Honey and Clover

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The author: Chika Umino

Data: April 2000~ July 2006

Publishing company: Shueisha

This is my favorite girls’ comic. The story is about five art college students in their love triangles and especially unrequited love. Not only their love, but the story also includes graduating from college, finding job, and learning more about themselves.

I think in general girls comics, those characters shows their desire to catch their loved one. However this comics does not have such characters so many, and they always try to find themselves through their love. Compared to other girls’ comics, the mood is embarrassing or uncomfortable because the characters are too innocent. However I think this is the one having such mood and funny scenes with cute drawing.

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And related to this week’s lecture, this author, Chika Umino, did doujin activities before her debt as a comic artist.p1-1

 

Otake culture is getting to be accepted, and publishers find many talented persons.

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Left side images are from their doujinshi, right side images are their original comics. Both artists are from doujin activities. It is clear that doujin is widely accepted and it means people can easily get opportunities to show their abilities. And some official artists do doujin activities after their debt.

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It is interesting to know that some official artists are also fan of something through doujin activities, but I think famous artists could influence (good or bad) on people and media. Dojin is like a tacit agreement, I think getting too much attention could cause being blamed.

Response to Priya’s Shakti

Among the comics we had to read for class this week I must say that I really enjoyed Priya’s Shakti. I really liked it because it was very different from a lot of comics and stories that are out there.

The story combined magic and fantasy with the horrors of real life events that happen in this world every day. I found it to be very empowering and encouraging as being a woman myself it made me realize how much power, intellect and talent us women have to offer the world.

I also realized how much I can take for granted such as being educated let alone college educated. Here where I am from most people go to school, get their degrees and go on with their life. But the part in the story where Priya wanted so desperately to be educated to become a teacher made me think how many people feel that way in many parts of the world and here I am stressing over an exam. I know I am fortunate and blessed. With that being said not only do many people not have that opportunity of getting an education but women have it especially hard. In a lot of cultures women are to keep to their traditional role as homemaker, wife and mother. Yes, women can certainly do that but there is so much more to us. This character Priya had the courage to speak up without shame of what she wants to become though there were many obstacles in her way.

Even though Priya is a comic story chartacter she proves to be so much more than that to so many people. She is powerful and helps give women strength when they need it the most.

Another issue she confronts does not discriminate between different classes but a problem women from all walks of life can relate to, rape.

Priya comes from a part of the world where the victim is shamed, damned and dirty in sexual assault. Though she is the victim who was innocent and helpless, she will be humiliated and frowned upon. But in the western world women can still easily feel that way too. Women can feel it was all their fault and they hold no value. If only in the real world we can call help from a great goddess who gives us power of the divine to help us turn our problems around. But in the end the message that Priya is sending to all women is to search for our own inner power and goddess, get the courage to speak up with no shame and standing for what we believe in because if nobody starts that than it will never take place.

Priya mentions in the story that equality, respect and value of each other make for a stronger society that will have less problems. Humans have so many great qualities and we as a race have so many wonderful things we can do in this world but we are also capable of the most disturbing nightmares. Why these terrible things happen is beyond my comprehension but little by little people can stand up for their rights with respect, dignity and no shame and the world will start going in a more positive direction. Nothing will ever be perfect since perfection does not exist but improvement is just the beginning to a new positive road of life and hopefully it will only get better.

Requirements of being a Superhero!

Our class discussion this past Tuesday intrigued me. It was about what physical traits and moral values and ideas superheroes. For most people, a superhero is a strong, physically well built man in a tight iconic costume who fights off crime and the bad guys and only does what is right to protect the people. For the most part we think of superheroes as male but there are female superheroes too. They too like their male counterparts are almost always physically attractive with great sex appeal. Batman and Superman are irresistible to women. The female heroes have tight fit bodies with low-cut revealing clothing. Take Wonder Woman for example, she is sexy. For the most part I have not seen an ugly superhero so I guess being physically attractive is mandatory for being a superhero even though looks have nothing to do with fighting crime and saving people’s lives. The sex appeal too has nothing to do with protecting the human race.

Superheroes are designed this way to make them the utmost idea of perfection for they are not average like the rest of us common folk. With their good looks they also contain super powers and/or amazing abilities. Superman with his great strength and super-human powers makes him a great threat for the bad guys. Batman being highly intelligent like that of a detective with all his awesome gadgets and being incredibly  wealthy to afford the best technology, lab, car and weapons, he doesn’t need super powers. Spiderman gets his strength and powers when he is bitten by a radioactive common house spider and Iron-man, like Batman, does not have super powers but has the means to afford him awesome equipment and a suit that can defeat anything and transforms him into this unstoppable machine.

Other common traits in superheroes is that they usually tend to have love interests. Batman and Iron-man always have some girl waiting and drooling for them. Batman also can get caught up with the wrong girl like Catwoman or Poison Ivy, women that can be dangerous and have sided with the villains. Superman has a thing for Lois Lane and Wonder Woman at times. Spiderman loves Mary Jane. Superheores need love too because why if they didn’t, why would they fight crime if they had no love in their hearts?

Some heroes and anti-heroes can come from troubled or hard pasts and their way of coping is to fight crime. Batman’s family was murdered by the insanely demented Joker and the Hulk, whether he is considered a hero or an anti-hero, had his mother murdered by his own father who horribly abused him throughout his childhood. I think their pasts are something that makes the hero a bit more human. They have gone through sadness and grieve. They know what loss is like and I believe that is what makes them better heroes because they turn that pain into compassion for the other civilians who are in danger. Superman’s Kryptonite is his weakness and like I said, having a weakness or a hard past make the heroes more likeable and people can relate more to them.

Lastly, I believe every superhero needs an equally impressive villain that can match up to their superhero rival or the stories would be seriously boring. Batman’s villains are iconic and memorable; Penguin, Joker, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Mister Freeze, Two-Face and The Riddler are all extremely easy to identify and remember. Superman with Lex Luther, they are always fighting it out. And Spiderman has an enormous group of villains. Too many to count. Alistair Smythe, Big Man, Big Wheel and Beetle to name a few.

For so many reasons, the list is endless of what makes superheroes superheroes. What traits do they have, what their stories are, who they are with, who are their enemies and so on. For one thing I am sure about is that they will continue to entertain us and keep us wanting more of them.

Yasmine

Superheroes as the New Mythology

First of all, I’d like to lay out that this is not an original thought of mine. I had read an article some time ago (the author and article title escape me) that pitched this idea, and it’s one that I find myself thinking about quite a bit and want to elaborate on.

The idea in question is that the adventures of comic book superheroes are more or less a modern version of the hero myths from ancient societies. It makes sense in a lot of ways. Many cultural myths followed the exploits of many larger than life characters like Gilgamesh or Hercules just to name a few. In that same vein, superhero comics tell us the tales of characters who could be considered gods as well. People love to read about the adventures of superheroes like Superman, The Flash, and Captain America in probably the same way that ancient Greeks loved listening to The Odyssey.

It’s also worth noting that the comic book industry is certainly aware of the superheroic aspect of mythology and using that as a resource. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby took the initiative to directly adapt existing mythology with their use of Thor as a superhero. Lee and Kirby were definitely onto something with their idea of adapting Thor, because Norse mythology was already a superhero comic. There were ready-made heroes and villains to use and a whole host of worlds to explore. By looking at the minimal changes that had to be made to turn Thor from Scandinavian myth to comic book superhero, we can see how similar superheroes already are to mythological figures.

I think that the popularity of superheroes is due to the same phenomenon that has kept people interested in the mythology of bygone eras. There’s some innate cultural desire to see someone greater than ourselves; someone who can serve as an example of what people should strive to be. It’s because of this that I believe that many of the superheroes we know today will continue on for generations to come

Student Exercises

The exercise “The Wrong Planet” in Drawing Words & Writing Pictures (Abel & Madden, 2008) challenges student teams to draw independent scenes about an astronaut going to the wrong planet and then put them all together and create a coherent comic strip. These are Thursday’s results after students corrected for narrative coherency without trying to strip down to the bare minimum number of panels.

comicpinkdark^ This team’s comic has the astronaut arrive on the planet, strip out of his suit, get drunk on the way home, and land on “Planet of the Grapes” instead of Earth. Hmm, maybe the team was inspired by Tuesday’s lecture about Underground comix defying the Comics Code Authority? Points for the awesome close-up of the startled eye.

comicgreendark^ In this team’s strip, the astronaut lands, leaves, and falls asleep at the con, allowing the spaceship to enter a wormhole and land him on another planet. We all liked the countdown panel; I think everyone copied it on the second go-round!

comicyellowdark^ In this team’s strip, the astronaut goes the the planet, leaves, comes back only to be told by an irate scientist that he’d traveled to the wrong planet in the first place — head-slap. This team’s revisions included adding more facial close-ups to make the strip character-driven rather than action-driven.

I love the fact that everybody’s rocket ship looks the same, despite about eight different students drawing it for various panels. It is clearly the archetypical rocket ship!

The exercise nicely moved the class toward next week’s Tuesday lecture on storytelling structure. Professor Terry and I really like this textbook and love seeing our students’ work!

New Kind of Comic

Today, when Dr. Dru was going over the different genres of manga, I couldn’t help but think about the differences in genre in comparison to American comic genres. In Japan, they have shonen manga, which was popular amongst boys, of which most people know about (such as Naruto or One Piece). However, they also had shojo manga, which was popular amongst girls. This, however, isn’t nearly as popular in America. Now, personally, I love action as much as the next guy, but I still wonder why shojo was never really popular in America. Sailor Moon is probably the most popular shojo manga, but that’s about it.

This difference between Japanese and American comics interests me because in order to provide the public with a female-oriented genre of comics, the comic artists are required to accept the fact that they have a female clientele. This caught me off guard. But what surprised me the most is the fact that shojo manga rose in the mainstream manga culture in the 1960s, and there aren’t really any mainstream comics in America that are created for girls by girls. There are some underground comics, but it still seems that American comics are refusing the fact that girly-girls would like to read comics about girly stuff.

At most, we have gender-neutral comics in America. But I don’t think that’s enough. I want sparkles without any light source. I want illogical floating roses in the background. I want shiny eyes that express emotion and mystery. I want strong female protagonists that fight the patriarchy and establish peace and freedom and equality with everyone of every sexual identity.