When it comes to censorship in comic books, I often question the criteria that comic retailers use when deciding what sits on the shelf, as opposed to what is kept behind the counter. There is a countless number of comics for mature readers on the store shelves, so what exactly is the deciding factor for age-restricted material?
I asked a comic shop owner why are there certain books kept behind the counter, when a certain other book is allowed to sit on the shelf with the rest of the uncensored comic books. The response to the latter was pretty vague.
That was not the first time that I have asked comic shop owners or employees why
Sex, published by Image Comics
Sex Criminals, also published by Image Comics
are marked as age-restricted material and kept behind the counter, but
Crossed, published by Avatar Press
freely sits on the shelf.
It didn’t take but a minute for me to realize why Sex and Sex Criminals are being discriminated against. It’s because of that three-letter word in their titles.
That’s right, comic book titles are being censored. I haven’t been told this by anyone, but it’s pretty obvious. I don’t know about all comic shops, so I can only rant about the few I have visited since I started reading Sex Criminals. These books are being treated as if they are pornography, which they are not. Although I only read the first two issues of Sex, I am not embarrassed to say that Sex Criminals is on my pulls.
If Crossed can sit on the shelf, then why can’t the two comic books with sex in the title? That is so unfair.
I don’t know what’s currently going on in Sex, but I know that Sex Criminals is nothing to be all hush-hush about. It is not porn or a dirty joke book. It’s a comedy about two people who can stop time while having an orgasm. They decided to rob a bank to save a library. They are eventually captured by the sex police. And there aren’t that many panels showing nude body parts.
On the other hand, Crossed is a bizarre comic about a virus that caused a zombie-like apocalypse. This is a story of sadism, torture, rape and incest. When humans are infected, they immediately break-out in a red rash, in the shape of a cross, on their faces. They develop a crazed grin, and the violence and bloodshed begins.
They also turn into horny lunatics, and will have sex (rape most of the time) with anyone and anything, including children and animals.
Although the graphics speak for itself, the book has no parental advisory warning on the covers. This is a book that sits on the shelf with other uncensored comic books. Severed limbs are usually on the cover.
Check out the cover for Crossed Annual 2014.
A young girl holding a severed hand.
This book sits on a shelf, at a child’s EYE LEVEL.
Now that my ranting blog post is over, I feel so much better. In fact, I’ve decided to follow my dream and write a comic book.
The comic is about a young female that seeks vengeance on those that have wronged her. There will be ongoing torture, bloodbath and plenty of sex. I don’t know if the covers will have a parental advisory warning just yet, but they will definitely be sexually explicit.
To make sure that my comic book make it on the shelf with other uncensored comics, the word sex won’t be in the title. It will be named after the leading female character, which will be something like Cupcake, Sunshine or Bubbles.
When I wrote my review of Crossed last year, I received a couple of nasty comments that I moderated and unapproved. I’m sure I’ll probably get some for this blog post as well.
2 thoughts on “Title Discrimination in Comics”
This makes me want to read al three comics you mentioned. So… Victory? Or… did I miss the point? I dunno. I do agree that American culture is super twisted in the way it freely accepts violence but is so weird about sex.
If my post enticed you to read all three comics, then I’m claiming it a victory! I don’t know why American culture reacts the way it does towards violence, but sex is a subject that is tiptoed around. I just don’t get it.
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