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October 22, 2006

About: Maybe we should call it "12 and up"


Hang around with Domitian, and you start having to think a lot about warning labels.

Actually, I've been asked several times recently, both at SPX and in meeting new friends, whether the comic—not so much the Daily Angsts as SPQR Blues—is kid safe. If I'm trying so hard to be accurate (give or take a little artistic license so the drawings can get done or when we just don't know how many feathers a soldier stuck in his helmet or so young Trajan Jr. can show up in Judaea when the historical record isn't quite sure where he was posted), could the comic be used in a classroom setting to talk about the Romans and Mediterranean history?

First of all, I love the idea of using graphic novels to teach history to younger kids. Or older ones for that matter. And not just "Caesar's History of Gaul," but "Ordinary Gaius Goes Shopping for Supper." In grade school, in addition to our textbooks, we were subscribed to a little magazine with comics in French, about regular people, and I loved it. Definitely an influence on me wanting to draw comics myself, along with the inspirations I usually mention (Foster, Leonardo, Pini, Barr . . .).

Is SPQR Blues kid safe? I'll have to say yes and no. The first chapter is pretty safe, except for the occasional derriere and cuddling couple. Less than you'd see in a survey of ancient art or by turning on the television. The second chapter is more violent, and more suggestive, and there's been at least one fully unclothed woman (albeit disguising herself as a statue) . . . which I know is considered less terrifying than an unclothed male. I've been dithering about curbing some of the depictions, but I do want to be comfortable speaking to an adult audience without inhibition. Sometimes I feel a little silly being coy about things Roman would either consider normal or, at least, not scandalous.

If in particular Blues Chapter 2 #48, wherein Domitian offers Felix a young servant to bunk with, passes muster for you, the rest of the comic should, too.

I hope that helps.


Posted by klio at October 22, 2006 11:04 AM
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