Thursday, October 29, 2015

World Changing Comic Books...!

Sometimes the most unlikely heroes show up in strange places. From Knowledgenuts here is a good example.
How Comic Books Are Changing The World
By Nolan Moore on Monday, October 26, 2015

Comic books are way more than just colorful stories about superheroes. They actually have the power to change the world. Whether they’re fighting sexual violence, taking a stand against extremism, or helping a kid come to terms with a disability, comics are definitely making the world a better place.

Movies and novels can change the way we see the world, but what about comic books? Can stories about superheroes really impact how people think? Well, the answer is an emphatic “yes.” Artists around the globe use comics to influence society and change cultures . . . or help just one little kid.

In 2012, four-year-old Anthony Smith decided he wasn’t going to wear his hearing aid anymore. This was bad news since Anthony was deaf in his right ear and suffered from hearing loss in his left. His hearing aid (which he’d nicknamed the “blue ear”) was all that connected him to the world of sound.

Anthony was upset none of his favorite superheroes wore hearing aids, so his mom sent Marvel Comics an email, asking for help. Amazingly, the folks at Marvel responded. Not only did they explain Hawkeye (played by Jeremy Renner in The Avengers movies) wore hearing aids in the ‘80s, they created a new hero especially for Anthony.

Marvel sent Anthony two pin-ups of a crime fighter named “Blue Ear,” a masked vigilante who uses hearing aids to listen for people in distress. Inspired, Anthony decided his hearing aid was actually pretty cool after all.

But Marvel took things further when they teamed up with the Children’s Hearing Institute to create an actual comic book where Blue Ear joins Iron Man “to educate the world about the hearing impaired and also share a preventative warning about the dangers of loud audio.”

It’s a sweet story that shows the real-life power of superheroes, but sometimes, comics are called on to tackle subjects even heavier than hearing loss. In 2012, artist and filmmaker Ram Devineni was horrified when a 23-year-old Delhi woman was gang-raped and killed in India. But when he visited the city to witness the subsequent protests, he discovered something incredibly disturbing.

While interviewing an Indian police officer about the attack, the cop claimed “no good girl walks home alone at night.” Devineni was also shocked to find many rape victims were shamed and threatened into keeping quiet by the police and their families. The victims were actually blamed for provoking the attacks, and the rapists often got away scot-free.

Suddenly, Devineni realized sexual violence was just a symptom of a culture where women are often viewed as second-class citizens. Hoping to change how Indian teens think about rape, gender, and equality, Devineni created Priya’s Shakti, a comic about a girl named Priya who dreams of becoming a teacher. Unfortunately, she lives in a misogynistic society where she’s forbidden from going to school and eventually kicked out of her family’s home after she’s raped.

That’s when Priya meets the Hindu goddess Parvati, who gives the young woman a magical ability to change people’s minds. After taming a wild tiger, Priya rides back to her village on the big cat and uses her gift to teach the villagers to respect women, encourage education, and stand up for justice, no matter the gender. Hey, everybody listens when you’re riding a tiger, but this awesome Indian superhero isn’t the only character who’s changing the way kids think about their society.

Over in Jordan, Suleiman Bakhit is using comics to fight against religious extremism. His origin story starts in the US, shortly after 9/11, when he was beaten up for being Arabic. Realizing many people associated “Arabs” with “terrorists,” Bakhit began traveling the US and sharing his story with kids, hoping to give them a different impression.

During one of his talks, a girl asked if there was an Arabic Barbie. Other kids wondered if there was an Arabic Batman or Superman, and that’s when the wheels in Bakhit’s head began turning. He realized there was a shortage of Arabic heroes in pop culture, and according to this Middle Eastern artist, that’s a really big problem.

According to Bakhit, quite a few Jordanian kids admire terrorists like Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Why? Well, the kids hear these guys are freedom fighters, defending their homeland against the evil West. The terrorists present themselves as good guys, and since there aren’t any heroes to counteract their claims, kids idolize these real-life supervillains. “Right now,” he told Vice, “all governments are saying is ‘Don’t be a terrorist.’ The extremists are saying, ‘Be a hero.’ ”

That’s when Bakhit decided to fight back with pen and paper. He founded his own company and created several comic book series like Element Zero, a story that focuses on a Jordanian Special Forces operator who’s billed as the Middle Eastern Jack Bauer. Other comics include an Arabic Popeye-like character, and there’s also a modern-day retelling of One Thousand and One Nights.

The stories were so popular that they sold over 1.2 million copies. Currently, Bakhit is working on a new project called “Hero Factor.” He describes it as an “Arab Disney” that’ll provide teens with positive role models via movies, TV shows, and even more comics. And according to Bakhit, he’s already starting to see a change in the way Jordanian kids view these extremist groups.

Evidently, the terrorists see it too. In 2008, Bakhit was attacked by a razor-wielding radical who left a long scar across his face. But according to Suleiman, that means his plan is working. “I realized their attack meant I was doing the right thing,” he told NPR. “I kicked the hornet’s nest.”

You know what? No matter where the help comes from, what source is used, if anything can really aid in turning the world into a better place, I'm going to be supportive of it. Seems like a good thing to me!

Coffee out on the patio this morning.


linda m said...

i sooo agree with you, Mr. Hermit. Whatever works to turn this world's thinking around is fine with me. We need more people like the ones mentioned in this article. Coffee on the patio sounds great as it is 34 degrees, raining, and very windy here this morning. save me ascot on your swing.

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

Bubba -
Things are so different than when we were kids, in soooo many ways.
I agree - take the good guys and their ideas no matter from what element of "society" they may come. A superhero with hearing aids? I'm all ears for that!

Big hugs - see you soon for the big day ...

Chickenmom said...

Good post, Mr. Hermit! Sometimes a comic is the only book kids will read. Had heavy thunderstorms last night.

JO said...

This is quite a post, I wish there was a way to rid the world of these street gangs, but I wonder if half of them even know how to read.

Looking like maybe we are in for some rain again. Patio it is

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
So many ways something like this could be utilized. If it does any good, why knock it, right?
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Sis...
Guess that sometimes the old days were better than now. Who would have thought that creators of super heroes could actually end up helping folks? I think thyat's great!
Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Phyllis...
If it gets them to read, then that's a good thing. Maybe they can learn something from the comics, maybe not. Can't hurt to try.
Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Jo...
I reckon the gangs will be around as long as men walk upright. No way I can imagine to get rid rid of them Crooked law enforcement, that's another story. Overlooking rape and assault against women cannot be tolerated, no matter the country.
Thanks for dropping by today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Law enforcement should enforce the laws equally for all people no matter what gender, race, or age they are. Period!!

Rob said...

On an email list I heard a guy say that all the comics he finds in the orchard (in Spanish, brought by the workers) the problems are all solved by violence.