Thursday, July 21, 2016

In Honor of Comic Comic Con and the Olympics

Since I'm feeling sorry for myself after reading all the exciting posts from my friends at San Diego Comic Con, here's a comic website that will make you smile -- Comics with Problems. Today let's take a look at "The Insiders: The Marijuana Mystery".

This comic from 1991 features Holly, a gymnast aspiring to win the state championship, who has a crush on Mike, a popular jock and failing student. Holly offers to tutor Mike hoping he'll ask her to the prom, but instead he rewards her with marijuana. She takes one toke off a joint and immediately quits studying for tests and misses gymnastic's practice. When she makes it back to practice she gets injured and can't go to the state championships. After confessing to her best friend that all of her new problems are due to marijuana, there's a robot intervention.

Here's the facts laid out in this comic about marijuana abuse as delivered by Alpha the Robot:
[BEEP.] Marijuana impairs a person's thinking, making it hard to learn and remember. 
[BEEP]. Marijuana affects the natural balance of hormones which build a healthy body.
[BEEP]. It affects a person's reproductive system. 
[BEEP]. It also impairs the immune system's ability to prevent disease and illness. 
[BEEP]. THC remains in the body, trapped in fatty tissue. 
[BEEP]. Marijuana is a gateway drug. 
[BEEP]. Marijuana is more dangerous than tobacco because it contains more tar, cancer causing chemicals and carbon monoxide.
After learning about marijuana, Holly's response is to educate Mike so he doesn't "get hurt." It doesn't work, so she goes to the school counselor and gets Mike some help. Hmmm, I'm not sure about that.

This company also produced "The Insiders: The Tobacco Temptation" and "The Insiders: Tony's Sobering Lesson." I can only imagine how much fun those must have been.

We can argue all day long about the validity of Alpha's claims, but I suppose if your audience is made up of 8-year-olds this might be a comic to read with them, but then again, I don't think I want my 8-year-old even thinking about smoking pot.

Oh, and what's up with the title, "The Marijuana Mystery." It reminded me of the Scooby Doo Mysteries I loved as a kid, but I was sorely disappointed. There is no mystery. Marijuana is EVIL . . . end of story.

And, what's up the visual and textual sexual innuendo and double entendre? Were the writers and artists just goofing? Were they even aware of all the sexy bits? Were they high?

I hope all those gymnasts in Brazil have read this, so they don't get hurt. Do you think "Marijuana Mystery" seems silly because it was produced for a 1991 audience? What do you think junior high students today would think about this comic? If you were to make a PSA comic today directed at junior high school students, what would it be about and how would you title it?

7 comments:

  1. I do not believe that this comic tackling the issues with drugs is silly just because it was produced in 1991. Today depending on a person's background junior high school students may agree or disagree with the comic. Some children in 2016 use marijuana to combat certain illnesses or have family who do, while others might use it just to get high so the opinions on it now may be split 50/50. I do think comics are a good learning tool for young kids about drugs. This is because children are more likely to ignore adults when given the "talk" about drugs, however might be more enticed to listen to the messages in comics. Plus it makes it more fun and gives a lot of visual for children. If i were to make a PSA comic today directed at junior high students, I would probably make a comic about smoking, I would title it "The Smoking Issue" which would talk about how bad tobacco smoking is and how it affects not just individual smokers, but the people and animals around them as well.

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  2. First off I just want to say that I was captivated to respond to this blog post because I love gymnastics and Comic Con! What a great and unexpected combination! This comic seems weird because I did not expect a comic based on marijuana, but if it educates the youth then I guess I am all for it. I think the "Marijuana Mystery" is an unusual title for a comic book. I do not know much about the 90s but I feel like everything in that time period was overly cheesy like this title. Also, why did the author have to include a gymnast becoming involved with marijuana? It seemed like a random pairing and I do not think that children would be able to relate. Lastly, I thought that comic books had to have a superhero in it? Or is the superhero in this comic the gymnast and her villain is marijuana? I may seem extremely critical but I really do not understand this comic book. I think junior high students today would make fun of this comic because of how awkward it seems with the cringe worthy characters and storyline. If I were to make a PSA comic book for junior high students I would make it seem as real as possible with actual junior high students going through their every day tribulations. I would title it "Mary and Juana" (probably even more cheesy but it is an eye catcher) and it would be about two girls who have trouble with marijuana but eventually learns about how damaging this drug is to their lives. It basically has the same storyline as this comic but less cheesy and more relatable!

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  3. I think that back in the 90's people were very misinformed about the lethality of certain drugs. For example, anti-drug advertisers set out to scare kids away from doing drugs using rather than accepting they were going to do them anyway and explaining how to be safe about it. I think that was one of the downfalls of the war on drugs, concentrating specifically too hard on marijuana and exaggerating facts to further verify children. While marijuana does have bad effects, advertising and anti drug programs, I believe, took it one step too far. In today's world, a lot of people accept marijuana is not as bad as people had said it was in the past. Whole states are even declaring it legal again for recreational use. I'm far from defending the use of marijuana everyday just for recreation, but I think the effects of marijuana use were blown way out of proportion.

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  4. I certainly understand how marijuana do effect people in negative ways but not everyone have the same symptoms. As a person who has smoke marijuana recreational for over 10 years my symptoms were not similar to what happen to Holly. Instead I would smoke to give me energy to go play baseball for my high school, it also help me concentrate more on my homework instead of wondering around procrastinating, Yet as father i will not advice my children to smoke marijuana but if they do I will allow if they meet all the requirements to becoming a successful in life mostly education. The war on-drugs has always had marijuana against the ropes, letting more harmful drugs slide by.

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  5. I do think "Marijuana Mystery" seems silly because I don't think that there was a lot research on marijuana back then. Reading this comic today, a point where many people support the legalization of marijuana, it sounds ridiculous since there is so much more information out there that invalidates the whole argument. I think junior high school students would laugh at this comic since many of them either smoke marijuana themselves or know people who do smoke and have not seen dangerous side effects. If I were to make a PSA comic today directed at junior high school students, it would probably be about staying safe when under the influence since they are unlikely to be persuaded to not smoke or drink. I would title it something like "The Plug" just so it would catch their attention lol.

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  6. Though the title may seem silly, or a little incoherent doesn't mean it shouldn't have been taken serious. Back than especially in that decade there was still a lot medics didn't know about marijuana and the effects to either consuming it smoking it. And sense marijuana is one of those drugs that people/society and doctors are iffy about it makes it difficult, because like many issues there are its pros and cons. On one hand doctors prescribe it for cancer patients for their pain, but than there is the other possibilities of this drug being sold illegally to young children, or teens becoming a gateway drug as mentioned in the blog. If junior high student were to read this I think they wouldn't even take it serious, or in this case even bother to read it acknowledging the message it says. If I were to design a PSA comic that was directed towards junior high school students I would make it about how drugs turn them into zombies and impair them to do anything therefore, making students lazy, dumb, and inactive all the characteristics of a failing and unsuccessful student. Making "The Road of Pot leads to No Gold of Pot" my PSA comic title.

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  7. The title "the marijuana mystery" is extremely reminiscent of Scooby Doo, which makes one think that the entire message can come off a little cheesy. But keeping in mind the time period, the popularity of Scooby Doo and Americas so called "war on drugs", it easy to understand how the comic writer was trying to appeal to their audience. I commend the writer although though cheesy narrative, gives real information to children who may not have been taught the consequences of marijuana use. Discouraging the use of marijuana in young adults is valiant objective but I believe that those already predisposed to it, wont be completely persuaded by a comic book. The comic also gives a one sided view of marijuana. By demonizing it, its easier to sell to a younger audience that may not posses the critical thinking skills to weigh the pros and cons. (not that I condone pot smoking 8 year olds...) There are many proven uses for medical marijuana so I believe that those who are aware of the positive and negative consequences should be able to smoke, without the stigmatization that this comic portrays. I would find this comic ineffective for a younger audience. If I was trying to make a PSA for a middle school audience I would weigh out the pros and cons, allowing the student to decide. I don't think its necessary to try and appeal to students with gimmicks and red herrings.

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