Friday, June 30, 2006

An old fashioned action comic preview. I wonder how old fashioned floppies will fare, as TPBs are so popular, but since this particular comic is good old fashioned fun, I don't think it'll have much trouble, especially as it is targeted for readers over 18.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ok, I was reading Mangablog as I always do, and I was like wtf? Tokyopop is sponsoring a summer reading program! I'd hope that some of the larger US comics companies might step up to the plate, but hahaha, yea right. Hopefully through programs like this, a whole new generation of kids will be introduced to comics and want to copy their heroes. The project for us today is to make sure that when they do try to copy their heroes, they don't have to deal with a bunch of bullshit about how somehow they are too dark to make comics, or their genitalia isn't the right type to make comics, you dig?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Crowhen talks about how folks need to produce more comics for women. I agree- I love manga, but what I really want are stories from my own culture represented. While I don't mind well written and innovative stories about white culture, I'm just saying that there's a lot of room for many different stories to be told. Now, black folks alone spend 300 million bucks per year on books, and that's not counting the books we borrow from libraries, pass around among friends,etc. And that's just us. Hispanic folks need more books(even if it's just translating Spiderman into Spanish, but that's way too weak), and manga is all fine and dandy, but there are tons of different ethnic groups and experiences in the Asian community.

So basically companies are just sitting on money they could be making. DC could go, put those old Milestone comics in small manga style volumes, and there they got some stuff they could sell. But one thing I should caution folks about is don't just put a face of color on your comic with no advertising or promotion to the target audience. Folks need to know your book is out there. Don't just think that we are clairvoyant. And for god's sake, require some writing skills,ok? We can read!

And yea, I know we need to build up on our own, which is why I started a livejournal community devoted to this. But all the building up in the world isn't going to help if we still have to contend with ridiculous attitudes.
An Indian Wonder Woman would be amazing. I'd be interested in picking up this series when it comes out. I'm an airhead, so I didn't notice Pam Noles did comics. Black on black kissing . Also, I heart this little comic.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

This is a great post on what would be considered equal objectification. You know, while I'm on this topic, costumes are only the tip of the iceberg as far as objectification. Let's look at this from a manga lenses. Take Lum. She is an alien in a tiger striped bikini, yet she manages to be less objectified than many of our own comic book superheroines. The artist for the manga at least has some sense of proportion- we don't see tons of loving shots of Lum's crotch, her breasts spilling out of her bikini top, or her bottoms sliding down to reveal her ass crack.

Now in other manga, even stories with women with more covering outside costumes can still be objectifying. We have of course every single manga series that has a loser guy who suddenly finds himself in the middle of tons of girls who are interchangeable except for hair color and superficial traits like 'she's the tomboy' or "she's the smart one" who just can't seem to avoid slipping and showing their panties, ending up in wacky situations where they are in their panties or nude,etc,etc. Now, the reason these manga and many superhero comics objectify women is simple- they are wank fantasies for guys who can't get any ass.

But the reason manga gets a bit less crap about it is that while you got the wank fantasies, it's easier to ignore them and still stay in the mainsteam. I can read Boys Over Flowers, Paradise Kiss, Doubt!, Kare Kano, Happy Mania, Maison Ikkoku, Tramps Like Us and on and on for years if I would like and never encounter an errant panty(although ParaKiss and Happy Mania have sex scenes, it's not pornographic, although Happy Mania is quite explicit). For American comics, I have to stay away with the capes and tights and go with the more interesting independents.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Tokyo Boys and Girls is a lot more fun than I thought it would be. The drawing style is a lot rougher than Hot Gimmick, but the protagonist manages to be slightly awesome. Momori is quick to call a guy on his shit, even though she has a conflicting desire for things to run smoothly. Add in a dizzy pal, a guy from elementary school who claims to want revenge, but acts an awful lot like he is really hot for our protag, and a pair of good time guys and you have a lot of fun.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It's the amazing Lea, and her comments on feminism and comics.

Monday, June 19, 2006

In other news, the amazing Hereville. Also, artist for the Blade comic revealed. If Marvel doesn't mess this up, and they will, they could have a gold mine. I mean, butt kicking adventure stories tied into a recognizable property? I bet they won't have any ads in any magazines young men read or even get some nice displays in bookstores when the GN comes out. TV ads are expensive, but I'd love to see an ad saying "love the show? Take it with you! Read the comic" but of course that will certainly not happen at all.
I finally got Stagger Lee. The best parts of the book were when the different versions of the song were explored and played off one another. The visual way this was done was especially interesting- the visual motif of the suit patterns made the different versions of Stagger Lee and Billy instantly recognizable. The historical fiction was also very interesting. They took a few historical characters and by the end of it, we have a good story of corruption, whores with hearts of gold, saloon politics, and lawyering. I of course love the art, but it speaks for itself.

Related, Stagger Lee blog

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Jen analyzes 52 and discusses anti Chinese sterotyping, reminding us all that just because there are minority characters in a comic doesn't mean it is going to actually represent that minority. Also, I post a list of places to submit your comics to the people of color comics collective, but if you know of another place, please comment. Also some comics from black creators and all, but some links don't work. Megatokyo fans exhibit the sort of behavior that lessens the amount of blacks in fandom.
This is a pretty good, indepth discussion of comic book companies and what they aren't doing to get women and minorities in the door. The white indies as I see it have a bit more leverage to do better in these areas as well. What I want to see, and I'm looking at Oni press specifically, is well, the sort of upbeat fun books they have been doing, but say, with more black folk and more latino folk. I like their vibe. But of course a lot of things would have to happen, and of course I am better off saving up to take an art class so I can learn how to draw than ever hoping for the American indies to change, though.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Interspersed with comments are comics from Jaime Hernandez that ran in the New York Times.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Secret Asian Man has an interesting commentary on racial drawing styles in this week's comic. I agree, I do tend to make black folks with really wide noses, although if it's a drawing of me, it's justified. However, I do notice in superhero comics if folks are drawn right or not, because they are trying to draw in a hyperexagerated realism, so if someone looks wrong, it is really noticeable. In a more cartoony style, it's less noticeable, but still, my advice would be to try to practice drawing a variety of faces, like people should try to draw a variety of bodies as well
I was reading this good summary of the wank that went down on and that made me think about an issue that has bothered me a lot. The idea that we somehow need 'allies' that can only be satisfied if we are silent drives me batty. The whole point of allies is to stand up for people when they are exhausted from dealing with the issues or talking among their group to help soften attitudes. Now, how is that going to be able to go on, if they can't even listen about how we don't need to have random crotch shots in every issue, how will they explain the concept of sexism to others? If folks can't even accept that racism does not mean that one time a person of color did not act perfectly submissive, how can anyone rely on you when we need to say 'hey, maybe we need a few more people of color around the place(Vaguely related, I hope they make a GN of the Storm/Panther marriage story- more people go to bookstores than comic stores. Also, I hate messy floppies.)- we'd probably hear some mess about how all people of color can't draw or some shit. Being 'nice' is pretty much counterproductive as it lulls people who just don't get it into believing they do.

You have to be an ally because you have the same goals. They don't have to be for the same reasons- like you could want less butt floss in comics because you want people to take comics more seriously, but if you don't want to do something of your own accord, nothing anyone can say can fix it for you. Demanding we fix your sexism, racism or whatever problem you have isn't going to get us to shut up and go away, so maybe growing up and reading a book would be a better solution. Women and people of color and gays and anyone else I fucking missed read comics, and we're pissed!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

This is a well written critique and all that, but I still have some thoughts on how it could be improved. First, this person should have made the need for racial diversity as well more explicit. The younger people are getting more and more diverse, and yea, while we all love our old white heroes, get some new blood in that is in the driver's seat, not just on the sidelines. (I thought maybe it'd be cool if DC repackaged some of those old Milestone comics as little graphic novels.) Toxic levels of white privilege may block this somewhat, but that's just throwing money out the window. Also, price is very important. The price point of manga is a huge selling point. I like my American comics, but sometimes the graphic novels have fewer pages for a bigger price. I love the ten bucks for 200 pages standard because that's a nice big chunk at a nice low price. I'm totally for this experiment- even at 2 dollars more they are certainly going in the right direction.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

From Red Jacket
But is there not the perception among many comic book buyers that a title featuring a non-white in the lead must, necessarily, be a book about "racial" issues and therefore either too preachy for the room or dealing with subjects that make them uncomfortable or angry?

I know that when trumpeting Milestone I was often met with responses along the lines of "Well, of course YOU like it. You're black. I want more mainstream stuff."

I even heard this sort of thing, I'm disgusted to say, from other black people who, for whatever reason, consider those works created by or featuring non-whites to be substandard on their face. the logic there being that the people working on such books only got the gigs because of tokenism or "PCness" that would trump quality. If you're good enough, why aren't you writing/drawing XMen (or whatever)? Obviously this book is the low end."

"How about actually picking one up and reading it?" I would say.

No dice.

Bizarre. Tragic. Boom, baby.

Granted this in only anecdotal evidence but, coupled with these other prevailing trends and examples, you can see how books of a certain stripe get shut out without a fair veiwing. And then a cycle is created whereby non-white creators, in RESPONSE to being shut out in the first place, begin to place greater and greater emphasis on their non-whiteness in their works. A sort of "F--- you!" to the big dogs. Who then, in turn, take a look at the focus of the new works, those that they deign to peruse, and say to themsleves, "See! I TOLD you. Not for us. These guys are all about their anger and spewing their own brands of racism. We're all about the love."

Self-sustaining cycle.

I have to say that this cycle can't be stopped by us. Let's say that I can actually draw, and write a bunch of comics with white characters with black faces in it and submit it to the big two. Now the type of idiots who think a black face means that "oh noes, someone might talk about race!!!!!!" aren't going to change their mind if I write a comic about how Suzie Kumbaya fights all the bad black people with the help of her wisecracking rainbow group of pals who never have to deal with any issues that people of color really deal with, because the prejudice has nothing to do with what we do. If a black face makes someone uncomfortable, they'll make excuses but there's nothing that we can do about it. We have to find a target market comprised of our folk or people who can handle the fact that sometimes there are going to be people who don't look like them. To folks who are prejudiced, a scene with a black person being offended because some white guy touched his hair is the same as writing a whole comic about how whites were created by mad scientists.(for people with poor reading comprehension-the first is an example of a racial problem, the second is over the line with the prejudice)

Sure, back in the day, maybe all we had to rely on was the big two, and their slow asses. But now we have the web, we can create our own communities, we can make our own comics, post them for free and then self pub, and there's tons of comic world out there beside the man kids- heck, if you're good enough, get a Xeric grant, go to one of the indies,apply to the
Rising Stars of Manga contest. Of course, this whole discussion reminded me of how my cousin used to have those comics with the black superheroes. Milestone comics,eh?
Two amazing anti racism cartoons- the first one is by the creator of hereville, I think.

Monday, June 12, 2006

A blast from the past- Megumi Toons! I wonder how common autobio manga is.

I'm really not satisfied with the lettering of this comic. The drawing is also bad, but it's fairly good for the technical limits of my drawing skill. I think that later I will stop trying to draw realistically at all.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Today's comic buys:

Hot Gimmick 11- I need to know what happened. I also am addicted to the art style.

Stagger Lee- I saw an attractive looking preview of 15 pages, and wanted to see more.

Tokyo Boys and Girls- Following a mangaka, and hey, less than 5 bucks shipped. The other mangaka I follow is Yazawa Ai.

I am always in awe of people who can say "this week's comic buys". I know it's based off the old direct market system, which I never got the hang of. That's why I am more at home with manga and the alt books, because with manga and some of the bigger alt books, it's easy to go to the book store and have what you want in hand. Manga volumes are numbered for easy use(some American comics copy this- like there's now Scott Pilgrim 3) so you always know what to get and alt comics are more convenient because there's not so much backstory to learn. There's no spin offs or cross overs or non canon episodes(note the complicated backstory for this minor character who I had never heard of). Now, that may happen in webcomics, but the singular group of creators tends to keep it from going too crazy. I think that is why you see a more diverse group of people searching the bookstore shelves for manga and sometimes some American comics. For manga, if you can figure out how to read backwards, you're in. For indie comics, you don't even need that. Heck, with webcomics, you don't even need any money most of the time.

Friday, June 09, 2006

In other news, why is Storm wearing a bikini? Related to the post under this, here's a link for people who want to write transracially, but don't want to be dumbasses.
Possibly, but does it matter? Does a single bigoted black fan have any influence over who gets hired and fired? There are plenty of bigoted white fans who stalk me all over the internet to explain my race-based deficiencies. They don't matter. The editors who feel the same way do matter.

A short and simple explanation of institutional racism by Dwayne McDuffie. I think that to improve the racial makeup of comics, first we need to do a bit of racism 101. Now, I know that some of you think you know all about racism, despite never having read about or experienced it(Yea, I'm not counting the 'reverse racism' since it appears to be crocodile tears to me) due to having pale skin. I don't think pale skin works that way and you can learn about racism by reading about it, and listening to people of color which can help in several ways:

1)If you have a problem, you can fix it. If someone notices that you 'forgot' to cover a black comics convention, instead of wasting your time with denials and excuses, you can say 'my bad' because you know that acknowledging that other people who are not like you are also important and significant will not kill you. You can move over for a bit, and understand that people who actually have experienced something that they can't turn off, and are not using as a ploy for sympathy or to save oneself from having to think about racism may know a little bit more than you about it*.

2)Wider World View- I love comics as much as anybody, but having a narrow audience makes for narrow comics. Now, I am going to use the example of a white writer who was able to depict race very well. Howard Cruse's Stuck Rubber Baby is a classic. He first does not fall into the trap of having every white racist be a cross burner(although there are those too) but instead depicted the more subtle bigoted views. Also, he doesn't just throw in a black character without any community around them, but instead creates a lively community with just as much life as the white folks. Stuck Rubber Baby was the first GN I owned, and I became an adult comics fan due to it and Love and Rockets. To be able to have a worldview in which one can allow for many different types of people to exist, you need to exist around many different types of people. Read boards about people of color and comics. Don't shy away from discussions of race in the public sphere. See intellectuals of color speak. Listen to our radio programs. Read our livejournal communities. Stop living in that white box. Just be quiet and learn.

3)Be able to work with people of color. While some may be white identified, not everyone is going to be that way. Being able to deal with people who aren't white identified means that you won't be whining about how you can't write a minority character because what if someone says you're racist or that you can't talk about black comics conventions because someone might want you to know about actual racism before you deny things. Being able to feel empathy for people of color means that instead of being worked up about minor things like someone thinking you are racist(when there are always a million excuses about why you aren't, so why even use that lame excuse), you'd be worried about larger issues and thus be able to respect the feelings of others. Not being disrespectful is a good way to not project the attitude that comics is a whites only club, and thus more people will stay near your clubhouse.

*I've never seen a white person who complains about 'racism' ever do anything about actual racism because of their experience. Bitch maybe, insult people of color maybe, but never "hey, we have a common experience, let's work together".

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A badly drawn and written comic, based on a moment that stood out to me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

In other news,there's a comic writing challenge based off of the novel writing challenge that is pretty popular. I won't be able to succeed, but I could try.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The admin at Mangablog wonders why Hot Gimmick has so many readers if everyone hates it so much. I think it's that Hot Gimmick is the type of story that pulls you in, even if you don't agree with all of it. (spoilers after) Sure, at the center, we have the love polygon- is the doormat going to get together with the jerk, the evil childhood friend or her brother? The side stories about Hatsumi's brother's adoption, Azuza's quest for revenge for his mother death, whether Hatsumi's slutty sister Akane is going to get together with their nerdy neighbor are all page turners. Heck, at the end of volume 11, I think I saw Hatsumi have a glimmer of sense, and I hope she'll dump the asshole at the end. Yea, it sucks that Hatsumi doesn't stand up for herself after Azuza's revenge plan almost gets her gangraped, but I interpreted that as being so traumatized that she can't stand up for herself. I mean afterwards, she is more passive and limp than usual and verbally equates Ryoki to the near raping assholes. However, that doesn't ruin the whole manga for me. I'm addicted to dramatic soap operas, and yea, sometimes they have to make up some crazy shit to keep you guessing. We can't make Japan more feminist, so us Americans will have to write our own 'manga'. And not like Piro.

For the parents of younger girls- read the manga your child is reading. If you find content you find questionable, discuss it. Like let's say a girl lets a guy push her around in a manga, and you think this will give your girl the wrong idea. Talk about how she would handle the situation, and try to give her a decent outlook on things. While I'm not against the concept of art getting under your skin, I think that if you think "why do I like this?" "What messages does this send" you're less likely to be blindly influenced.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Dykes to Watch Out for LJ Feed. There's a new one up which I am surprised and grateful for as Bechdel is busy on tour.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pure heart my ass. Those guys are creeps. I guess maybe she is being sarcastic because seriously, who the fuck thinks it is bad that she is angry that some fucko thinks they are entitled to upskirt shots for their own disgusting masturbation fantasies? The Megatokyo fans are excited for the next comic, and Fred's slow updating will give them mucho excitement.