Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

August 28, 2012

More on comic books, fantasy movies and extended adolescence


Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — Dear Editor,

While appreciating the somewhat overheated responses to my recent letter entitled "These days, Ôsuper heroes' aren't so super," I decided to let the dust settle and await further comments before responding.

One writer, who is said to be a comic book collector and is a professional movie buff, suggested that I had blamed the "culture of comic books" for the tragic Aurora shooting spree. What Iwas, "While I would not go so far as to blame the Aurora killings on a Batman movie, there is no question that the perpetrator was deeply influenced by the genre." I stand on that statement, since all news reports, nationwide, made the same judgment.

The writer, while lambasting my reference to the Ôfailure-to-mature' syndrome, writes, "I'll concede that most mainstream comics are aimed at the 16 to 34 audience."

He made my point beautifully, which is that comics are no longer for little kids, but are aimed at a much older audience. In an earlier day, kids pretty much gave up reading comic books about the time they became interested in the opposite sex.

He also wrote, "I'd like to point out that my friends and acquaintances who read comics and/or enjoy comic book flicks are also well-adjusted adults with significant others, some with children, and these people hold regular jobs."

I don't contest that statement; perhaps, however, he will acknowledge that not all followers of the genre are that "well-adjusted."

The complaint about the "failure-to-mature" young males is misdirected. It's well-known that many young males do not mature in as timely a manner as formerly. This is fact. Some experts prefer the term "Extended Adolescence" in describing the phenomenon.

One writer headlines his piece on the subject as "How Extended Adolescence is Changing the United States." The same author cites a lengthy essay published in The New York Times titled, "What is it about 20-Somethings?"

Movies and television shows have been produced documenting this belated maturation. Those not familiar with the incidence of Extended Adolescence have not been paying attention. Thus, I rest my case on that thoroughly documented subject.

Another writer to the Daily News took an even more personal approach to criticizing my letter, implying that my experience as "the Daily News' former head of advertising" somehow places a limit on my general knowledge.

I respond to that by declaring my everlasting pride in having served in that position, as well as subsequently becoming a publisher and manager in overall charge of twelve prosperous newspaper properties, nine in Indiana and three in Ohio.

I'll add that when I was employed in the Daily News advertising department, I had an abiding interest in every facet of the newspaper business, from the front door to the back. So much for my qualifications to comment on current affairs.

That same writer also wrote that "Mr. Voiles summarily criticized the morals of a generation because he doesn't like their art!"

I did no such thing, as can readily be seen by anyone rereading my original letter.

She also remarked, "Just show me where the real killer is mentioned in Mr. Voiles' letter. Is the real killer mentioned?"

My letter wasn't about the "real killer." It was about current mores.'

Another writer commented on my "self-imposed arrogance." I prefer to think of myself as a person with opinions, with which you are free to agree or disagree. So, the case is made that consumers of the comic book genre are much older than in an earlier era. The case is made that some no doubt maladjusted individuals are influenced by the comic book genre in an unhealthy way. Those are the things my letter was about.

My critics have reinforced my points admirably.

One thing not mentioned in my original letter, because it wasn't really pertinent, is that I read newspaper comics seven days a week. They range from splendid to awful, as with many things in life. I hope most of the things in your life are splendid.

To comment, email me at normvoiles@frontier.com. All thoughtful responses are appreciated, pro or con.

Best regards,

Norm Voiles

Citizen of Rush County; native of Decatur County