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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 4 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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The Women of Frank Miller's Sin City

In Frank Miller’s Sin City (1991-2000), the prostitutes of Old Town, Basin City’s red light district, keep the pimps and cops out. In a city filled with corrupt cops and politicians, they are the only semblance of true justice. But are they a good portrayal of strong female characters or are they merely a male fantasy? Analyze how well the women of Old Town hold up in the age of #MeToo.

  • This is a fantastic article topic! I would recommend for anyone who takes it that intersectionality feminist theory may come in handy when analyzing this thesis. Considering the race, class, and gender of the characters in question can help improve equality and make it more inclusive. – M. L. Flood 1 year ago
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The growth of the webcomic industry

Most of us have heard about the two biggest companies DC and Marvel when it comes to comics. But what about the growing industry of comics written by people who are not professionally working in the industry (at least not in the traditional sense)? Now more than ever, there are people writing and illustrating their own stories and publishing them online through sites such as Tapas and Webtoons. What kind of implications does this have on the online comic book industry? What are some comics to recommend? Why is the webcomic so important today?

  • Perhaps you could mention the popularity of webcomics on Instagram as well? The hashtag #webcomic has over 1 million Instagram posts. – Sophie Bouey 1 year ago
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  • If it's not too far outside the scope of what you are thinking of it would be interesting to include discussion of how the adoption of the internet in personal homes really allowed for the birth of the webcomic as a hobby to arise. Also discussion of where the comic writing and drawing skillset came from prior to the birth of the web movement. It would be interesting to spotlight what the hobby was before it came to the web platform. – rivennz 1 year ago
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The Enduring Popularity of Spider-Man

Whether it’s Peter Parker, Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen or one of the other dozen versions of Spider-Man, people love this character. What is it about this character that has endeared him to audiences for over 50 years. Is it the stories that he’s been involved in, the cast of characters around him or is it what he represents that has resonated with people so well for so long. By looking at the history of the character through all mediums, analyze what is it about the wall crawler that makes him and all his variants such a timelessly likable character.

  • I like this topic a lot because one of the most important things for superheroes to be popular and culturally important is their relatability. Even some of the most popular characters like Superman and Batman that have unbelievable abilities maintain some aspects of ourselves as humans like struggling with restraint, trauma, loss, identity, belonging, etc. Looking through the history of Spider-Man, he seems to be marketed as one of the most clearly, universally relatable heroes since his iterations are usually young humans dealing with very common young human issues like love, family, and even work-life balance. I think writing on this topic would require the targeted marketing of Spider-Man as an every-man/woman type to be explored more fully in connection with his overall likability and resonance. – Aaron 1 year ago
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  • I think even beyond his colorful and striking design, Spider-Man's resonance is sourced from him dealing with everyday problems many, if not, most people can relate to. Though he's a hard worker, he's poor, he's bullied, struggles in romance, handling his job, etc. All this on top of being a superhero who risks his life every day defending NYC citizens who are often ungrateful (depending on the writer). It grounds him as a character and shows that anyone can wear the mask, i.e be a hero who helps others, even in the face of adversity. – ImperatorSage 1 year ago
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  • The spider-man story usually starts in high school, and I think that is part of what makes it so appealing. The character is so average and relatable. He acts like any one of us would act. – kairigainsborough 11 months ago
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The Erotic Gaze

There are way too many articles written out there that have a heavy-handed focus on the male gaze. It is a tight rope talk to discuss the gaze in general, especially in regards to objectivity in what/who is being looked at. I would love to see an article written about the many wonderful works that have an erotica theme to them, especially from creators like Katie Skelly, Kyoko Okazaki, Lisa Hanawalt, Gengoroh Tagame, and even through a bit more mainstream comics like ‘Sex Criminals’ and ‘Sex’ from Image Comics. It would be great to get more of a perspective on the female gaze, instead of the male gaze, and would be even better to get this examination from a female perspective. Erotica can present a very interesting relationship with its readers, especially from a voyeuristic perspective, and I feel like it can be a fine line for some when it comes to how the body is presented. However, when it’s done right, erotica can really celebrate the body, dig into gender/sex politics, social rights and cultural ideologies as a whole (especially when creators like Guido Crepax and Milo Manara are put into the conversation). It would be worthwhile to discuss a topic that can hold a mirror up to many of us and get right to the subject matter that can be deemed taboo to some.

  • I recently read the book 'Ways of Seeing' by John Berger and some of the themes he discusses are centred around the gaze especially in art and contemporary Western visual culture. I like your proposition to examine this stance from a female perspective. However, there is a long and complex historical tradition, especially in art, which favors the male gaze and which objectifies the nude female body which needs to be taken into account. – Kaya 1 year ago
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  • Suspiria (2018) might be a great film to dig into this. It is thoroughly erotically-charged, but never in a purely physical or sexual sense; concerned more with physicality and power, force and affect than anything else. Really interesting. – joshasoflate 1 year ago
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Comics (and their subsequent films) and democracy

Western comics have an intimate relationship with the democracies in which they originated. It would be interesting to better understand how the two interact: that is, how the underlying ideas of democracy have influenced superhero stories, and in turn, how superheroes affected our ideas of democracy. For instance, Captain America was created during WWII as a champion against fascism, but the way he has been envisioned and even the person filling the role has changed over time, perhaps reflecting society’s changes.

More recently the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been tremendously successful, and several of its movies seem to approach interesting issues. A core question Civil War asks is how much power a democratic government should have to control the ethical decision making of individual participants (and upholders) of that democracy? The movie appeared (May 2016) at a time when it seems Western democracies were going into crisis. With themes about rebellion from overly controlling governments, did it influence people’s thoughts going into Brexit (June 2016) or the Trump election (Nov 2016). Another instance is the ongoing theme in many comics of the deep resilience of participatory forms of government, which we see again in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s End Game. Might that have similar influences?

  • The very mode of production of comics as descendants of pulp is democratic in terms of its mass production, popular culture, affordability. Moreover, its origins as art/literature written for children in essence made a niche for itself by creating its own adult market out of those children who then grew up and still wanted more. That reflects the mythological tie between liberal democracy and free market capitalism in that the demand of the consumers dictates the production of a supply though in fact the products breed further desire for consumption that merely appear as a self-generating demand. In a similar fashion, the rejection of the military in characters of the MCU like Stark and Rogers only appears to represent a democratic appeal to the common people but a closer examination reveals that the MCU ends up remaining a propaganda machine for the anti-democratic status quo when it vilifies such agendas as environmentalism (Thanos) or minority reparations or equality (Killmonger) at a time when climate destruction is demanding from our collective hand more extreme measures and Black Lives Matter struggles to have its voice heard. – williamnolen11 12 months ago
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The psychology and philosophy behind super heroes

Breakdown and analyse what makes super heroes tick and how they are an inspiration to us mortals. What are philosophical elements behind their characterisation and actions that appeal to an audience? Despite having unearthly abilities, humane qualities of superheroes are what makes them relatable to us. What are the psychological elements their creators have embedded in the stories that help us navigate our own challenges the way these characters do in comics, TV and film?

  • I think this is a notable and wonderful topic to look at. Why? because while we may feel limited in many physical aspects of our lives, we identify with a superhero in each of us whose imagination and mind has no limits. We are superheroes trapped in physical bodies and whom we identify with is perhaps where we feel the most limited. Superheroes hurl that limitation out the window for us! They are a wonderful way for us to channel our inner strength, power and courage. They provide an identity for us more in line with the truth and for this reason, I love this topic. – MinGHathorn 1 year ago
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Life lessons from the character of Bruce Wayne

Batman has been one of the most popular characters in the DC Universe and so are the people who voiced, played and created the character as well. The character has some really die-hard fans who try to take up the characters voice, merchandise and personality. The character has been played by many notable individuals including Adam West, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, Michael Keaton, Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, and many other talented individuals as well.

Here we would deep dive inside things that makes Batman, Batman and how his life and personality traits can help us make our life better

  • Maybe less about how Batman makes our life better, more about how different actors such as West, Kilmer, Clooney, Keaton, Bale, and Affleck have presented him. – Joseph Cernik 2 years ago
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  • I think looking at all of the general ways a character like Batman can serve as a role model would be a bit overwhelming because he is designed, like most superheroes, to serve as a role model in a wide-range of ways for targeted young readers and viewers, but I think it would be incredibly interesting to look into a few specific traits. Batman in particular has consistently been presented as a symbol of self-discipline as he improves himself physically and mentally after experiencing the trauma of loss. This isn't an overly original set of traits, but Batman's embodiment of them is unique in that his dedication to bettering himself and Gotham city is frequently questioned since it clearly takes a toll on his well-being when he allows it to consume himself. A closer analysis of one or two of these traits is something I would be very excited to read! – Aaron 1 year ago
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  • Another very important personality trait is his overwhelming dedication to do the right thing in the face of powerful social opposition, a quality that ensured that Superman gave Batman a piece of Kryptonite to use against him if he ever went rogue. – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan 3 months ago
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