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Latest Topics

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Classics Illustrated: All Comics are not Created Equal

Classics Illustrated were comics that were produced from 1941 to 1971 and 169 issues were made. Hamlet, Moby Dick, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers were among the novels they made. Students going through high school in the 1950s and 1960s probably were able to make their way through many English classes and exams by using Classics Illustrated instead of reading the real novels. Forget Cliff Notes, these were on a standard well above them. Should we consider Classics Illustrated on a higher level than comics such as Detective Comics or Superman or consider them to be graphic novels.

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    Webcomics: Quantity vs. Quality

    The internet provides a platform for indie artists and writers with limited resources to get their work out into the world. Webcomics were born of this freedom. Many popular webcomics choose to deliver their stories in a micro-serialized manner, often releasing only a single page of panels at a time. Additionally, many webcomics have no clear end in sight, but rather are stories that run indefinitely. Explore the strengths and weaknesses of webcomics as we see them today: the common formats and delivery approaches, the trends, how it relates to the quality of the stories being told, and what the future holds for creators and fans alike.

    • This sounds like it would be an examination that can be deeply investing. I would examine the webcomics Marvel & DC have been putting out as an example. – BMartin43 1 year ago
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    • Some of the positives: Webcomic authors and artists alike being able to work at their own pace. Atomic Robo is a series that began as a published comic book, but made the switch to the webcomic format, now releasing pages in the way you described. Some of the negatives: Familiar setups/situations. For webcomics that focused on video games, it was common to have 2 males who would get into wild antics compared along with 1 female friend they have who was often stuck with the "straight man" and/or "voice of reason" role. – Christopher 1 year ago
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    • I feel there are also a few webcomics out there that make a unique usage of their own digital medium, like Romantically Apocalyptic and some of the Emily Carroll horror comics. On the other hand, there are comics that literally post a page per update, roughly standard sized, and then run a kickstarter to print the collected volumes. Not that I don't love both, but I think it's exciting to see people using the fact that they're publishing digitally a bit more creatively. – sk8knight 1 year ago
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    In what ways do Marvel's depictions of females affect society and real women?

    When considering how women are viewed in film, I like to think of the Bechdel test. This test (and I am paraphrasing here) says that if a movie does not have two female characters in it that talk about something other than a man, then it fails. Unfortunately, not all of Marvel’s movies pass. How do these depictions of women (ie, their lack of roles that include interactions with other women, the way that only men are discussed when interactions do occur, etc) affect real live ladies? How does it affect society? How does it support the systematic oppression of women and perpetrate the patriarchy?

    • I agree that Marvel fails it's female characters, and women, as a whole with it's representation of women. It rarely treats women badly, and ocasionally has some really good female characters (see; Black Panther). But it's just in sheer numbers and representation that it fails its women. For every 4-5 men there is one notable female character. (See Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy). It fails to show women do much of anything as a whole, as even the supporting female characters, are delegated to just being "the girlfriends." And even the superhero women eventually become someone's girlfriend. Women cannot exist long in the marvel universe without being attached to a boyfriend or love interest. That si where Marvel fails most. There are hardly any women in the movies as headliners, and even when they are they are put into usually forced relationships. It's a shame. – Dimitri 2 months ago
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    • I have found majority of films that aren't targeted specifically to the female demographic fail the Bechdel test. I think it would be interesting to focus on how a lot of people criticise the test, without realising that if it is normal and common for men to have discussions not around the opposite sex, then it should be normal for women as well. – Zohal99 1 week ago
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    • You could contrast this with how the DC has tried to target more towards women (and POC but that's not the main focus here) especially with a movie like Wonder Women that featured a largely all female cast and a female director. Her character also eventually exists without the male hero and can exist without him. – Pamela Maria 1 week ago
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    Utilizing graphic novel as a tool to cross language barrier

    Discuss how the use of graphic novel may be appropriate to assist in crossing language or cultural barriers either online or in a classroom setting.

    • I would add what specifically graphic novels contribute to your topic. – BMartin43 3 months ago
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    • Following the previous note, Japanese graphic novels that use Kanji could also inhibit the ability of the graphic novel to cross language barriers, so it's important to be specific about which graphic novels, and which languages, you mean. This, I think, would be important to consider in a topic like this one; Kanji oftentimes resists translation, and is not as readily translated accurately like other forms of language might be. – ees 3 months ago
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    • There is most certainly an element within this topic that should explore multimodality and the ways in which text/language are only ONE mode inherent within comics. I would also question why “graphic novels” are the only focus of this topic? All comics should be included in this discussion as to use only graphic novels is rather limiting. – zrondinelli 3 months ago
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    • I think this topic is similar to the argument that emojis can be used to cross language barriers as well, and perhaps its a larger scope that images are (generally) universal. Something like a graphic novel or even a comic book that contain detailed images I think are every efficient in conveying a story without narration being present. That being said, narration only helps to better clarify what the images mean. Still though, I believe most people can grasp concepts without the words. – NaliniDeonarine 2 months ago
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    Nerd Culture is Mainstream Culture

    Ed Brubaker said, "If you look at the generation now in power in the entertainment industry, they grew up with comics as serious stuff. The Geeks have won." Discuss how elements of nerd culture have become part of every day life. Technology, media, the vanishing stigma of coding. Comic books and the rise of alternative fiction. Have the Geeks won?

    • I think this would be a fun discussion to have. I think unfortunately it is never this cut and dry, those leading the entertainment industry (when looking at financial power) are not the geeks. However, with concepts such as BitCoin becoming viable, the financial viability of the gaming industry, and the franchising of Marvel, all do suggest that perhaps an argument could be made. However, part of this needs to also be, as your heading suggests, a definition of geek and nerd culture that was previously alternative culture and if these are still viable subcultures or merely part of mainstream culture. So perhaps the double edged sword of the rise and fall of geek culture? – SaraiMW 3 months ago
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    • great topic! – Amitis 3 months ago
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    • In tandem with the first comment, I think the 'why' of this topic needs to be explored carefully. Beyond the fact that people who have grown up reading comics are now in charge, what other conditions have made Nerd Culture possible? – jallegro 3 months ago
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    The Depiction Of Myth In Comics

    From Mt. Olympus to the Daevas the subjects of myths and the focuses of spirituality have appeared in comics over the past few decades and now there are a wide variety of mythical beings throughout our comics. An article on this topic would talk about how myths and mythical beings have appeared in comic books and possibly even speculate about how they’ll be depicted in the future.

    • Is there any way you could make this topic slightly more specific? There are so many different types of mythology and spirituality, and it would be easier for the writer of this topic if you chose one specific type of mythology (say Greek mythology) and maybe even put out a couple of examples. I'm a big fan of this topic, I just think it could be specified a little bit more. – LilyaRider 9 months ago
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    • I think a more specific way of approaching this might be to examine what are the prevalent preferred mythologies at the moment? All the classic mythologies tend to be cycled through popular culture at different times and in different places depending on the particular socio-cultural subtext currently in vogue. A very broad example of this is the rise of the undead in their various forms, a not unusual form of original mythos, plus the rise of the superhero and their deeds is reminiscent of Jason's trials. However, you could narrow down into particular aspects, for instance the increasing presence of transformational mythologies, or the reoccurring themes of the "great beneath beings" - the titans - that has been popping up. I do really like the idea of then having a discussion about what will come next. – SaraiMW 8 months ago
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    • I recommend looking at Brian Azzarello's Wonder Woman New 52 Run. You could write this whole article about because there was so much greek mythology in it. – Sean Gadus 6 months ago
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    Do Superheroes Reflect the Times We Live In?

    Whether it be Marvel’s “Champions” which introduced a variety of different super powered teenaged individuals with an equal amount of variety when it comes to their racial backgrounds or the introduction of a female Iron Man for a new generation of Marvel comic readers, or DC Comics giving Superman a different outlook to the planet he calls home in the comics as well as the Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman movies. While comic readers sometimes read about these extraordinary individuals to take a break from reality, they often tend to reflect the reality that we the audience lives in.

    • This is a thought provoking topic, it is very broad though because comics have been around for decades. I recommend narrowing the scope to really develop a detailed arguement. Looking at the current decade may be a little too difficult, i think it would be really interesting to analyse superheros that were developed in the noughties since most audiences can relate, and the feeling of the era is still fresh in many peoples minds. Obviously detail major turning points of the decade as a focal point i.e. 9/11, war on terror etc – Iliasbakalla 10 months ago
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    • I think this is an interesting question, but needs to be narrowed. There are still a lot of current superhero storylines in the comics that are doing nothing but reiterating the status-quo and don't necessarily resonate as well with a modern audience. Perhaps what you are specifically wanting to discuss would be the reflection of mainstream heavy franchise linked superheroes. It is also worth noting the comics, like any form of literature, will always reflect the times they are written in as nothing is written in a vacuum - just look at Watchmen. – SaraiMW 8 months ago
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    Copyright infringement, is it a problem for new artists?

    While strolling through a Comic Con, people may notice big name artists adjacent to newer artist throughout the main racetrack, known as artist alley. The bigger name artists are protected by the company they work for. An example would be Jim Lee, currently working for DC comics. He can draw Batman and make prints to sell at these conventions without facing legal ramification. How does a newer artist trying to get to the level of Jim Lee, make art without facing copyright infringement or similar legal penalties? They need to get their name and brand established by making work, but if it is copyright protected how can they get away with making prints of it anyway?

    • This is a really interesting topic. Do copyright restrictions get in the way of artists being creative and channeling their talent? Does this mean that the quality of comics are decreasing due to artists fearing that accidental similarities could be deemed a copyright infringement? – Courtney 9 months ago
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