Sporadic Sequential
Monday, December 29, 2008
Marvel: The House of Grisly Images

I knew Marvel Zombies wouldn't lead to anything good. Here are some gruesome sample pages from three recent Marvel comics. (WARNING: Enlarge images at your own risk.)

From WAR MACHINE #1, Rated "T+"

From WOLVERINE #70, Rated "Parental Advisory"

From ULTIMATUM #2, Rated "T+"
(caption/commentary courtesy of Dorian Wright)

For reference, here's Marvel's detailed explanation of their rating system. I suppose Marvel's "T+" rating is intended to align with the MPAA's PG-13 rating. And one could argue that the movies such as The Dark Knight and Quantum of Solace have scenes of intense violence in them and they still were rated PG-13, but in both films (1) the images are fleeting and (2) those scenes relied more on suggestion than explicit, lingering detail. (For example, we don't actually see the Joker carve up the other mobster's face but it's obvious that's what's happening.) With the comic images, the images are frozen and much more graphic.

(And, yes, I know that Wolverine is a guy with claws on the end of his fists, so what do you expect to happen when he gets in fights? But I don't remember him beheading quite so many bad guys back in the eighties, even when he was in the midst of one of his patented "berserker rages.")

Is this just a fluke, or are scenes like this becoming more common in "mainstream" superhero comics? Is this the latest trend in superhero decadence, hardcore torture porn? Is this what happens when older fans become immune to the usual titillation and old-school slugfests? Are creators having to up the shock value ante in order to provoke a reaction — any kind of reaction — from desensitized fans? Is Marvel just trying really hard to sweep the Fangoria awards this year?

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