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Mimishu1995's avatar

What is the reason why people think cartoons and comics are for kids?

Asked by Mimishu1995 (23562points) June 25th, 2021
7 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

I know that there was a time between the 1950s and 1960s when cartoons became a kid’s entertainment in the US because TV was becoming popular and parents needed something to get kids’ attention while they worked. And comics used to be more appropriate for adults when people started complaining that they were too inappropriate, so comic publishers started to make more family-friendly comics in response to the complaint. And that is how comics and cartoons get their stereotypes (I’m not sure about comics though).

But how about a country like mine, which didn’t have the same history with cartoons and comics but still holds on to the stereotypes? Granted, cartoons and comics back then were primarily aimed toward children, but as the country started to be exposed to different culture and media and more mature cartoons and comics started to be translated and published, you think people would change their attitude. But no, they hold onto it, even when there is no good reason to be so biased.

I think there may be a deeper reason why the stereotypes exist in the first place. What do you think?

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snowberry's avatar

@Mimishu1995 That’s an interesting summary of the history of cartoons. Based on this website, if you exclude cave paintings, the earliest recorded cartoon was by Leonardo Davinci.

I think the invention of the printing press certainly made the evolution of comics possible.

I also think many (most?) comics, at least in the US, fully cross over for both children and adults.

Here’s what might be the first comic book published, at least in the US.

Can you give us a better understanding of how comics are used in Vietnam?

ragingloli's avatar

Cartoons are still mostly aimed at children. Cartoons made for adults are still relatively rare and niche, and often not explicitly segregated from children’s cartoons. For example, “Pokémon” and “Elfen Lied”, while very much different in tone and themes, are both “just Anime”.
The best you can hope for in the mainstream realm are movies aimed at the whole family.
Even the currently most successful Anime film “Kimetsu no Yaiba: Mugen Train”, which has blood and gore, still has teenagers as its main target audience.
Plus movies and TV in the adult space are almost always live action. So, the generalisation that “cartoons are for children” is so prevalent.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@snowberry as far as I know, comics were only a thing in the 1970s. Most of them were translated French comics like Lucky Luke, The Smurfs or Tin Tin The French comics have a strange history in Vietnam that is worth another discussion. Then 1980s came and it seemed that they somehow became “inappropriate media” and were officially banned. After a while the ban stopped, and we started to import random comics from all over the world, as well as making our own. Some comics made/translated in the 1980s – 1990s became insanely popular among children, who are around my age now and are still singing their praise for them some comics at that time are actually my favorite too.

Around 2010s, publishers started to recognize comics as a medium and pumped out a lot of new comics, mostly from Japan. Young people read those things and became inspired to make their own comics. But only a few Vietnamese artists actually made it successfully. Most Vietnamese comics either failed or became obscure. One big reason was that they didn’t make their works unique enough. They tried too hard to emulate the success of the Japanese comics they read, and as a result they failed to make themselves interesting some people here have defended this, saying that it’s just because we are learning from the master so it’s inevitable that our comics would look the same. But I don’t agree with that.

Nowadays publishers have become bolder and pushed out Japanese comics that can be very matured. But still people’s perception don’t change. One big reason is that the publishers market their comics to children and teenagers, although some comics contain things that are definitely not suitable for children. This is sadly a trend with many things here right now, marketers are focusing too much on children and make their things more childish than it should.

What baffles me is that I just can’t pinpoint where the “comics are for kids” mentality came from. I have seen old people who fondly remember the old light-hearted French comics they read, and yet it’s the old people who look down on comics because “they look ridiculous” and “they stunt children’s growth”.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I just watched a show about this last night in regards to Japan, cosplay, anime, manga.
It’s fascinating because we are schooled to be mature and more serious as adults, and some ‘look down’ or make fun of people who cosplay as geeks or immature.
To each their own but racing around the streets of Osaka in costumes on go karts sounds pretty fun. :)

stanleybmanly's avatar

I was a kid in the 50s. And in the prehistoric days of my youth there was a misguided notion common to the teaching profession in MY country that comics were to be regarded as mere distractions from the required tedium of formal education and therefore the assured indicators for academic failure and lifelong illiteracy. The solitary effect of the resulting silly prohibition of the books (which were confiscated on discovery) was to drive the collection and trading of forbidden comics to an underground enterprise in the schools of the country to levels rivaling today’s current cell phone obsessions. It was a dumb attitude and foolishly counterproductive. It was also a lesson I never forgot. In fact, I saw to it that my own children were allowed ANYTHING they could find to read. And I was so convinced of the benefits of this attitude, that I extended the practice to my grandsons, to the temporary alarm of my daughter in law when my son laughingly explained to her that he was 15 years old when he figured out that he could have subscriptions to Playboy as well as the more tawdry rags with a mere request.

Caravanfan's avatar

I am a huge comics fan. I read a lot of them. I do not watch a lot of cartoons, except for Star Wars Clone Wars.

Strauss's avatar

If you look at some of the classic Warner Bros’ Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, especially those made during the American Golden Age of animation, you can see a lot of double entendre. These same short titles were used first as filler, then went on to become the main attraction for after-school and Saturday morning television, especially for local television stations in the US.

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