Thursday, August 30, 2012

Should I Be Reading This?

I have the pleasure of living in the wonderful city of New York. Unfortunately, I'm not a rich fat cat (although I am a slob), so I rely on public transportation to get me around. One of the perks that comes with this is being able to read on my way to work. To read a book, I really need to have some peace and quiet, so comic book reading is perfect for my commute.

Green Lantern #79
I have come to terms with the fact that I'm a 28 year old geek, so I'm not embarrassed to be reading Green Lantern in public, wearing my Green Lantern T shirt and belt buckle, and carrying my bookbag with a Green Lantern button on it. I'm head to toe legitimate.

However, I do get self conscious with some material. For example, I was reading Green Lantern #79 (1970) on the bus the other day. For those of you not familiar with the issue, it deals with Native Americans. In it, Green Arrow dons a Native American Headdress and runs around shooting arrows at people. A little outdated for 2012 if you ask me.

There have been many other instances of this while reading comics from some of the older eras. So my question is this: Should I feel awkward reading these out of date comics in public?

I'm sure that there are people who will judge depending on what you read, but what is the point where it becomes offensive?

I encourage you all to comment with your opinions. It's an issue that I've been thinking about since I moved to Manhattan some years ago.


  1. I don't necessarily think there is a problem with people finding offence with what comics you read in public places. I've read a lot of 'mature' comic books out in public places (on the bus, at college etc) and no-one's ever really complained at me. I think it just depends on people's tolerances to that kind of thing.

  2. If you look hard enough you'll find someone that's offended by whatever it is that you're doing. It's not as though you're walking around saying "How" to everyone you racially profile as being a Native American.

    Keep on readin'!

  3. Thanks to the both of you! This really helps me get a better perspective on things.

  4. As a former librarian who had to deal with offensive issues occasionally, I would say, don't worry about it! People are generally only offended when kids are involved & when it's sexual. Violence, fine. Stereotypes, fine. Just don't have a cover with boobs.

    Most people would see a 28 year old with a comic & assume he's a geek with vintage stuff & not sweat it. Those that do, screw 'em. ;-)

  5. I read comics on my daily commute by train and my only problem is when there are kids sitting next to me. The only kid friendly books I get are Superman Family Adventures and Spider-men (and even that is touch and go). I often have kids trying to read over my shoulder and I have to be sensible and put the book away.

    Apart from that it's all systems go... other people are reading material I condsider to be embarassing or 'off-key' and they don't have seem to be concerned with what their travel companions think so I don't worry about what they think of my comics.

  6. Thanks GoddessLibrarian and Flodo! Your input is helpful in my quest to not feel awkward reading out of date comics. I think the general consensus is that I'm overthinking it.

  7. Have you ever started reading a comic in Barnes & Noble and been looked down upon by "real book" readers? But I say screw em. Just keep doing you. I used to catch a lot of snide remarks for reading comics at work, but they can say or think what they want because I'm enjoying myself.

  8. It's weird because, I've only encountered one person I don't know or haven't been in the company of reading a comic on the tube, and that's a girl who was reading what looked like to be a terrible Spiderman comic.

    If a comic looks, and probably is bad, then I'd take offence (read the good stuff), but in all seriousness, The Green Lantern comic you've picked out doesn't seem offensive to me, and this is coming from someone who is named after a Native American tribe!

    I can't think it is as bad as reading Battle Royale in public, which I did (and loved, but still). I am positive to this day, many years later, that people only looked at the pages when there happened to be a sex scene.

  9. Christopher - Thanks! I never usually read in the book store because if I start, I'm going to watch to sit there and finish the entire thing. But I sometimes wonder if all of the real book readers on the Subway are wondering how old I am.

    Cherokee - I haven't read much manga, but I have watched a lot of anime so I can imagine some of the stuff that can be in there. So if you feel alright reading that in public, then I think I'm doing alright, thanks!