Fletcher Hanks created some bizarre, sadistic superhero comics in 1939-1941. Tim and Kumar discuss this collection of his work, edited by Paul Karasik.
Bay Area cartoonist Emily Stackhouse tells Tim about her first comic, Brazilianoir, and the trails and tribulations of self-publishing it!
For a long time I’ve been an avid reader of Rumiko Takahashi’s “Inuyasha.” I originally was reading it in Japanese, but there was just a bit too much that I had to “bleep” over; since it mostly takes place in 16th century Japan, the old language threw me off. So I’ve been reading Viz’s English version in trade paperback form. But until now I hadn’t read any of Takahashi’s older stuff.
For reading during my vacation I picked up the first book of her “Ranma 1/2” (and also the “Evangelion” I reviewed earlier). Ranma, which ran in Japan (in Shonen Sunday) from 1987 to 1996, focuses on the relationship between the titular boy character and Akane. Their fathers have decided that the two teenagers should be married, but neither particularly likes the other.
The twist is that Ranma, during martial arts training in China, fell into a pool which was cursed after a young girl drowned in it. When Ranma is hit with cold water, he becomes a girl; hot water changes him back to a boy.
Obviously, he gets hit with cold water at all kinds of inopportune times. Some writers would play this predictably for “Three’s Company”-style “misunderstanding” yawner plotlines, but Takahashi does more interesting things with the device.
While there is some sexual titillation to this, including some exposed breasts, the main point of the series seems to be exploring gender roles and expectations. While Ranma physically becomes a girl, Akane has sometimes been chided for acting too much like a boy. At the same time, she’s jealous that female-form Ranma has a bigger bustline than she does.
I laughed out loud a number of times at the first volume. This is more of a comedy than the tense adventures of Inuyasha. While I still enjoy Inuyasha, I’m definitely going to be picking up more Ranma!
Wow. It’s the last issue of the first decade of Eric’s Newsletter. I’m only going to take a second to reflect on this since it seems that I always end up babbling about how long it’s been. At any rate, we’re coming up on December which means that it’s Christmas Comics time.
For some reason this year, there isn’t a whole lot going on in the world of comics. In video games, there certainly seems to be a lot of new releases. Go figure, eh? At any rate, we’re here to talk about the comic industry, so let’s see what’s going down…
Just read the first book in the Neon Genesis Evangelion series by Funino Hayashi (English version published by ADV). I found it a little creepy, probably intentionally so.
It’s an interesting mix of a standard teenage soap-opera and science fiction. I suspect there’s more SF to come in subsequent volumes; this one is mainly teen soap, except for the suggestion that the class the main characters all find themselves in is not a coincidental mix: they’re all being groomed for some purpose and are all being called into a lab for exams.
I found this creepy because it suggested they were going to be experimented on, although the attraction page for Volume 2 revealed that it’s not quite that creepy after all. Seems as though they’re all going to be controlling giant robots or something. Whatever the story is on an SF level, the dynamics set up among the characters in the first volume promise to keep the teen-soap element in play.
The main characters are Shinji and his female friend Asuka, who insists she has no romantic interest in Shinji — but then flashes hot with jealousy when a transfer student, Rei, reveals that she’s falling for Shinji. Other subplots are in a similar vein.
It’s fairly standard manga material, but it kept my interest enough that I’m planning on picking up the second volume.
More on Watchmen, including the significance of the Black Freighter pirate sequences, the Institute for Extraspacial Studies, more things Douglas Wolk missed, and why Moore didn’t use the old Charlton Comics characters!