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18 Aug 2019, Edition - 1496, Sunday

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Bangalore News

Comic-Con 2018 ‘porn’ graphic novel handout to kids shocks parents

Archana Rohit

Parents were seething in anger when they noticed the graphic novel with explicit images given as freebies at the two-day Comic-Con 2018 held in Bengaluru from November 17-18.

“We sincerely apologise for the inadvertent mixup that has occurred at Bengaluru Comic Con 2018. In almost seven years of our show, we have never had such a thing happen. We as an organisation neither support nor promote such content for the underage audience,” a statement from the organisation said.

A parent named Debjani Aich, whose eight-year-old daughter was handed a copy of the comic along with a ticket, Batman poster and wristband in a goodie bag, called the mistake a terrible, shocking and scary matter. “Absolutely negligent and illegal to give children pornographic reading material,” she wrote in a Facebook post.

To add to dismay, the comic book series is highly acclaimed and earned 12 Eisner and 17 Harvey Awards between 2013 and 2017. The plot is a potent cocktail of Star Wars and Game of Thrones. The comic book ‘Saga’ by Brian K Vaughan, with illustrations by Fiona Staples — an epic space opera/fantasy comic book series. It depicts two lovers from long-warring extraterrestrial races, Alana and Marko, fleeing authorities from both sides of a galactic war as they struggle to care for their newborn daughter, Hazel, who occasionally narrates the series.

“Children are highly impressionable and innocent. They lack the ability to choose what is right and wrong for them. At this developmental stage the mind is already curious and wants to know about everything. Exposure to sexual content in printed form may push them to google and know more about the topic, in turn pushing them to discover porn.” says psychologist M Sri Vidhya Venkatesan.

In today’s world children are getting exposed to sexual content early, in part because of sexual material in movies, television, music or novels. Being overexposed and underprepared has a profound impact on children’s values, attitudes and behaviours towards sex and relationships, says psychologist.

It is against the rights of the child. Any sort of verbal or graphic material which scandalises anybody’s status in society is disrupting the its modesty. Parents can take the matter to Juvenile Justice Board or child protection committee and can lodge a complaint. The organisation will be called to provide clarification and needful action should be taken, says advocate Vijayan.

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