When it comes to the graphic novel market, Japanese Manga has been dominating American comic books for the last couple of years, with sales of the former skyrocketing while the latter withers.
Chuck Dixon, longtime Batman writer and creator of the popular villain Bane, has an explanation: American comics are too political.
In the latest episode of his podcast, “Ask Chuck Dixon” the famed writer said there aren’t a “whole lot of reasons” for readers to like what the two big American publishers, Marvel and DC, are releasing these days. “Because what’s out now, for the Big Two, is, for the most part, poorly crafted,” Dixon said. “There’s a few exceptions, but for the most part, it’s poorly crafted, poorly conceived, there’s an obvious political agenda to everything, and there’s no variety.”
Dixon went on to contrast the artistry of the Manga approach with what he sees as a lack of creativity from American creators that results in ham-fisted political messaging.
“But here, what do we get? We get superheroes and poorly done superheroes,” he said. “There really isn’t anything else at the mainstream companies. It’s superheroes, superheroes, superheroes. And they are all avatars for the writers’ political agenda. And they’re kind of tiresome. They’re not particularly well drawn. They’re not particularly well-realized.”
Dixon then asked, “Why would you want to read this crap if you had a choice of reading a genre that you prefer be it horror, or mystery, or espionage, or golf? When there’s only one flavor in American comics, of course Japanese comics are going to win the day.”
In the past, Dixon has made it clear that he avoids pushing ideological agendas in his writing. “I don’t put personal politics in my work,” he told Inverse in 2016, pointing to an anti-gun Batman storyline he wrote despite the fact he’s personally an NRA member. “But, back in 2000, there were a lot of political cliques going on in comics. Once your reputation is soiled for leaning to the right, it’s hard to get it back.”
Dixon, who has also worked on Marvel’s “Punisher,” wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in 2014 in which he foreshadowed the most overt politicizing the industry is experiencing today, like Captain America renouncing the American dream. At the time, Dixon warned that conservatives and free thinkers needed to “take back comics” before the business fell to complete leftist domination.
“Our fear is that today’s young comic-book readers are being ill-served by a medium that often presents heroes as morally compromised or no different from the criminals they battle,” he wrote with co-author Paul Rivoche. “With the rise of moral relativism, ‘truth, justice and the American way’ have lost their meaning.”
The pair then described a trend that has only grown since they published their essay. “A new code, less explicit but far stronger, replaced the old: a code of political correctness and moral ambiguity,” they said. “If you disagreed with mostly left-leaning editors, you stayed silent.”
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