philippos42: (yotsuba)
From Fandom!Secrets: "If I wanted to get into comic books..."
Where should I start? I'm aware of superheroes and horror as genres, and I'm generally open to both of those. I just don't want to jump in the middle of a storyline and be all confused. Googling did not help me decide. Help.
I got in late, but agreed with the generic answer of more self-contained graphic novels. My post was just a bunch of recommendations:
_

Nightschool by Svetlana Chmakova is supernatural action-adventure in an urban fantasy/horror world. Some people might be annoyed by the ending, and it has a lot of less developed characters which may make it hard on some readers, but there's some clever stuff.

Human Target: Chance Meetings by Peter Milligan and Edvin Biuković (Sorry for the Amazon link; I am not recommending you buy from Amazon.) I just reread this last night. It's too British in places; some of the characters are parodies of Americans rather than Americans, if that makes sense. There are some bad-but-minor plot holes in the third chapter; one because someone chose to cut and transition to another scene at a striking moment instead of showing the embarrassing seconds afterward. So, it's more of a mess than I remembered. But Edvin Biuković did a pretty solid job on the art, and it both has some trippy psychological stuff and manages to untie it and get to a surprisingly unambiguous ending. (I think.)
There are more Milligan Human Target stories, but I haven't read them. Here's a review: http://www.shinyshelf.com/2011/03/22/peter-milligan-human-target/

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: Not superheroes, not horror, just a memoir of an Iranian girl in the time of the rise of the Islamic Republic.

Of the superheroes, I like Captain Marvel, the current one, "Carol" to her fans. In the last few years, they've changed the artists, they've restarted the numbering a few times, and there's one issue that's just part of an X-Men crossover. So...you should probably get the trades (that is, trade paperback collections), anyway: I started with the issues collected as "Higher, Further, Faster, More," which is the most recent "volume one" until the next "volume one." Honestly, their packaging is terrible. But these issues aren't terribly crossover-heavy, thankfully, and Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez are really cool. (And...I think they're off the book as of this November and the fourth #1 in three years.)

[Note: If you follow Carol, know that "Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps" is...really weird. I think it's still coming out in floppy form, so I don't know what it's going to be collected as. But it's part of the "There is only Secret Wars" hot mess that Marvel got into this year, and so...it's particularly surreal for a Carol story.]

And then, and then, Rocket Girl by Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder is an Image Comics series with time travel and stuff, and I like it, but I think the creators are having a really hard time financially. I'm supposed to have a trade of it by now, and I don't know what happened.
_

Oh, also Yotsuba&!. Always.
philippos42: (despair)
Here, have a nice video. I'm going to say some harsh things about fandom, & thus most likely about you. So I'll start with something positive, and it makes a good soundtrack.
(thanks to Yamino)

I long ago got sick of the sort of fan (consistently male) whose fandom conversation substantially exists of proclamations of how badass his particular favored character is. "Hulk is the strongest one there is!" "No, Thor!"

There is another sort of fan (consistently female) who is functionally the distaff counterpart. Her fannishness is pretty much filtered through "shipping"--sometimes in really contrary-to-the-text ways.

After a decade in online fandom, I can tell you that conventional-wisdom gender stereotypes hold. Boys make everything into professional wrestling, girls make everything into a romance novel. And because comic-books are low art, popular art, they draw a lot of people who fall back on the conventional thinking about character & story. (I should be reading more classic Russian lit or something, right? Get a better class of fiction in my brain.)

And then I guess there are people like me. I find both those tropes a bit silly for the most part, occasionally disturbing in their singlemindedness, & ultimately, after ten years of competing visions of the best badass or the best ship, I find them tedious as all get out. And then there are the fans that I like to read: people who are actually writing about something else.

I'm not immune to feats of awesome power. Let's be clear. I am a Doctor Zero fan for a reason. Supes, Magneto, Ultragirl, I do actually like some ridiculous, over-the-top, stride-over-the-world (alien messiah-hood optional) characters. Sometimes I get annoyed at those who want to jack up a favored character's power level further than I would, or favor a character from a series I find annoying. But if I can be irked at Batman fanboys or Barry Allen loyalists, well, I hope I'm self-aware enough to realize that Supes, Magneto, Ultragirl, & Doctor Zero are silly characters too. Sometimes it's best to back off and not have other characters job to your guy. (I long wanted Ultragirl to paste Gladiator, but on reflection I doubt it's in character for her even if she somehow can.)

And when it gets to the less high-powered characters, well, part of the appeal is how they work with what they've got. I don't need my character to be able to simply and automatically whup anybody, & a story that read that way would be less satisfying than one where the hero had to work at it. (There's a really good example contrasting a Pérez/Andru Wonder Woman story with a Jimenez Wonder Woman story, that I think I have neglected to post for years. And Wondy is not really low-powered even!)

I think it was in Tree and Leaf I read the passage where the writer says that for him the question about heroes of story was, "Are they good? Are they evil?" I think I'm closer to that instinct of interpretation. Power is about what you do with it.

As for romance: I'm not against romance. I actually like romantic stories with characters who are written/designed to be together. But I rarely have non-canon ships as a rule, & I don't naturally seek them.

(I joke that I ship Koiwai and Asagi, but it's not a serious thing. I kind of want Jumbo to win, actually. I don't have, I'm not naïve enough, I'm too flipping old to have deep FEELINGS about it either way. All I can do is wait on Azuma to write what he will write.)

I could say, "I don't ship. I'm a guy." That's true enough. But more than that, I'm not really all that much into character-transformative fic for the sake of teh romance. Once you've turned a character into a different character, it's not quite the same character.

This may be alien thinking to some of comixfandom, as comix seem to think that a character is a name and a costume. But character, that's about who a character is, how they think, what their ethos is--and sometimes who you love, how you love, whether you love is part of that.

Now, some transformation is objective improvement. To get a character to stop being self-destructive, to be happier, to be less of an insulting caricature (1940's comix' portrayal of Orientals pretty much demanded reimaginings)--a fanfic can try to fix it, & sometimes a fan-turned-pro can invent new canon. But sometimes a character is designed to be imperfect. I'm not a great believer in "death of the author." Authors for me are always there, voice inescapably coming off the page. A later author may repurpose the characters, but that's another author using the same tags.

Still, I'm not completely against the transformation of character, not even where it ties into sex & relationships. (I got into Wondy fandom because I wanted to reinvent the franchise, people!)

I find it completely understandable if some het person fantasizes about turning Northstar straight. That makes sense to me on some level--the character, just "improved" to be more like a certain ideal. It doesn't even have to be a girl fantasizing that he's her (or her proxy character's) boyfriend. It can just be a matter of trying to tie a character you like to something in your personal identity or ideals. Reimagining Wonder Woman as a Christian? Sure, I can see where that comes from.

So by analogy I understand someone using fic to turn a character gay.

Someday I may understand what's up with Judd Winick changing the ethnicities of characters who already had sharply defined and unusual ethnic backgrounds. Doesn't mean I'll agree with it.

And that's sort of how I feel about insisting that Kyle Rayner and Connor Hawke need to be a couple, or that Batman can beat everyone with prep time. I can understand it, I just reject the assumption.

Superhero comix fandom & the superhero comix industry are so intertwined, so incestuous, so inbred, that a lot of what we get is a totally earnest version of Stan Lee's hoary old captions, where he'd say stuff to the effect of, "And now we get to the fighting! Which is what you really care about!" I miss Ann Nocenti, who didn't come out of comix fandom, & who wrote stuff from a really different place. Now I think of it, I may even miss Steve Gallacci's dry, political anthropomorphs, in their chapters with no big fight, no payoff, living lives of desperation in a world that could go to hell on a scale far larger than themselves.

What I'm saying is that tonight I'm officially sick of it. The novelty has worn off. Most shippers aren't good enough writers to get me to care. In this shippy fans are like writers of ultimate showdowns & other wrasslin'-esque stories.

(blue is a dazzling exception, though nobody's dazzling enough to get me to even read Addison/Meredith fic. That said, I think Harrierverse works in the same sense that revisionist Arthuriana works. Whatever the characters are named, they are in blue's stories who she means them to be. And they're well-written. I just feel sad that she identifies her characters with corporately owned characters that can never really be hers.)

So I really appreciate Aaron Diaz, who is not a ficcer (uses his own characters) is not boring (creates clever scenarios) and when he's writing meta (see blog ) is this wonderfully dorky (if vaguely self-righteous) enthusiast for drawing and visual design.

And Shinga, who is a terrible little snarkblossom.

But ah, you say, these are creators, & not stupid, stunted-brain work-for-hire fanboys hacking out commercial pap about characters someone else owns! Also, their output is really freakin' slow. They are closer to Los Bros. Hernandez than some Big Name Fan like espanolbot or bluefall.

Right. But satirist commentators (or humorist critics) like espanolbot, or even finer, auggie18/magickmaker/freerangenerdity, succeed by tweaking the creators. (And frankly it's that kind of humor helped turn me on to Shinga.)

Am I this kind of smart, cool fan? Nah. I don't write that much, I'm not funny, & sometimes my blog is just links & memes. I hate to say it, but I fit in too well in the tumblr dynamic of just repeating other people's images. :(

Oh, well.

I'm not even as crazy clever-prolific as odditycollector, who would I think insist that's she's just a fan doing memes & jokes--but her memes take more work than most.

On a good day (once a year) I might be comparable to thehefner, or at least he makes sense to me. Reminds me of a smart guy I know in real life.

...

Doctor Zero could paste all the superheroes, too bad he's near-sociopath on the interpersonal relationship development scale. I just can't write a shipfic about him.

And I don't care. But there is pretty fan art and pretty fan music and funny fan jokes, & I still like internet fandom.
philippos42: (clover)
Oh good lord it's a live-action Yotsuba localization.


OK, this one takes some explaining. Someone took the lyrics to this song & made a Yotsuba&! fan comic. I guess that explains the non-Azuma art sequence with the whole cast running. Then someone else turned it into this video.


Fan-made credits animation for a nonexistent TV version, apparently. Faces are mostly good, though I thought watching it that some of the characters' builds may be a tiny bit off. And gah, what does it say that I'm thinking, no, Fuuka should be bustier, Torako maybe less so, Mom should have more lines in her face, well Koiwai is OK....

No, really, they're all very close to model.
Oh, I'm not remembering to keep these to a daily schedule. Well, that just makes them last longer.



This is a weird one, lots of non-Yotsuba&! at the beginning. And crossover team-ups!
philippos42: Paul Rudd (pretty)


Wow, Yotsuba&! fan videos. <3 Asagi forever.

(Asagi's the one who squirts Yotsuba with a water pistol. This references "Yotsuba & Revenge.")
In about the last week, I have read vols. 3-5 of Yotsuba&! in the ADV edition (Javier Lopez's translation). Also an online scanslation of vol. 2. And found out about the Yen Press editions. After a good while of knowing Yotsuba only from the occasional clips in scans_daily, I'm in full fan mode.

So yeah, the new Greatest Thing Ever, & less ironic than I usually mean that.

And of course, as the first full volumes I read were ADV, I got used to that voice for Yotsuba. The way Lopez had her call Koiwai-san "Dad" instead of "Daddy" sounds right to me now. I could justify it, but it's just how I was introduced. Isn't her speech supposed to be a little-kid version of her father's masculine idiom?

Also, the first ADV volume jokingly suggests that Yotsuba may be from another planet. Then I read it. Oh, yeah, she could be. She's from "overseas." She has green hair. She swims like a fish, even though her father calls himself an "iron hammer." When the surf flipped her floaty-tube over at the beach, she was upside-down in the water for a moment, & seemed not to mind when she came out. And then there are lines the stargazing story which can be read to indicate that Koiwai got her somewhere other than Earth.

After the stargazing story ADV abandoned the translations. Did they finally decide this wasn't really about an alien after all, thus not kewl enough?

It's all ADV's fault ;)

Well, one thing that's not. I got the idea that Yotsuba was only 3 or 4 years old. See, I decided that Fuka was roughly 12-14, then Ena was enough smaller she might be 8. Then I started out thinking Yotsuba was maybe 6 (just a little younger than Ena). But Yotsuba was so much smaller, & not visibly in school, that I decided she might be younger. So yeah, I didn't know, but maybe 3-5. But she's six, I guess. At least, she says she's six at one point. And Fuka is sixteen. And Ena is...10?

Anyway, this is really cool. I recommend Yotsuba to practically everyone.

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philippos42

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