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I miss Hot Stuff

By Jamil from
Jamil's Comics

Hot Stuff, Richie Rich or Casper - titles which meant a world of joy to me as a toddler growing up.

I myself have a three year old daughter now. She has started to appreciate picture books. I really am at a loss to get her something as colourful or wonderful as the comics available when I was her age.

Comics are meant for things of joy for the young, right? Wrong. I am sure most comics shops around the world will tell you the majority of their customers belong to the 'late teens and up' age bracket.

I am not the one to say that comics should be aimed for the 3-12 age groups. But I will say that there was once a flood of comics for the young readers. There were the Disney comics (Mickey, Donald, Chip and Dale and all), the aforementioned Harvey comics and comics based on TV shows like Tom and Jerry, Jetsons, Flintstones etc were all there in the shelves up until the early 1980s. I do believe when Superman came to the scene in 1938, the writing was on the wall. Superheroes would be the dominant genre. I am fine with superheroes and other 'adult' comics (horror comics, barbarians and the games based) taking up most of the space of a comics shop. But there must be something for the young readers.

Historically, the publications for the kids' comics are inversely related to the prices of the comics. In the age of 10 cents and 12 cents comics, the funny comics were dominant. When the prices were increasing alarmingly in the 80s (from 35c in the 70s, to 60c within five years) the funny comics were dropping out of sight.

Here is what I think happened. Even with drastic increase of prices, readers who are teens and above could manage the money needed to buy their X-men or Batman. But readers of Hot Stuff or Donald Duck fell through the cracks. The Speculative Market for comics could have played a part too. By the 80s there was a feeling that most popular titles, like X-men and Spider-man, would always appreciate in value. So whatever they cost, if kept properly, they would appreciate. This speculative attraction was never with the funny comics like Archies or Richie Rich.

Some say the advent of comics like the Watchmen or the Dark Knight Returns meant that the mainstream of comics would become dark. Yes, for a time, the superhero comics became much darker after the mid 1980s. But the damage to the funny comics was done a long time before.

Archie, which used to sell around a million copy each issue, has lost much of its readership. Yes, the Dan DeCarlo era of the 80s was good, and the quality is just not there anymore. The same logic goes for the Carl Barks magic on the Disney comics.

There are some comics for the kids today. There are the Marvel Adventure series for the kids, DC publishes the Cartoon Network comics (Ben10, Power Puff Girls) and Harvey is still there. The quality may not be the same, but we can always hope.

The medium which was created for the kids needs to address the wants of the kids.

Last week, our BetaWriters topic was Bust a move. Our expectations were high. The entry below, while not quite fulfilling that, did a good job with the topic nonetheless. Next week, our topic will be: Critical. Entries must be sent in to ds.risingstars@gmail.com before Sunday noon. Word limit: 300-500 words. Good luck.

Bust a Move

By Wasique Hasan

Before I went out I had no idea the night would turn out so unlucky. I remember how my night started, although my memory's still a little fuzzy. My mom had strictly told me off when I asked to go to a party and had been sitting guard beside the door, watching TV since. It was against my better judgment to go after such a telling-off, but my crush was going to be there, and I just had to be with her. This was my only chance to show off my dancing skills to her without being made fun of.

Since there was only one way I could go, I started tying bed sheets together. Gently lowering my makeshift rope and silently thanking boy scouts, I climbed down from our first floor window and onto the hard pavement. And just my luck - I landed on a pee puddle which had drifted along from the open drains. I grumpily slipped a 10 taka note into the hand of the security guard as a gesture of camaraderie and then headed out towards my buddy's house.

By the time I got there, the party had already started. Of course, I had a formula worked out with which I figured out the exact time of being fashionably late and I was just a smidge early. I worked my way between my chatting friends and joined in the conversation. Before long almost every one had joined in the dancing with their drink of choice in their hands: Coke, Sprite or Fanta. Then I jumped in - everyone had their eyes on me, cheering me on. I was dancing like crazy, bringing up all the moves from my arsenal. Then, just when I was at the top of my game, I slipped on a can and my foot twisted uncontrollably as momentum carried my body along. Physics 101, right?

I woke up later in the hospital, with my parents sitting beside me. My mom let out an almighty yell when she saw that I had woken up. I braced myself for the telling-off that I would receive, but it never came. Instead, my mother hugged me tightly, and only let go when my father said, 'You're going to suffocate him.'

Later, when my friends visited, I asked them to tell me what had happened. As it turns out, I had broken my shin when I fell on the edge of the couch. See what I mean about my luck? I could have fallen anywhere and not broken any bones. But the good news was that my bones would heal in about three months, therefore I will be excused from everywhere. Everywhere included school. And my crush had been really impressed with me and had even asked the guys if I would be all right. She even came to visit. And signed my cast. She wrote, 'Dude, its bust a move, not bust a bone!'



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