I’m in the middle of homework and I thought I’d take a bit of a break and write something up on an interest of mine for the world to read. What the hell, right? And that topic is – comic books.
Never really got into them as a kid. I did, however, have me a bit of a Green Lantern fetish back in the day, and, I’m happy to report, that has been carefully groomed over the years and is still alive and strong. Anime was pretty low on the list, growing up. I recall watching things like Voltron and Robotech (that’s the one where that one female robot could shoot her tit missiles, right? Let me see if I can find that one for you…(searching)..oh yep, here it is:
Actually no…no, I’m sorry, that wasn’t what I was thinking of. It was funny and fantastic, but still, not what I was thinking of. Let’s try…ah, here we are.
I still get a kick out of that idea. Who thought that was a good idea to air to the young population?
You get the picture. I just wasn’t into that kind of animation when I was a kid. I liked the good old-fashioned American shows like Duck Tales, Smurfs, Silverhawks, Tigersharks, the Transformers (of course), and the list goes on. It wasn’t until I got to Japan that just started jumping all over the Anime thing. I started with Manga (the graphic-novel version of the cartoon) and then just started watching what I could find on television.
The two are different, for sure – American and Japanese animation. However, if, like me, you’re only used to the American stuff, you may want to start with graphic novels. Most of what you find at your local book stores (or on Amazon) are from Japan and employ that type of art. But, that certainly is not say that there aren’t Western drawn graphic novels out there. There are some good ones. Neil Gaiman, in fact, accrued some popularity with the Sandman series, and if you didn’t already know (which is highly unlikely) the popular mini-series The Walking Dead is entirely based on a graphic novel (which, obviously, has some adult themes incorporated into it). I have only seen one episode of the movie, but my sister bought me the first compendium in graphic-novel form, which is quite thick, and so far I’m enjoying it. It’s got a lot of drama and stars zombies (the dead, but logical) and the living (the survivors who are divinely inept at good decision-making). Makes for an enjoyable use of my time.
If you’re looking for intellectual reading, don’t throw away the graphic-novel idea altogether. There are some great ones out there – in fact, there are some that are completely non-fictional, biographical, in fact. I read one a while back on Leo Trotsky. There’s also Maus, by Art Spiegelman – a story about his parents who escaped German concentration camps in WWII (unless you don’t believe WWII ever happened, in which case, yes, it would be fictional).
I’m still getting into the DC and Marvel thing; in fact, I recently asked my good friend (whose knowledge of all things related to American comics is encyclopaedic) about this one character called The Mandarin (I asked because that’s what I’m studying, the language, and it sort of came up). My interest is piqued though.
There is a different dynamic with regard to the storytelling between the two cultures, though. I love the Japanese style because it’s so out there. Go ahead, for fun sometime, and read one of Haruki Murakami’s books sometime. Then tell me if you have a clearer understanding of what is going on in the world of Modern Japanese art and creativity. It’s wild, and you’re in for a ride. There seems to be more concentration on thought, on the world, on aspects of life, and the surrealism that can be the fantasies of our world than there is in the mainstream American comic system (referring specifically to DC and Marvel), which, from what I’ve seen is all fight fight fight, fuck you fuck you fuck you, revenge, sex, die, rebirth, die, rebirth, carnage, and so on. I haven’t read all of them and the extension of my knowledge is, admittedly, shallow. But, this is again just how I see it.
It’s worth a look.
The writing goes well. Begin the Sanderson class tomorrow, and my friend has already posted her stuff because she likes to be an overachiever and show me up. Well, you know what?? After I finish all my homework, make a Power Point about Chinese culture and philosophy that I have to give on Thursday, write up a paper on instructor observation and another on four articles that I haven’t even begun to read yet, I’ll show you who’s the top dog!
- What Are DC Comic’s 25 Most Essential Graphic Novels? (firewireblog.com)
- 10 Non Superhero Graphic Novels You Should Read (listverse.com)
- EW Releases List of 10 Greatest Graphic Novels With One I’ve Never Heard Of (comicsworthreading.com)
- Getting into the world of graphic novels (anelusivehero.wordpress.com)