WOQW: FF Goes to School

Before reading this response, be sure and check out the article that inspired it at

“Comics offer an escape from the tedious routine of school and parents, and the last thing kids need is Benjamin Grimm teaching them their ABC.”

The following diatribe appeared earlier this week over at Ninthart.com by a gentleman named Bulent Yusuf. To paraphrase, he is saying that the idea of Marvel working with schools – using a comic book to help teach, is bad. He cites that it is based on the fact that it is purely a commercial move.

What Yusuf is not even fathoming is that whereas comics are so amazingly fun and independent nowadays – we’re getting older. Any punch in the arm to try and help the industry is a boon. If you cater your book to help teach kids, and one or two of them discover comics, how is this a bad thing?

Is this a maneuver to get comics in schools? Yes.

Is this a way to get schools to buy comics? Yes.

Is that a manuever for Marvel to make some money? Yes.

Is that a bad thing? AW HELL NO!

Do you think the people that write text books for schools are considering the education they are giving the children? No. There is huge money in school books and the cost of them. So a comic book company wants to get in on some of that action now – good for them! Comic books have the ability to not only aid in reading comprehension, but symbolism. To teach a child at a young age how to absorb the combination of picture and text, you are putting a hand out for if you ever wish to teach them from Maus or Bone.

What Yusuf is ignoring is that no matter how commercial this idea is – it is still a good idea. You aren’t handing a child a character made of arithmetic. You aren’t inventing a ‘Grammar Hero’. You are using established characters to push them along and maybe make them enjoy it a bit more. If I was handed a comic book in middle school instead of Puddinhead Wilson, I might have done better. The fact that it ties into a movie and a marketing scheme is just life.

If it goes over well, I’m sure you will see Spiderman, Wolverine, and Captain America follow shortly after.

I think my biggest complaint with his entire rhetoric is his comparison of Marvel working with schools to soft drink companies. A company like Coke will go to a school that doesn’t have a lot in the ways of extra money and drop their rates to have their product in the school. He thinks this is just as sleazy, ignoring that soda is actually bad for you. It’s all hype and no substance. It’s fattening. It’s pure sugar.

Comics, in this sense, aren’t. They are being used as a tool to move children forward, or at least try to. What is so bad about trying something new?

…children don’t read comics for their educational value. They read them because they’re fun and they fire up the imagination. They read them because, not so long ago, their parents and teachers considered comics to be anything but educational, and that extra spice of authoritarian disapproval is what encouraged them to read even more

Hey, Mister Yusuf – KIDS DON’T READ COMICS!!!! You know what, let me even broaden that – KIDS DON’T READ!!!! We live in a horrible television based society and books in the little paws of children is anathema to them. It’s much easier to stare at mind numbing television bliss.

I’m sure parents would be overjoyed to have kids pick up a comic book on their own nowadays. We aren’t living through “Seduction Of The Innocent”‘s heyday. Comics haven’t been taboo since the 70’s, and I guarantee a child wouldn’t even know why an adult would consider a comic book ‘bad’. Hell, I can’t even consider a reason why adults would find a comic bad, but then again I’ll make sure my child at least tries them out.

Overall, I find your argument a biased dislike of Marvel themselves and how they run business. Money makes the world go around, Mr. Yusuf, and just because Marvel is trying to sell something doesn’t mean they aren’t doing something good as well.

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