I think comic books should be rated by IQ points.
Now, in all fairness, Polite Scott could do a better job of explaining it, but I will link to these sites for an overall explanation of IQ. In my system, every comic begins with 100 points, automatically. However, points are added and subtracted due to various factors, and the book receives an overall grade.
Let's see how this works practically:
- If a comic features creative use of continuity, it gains 50 points; if it uses continuity only to pander to nostalgic fanboys, it loses 50 points
- If a comic features zombies, it gains 75 points; mutants, it loses 75 points. (80 if it has an X in the title)
- If a comic features a well-known franchise outside of comics (for example, Star Trek), it loses 25 points.
- If a comic features Batman as the "world's greatest detective", it gains 50 points; if it features "Batman as lonely, Travis Bickle-esque psychotic", it loses 60 points.
- Reviving old, obscure characters....no points. Nada. No gain, no loss.
- If a comic is written by Brian Bendis, Mark Millar, and/or John Byrne, it loses 60 points; however, if it is written by Grant Morrison, it gains 150 points
- If a comic is written by Will Pfeiffer or Fred Hembeck, it gains 500 points. Instantly. No argument. Deal.
- If a comic features Aquaman, it gains 150 points. If it features Wildcat, it gains 150 points. If it features Aquaman and Wildcat, it gains 500 points.
- (Yes, the above post is a blatant pander to Laura and Dorian. There. I admit it.)
- If a comic features T & A, you need to determine who the writer is - if it's Howard Chaykin, it gains 85 points; if it's Frank Miller, it loses 70 points. Anyone else, it loses 95 points
Now, I would like to take this time to agree with James on one matter - that if comic companies and creators slapped their own label on a work, that's OK, because it serves as a guide and shows corporate accountability. However, trying to get an entire industry to conform to standards that would, admittedly, shift with an ever-diversifying audience...and then expect the industry to always conform, would be near impossible.
Now, I'm sure the hipper-than-thous among you would disagree, or come up with some character-defaming comments. However, let me quote the immortal Buddy Cole, who stated,
My goal is not to shock and horrify, but to tell the truth. And if that truth shocks and horrifies, well....maybe you should get out more