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< Back to question Should comics be political? Show more Show less

Since their creation in June of 1938, comic books have unified fans hoping to see super-powered good prevail over evil. Comics as a medium have lasted through numerous international conflicts, from World War II to the War on Terror. During each one of these conflicts, the question of politics' role in comic books has been posed. Political comics are those which try to comment on or influence how a country is governed. Should comics, which routinely explore the extraordinary, comment on the ordinary? Or, should comics concern themselves with fictional politics at most and no politics at the least?

Yes, comic books should be political. Show more Show less

Comic books, while fictional, are still grounded in reality. Politics, for better or worse, are an unavoidable part of life.
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X-Men: Making comics relatable through politics

The X-Men comics were created during the civil rights movement in the United States. A lot of political ideas and figures from this time have made their way into the comic through the guise of fictional characters.
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Context

The X-Men comics are an allegory for the civil rights movement, with Professor Xavier and Magneto being the fictional equivalents of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X , respectively.[1]

The Argument

Politics should be a part of comic books because they make them more relatable. However, politics don't need to be referenced directly in order for them to be relatable in comic books. There are artistic ways that politics can be used to make comics more relatable and thus more successful, as evident with the X-Men series. Character motivations, relationships, values, and beliefs in the X-Men series were all influenced by real political figures. The comic book title has been immensely popular not in spite of it's relationship to politics, but because of it. Prejudice and discrimination are innately human phenomena shared by countless persecuted groups throughout history.[2] The most successful art tends to be the most relatable, and the politics in the X-Men series have contributed to the comic's relatability and success.

Counter arguments

While prejudice and discrimination were heavily tied to the civil rights movement, they are not innately political ideas. Rather, they are easily politicized ideas. It is relatively simple to have a comic book series explore similar themes of prejudice and discrimination without introducing the politics of the real world. Removing the politics would simply require an introduction of new and different ideas, characters, and groups that were not a part of the civil rights movement.

Premises

[P1] The X-Men comic series is a semi-fictional allegory for the civil rights movement in the U.S. during the 1960's. [P2] Prejudice and discrimination are relatable phenomena. [P3]Removing the politics of from these comics would remove the prejudice and discrimination. [P4] Removing prejudice and discrimination removes the relatability of these characters and comics.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Removing politics from X-Men does not necessarily mean removing prejudice and discrimination.

References

  1. https://www.history.com/news/stan-lee-x-men-civil-rights-inspiration
  2. https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/research-states-that-prejudice-comes-from-a-basic-human-need-and-way-of-thinking.html

This page was last edited on Thursday, 14 May 2020 at 23:36 UTC

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