#337 Mulele, Jordan, and New York Comicon

Mulele is back from New York Comicon! While he can’t talk about what might have transpired in terms of getting work (which is a whole lot better than saying “nothing happened”!), he has plenty to say about the experience of being there & his impressions of the comics industry, how his thoughts about it changed, and about New York, the city.

While at the con, he ran into Jordan Kotzebue, creator of Hominids, who Tim met at Emerald City 2011. Tim calls him up this week to catch up on his progress, including how our own critique of Hominids changed his approach to the comic.

#336 “A Drunken Dream”

A Drunken Dream - Iguana Girl

Up until the late ’60s, Japanese girls’ comics were mainly done by men, and could often be formulaic and sappy. But then several female creators broke into the field and revolutionized the genre. One of them was Moto Hagio, whose stories (even when they had science fiction aspects to them) dwelt on not fitting in, losing what you love, and other themes that could be depressing, but were usually expressed in innovative and compelling ways. Little of her work is available in English, but Fantagraphics released an overview of her work, A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, two years ago. Tim and Kumar review.

#335 Teenage Love, Middle-age Lust

An experiment with magic brings a mummy to life! And… wow, is he a hunk! Dan Jolley and our friend Natalie Nourigat bring us Wrapped Up in You!

John is 40, in his second marriage, and still dealing with the fallout from the first, especially where his daughters are concerned. With a baby and two cats, he’s dealing with a lot of, er, poop — both literally and figuratively. Will he keep it together, or is that cute singer going to tempt him to mess up his life more? It’s Joe Ollmann’s Mid-Life!

Tim and Brandon discuss both books this week.

#334 “Magic Knight Rayearth”

Magic Knight RayearthIn the early ’90s, girls’ comics in Japan took a superheroesque turn with the appearance of Sailor Moon. It was shortly followed by CLAMP’S Magic Knight Rayearth, featuring three 14-year-old girls in a world that reminded them of RPGs.

A few years later, Tokyo Pop and other US publishers took the risk of releasing girls’ comics stateside, with unexpected success. Yes, American girls WILL read comics!

Manga critic Shaenon Garrity joins Tim to talk about the ’90s evolution of shojo manga and its debut in the States, and the place of Magic Knight Rayearth part 1 in that mix.

Calling For Super Corporate Heroes

Super Corporate HeroesSuper Corporate Heroes is a satirical comic that centers on a company called Superhero, Inc.  This company is a Fortune 500 company that has superheroes who save people in exchange for money.  Anyone who needs saved by the superheroes must pay these superheroes through rescue insurance.  This rescue insurance is expensive.  As a result of this expensive rescue insurance, only rich people have a better chance of being saved, while the poor people have less of a chance of being saved.  Also, the superheroes with the stronger powers earn more money and the superheroes with lesser powers make less money.  Super Corporate Heroes is the comic that made me think about what it really means to save people.

One of the superheroes who work for Superhero, Inc. is a mysterious hero called The Shroud.  The secret mission he is on makes this hero a very weird guy.  Another Superhero Inc. employee is American Icon, who is an indestructible playboy.  American Icon earns the most money due to the fact that he is indestructible and is the most called on for help.  There is also Ms. Titanium, who does a lot of work, but is under appreciated for her work.  Superhero, Inc also has a veteran worker called Major America, who has been fighting crime for a very long time.  Superhero, Inc. also has a worker who is the last of the Greek gods.  This god is named Olympia.  Finally, we have a superhero named Blue Collar.  Blue Collar has a low salary due to the fact that he has to pay child support and alimony.

The Superhero, Inc. heroes are soon challenged by evil super villains, who begin to destroy New York City.  This destruction of New York City sucks the workers of Superhero, Inc. into the super villains’ corruption.

Super Corporate Heroes is written and lettered by Suzy Dias.  The artist is Miguel Guerra, who also co-writes the comic with Suzy Dias.  The artwork is beautiful and is also sets the perfect mood for the mood of the comic.  The coloring of the artwork has a perfect balance between gloomy and bright.  This is good for a story that is satirical.  The content of this comic is dark, but is expressed with humor.

The first issue shows a burning building on the first panel.  The panel shows a man in a green shirt hanging off the building’s ledge.  He is holding on for dear life and is about to fall to his death.  He is yelling for help.  There is so much smoke that no one can see him.  As the man in the green shirt starts to give up, The Shroud shows and says, “looks like you could use some help.”  As the man in the green shirt thanks God that The Shroud came to his rescue, The Shroud says to the man in the green shirt, “first I need to explain the terms of our contract before I can legally rescue you.”

According to Superhero, Inc. $1000 gets one 5 rescues for a month and $6000 covers one for a year.  Once a person is saved, the superhero takes the saved person’s credit card.  Then, the superhero swipes the credit card with a portable swipe machine.  Then, the saved person is given a receipt.  After that, the saved person is sent a button in the mail.  The saved person has to wear this button to be saved again.

Both the people in danger and the superheroes are in rough situations in this story.  The poor people in danger don’t want to be treated like villains just because they can’t afford to be saved.  However, the superheroes want to make a living off of their talent and be able to have roofs over their heads and food on their tables.  Super Corporate Heroes is an interesting comic book that will make you think and laugh.

You can view the first issue of Super Corporate Heroes for free at www.7robots.com/comics.

#333 “Louis Riel”

Louis Riel

If you’re not Canadian, this week’s topic may be a bit of a head-scratcher. Louis, uh, who now? To Canadians, though, including our own Kumar and Dana, Riel is a famous historical figure of the 19th century who led a rebellion against the Canadian government. His story is the subject of Chester Brown‘s recent graphic novel which, while complete with end notes, also takes Shakespearean liberties with the historical record. And what’s up with the weird placement of characters on the page? An accident? No… nothing in this book is an accident.