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MrGrimm888's avatar

What are your thoughts on comic book characters doing drugs?

Asked by MrGrimm888 (18974points) 1 month ago

A recent “Transormers” movie, had a scene where Mark Walberg chugs a Budlight.

I was attempting to watch the most recent “Aquaman,” and the movie literally flaunts Guinness beer, I guess as the official beer of Aquaman. You can’t get through 10 minutes, before they start drinking.
In this same movie, we see him riding a giant seahorse, and his life with his new baby.

Are some movies, “kids movies?”

I don’t mind when a director adds something like drinking to make the character darker, or in Aquaman’s case “cool.”
As it is VERY difficult to translate a comic book from the 1970’s, with 70’s style, to something appealing to today’s audience.

However. I feel like a director should make a choice.
Is the main character an adult content character, or a “kids” character. I don’t appreciate the attempts to make a movie both.

It’s a shameless act, by the producers as well. As far as having characters be brand specific.

And Guinness is a Irish beer, why would northwestern Americans be loyal to that brand?

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6 Answers

gondwanalon's avatar

It’s a bad idea to glorify drug use and violence. So many movies have the main characters using all kinds of guns to blow away people. It’s not a far stretch to conclude that such violence and drug abuse movies influences troubled people to do the same for real.

Zaku's avatar

I think that:

1) It depends on how it is presented.
2) Beer is not “drugs”.
3) Drinking alcohol is not alcoholism.
4) I think there’s little point in try to shield kids from alcohol consumption.
5) I think Transformers and Marvel films are mostly pretty crap, which I’m more worried about than whether or not they drink alcohol.
6) I think the product placement of particular brand names, is perhaps the most disturbing thing you mentioned.
7) I think kids can and do handle FAR more mature subjects than people try to shield them from.
8) I think it’s most important to provide high-quality writing. The worst influence comes from crappy writing, and rough subjects handled well can do good.
9) Kids have access to non-kids media, and the content of kids’ media is full of serious content, as it should be. e.g. traditional nursery tales with orphans, starving families, cannibalism, etc.

I had some well-written European comic books when I was a kid. Tin Tin, and Asterix. Both have treatments of self-destructive alcoholism in them, which are done well. In a central early Tin Tin story, Tin Tin is imprisoned on a ship at sea, and finds the captain is an alcoholic who is being taken advantage of by a wicked first mate who plies him with alcohol to usurp command, and his ship is being used to smuggle heroin without the captain’s knowledge. Tin Tin manages to escape by working with the drunken captain, who ends up becoming a central character and ally. I consider this quite appropriate and well-done storytelling for children. A list of forbidden topics would deny kids exposure to this.

Also, not thinking about “substance abuse”, other kids’ comic books I had included combat with modern weapons, murder, a half-human cyborg controlled by a mad scientist who has his wife held hostage, sci fi tales that try hard to shock with subjects like extinction of animals and civilized species, a civilized species that seeks its own extinction, and another that seeks to use time travel to never have existed, the Earth ripping to pieces – the list of horrors is endless.

ragingloli's avatar

Remember that Popeye glorified steroid abuse with his liberal consumption of spinach, turning him buff, which was a clear metaphor for anabolic steroids being used by body builders.

rockfan's avatar

I think this is an extremely silly question. Should kids movies avoid showing other adult things, like pregnant women or newborn babies? It’ll show kids that they had sex.

But I do agree that the product placement is terrible.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I spent a couple years living with my parents, while waiting for my transplant.
They watch old western shows, like “Gunsmoke.”

I have sat through dozens of episodes. It’s not terrible. But.
Typical show starts with the town Marshall, having straight whiskey pretty early in the morning.
By the end of the episode, usually the Marshall (who’s been drinking all day,) kills at least one man. Then, the people of the town are quickly pleased with the outcome, and the show ends.
So. Yes. Drinking, and violence have existed as long as any form of entertainment.

Like I said, and apparently others agree, brand promotion is clearly targeting the audience, and in the case of comicbook movies that’s mostly younger people.
I do not understand the difference between this, and why these same tactics made “Joe Camel” illegal…

I am NOT trying to shelter anyone. If adults knew what was in the sci-fi novels I read when I was 12, they would have been appalled.
Those novels actually did have “ratings” and I believe it was deemed “mature.”
Nobody EVER carded me, at a bookstore. I’m not saying they should have.

It strikes me as very telling about our society, when the “Transformers” movie never made any headlines shamelessly promoting Budlight, but when a member of the LBGTQ+ promotes it, it’s the end of times.

I’m not trying to start a movement.
I am just disappointed about it.

@Zaku Definitely agree, that it’s all about how it’s presented. Or written.

One correction. “Aquaman,” is DC Comics, not Marvel.

DC characters ARE kind of dated, and “corny.”
“The Dark Knight” (Batman) trilogy, with Christian Bale, was VERY well done.
I think it is because they went out of their way, to follow the “Dark Knight” comic series.
A VERY important series, in the history of “Batman.”
It is in that series, the character “Bane,” breaks “Batman’s” back over his knee.
Although it wasn’t a precise translation, it redefined the TV/movie representation of “Batman.”

One could almost see palpable differences, depending on the era of the “Batman” we’re talking about.
The character evolved, from a cooky weirdo, to a much different character in Michael Keaton’s movies. Which were also changes made, to appeal to the audience of the era.

Now. It’s “emo” Batman, from the latest generation. (I despise the latest iteration.)

I guess, it stands out to me, because I stopped drinking over 3 years ago….. I don’t know.

I appreciate everyone’s contributions. Thank you all.

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