Children can comfortably read comics of 18 +?
VietNamNet Bridge - To build a healthy market of cultural products in general, and the particular comic market, classification of readers and evaluation of products are one of the important things to be taken into account.

Less than one percent of comics in Vietnam are Vietnamese origin

Vietnam, comic, publisher, rating, age

Examining bookstores in Hanoi and HCM City, it is easily to see that entertaining, emotional books for teenagers are overwhelming. In book renting shops, up to 50 percent of comics are not copyrighted. A large number of comics are for 18+ readers.

These comic books are labeled "for mature readers", "for ages 18 +", "17 +" but the book sellers and renters give them to readers who are junior secondary students. Book rating has been implemented in Vietnam but no one is willing to respect this.

Comic development has been slowed by controversy relating to sensitive images. The local media has said a lot about the subject. In 2006, the famous comic "Shin – the pencil boy" was suspended after it was complained by the press and readers for its sensitive pictures. When the comic was resumed, it was added with age rating and had to abolish some sensitive pictures. In 2008, Thua Thien Hue province seized nearly 100 comic books for children with erotic content.

In 2010, the topic returned when an article entitled "What kind of comic which is not different from a love making manual!" was published on Nguoi Lao Dong (Laborer) Newspaper, mentioning a comic series in which the female character is often "stripped" while the male character is a "hero of violence," who is ready to carry knifes and swords to attack his "enemies" in the school.

Rating in Vietnam: the joke of publishers

Vietnam, comic, publisher, rating, age

The demand from the market is too abundant, and the publisher cannot resist it. They keep printing comic books about love stories and put a small warning in the minimum font size which is 1/20 compared to the title "For mature age."

The message continues puzzling teenage readers: how old is the adult age?

The warning is printed close to the margin or even on a tiny area, the back of books of about 100 pages. The warning is also be infringed by colored illustrations.

When reading most of the books, then being asked, a young reader was surprised to flip back to the cover of the book, look carefully and said: "It turns out that this story has rating!"

In fact, the problem would have been solved long ago with the understanding of the law and social responsibility, but in the end, what the card of "rating" has achieved is only the publisher’s successful dealing with the management bodies, the press and public opinion.

How to fix it?

Vietnam, comic, publisher, rating, age

The authorities after receiving the rating do not have any other tools to manage books.

Ms. Phan Thi My Hanh, director of Phan Thi comic company, proposed: "When making ratings for a book, it is very important to how the rating is shown on the cover.”

Currently comic rating is tiny and very hard to be recognized. The publishers are trying to deal with the regulations on rating, so when the media or the public raise the voices, they can say "I had a rating!". They run after profits, despite the social consequences.

Hanh said that the law should be specified how the rating is displayed for easy recognition by the readers.

Some readers said that in addition to printing the rating large enough on the cover, the publisher should repeat it in one single page inside the book.

The two rating systems used by the world

[G] General Audience: for all readers.

[PG] Parental Guidance Suggested: Children read with the guidance of their parents.

[PG-13] Parents Strongly Cautioned: Children over the age of 13 read with the guidance of their parents.

[R] Restricted - Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian: For those who are under 17 years of age, parents need to be careful when allowing them to read.

[NC-17] No One 17 and Under Admitted: For people over 17 years of age.

The Marvel Rating System for comic books

All ages: appropriate for all ages.

A: Appropriate for age 9 and up.

T+ Teens and Up: Appropriate for most readers 12 and up, parents are advised that they might want to read before or with younger children.

Parental Advisory: 15 years and older. Similar to T+ but featuring more mature themes and/or more graphic imagery.

Max: Explicit Content: 18 years old. Most Mature Readers books will fall under the MAX comics banner (created specifically for mature content titles), MAX and Mature-themed titles will continue to be designed to appear distinct from mainline Marvel titles, with the "MAX: Explicit Content" label very prominent on the cover. MAX titles will not be sold on the newsstand, and they will not be marketed to younger readers.

Ho Huong Giang
Vietnam, comic, publisher, rating, age