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Nitz the Bloody

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Subj: Re: Do cartoons provide a better gateway for kids to the Marvel Universe?
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 06:41:56 pm EDT (Viewed 92 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Do cartoons provide a better gateway for kids to the Marvel Universe?
Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2009 at 11:31:23 am EDT (Viewed 106 times)

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    Let's face it, kids don't read comic books any more, except for Japanese comics.

I'm inclined to agree somewhat. Not saying that absolutely NO kids read comics anymore as certainly some still do. But in a general sense, when I go to buy manga, I see more kids there then when I get American comics.

But kids are still reading though, be it manga, or even European comics, or novels, like LOTR and Harry Potter can attest to.

    So I was wondering, do you think cartoons provide a better gateway for kids into the Marvel Universe, then comics? A cartoon doesn't have some of the problems a comic would, that prevent kids from reading it, ex: content parents may find unsuitable, 40 years of continuity, etc.

As far as a better gateway to a more broader interpretation of the character, then sure, I can concede that to a degree. There are certainly people who are fans of Batman and the Justice League from the cartoons who never or rarely picked up a comic w/ the same characters. People will buy the shirts, get the toys, watch the movie, and might not ever try out the comic versions of those characters. To bring movies into the equation, Iron Man was a big success, but how many people who went to see it were really fans of the comic character before, or even after the film? I'm not certain I've ever really witnessed something like The Dark Knight really causing a significant increase in the readership of the comics. I'm sure it has an effect, but not to the extent that I'd consider most the cartoons or movies an actual gateway to the comics.

In terms of the problems a comic presents, I do believe content can be an issue in both senses, in becoming too graphic for certain age demographics, or 'dumbing' it down or 'babying' and thus robbing it of any edge and making it unattractive to other age groups.

Any ongoing serial will accumulate it's own bit of continuity, be it Captain America, House, Lost, the Harry Potter films/novels or what have you, so I'm not sure to what degree that is off-putting to some new readers. I think being too self-referential to past stories, and dense crossovers w/ too many tie-ins would is a valid roadblock however.

    Plus a cartoon when done well can improve upon concepts found in a comic, like what BTAS did with Mr. Freeze.

Or introduce concepts that weigh the property down, like the son in Superman Returns.

I think the advantage of the animated adaptations isn't so much that they don't have the continuity, but that they're in a place where they can really distill it down to what makes the characters work. The current X-Men cartoon is a good example because while it certainly doesn't have a simple backstory, it manages to introduce new characters painlessly ( the appearance of Mr. Sinister worked shockingly well, given how his debut in the comics was ridiculously convoluted nonsense tied into everyone and everything without giving him a real personality; here all that crap's pared down to " evil geneticist ", and he's used quite well as a target for the psychotically bereaved Cyclops' fixations ).

My own entry into comics was through the 90's X-Men cartoon as a wee lad, so I can definitely see ( albeit anecdotally ) how these cartoons can introduce generations to these great characters. How that translates into them buying the monthly in-continuity comics is still a mystery, and even harder now with so much media available. But from a pure narrative perspective, the Wolverine and the X-Men cartoon shows us a really pure, undiluted version of how cool the X-Men can be, as opposed to the unmitigated mess they are in the comics that spawned them. I'm not opposed to continuity in and of itself, just when it ends up making the characters unworkable by backstory clutter ( see: Psylocke ), and making the stories far more arcane than their narratives need them to be.

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