But Jessica Jones!

I can’t speak to the worthiness of Stan Lee and superhero comics; I’ve never read any.

I can offer the observation that the French have pretty wonderful comic art, and some Japanese manga are masterpieces of storytelling. Also, you can’t dis “comic books” without offering at least grudging respect for the brilliance of Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Gilbert Shelton, Bill Griffith, and many others in the alternative/underground comix scene in America. I suggest Bill Maher read “Maus” (parts one and two) about the Holocaust for further education. Now, to contradict myself, I’ll allow that America’s embrace of comic books, and the movies and Netflix shows based on them, appears to reflect a certain immaturity in the culture.

But Jessica Jones!


14 thoughts on “But Jessica Jones!

  1. I really liked Jessica Jones. Seeing her try to deal with the abusive treatment she suffered from Kilgrave and the way he always seemed to occupy space in her own head, as abusers do, made her a compelling character. As a survivor of sexual abuse I could sympathise with her.


  2. I can’t speak to the worthiness of Stan Lee and superhero comics? You can’t have missed out of all of it! Come on man, where have you been living? Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, and Ant-Man?

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  3. I know, I know, it’s a massive and shameful hole in my cultural knowledge. The truth is that while all the other kids were reading Superman and the like, i was reading novels (for example, when I was ten years old or so, I read obsessively all of the 27 or so Tarzan books). I’m of course aware of Stan Lee and his many super-powered creations, but only through tangential sources (movies, TV, etc.). I’ve never sat down and read a Spider-Man comic book (or any other superhero comic book). But I’ve read many underground comics.


  4. I didn’t come to comics until adulthood., even now I’m more into the MCU than the comics themselves. But, I’ve used them in my classroom, from Maus’s overt addressing of all the issues involved in WWII to X-Men’s more subtle addressing issues of racism and inclusion from their creation.

    I’d say that Magneto is one of Lee & Co.’s greatest triumphs in character & complexity, in that while readers certainly see him as a villain, they can also understand & sympathize with his motivation.

    Marvel comics, at least (I can’t speak to DC beyond the early Superman movies), has never been afraid to tackle socio-political issues from racism & segregation to the Patriot Act & Islamophobia.

    They’ve had their writing and art issues, but on the whole they’ve been a positive, and often complex, force in the world.

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  5. I was a voracious comic book reader from my late teens to my early twenties, when the older generation of writers and artists bowed out and were replaced by the “let’s make everything super serious, angst-ridden, gore” generation of the ’90s. Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Walt Simonson et al consistently addressed societal problems in ways that mainstream mass media and commercial novelists ignored, thinking it would hurt sales among the white teenage/college crowd. Both Marvel and DC writers consistently broke the “third wall” and inserted themselves into their stories, usually for comic effect of course to poke fun at themselves, but that also helped to connect the fantastical stories to the reality of the reader.

    There’s no need to “save the world/galaxy/universe” in every episode. That’s where Hollywood has screwed things up. The more mundane, the more terrifying, as you realize that evil starts locally with the individual. Stan Lee and his generation sought to talk to individuals. It worked.

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  6. I grew up in the late forties and fifties on a steady diet of comic books. I was the only kid I knew who actually subscribed to some (Tarzan–remember the giant otters?–Donald Duck, Classics Illustrated, and Red Ryder). I learned a lot from them. Much of it was probably wrong, but each issue made the world bigger for me. One month Donald might be dodging the Beagle Brothers in the souk of Tangier while Red Ryder rescued Little Beaver along the rim rock of Colorado. Heady stuff for a kid who’d never been out of Indiana!

    I’ve never been a fan of superheroes, but I’d be happy to see my grandkids sopping up comics the way I did.

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