Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Comics do pregnancy and baby stuff

A while ago I asked if anyone knew of Superman titles which dealt with Ma and Pa Kent's infertility. A few people reminded me of Grant Morrison's Action Comics, issue 5, with a backup about their attempts at making a baby.

It's a good story. It feels real. You feel their love and their desperation. It's a serious issue not often talked about and this comics treats it with dignity and understanding. Because it's a Superman comic it has to tie in with the Kent's finding Superman and this is the one part which falls down, for me.
I think good fiction generally, and superhero comics in particular, should tell us something about our lives. They should reflect the important stuff and give us ways to deal with it,or gives us insights into other people's stories, other people's lives.

Superhero comics, with their good vs evil narratives and their subjects being people with amazing powers, have a really big mandate to talk to us about the important stuff. Not every single comic has to do this, comics about two people going shopping can also be fun, and there are issues which are just beat em ups. But unless these events acknowledge the wider picture - the cause they are fighting for,or the shoppers' characters, they become quite dull.

Back to Action Comics. Near the end of the backup a priest tells the Kent's that he thinks God has a plan for them.  Fast forward a few scenes and as they are driving home we see Clark's ship coming into land.

The IVF and infertility stuff was handled really well, but seeing Clark's ship come in kinda ruined it for me. I realise I'm more sensitive to this than most but for most of us, babies don't fall out of the sky. For those of us childless not through choice, saying that God has a plan for us is simply twisting the knife in further.   If God took our children from us on purpose he can go to hell. If the purpose is for us to have another child, well, that won't make up for the one we've lost.  Saying things like 'god has a plan' or 'people are only given what they can handle' is trite bullshit said by people who have no concept of real pain.

And that's where Action Comics 5 falls down for me. If they hadn't linked the priest's words with Clark's arrival I'd think it was fine. But to do so takes away from the real world themes of the previous story.  It makes me really really angry,


SallyP said...

Uh...yeah. Just a tad on the insensitive side. Something a male writer probably didn't even think about.

Saranga said...

I don't think it's because the writer is male, my fella would never make that sort of insinuation. I assume it's because they don't have any personal experience of infertility or this sort of loss. And because they want to write a happy ending. I guess they were thinking that way.
It's hard to get. I have a friend without kids and I didn't understand her pain until recently (obviously).