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Does class affect our perception of the comic image? If so, how?

I definitely think that class affects peoples perception of comic books, to some extent. Many heroes are middle class or middle-lower class characters (with a few notable exceptions), while a significant portion of villains, especially those in comics today, are either wealthy business men motivated by greed or members of the lower class that resented having to do without for much of their lives. This plays a huge role in indicating who the comic publishers target audience is: primarily children of middle class parents who have a portion of disposable income. These children are more likely to receive an allowance or pocket money than children from low-income families, but represent a much larger percentage of the population than an upper class audience.

However, when looking at the question of class it is also important to take age into consideration. While comic books may target middle class children, they are enjoyed by kids across the socio-economic spectrum. It is when looking at an older demographic that class becomes more of an issue. Because of the stereotypes surrounding comics, and the pervading idea that they are "lesser" literary material, most adults view them as a literary genre for the uneducated. They are also a relatively inexpensive and easily accessible source of entertainment. These perceptions associate comic books with the stereotypes of the lower class, and cause them to be viewed this way by many adults.

Class can also come into play when considering the comic stories themselves. Because reading a comic book is mentally interactive the reader brings their own ideas, opinions, and beliefs into the story. For example, reading a story about a hero bringing down a drug ring would be very different for a child from suburbia, who is probably unfamiliar with such things, compared to a child from a lower class urban neighborhood, who might be more frequently exposed to such situations. This can be applied to any number of aspects within a comic story, from how relatable someone finds a character to how they react towards the different adventures. It is in this way that class affects our perception of comics and the stories they tell.


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