Thursday, September 8, 2011
Do you know what your teen is reading?
Graphic novels and comics, as with all forms of entertainment that are marketed for adults, teens and children, can contain controversial aspects. Because graphic novels are illustrated, many people assume they are "for children." Because of this assumption, the violence, nudity, or sexual content of some graphic novels often surprises adults.
Violence: Almost all superhero, science fiction, and fantasy graphic novels have an element of violence in them. The violence is typically comparable to what can be seen on TV or in an action movie; however, sometimes the violence is explicit and extreme.
Nudity: Nudity is not unusual in anime and manga, even in the work geared towards children. This is a result of a different culture's views on naked bodies. Often nudity is used for comic effect and the characters involved may be highly embarrassed. Nudity in American graphic novels is less common, although scantily clad, well-endowed women are the norm.
Sexual Content: Although pornographic graphic novels can be found, most graphic novels do not contain sexually explicit content. When such content is included in a mainstream graphic novel, it usually takes place off stage or is simply implied.
Mature Language: Most graphic novels contain some measure of profane or obscene language. This language is more prevalent in foreign, alternative, and "realistic" graphic novels than in the traditional superhero and fantasy series, but it seems to show up in all of them to one extent or another.
Objectification of Women: Traditionally graphic novels have been marketed towards teenage and pre-teen boys, this has lead to an unrealistic portrayal of women in the medium. However, these women are typically strong, powerful, and confident. Recently, there has been a push for more realistic female characters and for more titles that are marketed for a female audience.
DC and Marvel indicate the titles and series that they believe to be controversial with their Mature Readers imprints Vertigo and MAX.
The bottom line is, when you come to the library, know what your getting. It's easy to flip through a graphic novel and see weather or not it's for you. If you have questions, let us know and we will try and help you with your choice of titles.
Michele, Children's librarian