Friday, September 16, 2011

Rant: Mark Millar's Trouble

There was a lot of hand-wringing and anger when Mark Millar's Trouble first came out a few years ago....some of it justified, mostly not. People were angry because: 

1. The covers featured photos, not the usual drawings, of girls that look like teen girls acting sexy. Although I understand the criticism the photos are less racy than any fashion magazine and, really, than the art in a lot of superhero comics. Plus I think they were going for the whole Gossip Girl crowd.


2. The story features teenagers in the early 1960's having (gasp!) sex! Sure, you can call this a bit exploitative but let's face. Teens have sex. Or at least a lot of them do. Plus if you bother to read to the ending you'll see their sexual activities end up having real consequences (pregnancy, hurt feelings, loss of opportunities in life) that they are left to deal with for the rest of their lives. 

3. I think the real reason comics fans reacted so strongly to this is because Millar made this a complicated love mixup romance between May, her friend Mary, Ben and his brother Richard. If those names are familiar to you it's because they are the same names as Peter Parker's (you know, Spider-man) parents and Aunt May and Uncle Ben. Essentially, May cheats on her boyfriend Ben and gets pregnant by Richard, who is Mary's girlfriend. For reasons not worth getting into here friend Mary decides to lie for May and take the child for her own. So not only does it portray Peter Parker's nice old aunt as being a tramp in her teenage years, it also sets her up as his real mother, which all pretty much smacks comic lore right in face. And there's no way to get the ire of the comic book world faster than to write a story that even suggests something different than the known canon of superhero lore. Honestly, I thought it was kind of funny. 

Don't get me wrong. This is not a great graphic novel/comic book series. It's an entertaining older teen romance story  and it reminds me of a lot of the half-baked romance/comedies I grew up with in the 80's like The Flamingo Kid, but it's nowhere near bad. If you want to hate a series, fanboys, get over yourselves and at least hate it for the right reasons.


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