Saturday, March 20, 2010

"The Funnies" seriously funny

The comic strip has been used by many newspapers to gain a wider range of readership, attract younger readers and to offer comic relief. The motives behind many comics are various, but usually attempt to poke fun or point out the ironic mishaps of life. We are expected to relate to these comics through out own experiences, and knowledge of mass culture.  
Comics and this genre of art take the temperature of the times and acts as a healthy diagnosis as well as prescription of what our culture is healing from, going through and thinking about. However, many of today's comics that I find in the papers tend to not be as harsh or "loaded" as they once were. With all the "political correction" and restrictions going on  I find it more likely to see a comic which is numb and safe. It is less frequent that I see a comic that tries to point out a cultural issue of which the artist can not remain anonymous ,which hold the same impact as The Yellow Kid.
The comic today I feel is more trapped than comics when they first began. Although comics are still powerful, there are certain things which papers will not publish. The freedom of speech once held through comics like The Yellow kid became a way to release tension on cultural isolation. The Yellow kid was easy to read given that it did not require knowing English to read it.  It had more salt to it and caused more of a stir and created unity with its readers. 
Today's comics at times do not even prick the surface. Some are not even funny or suggestive of anything.  They are "safe comics" which are pre-ordered by the press and society.  What I mean is that art has become what it was back in the 16th c in a sense that it is control ed. 
The Fiat Lux paper on campus works the same way. Even though we are a newspaper and free to publish what we wish, we are still funded by the school and other words controlled into favoring the school. In the past, issues have been pulled and hidden on perspective student days in order to hide a particular story which featured made the school look unfavorable. 
The comics in the Fiat are sometimes watered down or nonexistent. Some comics are paid for. Comics and good comics at that can get costly. We are not a self sustaining paper although we receive our budget from the school  we prefer to find things for free when and where we can. The comics you see most in the Fiat are free, and the comics we accept from students are free for the most part. Still The Fiat must choose and sensor which comics to publish. Anything that is against the school or members of faculty will most likely be denied.  Considering that many of the comics we receive have school slandering content we are many times forced to instead publish comics which are not relevant to our local AU culture.
  In this sense comics are becoming soft and irrelevant and the comics which are worth publishing are censored and suppressed. Comics may pack a punch, but whether they get to the front page is up to the ones who control the news which many times happen to be the things of which the comic features. 

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