Comics for Social Change

Hey crew, came across this awesome post today: “The Arts of Protest: Zip! Zapf! Pow! — that’s the power of comics”

What can comics do for activists and campaigners? They can tell an awesome story — with as much or as little detail as one wants. They can teach lessons; show what victory looks like; illustrate why you are struggling or the issues you face; garner public support. Since people learn in a variety of ways — picking up on auditory, visual, physical cues differently — the use of compelling, colorful graphics can go a long way to help get your message out.

Comics are a great example of another way writing can be used to bring about social change–think about the effect of Wonder Woman (chosen by Ms. Magazine to be the first cover):

Who else reads comics that they see as enacting social change? @Beth_Reddy?

I do not read comics. Anymore. When I did it was Archie and the gang and the Sunday strips of the mid 80’s. I was interested in the animation of comics. I still am in a way. I get that feeling when I watch The Simpsons. I found that after reading some of them, I felt that everything will be okay in the end. The lesson was learned. The dog came back home. The dad laughed at the silliness of his kids or wife. It was fun reading and I knew I would get a good laugh. I haven’t seen many dark sided comics. I know haven’t been looking hard enough too. Maybe the dreamy illustrations kept me from truly “seeing” the darkness. Although my favorite Super Hero is Wonder Woman herself, I didn’t grow to love her through comics. The 70’s tv show is what captured my attention, and that Saturday Morning Super Friends spectacular! Again, I read more upbeat stuff. I love the love behind comic strips and comic books. Good stuff.

I read a lot of indie comics – comics that tout themselves more as “graphic novels,” both in print and in video games (they’re actually called “visual novels” in that form, not video games, but whatever). The neat thing about them is that they don’t necessarily show the view that you’ll find in serialized stuff like Wonder Woman, and they’re usually self-published, so you get these raw opinions that might be too raw for places like DC or Marvel. And don’t get me wrong – I do love Marvel.

@Gina - It’s funny you mention The Simpsons – if there’s any show that’s trying to further particular ideas with each episode, it’s definitely that. Love it!

I love comics. As an adult, I started to leave the “men in tights” and funny books for comics that are in fact made by people who resemble me, both ethnically and in character. I remember being able to attend Adrienne Tomine’s talk when he visited RISD. There are no happy endings, heartbreak and loss are real, and the alienation his characters felt were a little too easy to relate too. Unfortunately, most of the creators of socially progressive comics I read have gotten too into their own celebrity. That aside, I would suggest that folks seek out the works of Daniel Clowes, the Hernandez Brother’s “Love and Rockets” series, and again the work of Adrienne Tomine. The web is full of great indie comics, I’m pretty sure anyone can find what they’re looking for there.

But back to “men in tights” and comics published by Marvel and DC, I think it great that both of these publishers now have openly gay characters, people of color who matter,and more female characters that feel like people and not as filler or eye candy. It’s kind of crazy that there is still a group of people out there who remain closed minded about these changes, but it’s about time. I read comics to be entertained, to reflect, and because it’s something I’ve always done, but having worked on the other side of the industry ( I attend conventions as a working artist doing commissioned work as part of a con’s “artist alley”) we as a reading public need to be more vocal and demanding of the changes we want to see, otherwise, nothing changes. We vote with our dollars, we should have some say.

1 Like

Gina, The Simpson’s has and for ever will be my favorite series ever I love it 31 years old and I am still watching it.

Hello everyone, I remember as a child reading superman comics and batman comics and wondered why the bad guy always lost because as I looked out the window I saw bad guys winning. This comics although in my eyes where in no way true but they where a outlet of escape, to the reality of the violence I was living. This comics I read as a child although they where fiction did give me hope and a imagination and gave me vision the vision of ending all the violence in the world. I am no spider man but I have talents that I share with others in the hopes of resolving conflict and this is by cutting hair. The problem is that I become a vilan in a for profit world I simply want to give kids haircuts for free but find it difficult to do with working school and family. My goal or hope is to find funding to be able to do this full time for kids and never charge them a dime. I wish I had the talent o draw comics and I would draw a non-profit barbershop and the vilan would be anyone who does not contribute to it happening.

1 Like

I <3 Love and Rockets.

@squeakie I love your idea. Have you seen Dave Egger’s Superhero Supply Store?

I’ve always thought superheroes and villains are a bit tricky–I notice small children really want “good guys” and “bad guys”–we all know the world isn’t that easy.,d.aWw&psig=AFQjCNFL47n53M8hXCcjnw6CPkrviPq7FQ&ust=1411425881433167