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25 June 2006 @ 01:56 pm
*clears throat*

I don't want to ramble you to death, so I'll make it really, really short... Some paragraphs in The Sandman Companion had me wondering if particular Sandman anthologies were indeed "gendered", as Neil Gaiman apparently thinks. So now I'm trying to find fans who'd like to take a short poll and tell me about their preferences.

Here's an explanation and a link to the poll: *[click]*

Thanks and have a nice (rest of the) weekend! :)

[ cross-posted to the_worlds_end and neil_gaiman ]
02 June 2006 @ 08:00 pm

Just two entries ago, I listed NinthArt as one of the sites worth visiting.

Quote from the website:

Announcement: After more than five years, Ninth Art is closing down. Our last update will be on June 19th. In the meantime, please keep checking in over the next three weeks for our final few updates - and thank you for reading.


I don't feel like saying much - recently, my brain is somewhat the equivalent of crickets chirping and tumbleweeds in the desert - but you can guess that I'm not amused.
16 May 2006 @ 01:58 pm
Now, most comic moms are dead or crazy. Some aren't.

When Fangirls Attack did a Mama-thon a couple days ago for Mother's Day, best or most interesting moms in comics, and guess who got mentioned?

Stephanie Brown, aka Spoiler and Robin IV, and Martha Wayne, mother of Batman I, Bruce Wayne. Steph is http://kalinara.blogspot.com/2006/05/mama-thon.html and Martha -- from the Rucka trade Death and the Maidens -- is http://the-isb.blogspot.com/2006/05/mothers-day-with-martha-wayne.html

Cut for Steph-blabber, since I've never read Death and the Maidens and have no real opinion re: Martha but tons of love for Steph. Read the scans, then come back here.
Read more...Collapse )

Also, to spread the Steph love: http://evenrobins.net/ (The redhead is pre-Crisis I Jason Todd, the black-haired boy in scaly panties is post-crisis I Jason Todd, the blond girl is Stephanie Brown, the short black-haired boy in red is toon!Tim Drake from Batman: the Animated Series, and the black-haired boy in the jacket leaning on Tim's shoulder is post-crisis I post-resurrection Jason Todd) and http://robin.oscillating.net/spoiler/ and http://derryderrydown.livejournal.com/585962.html
28 April 2006 @ 12:15 pm
Well, okay, that weren't exactly his words, but probably the essence of it all. I read an article by David Ivanack at SaVant, and it's still confusing the heck outta me. It's also annoying. (And old. I think it's from 2001 or something.)
Go read it; it's just a few short paragraphs... I'll wait here.

Back? - Good. I don't know what your reaction is, but mine was "... what is he talking about?"

I mean, okay, the very first thing is that he's making a great effort to drive home the fact that fan fiction aren't comics because they are prose without pictures and word balloons. Uhm... yes. That's like saying "First, let's make clear that a giraffe is not a rhino." What really puzzles me is this: Do some people really think fan fiction ARE comics? Like, "What are you doing?" - *writes some fan fiction down on his/her notebook* "I'm making a COMIC!" *beams*
Uh... well. Not in my world.

But somewhere, there must be a nest of weird fans insisting that they are saving the comics industry single-handledly... with their fic. Or, well, I guess they must be somewhere, because Ivanack wrote about them and says in his column that he has encountered such fans. And again I am wondering: Was 2001 just a shitty year? Do those fans accumulate locally somewhere and this "somewhere" is too far from my (virtual / real) home, so I just don't see them? Did it all happen on a message board for children and young teens that I don't know of (and would never visit even if I knew)?

I'm not saying that fan fiction isn't often torturing eyes and brain of the readers alike, nor do I disagree on the point that the impact of fan fiction for The Powers That Be is practically non-existant. It's just that my experiences with other fic writers are quite different. I have yet to meet even one fellow fan fic writer who says and does the things Ivanack is describing in his article. But maybe I've simply met the "wrong"/"right" fans so far? Is it depending on age, or fandom, or source? Any ideas? Generally speaking, what are your experiences?

On another note: I agree that fan fic doesn't "help" comics directly, but I know that in some cases I wouldn't have bought the issues / trades if some fic hadn't made me interested in the characters and their dynamics. Often it's the discussions between fans who also are fic writers that are getting me hooked on a character. (An example would be Devin Grayson's run on Nightwing and Gotham Knights.)
Also, I'm not sure if creating comics is "helping" them, either. Creating your own comic is certainly helping diversity, but the comics themselves? Need mainly the help of your wallet. *shrugs*

Any thoughts on this? Anyone? Bueller?

(Also cross-posted to fanthropology)
Mood: curiouscurious
23 April 2006 @ 04:26 pm
There are kajillions of comic-related websites out there, and I thought I'd share some of my favourites. I'm not that much into "news" or "merch" stuff, which means I rarely ever browse the official sites of publishing houses and the like, but I like reading some nice and interesting essays. Some articles from said websites already got linked here, and just because I'm finally listing the main pages now, that doesn't mean you can't pick another one to highlight :)

Columns / Zines

Sequential Tart"a Web Zine about the comics industry, published by an eclective band of women". Often with themes running through the individual issue. I recommend using the site map.
Ninth Art (for the discerning reader)"The Internet has provided us with a new opportunity to build a library of our own, and a literature is at last emerging, but slowly. (...) It is our hope that our archive will emerge as one of the foremost resources for anyone seeking diverse and intelligent thought on the medium."
Savant MagazineSadly, this mag is no longer updated, but you can browse the archives (#1-103) (to which the link will get you). At times quite ranty, but there's also food for thought.
Comics essen Seele aufSascha Thaus Kolumnensammlung bei comicgate, die exakt 100 Ausgaben umfasste. Zwar schon älter, aber trotzdem gut zum Stöbern. (Wegen mangelnder Hauptseite führt der Link zu #18.)

Sources / Academia

  • ImageText - "The objective of ImageTexT is to advance the academic study of comic books, comic strips, and animated cartoons. Under the guidance of an editorial board of scholars from a variety of disciplines, ImageTexT publishes solicited and peer-reviewed papers that investigate the material, historical, theoretical, and cultural implications of visual textuality. (...) ImageTexT will include reviews of current scholarship in the field, announcements regarding relevant conferences and upcoming publications, and links to other theoretical projects of interest to readers. ImageTexT will also provide currently unavailable English-language translations of seminal essays of comics theory."

  • ComicsResearch - As the name suggests, this site is indeed geared towards people doing research on literature dealing with comics. "Each entry will eventually include the book's Table of Contents as well as (if applicable) a list of comics works reprinted in it (and their sources, sometimes undocumented), other general notes on content and organization, ISBN numbers, and reviews". Also has a "chattier sibling" (blog).

03 March 2006 @ 01:26 am
I wrote this; I might as well post it. It was written for a Lit Theory class and certainly wasn't intended for broad publication. The assignment was to produce a 2-4pp reading of a text using the methods demonstrated by Michael Riffaterre, Roland Barthes, or Joel Weinsheimer; I chose the latter and wrote on Jaime Hernandez's "100 Rooms," a Locas story from early in his career. My essay is pretty heavily dependent on having read Weinsheimer's (located at the link from his name as well as on JSTOR) -- this is surely a flaw but I think an insurmountable one given the page limit. At the very least, I tried to address a couple fundamental aspects of applying semiotics to comics. So, for whoever's willing to wade through it, here's a link to the PDF of "Theory of Character: Maggie".

ETA: I don't seem to be able to use any "tags" aside from those that have previously been used in this community. Is that normal?
19 February 2006 @ 08:38 pm
"Just as Watchmen has no gods and Sandman has a plethora, so, too, do they each have their mottos - "Nothing ever ends" and "Things change." The two works are very disparate, certainly; one a bleak nightmare with only salvation offered at the sacrifice of morality, the other a byzantine fantasy obsessed with storytelling as it births a new dream. But, together, as either literature, a commentaries on the comic industry, or exceptional stories, their wealth is difficult to be ignored."

Also includes musings on the comics medium itself and how it is perceived by the general public.

Note: When I got the "news" that this Sandman-Spin-off even existed (two months ago), it was already too late: There was no chance to read the series as a whole. I bought one of the TPB collections, though, and enjoyed it so far -- therefore I prefer to not having an opinion whether I should officially hate Kiernan or not (I don't "hate" very much, anyway). But I decided to list this article because I found it to be a prime example of the "Mary Sue" phenomenon, a term that stems from the fanfiction fandom(s)... It gave me a nice "Deja Vu" feeling, if you know what I mean.

Music: The Wake - An Immaculate Concept
05 February 2006 @ 10:09 pm
This entry, as well as the next, will center around Neil Gaiman's probably most famous work, the Sandman series published by Vertigo.

First, there's a great review by Rebecca Scott over at greenmanreview - it covers all the books, volume I to X. That's one of the reasons why I included this link. The other is that it's not just a recap of the story, but also contains thoughts on the character development, meaning, and impact of the series.

Examples under the cut.Collapse )

Oh, and I may be stating the obvious here, but: This review contains spoilers. Spoilers, Spoilers, Spoilers!


Next: "Faerie Continuity - On Neil Gaiman's adaptation of William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream into comic form and the influence on his comic book series The Sandman"

It's a scholarly text (from the Free University of Berlin), so it's nothing one could read during lunch break... but it's interesting none the less.


And, last for today, a very interesting essay by Atara Stein: "Immortals and Vampires and Ghosts, Oh My!: Byronic Heroes in Popular Culture"
She's largely using characters from television series and movies - like Q, Angel, or Eric Draven (The Crow)--, but also included Morpheus, and imho it's a very entertaining read.

Have fun :)
Music: Roxy Music - Avalon
23 January 2006 @ 09:55 pm
Paul O'Brien : "Manga dominates the shelves"

"This time last year, I predicted that the most important story of 2003 would be the increasing domination of manga. At that point, it was already dominating the graphic novel shelves in American bookstores. We appeared to be witnessing the emergence of a completely parallel market for comics - one that featured different readers, different creators, different genres and different stores. Oh, and one which was almost exclusively Japanese."
(Article 10 / The 9th Art Online Magazine / December 2003)


I know this article's a bit dated by now, but when I read it, it effected me greatly-- because I had always thought that the growing and in most cases already predominating popularity of mangas (or manhwas) was a "problem" solely restricted to the german comics market.

For example, when you enter a bookstore with a comics section, it usually looks like this: Four entire shelves with mangas, and, crammed into a corner, one single shelf for all the rest - which means, most of it consists of only Asterix the Gaulle, Donald Duck and comic strips / funnies collected in trades. If you are really lucky, they also have something like the "Guide to the Batcave", Persepolis or ElfQuest. And that's it.

When it comes to comics, most german publishing houses openly admit that mangas are THE (and often the only) thing to do if you want to make some money out of it. But the cheaper production (black-and-white art, small volumes which you can store in greater amounts, no need for glossy or high quality paper) is only a part of it. The main point, I think, is the different target group and also an image problem.

There exists a huge generation gap -- the average reader of american or european comics being a male around his mid-twenties, whereas the average manga reader is much younger and one of the very few statistics available also says that the percentage of the female readers goes up to almost 50%. Publishing houses also actively search out new talents who imitate the japanese art style. Young people nowadays grow up with mangas (and animes), period.*

This is intertwined with the "Japan Trend" that became increasingly fashionable during the last years: Everything japanese is cool, but everything else is total crap. That's why, if you like "western" comics, visiting manga message boards or communities can make you wince, head-desk or foam at the mouth, because by "crap", they mean absolutely vile, worthless, can't-be-good-even-if-I've-never-read-the-comic-in-question piece of shit.

I'm still hoping that this behaviour can be put down to age differences and maybe also group pressure. *helpless shrug*

* Me? More and more often, I feel like a dinosaur. In a few years, they'll find me in a tar pit, surrounded by smudgy trades of the works of Neil Gaiman, Enki Bilal, Warren Ellis, Devin Grayson, Walter Moers, and Wendy and Richard Pini. The manga mammals will point at me and laugh.


I'm not sure myself where I wanted to go with this; I suppose I just wanted to get some thoughts down on paper webspace paper that have been on my mind for months. If you have any thoughts on the matter, or also if there's a similar mangasplosion ;) in your country, please be so kind and share-- I'd love to know. :)
Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
Music: The Pixies - Where is my mind
15 January 2006 @ 10:41 pm

kalinara, in her blog "Pretty, Fizzy Paradise":

"See, ironically, what I grew tired of with manga is its portrayal of female characters, which in its own way I find is no less (and no more) sexist than American Superhero comics.
In my experience women in Japanese comics all tend to fall into a few groups..."


Then there's this wonderful post by gweniveeve where she collected various links from all over the net on the subject matter, for example:
  • Why Can't Female Leads Be Happy Without a Boyfriend?: Boys' Comics vs Girls' Comics in Japan

  • Oh Shoujo: Comics for Girls

  • She Was Asking For It: The Dangers of Shoujo

Her post can be found here. Go, read, enjoy!