You will hear it said a lot, if you spend much time around gamers or their friends or parents – or indeed if you yourself are a gamer. The word is spat out with real feeling, but the way it is said is almost more mocking than angry, and it seems to cloud the real issue. You must have heard it, either reported, acted, or said for real. “That game, you’re always playing it – I sometimes think you’re addicted!” What might surprise some people is that playing video games can be genuinely addictive, and it can be a problem.
Indeed, some reviews of games and the advertising that takes quotes from them will use the word itself – “addictive”. Gamers themselves will say approvingly of a game that it is very addictive. It certainly is a selling point. But there is a fine line between “addictive” and addictive. Some people do develop an addiction to video games which is in its way as pernicious as nicotine, heroin or any other drug. It may be considered to be pretty lightweight compared to those, but for those who develop an addiction there are real problems.
Some people become sullen and withdrawn when circumstances prevent them from playing a video game, and some will respond in a very ungracious way to those who ask them to do something else. It is not as damaging, in real terms, as a drug addiction but it can be very damaging to social relationships and if you feel that you, or someone you know, has become addicted to video games (or one specific game), it is important to look for a solution to the matter.
Heroes and villains in comic books have made their mark in society. Not just in comic books but in literature throughout the ages. Essentially literature and comic books bring to life the drama associated between good and evil, and it is that premise that becomes an indispensable guide to understand human nature.
In a nutshell, you will not know evil if you have never experience goodness. The antithesis holds true. If you never experienced good, you have never experienced evil. In comic books, the heroes and villains try to ante up the stakes by pitting their resources against one another for the sake of besting the other. The heroes usually come out victorious but criminals can be just as successful. If the heroes always won, it would make comic books dull and uninteresting. The villains have to be counted on to cause ruckus and mayhem otherwise; the story line does not coincide with a balance that must be struck.
Today’s comic books have smarter criminals, weaponry that is more sophisticated and more behavior that is aggressive. Does this make the hero more steadfast in his or hers reaction to the villains aggressiveness? It depends on the hero. You do not have to possess superhuman powers to outsmart a villain. In today’s comic books, a hero can employ a great deal of cunning to outsmart a villain. The comic books of today offer a recipe for the balance of power.
A villain usually takes on a key role and if the hero does not thwart the diabolical plan, the hero may lose confidence. In that vein, the comic book looks at the human condition. Why was there failure? What could have prevented the villain from escaping? With the loss of self-belief, the hero of the comic book must take necessary steps to assure success or the villain, sensing something amiss with the good guy, can utilize plans that are even more ambitious. With the balance askew for the time being, the hero must reassert his or her authority to impede the villains plan. The hero does not have to be in the superhero genre. It could be any comic book that pertains to the right or wrong in making a decision.
Heroes and villains in comic books enable the reader to make choices, and within that framework, can get a better understanding of what both the villain and the hero had to do to succeed. However, success is only a temporary distraction. It permits a continuation of the story. So then, who is really the victor and the loser? If both hero and the villain continually face off against one another, where and when will it end? Quite possibly nothing short of the demise of one or the both of them. Perhaps the villain may go to jail, but eventually he or she will be released and the comic books prevail.
There is clearly no winner or loser. The only winner will be found out in the next installment. Moreover, the only loser is the person who does not read the next issue.
The bronze age of comic books is generally considered from the early 1970’s to the mid 1980’s in the American culture. This period saw a continuance from the silver age. However, during this time the comic book publishers were introducing a darkening of plots with more adult themes.
One of the most central events that characterized the darkness inception was the death of Gwen Stacy. She was Peter Parker’s long time girlfriend. For the first time in comic books, the arch- villain (in this case The Green Goblin) took a life. Gwen Stacy epitome was cut short. Now the public knew that realism in the comic book world had taken a bold new course. Never again would the comic book world be the same. That occurrence underscored the end of one era and the beginning of another. The mature content was a wake up call. Comic books once again took on social issues.
The social problems were dealt with the appearance of minority comic book heroes. The heroes for hire co-starring Luke Cage embodied the industries intent on implementing African-Americans despite condemnation claiming he was just another ethnic typecast. Prior to Luke’s entrance, the Black Panther and Falcon were a staple in the comic book world. Both the Black Panther and the Falcon were more resistant to the social outcry of Luke Cage. Perhaps it was because there were no stereotypical portrayals within their respective comic books.
Another important addition, lending the credence of minorities in comic books, were the X-Men. Humanity was shown to be prejudiced against the X-Men because they were mutants. Apparently, the next step in human evolution was hard to swallow in the Marvel comic book universe. When people do not understand something, or are in fear of it, then they rebel. The representation of X-Men seemed analogous to the minority concerns. On a collective scale, the issues surrounding the X-Men portend a shift in the perception of the human race. If civilization cannot handle, or accept the mutants as they are, then how are we, as a whole, able to accept minorities? The bronze age of comic books addressed those concerns, and others, with realism (as far as realism can be attained within that context). On an individual level, people were not accepting of the X-men. They feared what they could not comprehend. When that transpires then fear turns to rage then to violence. Violence usually ensues when ignorance runs rampant. The analogy of the X-men to minorities is a first-rate one. The prejudices faced by both the X-Men and minorities may have taken different paths but the result is the same. The Bronze Age of Comic books helped define what America was thinking at the time.
The end of the Bronze Age of comic books is littered with speculation. Some suggest that the “Crisis On Infinite Earths” was the beginning of the end, but there is no definitive proof. Other people claim that the Bronze Age of comic books never really left and that it continues with the dawn of the Modern Age of comics. By either account, the Bronze Age of comic books was an important one where social change took place on more than front.
One of the primer changes in comic books today is that they address social issues. Social issues in comic books became prevalent in the last thirty-five years. The revamping occurred when society decided to address social concerns. Some of the comic books of today tackle homelessness, drug use, minorities, gayness and the homophobic consequences.
It is important to note that such a slant toward portions of society in comic books make people conscious of alternate ways of living. The concept of homelessness has always been in the forefront of humanity but never depicted in comic books. The idea of comic books portraying people living in the streets or in some other seemingly derogatory means should not escape notice. Civilization is growing up, albeit more slowly than what is needed. Comic books reflect what emerges through an underground current and washes into mainstream. Those changes happened slowly, but with the advent of controversial issues being tackled, the changes are happening at an accelerated pace. Today comic books mirror what society is thinking. If an issue comes germane to warrant people’s attention, then the comic book industry will usually incorporate it into their story lines.
An additional important element to consider in comic books is the rampant drug use. If a person is a drug user, the comic book industry takes notice. The prevailing notion is if it affects society, then it should affect how the comic books echo modern day life. Drug use is widespread and needs to be dealt with. What better way than to integrate it into a comic book. Let the superhero, the villain, or an ordinary citizen have a drug problem and see how the issue is handled. Not all resolutions are handled correctly and that is the realism that makes social issues in comic books important. Not even the good guys come out ahead all the time.
The homelessness and the drug usage are modern day blights. The topic of minorities is dealt with realistic implications. By the same token illegal aliens are minorities and they take great pains to make our culture sensitive to both their plights. In a sense comic books are our watch dogs of our way of life.
Moreover, the concept of homosexuality in comic books has had their share of controversy since the public’s perception is skewed by the theological mindset. The topic is mentioned, but the comic book industry has trended lightly since a backlash could crop up. Despite the long held view that controversial views should not be addressed in a public format, and best left at home, a new prevailing thought has emerged. The comic books of today take torrid subject matters, encase them in a comic book format, then let the paying public decide if their gamble paid off. The result is a new significant way of looking at public perceptions and gain insight to a varying way of looking at those issues.
The comic book industry realizes the customer is the real hero. They can decide whether a character lives or dies. By giving the characters depth and exposing them to real life dangers, the comic book industry can be assured on continual readership.