Friday, June 5, 2009

Rated "A"? C'mon, Spidey!

For the past few months, I've had a blast reading Amazing Spider-Man, and so have my students. Each time I finish a new issue (which come out three times a month!), I bring it to school for my students to read. It's full of action, comedy, and doesn't speak down to kids, while at the same time staying away from objectionable content. In fact, Marvel, which voluntarily rates its books, labels The Amazing Spider-Man with an "A" for "Appropriate for ages 9 and up," which makes it safe for the classroom. And until very recently, I'd recommend this book to any one of my students. Then I saw the panels to the right in issue #596.

Now, I'm not necessarily an advocate for censorship, but if Marvel is going to voluntarily rate their comics, how are they to explain the panels to the right?

I may spend more time on the other objectionable material that makes its way into 'kid-friendly' comics (e.g. gunplay, women with ridiculous physical proportions), but the dialogue in these panels alone makes me hesitate to bring this issue into the classroom.

Marvel has every right to, without notice, change the tone of this (or any other) book, but that doesn't mean I have to be okay with it. I'm afraid my students will feel like they've been let down if it comes to the point that I can no longer share this (once) consistently fantastic age-appropriate book with them.

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