Author: Darin Jensen

Graphic Materials: The Fallacy of Neutrality

Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Chuck Dixon and Paul Rivoche presented a small article called “How Liberalism became Kryptonite for Superman: A Graphic Tale of Modern Comics’ Descent into Moral Relativism”.  Chuck and Paul are excellent comics’ professionals.  I’ve read many a Chuck Dixon story and they well-plotted and engaging.  I want to be clear about that, because I don’t want to attack these two authors’ excellent talents.  In particular, the way that Dixon wrote Oracle in Birds of Prey, a well-written and powerful female character, is admirable. Instead, I want to talk about their intentional misrepresentation of comics and art in the Wall Street Journal, a misrepresentation so egregious that I was surprised. The first argument that they make is that comics have become morally relativistic and have embraced a left-wing ideology.  They cite the example of Superman giving up his U.S. citizenship in Action Comics 900–they quote Superman saying that “truth, justice and the American way–it’s not enough anymore” Of course, they provide no other argument or context for why this represents moral relativism or leftist ideology, but implied here is that if it’s not American, it’s not moral and it’s leftist.  One has a difficult time even listing all of the logical fallacies.  A definition here is important.  The authors use moral relativism as a cipher, but fail to define it, leaving it out...

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Graphic Materials: Bayou

First, I want to thank Two-Headed Nerd for giving me a space to write. Second, I want to provide context for what and for why I’m writing. After all, there’s tons of crap to read, so why read this crap? I’ve been reading comics for more than 30 years. In fact, I learned to read with comics, and they were what hooked me onto reading. So in that respect, I bet that you (the audience) and I are a lot alike. I went away from comics for a long time — part of it was that the ’90s were a dark time for comics; part of it was that I was “growing up” and didn’t have time or money for them (silly, I know). I came back to comics with my children, and I came back to comics as a teacher and a scholar. Comics helped my kids learn to read, connected us culturally and gave us a mythos through which to discuss values and lots of other things (no, I’m not kidding). And comics have been one of the most successful things that I’ve ever used in getting my students to read and think critically. Comics have been transformative for my students. In fact, there are books, conferences, and journals dedicated to emerging comics scholarship and teaching — it’s one more way that we can look at the...

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