouragable (in a positive sense) means for children to learn morals and ethics as well as learn reading.
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

  2. #2
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    I used to read comic books and look at how I turned out. Enough said.

    If it weren't for comic books, I wouldn't have read anything, so yes, they have their place in society - plus the pictures are cool
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  3. #3
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyde
    So, main question being, to restate, "Are comics a proper medium for teaching morals and ethics?" Why, or Why not?
    You and I have already discussed this through YIM, however, to reiterate, I believe the Superheroes are certainly a wonderful way of teaching children morals and ethics. But I think if the parent doesn't point out the 'moral' of the stories to the child, i.e who is 6, 7, 8 and even 9 years young, they just don't pick up on those details on their own.

    I think younger children look up to Superheroes because of the 'powers' that a Superhero has, above all else, or how tough he/she is. For children, I think it's the excitement of 'killing' or 'beating up' the bad guy and not so much of why he's doing it, but because HE CAN.

    In Spiderman, there was a scene in the school where he took on a bully. Kids can relate to that and imagine themselves having the 'power' to do that themselves.

    Even toys related to Superheroes focus on the powers of that Superhero. My son loves Spiderman in particular. But when he role plays Spiderman, he pretends he's flying building to building on a web and then beats the crap out of a punching bag or whatever is in his way at the moment *roll eyes* pretending it's the green goblin or what have you.

    In any case, I think it's not until a child gets older that they begin to realize the morals and ethics these Superheros portray; except for the fact that they pick up on the basic boundaries of good and evil....which, I believe, is sufficient for a child that young.

    I'm going to keep a lookout for that Onslaught series you mentioned. I believe my son Daniel would love it. And with him being 9 years old now, I think he will begin to pick up on the moral and ethic values these Superheroes' actions reflect....at least, I'll be more attentive to pointing them out to him now.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyde
    So, main question being, to restate, "Are comics a proper medium for teaching morals and ethics?" Why, or Why not?
    "Comic book" is too broad a category. It's like asking if novels can teach us about morals and ethics. Some novels have good messages. Others do not.

    Consider The Authority. Two of the characters, Apollo and The Midnighter, are deliberatly crafted to be parallels of Superman & Batman respectively. The comic seeks to explore what would happen if such individuals were interested in actually changing the world. In most every Superman / Batman comic, the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight work to uphold the status quo: Lex Luther is handed over to the authorities to be jailed and The Joker always ends up in Arkham Asylum. Both heroes know full well that their deranged enemies with most likely escape and inflict more suffering on others later on.

    So, in The Authority, the characters take matter into their own hands (especially in the later story lines after Warren Ellis left the project). What's the moral of that story?

    Might makes right.

    The Authority is the strongest group on the planet and thus they enforce their morality onto others. They don't consult with anyone. They don't listen to the people. They aren't asked to do what they do by any elected government. They simply act to do what they feel is right... regardless of what sort of body count they rack up.



    Hyde, you're going to need to specify comic titles which you feel are particularly moral. Comics as a whole are not.

  5. #5
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    Hyde, you're going to need to specify comic titles which you feel are particularly moral. Comics as a whole are not.
    What's immoral about these adult comic books?:

    Story of Checks and Electronic Payments, The
    Uses the story of two basketball-playing buddies to discuss the role of checks and electronic payments in the U.S. economy -- including the role of the Fed in facilitating payments. The booklet also teaches personal finance skills such as writing a check and balancing a checking account. 2005. Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet. 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    12/06/2005


    Story of Banks, The
    Follows three young entrepreneurs as they use progressively more sophisticated bank services over a 23-year period. Also explores the role of checking deposits and lending in money creation. Rev. 2005. Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    10/05/2005


    Story of Money, The
    Explains the purposes of money in a modern economy, the characteristics that items used as money have, the way the banking system creates money, and the reasons the Federal Reserve influences the money supply. 2005 Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet. 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    10/05/2005


    Once Upon a Dime
    Presents a fable about the island kingdom of Mazuma and the growth of its economy from barter to a sophisticated modern system, with its own central bank, to iIlustrate basic concepts of barter, money, banking, and inflation. Rev. 2005. Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    04/05/2005


    Story of Foreign Trade and Exchange, The
    Explains the basic principles underlying foreign trade and exchange. Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet December 2004 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    12/17/2004


    Penny Saved..., A
    Illustrates the importance of savings - how it benefits all of us - and the various types of savings instruments and institutions. 2004. Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    12/10/2004


    Too Much, Too Little
    Provides a history of the U.S. monetary system and events leading to the establishment of the Federal Reserve System. 2003. Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet. 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    09/17/2004


    Story of the Federal Reserve System, The
    Describes the major functions of the Federal Reserve System, the tools of monetary policy and how they work, and the other ways in which the Fed helps the U.S. economy and financial system to function. 2004. Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet. 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    07/27/2004


    Story of Consumer Credit, The
    Explains consumer rights and responsibilities and consumer credit regulations. 2002. 23pp. Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet. 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    06/03/2002


    Wishes & Rainbows
    Explores the economic problem of scarce resources and society's reactions to such problems via a children's story. Supplements the Wishes & Rainbows film. A teacher's guide, The Road to Roota, also is available. 2002. First 35 copies are free, additional copies are 5 cents each. Comic-style booklet.
    Boston - District 1
    05/01/2002

    Story of Monetary Policy, The
    Explains the meaning and purpose of monetary policy, how the Fed makes monetary policy, and how the tools of monetary policy work. Revised edition 2002. Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    02/12/2002


    Story of Inflation, The
    Describes the causes and effects of inflation and discusses alternative anti-inflation policies. 2001. Maximum 35 copies. Comic-style Booklet 24 pp.
    New York - District 2
    10/15/2001
    Currently not available for ordering.

    http://www.ny.frb.org/publications/r...rowseType=Main
    Last edited by Snoop; February 24th, 2006 at 08:02 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Comic book writers reap many benefits also:

    How can comic book writing improve writing skills?
    Remember your Strunk & White? The Elements of Style? There you will find composition principle #17: “Omit needless words.” Consider the following:
    The average comic book story is 21 pages long, with an average of six panels on each page and an average of no more than 25 words in each panel.
    Now do the math. 21 x 6 = 126 panels. 126 x 25 = 3,150 words. On the other hand a 21-page short story has an average of 250 words per manuscript page, adding up to an average total of 5,250 words. If you subtract 3,150 from 5,250 you will see that a comic book writer has about 2,100 less words to tell his 21-page story than does a short story writer. Omitting needless words is no longer a principle. It is a necessity!
    Besides column writing, comic book writing is the most regimented style of writing. A newspaper or magazine columnist must write an exact number of words to fit into a preassigned space. While comic book writing is not constricted by word count, if an editor assigns you a 21-page story, you shall write a 21-page story. Not 20 or 22, and not a panel or two shy of 21. Publishing requirements dictate that a typical $1.99 comic book be 32 pages (two signatures of 16 pages), and, to assure a profit, a set number of these 32 pages must be available for advertisements. Usually for a 32-page comic book this is nine pages, or eight pages with one page reserved for letters of comment or editorials.

    besides making me a better writer, writing comic books is fun.

    I love seeing a story of mine come to life in art. I love collaborating with artists and editors. I love the challenges and advantages that this unique verbal-visual publishing medium has to offer. Plus, there is one more potential benefit the medium offers that I have not mentioned yet. Writing for comic books can open more doors in the Hollywood entertainment media than any other medium.

    I know few novelists who have had even one of their books optioned by a film or television studio; and, I know few comic book writers who have not.

    Did you see the movie Men in Black? It is based on a Malibu comic that never sold more than 5,000 copies an issue. That did not stop Stephen Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment from paying $100,000 for the film rights.


    http://www.book-editing.com/stevejones1.htm

    Philosophically, it's all useless unless you enjoy it.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    This says alot about the value of comics (Zhav, ignore the references to the Testaments):

    Comic books prove to be a surprise boost for national literacy rates


    Urging America's schoolchildren to become devoted comic strip readers may seem like the kind of advice one would expect Charlie Brown to get for five cents from his psychologist friend, Lucy. But author Jim Trelease wants parents to know that there is nothing funny about the educational benefits of kids reading the funny pages.
    In the latest edition of his award-winning guide, "The Read-Aloud Handbook," Trelease points to a recent study of more than 200,000 schoolchildren in 32 countries. It found that the nation with the highest student reading scores -- Finland -- also has the highest proportion of schoolchildren who read comics almost every day.
    Trelease says this is no coincidence. In fact, he reports that "a number of studies show that more top students in all grades read comics or comic books than do lower-ranking students."

    Moreover, Trelease cites a 1993 article from the Journal of Child Language which shows that the average comic book introduces children to nearly twice as many new words as the average children's book and nearly five times as many new words as the average adult-child conversation.
    Trelease says that part of the reason comics are so valuable is that they help beginners build confidence in their reading ability.
    "Comics' enticing visual cues and simple sentences give the struggling young reader 'training wheels' while the student develops proficiency," he writes.
    But the real secret behind comics is that they are often enjoyable to read. Like that other much-maligned genre of children's literature -- "formula" fictional series such as Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and the American Girls Collection -- comics often help young people cultivate a love of reading.
    And this, Trelease believes, should be the first goal of parents and educators interested in helping schoolchildren become proficient readers. Indeed, Trelease delights in telling stories about famous authors and orators whose appetite for reading was initially whetted by reading comics.
    For example, novelist John Updike wrote in his memoirs, "I loved comic strips (growing up.) I copied their characters onto sheet after sheet of blank paper; I traced my copies onto plywood and cut them out with a coping saw and set them in rows on the shelf in my bedroom; I cut my favorite strips out of the newspaper and bound them in long books with covers of white cardboard, lettered by me in India ink and crayon."
    Similarly, Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu once observed, "My father was very concerned that we did well in school. But one of the things I am very grateful to him for is that, contrary to the conventional educational principles, he allowed me to read comics. I think that is how I developed a love for English and for reading."
    While Trelease finds it odd that Congressional hearings were held back in the early 1950s to determine whether comic books were contributing to juvenile delinquency, he is quick to acknowledge that some comic books today are not as innocent as old copies of Richie Rich, Archie, Spiderman or Little Lulu. Noting that sex and violence have found their way into some recent comic books, he observes, "The days of giving a young child the money for a comic and sending him off to the store (unmonitored) are a thing of the past."
    Notwithstanding material with objectionable content, however, Trelease believes parents and educators should recognize "the powerful role that recreational 'light' reading plays in developing good and lifetime readers." Pointing to a recent report that 73 percent of all Washington Post subscribers read at least one comic strip daily, Trelease says, "If comic pages are challenging enough for those Washington lawyers and lobbyists, they should be adequate fare for reading classes."
    While Trelease readily admits that most comic books are not classic literature, he says that kids turned on to reading by the funny pages are more apt to eventually get into the classics than those asked to read "The Red Badge of Courage" at too early an age.
    Apparently, some publishers of classic literature agree. In recent years, a number of comic book versions of classic stories have been introduced for younger readers. For example, my children own "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and "Last of the Mohicans" in comic strip form. And they have a colorful hardbound comic book called "The Picture Bible" which really brings Old and New Testament stories to life.
    While these comic books can never take the place of the classics on which they are based, their presence in the marketplace is significant. If nothing else, they lend further credence to what might be thought of as "The Dilbert Principle for Kids." It holds that many of the young people who will be running the world in the future are reading comic strips today. (Or so we should all hope.)


    William R. Mattox Jr. is a columnist for the Scripps-Howard News Service

    http://www.s-t.com/daily/01-98/01-19-98/b05op069.htm

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  8. #8
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    I think comic books help tremendously with children's reading. They certainly inspired my son.....but they're so darn expensive these days!
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  9. #9
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by sylouette
    I think comic books help tremendously with children's reading. They certainly inspired my son.....but they're so darn expensive these days!
    Yea, but what about all the ink that runs on to your fingers as you turn the pages. That stuff is toxic!

    As far as expense - they are a little costly. I would reccommend trading with other kids, that way you only have to buy half as many. One day you can put them on e-Bay and get some money back.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    That does sound like a good idea but my son doesn't take very good care of his belongings, they'll be lucky to not get destroyed before he's done reading them.....I guess I have that to blame for.
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  11. #11
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Comic books kick ass.

  12. #12
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus
    Comic books kick ass.
    I agree, and as final proof, I offer: http://members.aol.com/lshauser/phlcomix.html

    Philosophy Comix
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  13. #13
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhavric
    Hyde, you're going to need to specify comic titles which you feel are particularly moral. Comics as a whole are not.
    Okay, I'll throw out a few.

    Spiderman, Superman, Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, X-men, Batman, and even Ghost Rider are pretty morally upstanding.
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    Spiderman,
    "With great power comes great responsibility."

    Good lesson in general; mistakenly presumes that humans can wield absolute power with absolute responsibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    Superman,
    Infinite power used not for one's own benefit, but for others'. Great moral story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    Daredevil,
    Overcoming adversity, helping others. Good one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    Captain America,
    I don't know about being the government's guinea pig, but serving honorably in the military and not being ashamed of one's country are honorable in a U.S. citizen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    Iron Man,
    Hmm. In order for successful businessmen to truly do good, they must risk life and limb. That is, doing business isn't enough. Not too sure about that; I think that business can be an incredibly effective tool for helping people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    the Fantastic Four,
    Teamwork, finding ways to live with any "disabilities" or changes that affect your life, and, as always, helping others--IT'S CLOBBERIN' TIME!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    X-men,
    Same as above, except that you accept people as God (or whatever) made them. Addresses issues of identity and its construction by society and by individuals. Addresses fear of "the other", which is a common cause of anti-Semitism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    Batman,
    Suffers from the same drawbacks that Iron Man does--businessmen need to do something other than business to help people--although it shares Iron Man's exhortation of ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary tasks. Tough on crime, doesn't paint criminal as a victim. Was quite formative in my analysis of crime, to be honest.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    and even Ghost Rider are pretty morally upstanding.
    Never read it, sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    Are comic books a proper medium for teaching morals and ethics?
    Absolutely. The words that appear in comic books aren't any different than the words that appear in philosophical treatises. There isn't some magical difference just because Batman happens to be kicking the crap out of Joker in the same panel that he's explaining that Joker is responsible for his own actions.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

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  15. #15
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    "With great power comes great responsibility."

    Good lesson in general; mistakenly presumes that humans can wield absolute power with absolute responsibility.
    I wouldn't say it presumes that we can. Only that we should try and be aware that we have this greater responsibility if we have a greater power. Take for instance, Parker fights to earn money. He HAS the power. He's denied the money, and the guy gets robbed. Rather than accept the responsibility given by his power, Spidey lets the man go, and Uncle Ben dies as a result. OR, when Spidey is fighting Doc Octopus in an early comic, he's beaten. Flat out. Spidey loses for the first time. And he wants to give up. And again, bad things happen.

    Spiderman fights with the issue of having this power. He didn't ask for it. It was heft upon him.

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    Hmm. In order for successful businessmen to truly do good, they must risk life and limb. That is, doing business isn't enough. Not too sure about that; I think that business can be an incredibly effective tool for helping people.
    Well that's true, and in the comics Stark wanted to steer away from Arms development, if memory serves, S.H.I.E.L.D. started buying lots of stock in order to force Stark's company to stay in weapons development. Iron Man has seen the evils of what he has made, and even feels the burden of that responsibility. So I'd say it also teaches that a conscience should be used in business and not just the dollar signs.
    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples
    Never read it, sorry.
    Ghost Rider was a flaming skull biker demon thing that came from Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider (tell me his demon name for rep points) had the ability to see a person's sins and make them feel the punishment of that sin. IE, if Ghost Rider comes across a rapist, he can make them feel like the victim.
    But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
    1 Peter 3:15-16

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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hyde
    Ghost Rider (tell me his demon name for rep points)
    Zarathos

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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus
    Zarathos
    He's one creepy lookin' dude!!!!
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Ack! Marvel zombies...:D


    Of course ANY literature CAN be seen as good for teaching morals, depending of course on whose morals and who is being taught. And it is all a matter of perspective. Note the differences between Clive's view of some of the titles that Hyde mentiooned and Hyde's view.

    You also need to take note of the fact that the morality of ANY comic book shifts about with each new writer and artist team working on it. For example, Captain America HAS been ashamed of his country(and has also been blind with patriotism at times) and bounced back and forth between leftist civil libertarian and right-wing super soldier depending on the writer and storyline.

    Alpha Flight(spin off of X-Men by legendary writer-artist and card carrying skeptic, John Byrne) was probably the first mainstream super-hero title in which one of the main characters came out of the closet as a gay man. Hulk was one of the first to seriously deal with the issues of alcoholism and child abuse(Iron Man would also delve into the alcoholism issue). Green Arrow/Green Lantern dealt with drug addiction back when there were still a lot of people unware of how addicting drugs like Heroin and such could be.

    Most readers of comics are adults well over the age of 21. This has been the case for more than a few decades now. Very few kids even touch the things.
    But assuming you are going to encourage your child to read comic books, feeling that the moral lessons are good for them, WHICH Daredevil are you going to give to them? Miller's run? Which Batman? The psychotic depicted by Grant Morrison? The original Bill Finger Bob Kane Bat-Man who killed criminals by dropping them off buildings and such? The campy crimefighter who was accompanied by a teenage boy(Robin) on his cliffhanger escapades? Or again, Miller's Batman? Which Hulk? THe mindless agent of destruction that is most common? The super-intelligent Hulk? The mafia leg-breaker Hulk that talked like a street thug and wore pin stripe suits?

    And so on...

    Moral developement is going to occur in nearly everyone. Adults will teach their kids what they feel is moral to the best of their ability and after that, it is all a crap shoot. You just have to cross your fingers and hope that when your kid is first approached about or presented with the opportunity of doing drugs, having sex, joining a gang, picking on the unpopular kid etc., that they make good decisions and that, whatever their decisions, they learn from the experience.

    But back to comics...

    To me, what is far more interesting than what morals kids can learn, is the question of what morals an ADULT can find in various comic books. Sure this question is tiresome when talking about the typical Marvel(or even DC) product because it has all been said before(re: The X-Men is a metaphor for the plight of gays/blacks/atheists etc., Spiderman is about coping with puberty etc.) but what about books like Faust: Love of the Damned? An underground/indie B&W book that has been running for around 15 years now, is X-rated and tells the stroy of an amnesiac artist who pulls himself out of a grave one day and slowly comes to realize that he was a trained assassin for a Satanic cult and embarks on a gruesomely violent campaign of vengeance on those who once employed him & turned him into the monster he is/was and finally tried to kill and bury him. Visually, the book is like 'What if Batman, Daredevil and Wolverine were combined into one character whom was given his own series where there were few(if any)moral boundries on what could be depicted?'. As far as writing goes, Faust is probably the best written action-horror comic that was ever produced. Even while Marvel were threatening the HELL out of David Quinn and Tim Vigil over their books(long story) they were still offering writer Quinn ridiculous GOBS of money to write Dr. Strange for them and they could not wait for Vigil to quit brushing them off and draw some Wolverine for them.

    Many within the industry such as John Romita, John Workman, etc. criticised Faust and it's creators as being nothing more than "shock value" obscenity and in fact several comic shops across the country were shut down for carrying the book(they had not sold it to minors or displayed it where minors could see it but the fact that it was a "comic book", many presumed, meant that any depiction of sex and violence(graphic violence) within constituted obscenity).
    Faust is sort of the 1990s/2000s version of EC comics' Tales from the Crypt type stuff(in terms of who attacks it, how they do so and why they do) and the morality of such will always be hotly debated.

  19. #19
    ODN's Crotchety Old Man

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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    Quote Originally Posted by GodlessSkept
    Many within the industry such as John Romita, John Workman, etc. criticised Faust and it's creators as being nothing more than "shock value" obscenity...
    That's because it was. In all my years of reading comics, frequenting comics book stores all over the U.S. and numerous conventions, I never met a single soul who was interested in it for its artistic value. Not one. It was nothing more than just an over-the-top blood/fk-fest being produced by people who's only motivation was to push "free" speech to its absolute limit so that they could feel like they've done something memorable, kinda like those low self-esteem kids who leave used condoms in the local preacher's mailbox just to imagine the shock on his face when he finds it. I daresay it wasn't the censors that got those comic book stores in all that trouble so much as it was as the thoughtless, self-serving, attention-whoring jackasses that produced that drivel in the first place. Faust reminds me of those so-called "artists" that "perform" in a public venue by pissing on one another or some other stupid crap for no other reason than that they want draw attention to themselves (but at the same time they'll pretend as if they don't want it, which only reinforces what stupid assholes they truly are) and to blatantly abuse the freedoms of expression we DO have and as a result, fking it up for all the other people who have the common sense to appreciate what they have. Nevertheless, I still object to it being censored and defend their right to produce it.

    P.S. GS kicks ass for finding something to actually debate in this thread.

  20. #20
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    Re: Comic books as Philosophical Guides?

    What about something a bit more complex like Etrigan the Rhyming Demon?

    Certainly a few moral challenges there.

    Spawn is another. Kills Satan to become ruler of Hell then just sort of runs away...
    But if you do not find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go on your way alone, like a king abandoning a conquered kingdom, or like a great elephant in the deep forest. - Buddha

 

 
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