Marc Maron recently caused some controversy online after launching a scathing attack on comic book fans, so who knows how they’re going to react after being labelled as ‘morons’ by a high-ranking government official from one of the most powerful countries in the world.
Vladimir Medinsky, Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation, was asked for his thoughts on the medium during an appearance at the 32nd Moscow International Book Fair, and based on his comments, the politician clearly doesn’t think that reading comic books is even in the same ballpark as enjoying a novel.
“Comics are for those who can read poorly. I have a very bad attitude to comics. Comics are like chewing gum, as you say, this is not food. Comics should be for a child who is only learning to read, up to seven or eight years old. But for an adult to read comics is to admit that ‘I’m a moron, I read comics.’”
Saying ‘comics are for children’ is one of the most common insults aimed at those who enjoy the art form, and it’s an argument that doesn’t hold any water. Plenty of graphic novels have been receiving critical acclaim from publishers, organizations and critics for decades, while the movies based on them both generate billions of dollars in revenue, with plenty of them scooping up numerous awards in the process.
Medinsky’s comments don’t even represent the view of the wider Russian public, either. Four of the ten highest-grossing movies in the country this year (Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far From Home, Captain Marvel and Alita: Battle Angel) are based on comic books, while last year, 50% of the biggest hits in Russian theaters were represented by the superhero genre thanks to Avengers: Infinity War, Venom, Deadpool 2, Aquaman and Black Panther.
Just because the Minister of Culture doesn’t have a personal interest in comic books, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t culturally relevant. In fact, far from it, with plenty of Russian citizens taking to social media in the wake of Medinsky’s comments to defend one of the most popular forms of printed entertainment in the world.