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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Shouldn't "All Ages" Mean the ads, Too?


So, Michael McCormick suggested I take a look at Mary Jane, one of Marvel Comics' All-Ages titles from a few years back. He said they pulled off some great "teen angst" in the stories, reminiscent of the early Lee/Ditko Spider-Man tales. Sounded good, and I'm always looking for all-ages stuff for the family.

My wife was the first to sample the premiere issue, and was a bit disturbed to discover a VERY seductive Elektra in an ad for Hero-Clix. Samurai sword in hand, and sporting a very "come-hither" gaze, in her loin cloth, no less, we both wondered who slipped up in the production of this "all-ages" comic, allowing such a solicitation. I mean, is she planning to kill or to seduce? Are you really going to get it, or are you REALLY going to get..., well, IT. Come on, Marvel! At least depict her gritting her teeth! Give us a snarl! A sneer! A FROWN, even!

It just seems a bit ridiculous.

No doubt, some will think this is nothing more than a couple of red state, Bible-belt bumpkins making a mountain out of a mole-hill. That's o.k. We (and the millions who share our culture and values) still sleep quite soundly at night, just as secure in our value system as anyone else. And, it could be that our reaction to what may seem a small matter to some is the result of YEARS of comics being produced, it would seem, for 20- and 30-something fans who have yet to exit their adolescence and let go of the embarrassing fantasies which are part and parcel.

I believe that "all-ages" should mean the advertisements as well as the story content. Why couldn't they have simply chopped Elektra out of the ad, blown up images of the game pieces, and been done with it? Or, even included a different character. You know, one with more CLOTHING.

It may have, indeed, been an oversight, and I admit to having no knowledge of whether or not such ads are run in all-ages books as a matter of practice. I just hope we can expect a little more judicious editing from similar books we have yet to read.

Rant over.

P.S. - I haven't read it yet, but according to my "better half," the first issue is a good, decent read. Parents looking for something inoffensive for the kids might simply consider giving Elektra some nice bell-bottoms with a Sharpie. ;)