That Joke isn’t Funny Anymore

After pretty insane week do to New York Comic-Con and some other travel plans, it took me awhile to catch up on my comics. Top on my list was Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman, which is one of my absolute favorite comics. I like to refer to myself as a long-suffering Wondy fan. For sure, there’s a lot of good stuff out there. Some really, really good stuff. But there’s a whole lot of not-so-good, we-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-her kind of stuff. Azzarello and Chiang are doing a truly great comic with a truly great Wonder Woman. And I am in my absolute glory reading this book!!

So you can imagine my disappointment and anger when I flipped through to end and saw this ad on the inside of the back cover:

This ad isn’t funny. This joke isn’t funny. Regardless of gender, it says that the only people who read comic books are socially awkward man-children who live in their parents’ basement and have never gone on a date with a girl. It says that the audience for comics is nothing but insecure and ignorant fanboys who are threatened by anyone from outside coming into their precious little world. It is insulting to all of the smart, witty, and generally awesome men and women I know who love comics.

I get that this is a parody used on a humor site. One would hope College Humor has dozens, if not hundreds, of comic-related gags, jokes and parodies at their disposal. What’s maddening about this whole thing is College Humor chose this particular ad for their campaign in DC Comics. And further that DC thought it fit to publish in its comics–most infuriatingly in titles like Wonder Woman, Batwoman, and Birds of Prey.

The purpose of advertising is to perpetuate a message. Typically that message is one that will entice people to consume a particular product or support a brand, etc. At the same time, it perpetuates other, possibly unintended but potentially damaging messages, as is the case here. College Humor, and DC by association, are perpetuating the message that comics simply cannot possibly be enjoyed by girls. They are for BOYS ONLY–mouth-breathing, women-hating boys at that. Sorry, intelligent woman who is enjoying the hell out of Wonder Woman, this book is not for you!

If you keep sending me these messages, eventually I’m going to start listening. And I’m going to stop buying these comics that aren’t for me.

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