Marvel and DC Comic Book Collection

The Influence and Impact of Comics on the Media and Society

If comics is a term you haven’t heard of yet, let me explain, or even if you are familiar, let me enhance your database. Mainly, comics are a medium that expresses ideas with images, often with text or other visual information. Especially interwoven in a fictional storyline,  having a plot and a basis for a particular theme in a genre. It typically takes the form of a sequence of panels of images, aka the comic strip. Specifically, textual devices such as speech balloons, captions, onomatopoeia are communication devices. Furthermore, these tools indicate dialogue, narration, sound effects, or other information.

The world of comics has made way for diverse storytelling and broadened the horizons of its fans worldwide. Representation has taken center stage in the real-life imagining of popular comic book superheroes and superheroines. As with its predecessors, the comic book can provide an intriguing, entertaining, and sometimes critical mirror of society. Moreover, the predecessors of the comic book include the political cartoon and newspaper comic strip. Through the decades of the last century and into our own, comic books have influenced culture as well as reflected it.

The comic world representation is an integral part of pop culture and has given birth to global record-breaking attention. As evidenced by the release of the Spider-Man: No Way Home release trailer. With the advent of Marvel (1939)and the DC universe(1934), the pop culture phenomenon exploded in the world. Mainly, gathering the attention of fans from every nook and cranny of the world.

However, with its diverse types and genres and the exciting world of comics covers, do you really know the massive impact that the comic-book world has on the society we reside in? But before we jump to that, do you know how many genres of comics actually exist?

Genres of Comics

Types of Comics
Types of Comics

Image Credit: librarypass.com

Comics are written in a variety of styles and genres. Mainly to suit every type of taste that exists in the world in order to appeal to a diverse range of people. Here are just some of the many genres to be found in today’s world of comics:

Superhero

One of the most celebrated comic book genres, and you must definitely be familiar with this genre. Moreover, the superhero genre has permeated pop culture and the internet. Mainly, Superhero comics feature the likes of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and the X-Men, individuals often clad in capes and masks, who use their extraordinary abilities to protect humanity. Moreover, superheroes have captured the public imagination ever since the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics #1 in 1938. This first issue was heavy on action, adventure, and memorable iconic characters. One can say that Hero comics can be a form of modern mythology. While some characters and series have been in existence since the 1940s, new characters with different abilities, costumes, and universes are constantly on the verge of invention.

Manga

Manga refers to an Asian style of trade paperback graphic novel that has recently reached new heights of popularity in the United States. Generally, Manga contains several genres that are relevant to very specific types of readers. Moreover, Shojo (also has the spelling Shoujo) is a genre typically read by young teenage girls, usually involving drama and romance. Whereas Shonen refers to manga primarily for boys and features humorous stories and high levels of action. Mainly, Manga is a translation of the original Japanese form, whose print is from right to left, in order to retain the authenticity of the original version. In particular, Manga titles are also frequently part of a series containing several volumes, and can be very addictive!

Slice-of-Life

Many comics and graphic novels offer thoughtful portrayals of real life.  These can take the form of autobiography, relationship drama, or historical fiction, among other examples. Mainly, Slice-of-life comics are frequently popular with older teenagers and adults in search of a contemplative reading. Recently, the Slice-of-Life comics and graphic novels are having a moment as older teenagers tend to enjoy comics with a real flair to them.

Humor

There are plenty of comics that live up to the name “comic!” From Mad Magazine to Simpsons Comics to editorial cartoons, comics are a great avenue for exaggeration, satire, and just plain ridiculousness. Cartoonists use different kinds of humor to communicate their message — the most common are irony, satire, and sarcasm. Especially in the arena of politics, cartoonists tend to use their craft to communicate vital information to the masses. Instead of ‘shiny wrapping and flowery bows’, political cartoonists successfully use humor to promote their message. It helps to make politics accessible to the masses.

Non-fiction

Comics have proven to be a great educational tool, and are in the process of constant creation to explore such diverse topics as science, history, politics, and biography. Non-fiction comics, also known as graphic non-fiction, are a non-fiction element in the comics medium. Mainly, embracing a variety of formats, from comic strips to trade paperbacks.

Science-Fiction/Fantasy

Those who like to imagine other worlds will find a multitude of fantastic universes to explore in comics.

Mainly, science fiction comics began as early as the 1930s in US newspapers. Moreover, they have since spread to many countries around the world. However, the two largest publishers of this comic genre today arguably are the United States and Japan.

Whereas fantasy comics have been around as long as the medium itself. The early years of fantasy comics began in the golden age and are heavy with notable works ranging from the All-American comics` (and later DC comics`) Greek myth-inspired superhero Wonder Woman to Dell`s Tarzan.

Horror

Frights, chills, and thrills abound in comics with creepy illustrations and suspense-building stories. That is the crux of the horror comic book genre. Whereas Horror Comic strips, manga, and graphic novels are a comic classification that intends to impose fear and terror to frighten its readers.

Scary comics can either be supernatural or non-supernatural. It aims to provoke a response; psychological, emotional, or a physical reaction to fear. And to elicit this response, horror comic books use various techniques; unreal figures such as ghosts and aliens and real figures like serial killers and lunatics.

However, a horror comic’s main ingredient is to have something unexpected in its story, something that can build the reader’s fear of the unknown and his/her own anxieties.

Impact of Comics on the Media

DC and Marvel Characters in Film
DC and Marvel Characters in Film

Image Source : Indianexpress.com

Comic book fans love to see adaptations of their favorite characters on the big screen, but the creative decisions that directors take may result in changes to the source material. Is this adapting of comic books favorable for the medium, or just complicating already complex continuities?

The reason that comic book companies choose to alter their current continuities so that they resemble other media is very practical. Mainly, they do so because film and television have a much larger market than comic books. If someone is exposed to an adaptation of a comic, it may urge them to check out the original series. Especially when discovering their shock to find that the comic version is substantially different from the version in the film, TV show, or game. To prevent this, comics books adapt to other media in ways that may help or hurt them.

Now an ingrained part of our cultural lexicon, the characters, conventions, art, and even the language of comic books are everywhere, including advertising, politics, and entertainment. In addition to being the subject of a growing field of scholarship. From their humble beginnings as reprints of comic strips, comic books have matured into works of art, literature, and cultural significance in their own right.

Marvel

As you know from the widely known from the widely popular Marvel Film and TV franchise. Marvel Comics is an American media and entertainment company. It is known worldwide as one of the “big two” publishers in the comics industry. Its headquarters lies in the Big Apple, New York City. As many of its characters have, New York  City has its origin story.

The precursor to Marvel Comics was founded in 1939 by pulp magazine publisher Martin Goodman. In order to capitalize on the growing popularity of comic books—especially those starring superheroes—Goodman created Timely Comics. Timely’s first comic book was Marvel Comics no. 1 (cover-dated October 1939), which features several superhero characters. Most notably, the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. Moreover, Timely Comics introduced many superhero characters during the comics’ “Golden Age” in the 1940s, most importantly Captain America, who first appeared in Captain America Comics no. 1 (March 1941). Significantly, timely characters were often portrayed as fighting against the Nazis. And the Japanese even before the United States entered World War II. As the 1940s came to a close, superheroes fell out of vogue with comic book readers, and Timely canceled the last of its books in this genre in 1950.

In 1951, Goodman formed his own distribution company, and Timely Comics became Atlas Magazines. Though there was a brief experiment in bringing back superheroes such as Captain America in 1953, Atlas’s output was mostly in other genres such as humor, westerns, horror, war, and science fiction.

DC Comics

In 1956, rival company DC Comics ushered in the so-called Silver Age of comics. Mainly by reintroducing superhero titles with significant commercial success. In the early 1960s, Atlas changed its name to Marvel Comics. For several decades, Marvel and DC have been the top companies in the industry. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, Marvel changed hands numerous times, becoming a publicly held company in 1991. Whereas questionable management decisions and a general slump in sales in the comic book industry drove Marvel Comics into bankruptcy in 1996. The company emerged from bankruptcy in 1998 and began to diversify its output, launching imprints aimed at a variety of demographics. Mainly, to expand its cinematic offerings under the Marvel Studios banner. In 2007, Marvel began publishing digital comics. In 2009, the Walt Disney Company purchased the parent company of Marvel Comics.

Impact of Comics on Society

DC Comics Characters
Captain America Issue #1 1941

Image Source: Polygon.com

Comic books have been one of the most popular segments of art and communication since it was created. During Human History, the comics were adapted to events every time. It is possible to notice that not only the creation of Captain America in the ’40s to support the soldiers in World War II. But also the character offered solace when the attack on the World Trade Center Building took place in 2001.

Sexuality issues were also inserted in the comics to debate contemporary subjects. Mainly, to show that comics can change, tell stories of real people, and respect their differences. Whereas comic books are part of pop culture, most people might have an inaccurate thought process. Especially when it comes to comic books. People might think something about children and teenagers, but not about adults. They are not only wrong about this though, but they also don’t have any knowledge about how comics affect people’s lives. And how this kind of entertainment and mass communication has been profitable through the years.

Societal Issues take center-stage in Comics

Hot topics that are still relevant to this day include the views of women, LGBT persons, and ethnic minorities within society. Women have had a role in comics since their creation. Early depictions of women usually put them in the role of damsel in distress/ plot device or purely as a sex symbol.

In 1940, the first true, although mostly unheard of, female superhero is Fantomah (Markstein n.d, para 3). Fantomah, along with other early female comic protagonists Wonder Woman and Sheena, fell into the Jungle Goddess category. However, the role of the female in the background with the creation of the CCA. Furthermore, female characters didn’t find a positive voice in comics until the 1980s and 1990s (Felton n.d., para 1). Whereas series such as Love & Rockets, Ghost World, and Tank Girl promoted strong portrayals of women, often with feminist leanings dealing with the exploration of sexuality in positive ways and the dismissal of expected roles in society.

LGBQIA+and Race Issues in Comics

Gay characters also began to make an emergence during this same period. For example, the series Y: The Last Man toyed with the idea of all the men in the world but one dying off at once. Not only did it take a serious look at the complete reinventing of civilization through the hands of women. But it also delved heavily into the lesbian culture. Specifically, the views of women as masculine and feminine, theories of dominance, and ideas of where a man would be in a female-dominant society.

A more mainstream example is Batwoman, who is written as an openly gay character. Mainly, in series 52 (Gustines 2006, para 2). Moreover, ethnic minorities have been seen in comic books for the past 100 years, but they are usually given stereotypical, often outright racist, roles with no depth of character. Nowadays, there are countless comic book characters of color that are portrayed in the same light as white characters. Examples of this would be superheroes such as Storm, a black woman who was the leader of the X-Men­, and Cyborg, the black male leader of the Teen Titans. Not to mention nearly the entire cast of Love & Rockets who are of Mexican descent. One of the earliest well-known black superheroes, Black Panther, has recently gone through a revival.

Conclusion

Comics are for everyone, as you have read all about the above. But what they represent and mean to each individual varies. Personally, I haven’t read a comic book until now, but I really enjoy television shows and films from the world of comics. The diverse and rich world of comic book storytelling offers solace in my mind and I hope to extend the same to you.  So, I want to know which genre of comics you enjoy the most and what does reading your favorite comic mean to you?

One thought on “The Influence and Impact of Comics on the Media and Society

  1. Some comics focus on the mythological stories of their land. Some looks into the historical events from the past. these comics meant mainly for education and are not called graphics. Examples of such comics are: Amar Chitra Katha Comics, Chandamama comics .

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