Sometimes, I feel embarrassed wearing my Civil War shirt to school.
It seems that teenagers, not little children or adults, are becoming less interested with comic books. On Free Comic Book Day, I see either adults, ages mainly in their late 20s or early 30s, or young children buying comics. I hypothesize that there is a missing link between the young kids and adults that read comics: teenagers.
I still see some teenagers wearing a Flash or Superman t-shirt to school, yet these kids just like the visual and they have no interest in the actual comics. Practically everyone my age will see the Spider-Man or Batman movies, but again, that has no relation to being interested in the comics.
Super heroes are a baffling case with the negative association enveloping them. Young kids are bought comics by their parents, and they read them and enjoy them; but as they grow older, the affection towards super heroes becomes negative. When everyone is a child, imagination flows free, and life is more innocent. Super heroes are actually cool and kids get jealous if another kid has a Batman action figure that they don’t have; but as kids grow up, super heroes are frowned upon, and eventually disappear.
As time goes on, comics become more socially acceptable for adults because they don’t care as much about how they are perceived by society, especially with the dangerous judgments so prevalent in high school. The desire to be loved by everyone is so ingrained in teenagers’ minds, that seen as socially unacceptable is rejected. Adults don’t have to deal with this as much. By that point in life, how others perceive them is of little importance.
Teenagers are afraid of being judged by others, because super heroes are not seen as cool. They wear spandex; they don’t obey reality, and are seen as geared towards little kids. Well, the correct thing to say is that comic books aren’t seen as cool while super heroes are, creating a paradox in which the original material is looked down on but the icon is smiled upon.
We brand ourselves by wearing t-shirts with logos on them, letting the logo represent who we are. Some wear Abercrombie and Fitch and some wear the Superman symbol, yet when it comes to comic book t-shirts, plenty of teenagers have absolutely no problem wearing the icons. Part of it is that teenagers don’t necessarily understand what they are wearing, but it looks cool. When you look at the comic t-shirts that teens will wear, it is something instantly recognizable, the symbol of the superhero like Batman’s yellow eclipse with the bat inside. What you won’t see is a mega company crossover t-shirt being worn.
Because it is something recognizable and something so popular, it is not frowned upon. There really is no logic in the situation, the actual comics are seen as child-ish but the icons are seen as cool (that’s still up to debate). Teens view superheroes as entertainment and comics as beneath them and “uncool,” but what it really comes down to is what is socially acceptable and what isn’t. You won’t see a teenager wearing a Civil War t-shirt (something I do wear). And know what, I don’t care. I may be apprehensive about parading my hobby but it’s all about me. The shirt represents me, stating who I am. As a teenager, I am proud of my hobby and those that don’t respect it can go fuck themselves.
Posted originally: 2008-07-22 06:58:24