sk8knight

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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Latest Topics

6
Published

Feminism and World-building in Monstress

An analysis of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress (or the first handful of issues at least) and how they build a world that seems to be very female-dominated, and what that means for gender relations within the comic. Are strong female characters in a world that is predominantly made up of women still good role models, or are they less effective without the men to act as a contrast? Is Maika a good feminist role model, or at least a good realistic female character?

  • The world is changing so much that women are dominating most important post in various establishments, they still need men though. My point is women are not ranked low now like years back. – asdfg46 3 years ago
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  • I would also examine other comic book series where this is the case and see how they compare to Monstress. – BMartin43 3 years ago
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11
Published

The Comics Code Authority: How censorship has affected the history of American comics

How has the Comics Code Authority impacted the development of American comics? Despite the fact that this is no longer a concern in the industry, does the history of having that organization and the way it affected the medium still show in comics published today? Maybe a comparison with European comics would be helpful here.

  • It'd be great to see examples of current comics that would never fly under the rule of the Comic Code Authority. I'm sure there are ridiculous examples, just like how TV shows had many rules in the '50s like "No man and woman can be shown in the same bed." So they'd show the wife in bed under the covers and the man sitting on the side of the bed with both feet on the ground. It certainly impacts the storytelling, and the "work arounds" are quite fun to learn about also. – Nate OcĂ©an 3 years ago
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  • Comics were since the birth more or less in Italay and Asia, meant to be scurrilous, primitive, stink of ink, trash, and don't say that as elitist, or meanly, as there has always been a subject in the Italy that crated comics, down to a topo eras before uncle Walt and a red caped strong man named machete writing for by dannunzio, that comics should be surrounds and awful and great. Dante called his book a comedy, and writes in the language of street people, wives and pimps. I am tired of everything being literature even and especially when it is nothing close. Be pulp if youd like,there is nothing wrong with that. – Antonius865 3 years ago
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Latest Comments

I would disagree that comics are not just as good as other literature, although there are some comics of poorer quality than what one expects of literature. The American comics industry and style of ongoing series with a push to produce something every month and get it out there, with possible changes of artists and writers aren’t really conducive to the best work. Also, when the audience is supposed to be children and not adults, those themes are not going to be as involved or well-explored.

However, looking at fiction graphic novels like Watchmen, or something like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series (or non-fiction ones like Maus or Persepolis), I would argue that those have value as literature–just in a way that most people aren’t used to looking for it. In a comic that is done well, the art is going to have just as much (or more) relevance and importance to the themes and ideas being discussed as the written text. Even the color and lettering choices matter.

Perhaps the numeric majority of what is available is of poor quality, but I don’t think that has anything to do with the capabilities of the medium itself.

Comics are just a different format for communicating ideas. Like all media, it either educates or entertains (or both). If it does neither, it’s probably pretty awful. What I like about the format, is the creativity it allows for the artist and author, and the way that reader interaction is so important. Books tell you what happened, and movies show you what happened. Comics do both, but you get to fill in the blanks between the panels. Even the perception of time is done in the reader’s mind, dictated by the letters and lines on the page. Depending on the artist’s choices, there may be more or less that is left up to the reader’s mind to fill in.

I don’t know if I’m just a particularly unobservant reader or how other people perceived this, but while reading Watchmen for the first time, I had no idea who the person at the newsstand with the “The end is nigh” sign, or even that he was important or relevant as more than a character in a background plot, like most of the characters at the newsstand; I hardly noticed him. In the movie, it was instantly apparent that he was an important character and not part of the background because the camera focused on him and the rest of the newsstand scenes were gone, so those scenes with him in it didn’t blend into the remainder of the background newsstand setting. Similarly, the “Tales of the Black Freighter” portions from the comic cannot be integrated well into a film, but the way they are incorporated into the comic is really cool–these are elements of the comic as a medium that I feel could not be done well in any other medium.

Comic Books, Adults, and a History of Stigmatization

Um, just so you know it’s The Killing Joke, not the Killer Joke.

Do you have any thoughts about how to change the community? What factors do you think cause people to perceive the comic lover community as pretentious?

How are you defining the line between graphic novels and comics? What about something like Watchmen, that always gets called a graphic novel (I’ve certainly never heard someone refer to Watchmen as a trade), but was technically published as 12 individual issues initially? Is the difference that significant? Or is the difference between an ongoing series and a limited series or graphic novel more relevant? What about other forms of sequential art?

Why do you think people perceive comics as a childish pastime, and what do you think could change that? To be honest, it’s kind of funny that people think of comics as childish, but it has always been a struggle finding quality comics that I feel comfortable giving to my eleven-year-old younger brother.

Also, isn’t it kind of weird that we’re talking about being perceived as both pretentious and childish at the same time? Not saying it’s not true, just think it’s funny.

The Social Stigma of Comic Book Reading

Personally, I wouldn’t agree that textspeak encourages writing in a boring, generic way. I feel like the shortened words and phrases generally only get used in cases where the full phrase would’ve been used anyway. Furthermore, the creative use of emojis helps to attempt to fill in the blank where emotions, facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice doesn’t get transmitted over the phone. Using language that is too formal with peers while texting can be more strange because it suggests some seriousness or awkwardness for which the receiver has no explanation.

Perhaps your experiences with people using textspeak have been different from mine.

I do believe that there are appropriate and inappropriate uses for textspeak. If something is important enough that I’m not texting on my phone, then it’s important enough for me to check my grammar and look over what I’ve written. Furthermore, I do not use textspeak often when texting people who don’t seem to use it themselves; there’s no guarantee they would understand it.

Creative Texting: Writing and Textspeak

Isn’t the whole idea of a cinematic universe and how that works pretty much identical to how the Marvel Universe works for comics? I’m seeing a lot of parallels here.

For example, there’s editorial control over characters that sometimes limits creators’ visions. However, team-ups are a frequent occurrence, and often used as marketing events, and the in-jokes and references between books are fun. Also, the interconnected universe (or multiverse, as it may be) provides a huge playground of settings and characters that can be used in any of the various series that may be publishing at the time.

How can the ways that comics use to cope with some of these issues due to the interconnected universe be used to help with movie universes as well?

The Pros and Cons Of Developing A Cinematic Universe

I’ve always thought of a dimensional universe to be something like a “pocket reality.” Like it’s a space where physics or space is in some way radically different. However, I don’t really have any evidence for why I thought that, and most definitions I can find seem to consider a dimensional universe to be the same thing as either a parallel or alternate reality.

Parallel and Alternate Realities; Fiction Tells us the Difference

It is nice to see someone looking at media in a more positive light. However, I think Disney’s princesses have slowly progressed towards more modern ideals of what a woman should be.

However, I do not believe Snow White can be considered a feminist role model. She is 14, and it is understandable that she should be frightened and so on. That’s not my real problem with her.

Things happen to her; she doesn’t make things happen. The huntsman actually tells her to run away. No, she’s not a bad person, but her main character trait is that she trusts and obeys everyone around her (which leads to her eating the poisoned apple). She’s good at keeping house, and she’s beautiful. Her first song is “Someday My Prince Will Come”. She’s spending all this time just waiting for someone she doesn’t know to sweep her off her feet, which isn’t really a positive way to think about romantic relationships. Throughout the movie, the other characters that make up her environment decide her fate for her. The idea it implies is that if you are beautiful and kind everything will work out, but there’s really no reason for things to work that way, even within the story. It’s her movie, and she spends the entire time being a passive character. Why bother to make a movie about a character that never takes action of her own volition or struggles with a personal conflict?

Furthermore, the portrayal of the Evil Queen isn’t too great either. Just the whole idea that a woman will kill in order to be the most beautiful is damaging. I know the story is based on the old fairytale, and those elements are present in the fairytale. The movie itself is a product of its time. However, I don’t think that Snow White can be held up as a positive role model for young girls.

Feminism and Disney: They're Not As Different As You Might Think