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Should comics be political?
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Spider-Man and 9/11: Comics should not be politically controversial

Spider-Man #36 focuses depicts Spider-Man cleaning up the rubble after the attack on the Twin Towers. By focusing on the attack itself and not the motivations behind the attack, politics are avoided as best as they can be.
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The Argument

Comics should not be politically controversial. While the attacks on September 11, 2001 were inherently political, the manner in which this comic book explores this event is not controversial. By refraining from discussing the motivations behind the attack and instead focusing on those affected, this comic book humanizes superheroes and avoids controversy as best as it can. The small amount of politics that are present in this book are not controversial. The attack on the Twin Towers was an attack on civilians. The readership of these American superhero comics is predominantly American.[1] As such, it was not a stretch to speak out against the attacks on 9/11, most Americans agree that they are horrible.[2] By making comics politically uncontroversial, a sense of relatability is maintained without alienating any of the readership.

Counter arguments

While politics may be avoided to a certain extent in comic books, they are still very much a part of the story. For example, in this book the message is one of unity, with both super heroes and villains coming together to help sort through the rubble. Unity is a political concept, and is used in treaties and other political agreements . Further, while reflecting on the scene in front of him, Spider-Man explicitly acknowledges that there will be a war as a result of the attack. Wars are inherently political conflicts.[3]


[P1]The attack on the World Trade Center was inherently political. [P2]Avoiding talking about the motivation of the attack de-politicized the attacks. [P3]The attacks were talked about in a way that was uncontroversial. [P4]The readership was not alienated.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] The attacks were still talked about in a way that was political.

Further Reading


This page was last edited on Friday, 15 May 2020 at 01:12 UTC

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