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enurtsol



Joined: 01 May 2007
Posts: 13715
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:09 am Reply with quote
Americans don't do manga-style romances because Americans associate such romances to Harlequin novels and soap operas which are for housewives with nothing to do after noon. Razz

Well, OK, with such shows like Dawson's Creek too, but those romance-watching young adults wouldn't want to read it on comics. Anime exclamation


Oh well, human beings are just conditioned to look at pretty things. That's why we prefer looking at flowers than rotting petals. Anime catgrin

Then again, if any guy can become gorgeous and attractive to gals if he'd just make a bit more effort with his appearance, if it is just that easy, I think any guy would take it! Laughing
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Kinlyu



Joined: 19 Jan 2009
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:02 am Reply with quote
The big 'what happened to the women's comics?' question! I've been asking around about this on 'local' comic forums for my thesis, because in Europe the situation is so much the same. The comic scene is male, and 30+... although there have been comics for women, and if you take a good look, there still are.

But I also get annoyed when I take up a random comic, be it American import or Franco-belgian, and notice the same patterns over and over again: male leads (who are often quite muscle-y) and women with, well, great proportions, barely dresses, and maybe egaging in sex. Oh, and there is no age distinction in the stores, comics classified by title and not sealed, so kids can see it. (Not to be old fanshioned but it's just so paradoxal that people generally think comics are for kids.) Apparently the comic scene has become child-less (and maybe that is a bit true, after all there are such things as games and internet nowadays.)

And it seems there was an exhibition about women in (European) comics a while ago, which showed that in the end, comics are only confirming the female gender roles - with only one clear exception: Sam, a comic about a girl who works as a mechanic and daydreams about heroic adventures in which she kicks the bad guys' ass.
But the same can maybe be said about magical girls falling in love and ultimately becoming housewives? I have to be honest that I've not yet read any magical girl stories, it's not really my cop of tea.
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Dop.L



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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Location: London
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:24 am Reply with quote
Did none of these people read Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise?
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PingSoni
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Joined: 05 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:56 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Did none of these people read Terry Moore's Strangers in Paradise?


Or Love and Rockets?
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GisforGrenade



Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 7:06 am Reply with quote
Why do they they seem to think sex appeal is such a horrible thing, yes you may be attractive but that doesn't solely determine who you are, guys seem to be able to manage
being physically attractive without it becoming there whole existence, and it isn't because the world is completely stacked in his favour because he is male, it is because the guy actively
chooses to be defined by more than just his appearance in most cases. Some girls really need to realise that it isn't the evil patriarchial society that is keeping them down but often their own attitudes and actions. It is all well and good to blame evil forces outside of your control, but sometimes you need to get over yourself. Also guys have no problem with superheroes being attractive because they don't see anything wrong with being attractive and they don't begrudge someone that, but a girl reading the same comics immediately picks up on how attractive the female characters are, in one way that can be seen as pure begrudgery. In western comics, you look at the male and female characters they are both perfect physical specimans with incrediable powers, do you know whats that is called, its called escapism. Its not realistic or plausible, its over the top action, fun, suspense. So of course the women are going to be attractive and it isn't just because male fans like to objective women, its because if you woke up in the morning with super powers and looking like Wonder-woman it would be great, just as it would be great if you woke up looking like Superman with his powers. Male western comic fans and creators are extending to women the same courtesty, escapism. Also it isn't just some evil conspiracy foisted on us that forces us to belief that being attractive is a good thing, its because being attractive is a good thing, be it biology or aesthetics that tells us that.

I love Japan and all things Japanese, but I know objectively that Japan is a very conservative country when it comes to a lot of things such as women's rights and a variety of other issues. Manga and anime are in many ways an escape valve for a very rigid conservative country but even in anime, conversative values abound. So many female characters in anime and manga are weak-willed little girls that need to be saved, even those girls who are tough (tsundere) on the outside are always found to just need the right guy to complete them. So whatever you say about western comics, their depict roles for women that are a lot more liberating than your average manga, though I would hesitate to tar all manga and anime with the same brush, there are many liberated full realised female characters that don't need a man to save them but there is a hell of a lot more of them in Western comics.
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LordRedhand



Joined: 04 Feb 2009
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Location: Middle of Nowhere, Indiana
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:16 am Reply with quote
I really liked this article as it kinda says what is different and what is the same with western comic and manga.

We need more articles like this.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:22 am Reply with quote
I really debated about responding to this, largely because I have spent my graduate career studying women in Japanese literature, specifically magical girls. But what the hell. The worst that can happen is I'll get flamed. Wink

I think it's important to realize that magical girls, while they serve as wish-fulfillment and do incorporate naked transformation scenes (mostly in their anime), undergo a significant amount of character development. Yes, Sailor Moon may start out as whiny and clingy, but her ultimate sacrifice in the end (of the manga) shows that she has progressed beyond schoolgirl to heroine. (I would also argue that the whiny/clingyness is more prevalent in the anime.) This progression is central to magical girl stories - the heroines must move beyond themselves and outward sources of power in order to fully realize themselves. This is perhaps best shown in Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne when spoiler[Maron travels back in time to meet Joan of Arc. Joan is suffering from rape and has lost hope and confidence in herself. Maron helps her get through it, ending her speech with "How can you believe in a god you can't even see and not believe in yourself?"] This is a central theme to most magical girl stories - that ultimately, you must believe in yourself.

As far as American comic heroines, both Polly (mentioned briefly in the article) and Ted Naifeh's other heroine Courtney Crumrin are strong, non-sexualized girls who fend for themselves and effectively control their own stories. The women in Bill Willingham's Fables series are also interesting, particularly his decision to make spoiler[Cinderella a super-spy. The images of her are fairly sexualized, but there's no denying that she kicks some serious ass. Smile ] The relationship dynamics in the French comic The Professor's Daughter, while not a manga-style romance, still has more of a romance feel than a lot of other Western works. (In my opinion, anyway.)
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Rednal



Joined: 07 Jul 2008
Posts: 120
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:38 am Reply with quote
Honestly, there are times when I think it's hilarious when the female takes the dominant role in a relationship. Kanokon, for example, has one of the least agressive male leads I've ever seen, and it's fun watching him run away.

I'm surprised that I didn't see Chichi come up in the article, though. There's a woman who has all the strongest fighters in the universe(?) afraid of her.


@Princess_Irene: I agree with you, actually. What comes to mind immediately is Nanoha; definitely has the naked transformation scenes (at least for a few episodes), but there's more than a little character development in both the original series and A's. Not to mention interesting moral choices. It's almost like... or exactly like... the female version of your typical shounen story. Magical Girl is probably what you'd have if you reversed all the genders in Naruto. Or Bleach. Or Fullmetal Alchemist. I prefer the series that have the heroines grow up, not simply run around collecting the Forty-five Shiny Objects of Power or whatever.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
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Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:52 am Reply with quote
Rednal wrote:
I agree with you, actually. What comes to mind immediately is Nanoha; definitely has the naked transformation scenes (at least for a few episodes), but there's more than a little character development in both the original series and A's. Not to mention interesting moral choices. It's almost like... or exactly like... the female version of your typical shounen story. Magical Girl is probably what you'd have if you reversed all the genders in Naruto. Or Bleach. Or Fullmetal Alchemist. I prefer the series that have the heroines grow up, not simply run around collecting the Forty-five Shiny Objects of Power or whatever.


Right! A lot of magical girls have moral choices that they have to deal with - again, look at Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne. spoiler[When she finds out she's really been working for the devil and transforming with his power, she has to decide if she can or wants to continue her career as a magical girl. Ultimately she finds the power within herself to transform, without God or the Devil's help.] (That's also a good example of a series where the heroine grows up, as is Sailor Moon. ) On the flip side, you have Yuu Watase's Ayashi no Ceres, where Aya spoiler[ultimately fails to make a choice or to accept her powers. Because she can't cope or believe in herself the way other magical girls can, the rest of her team dies and she winds up, if you'll pardon the expression, barefoot and pregnant, doomed to repeat the cycle over again. She grows up physically, but not emotionally.]
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MsCongeniality



Joined: 30 Dec 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:02 am Reply with quote
Another thing that didn't get mentioned was the fact that there used to be American romance comics. They were quite popular during the golden age of comics. Then, with the implementation of the comics code, their content was gutted. They persisted through the silver age of comics, finally dying out with the ascendency of super hero titles.

I can't see the 1950s style romance that ends with marriage and becoming a housewife in the suburbs being all that attractive to a modern audience. By the same token, I've never understood why the American comics industry never resurrected any of the old titles during their occasional attempts to attract female readers. Women used to read these books; with a revamped modern outlook, I bet they would again.

Edited to Add:

For the record, I'd totally buy books like this if they sold them. There's a reason my shoujo and josei consumption is so high, it's because I'm not finding that content anywhere else.
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doctordoom85



Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Posts: 1977
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:08 am Reply with quote
Rednal wrote:
I'm surprised that I didn't see Chichi come up in the article, though. There's a woman who has all the strongest fighters in the universe(?) afraid of her.


Probably because Chi-Chi isn't exactly a positive image of a woman (or anything, really). The world's fate is constantly hanging in the balance, and she throws a fit if one Earth's best hopes DARES to improve Earth's chances of surviving by training instead of studying. This becomes even more wallbanger-worthy when she decides Goten should be the fighter of the family (which is ironic, since Gohan was ultimately the strongest of the two at the end), because apparently the two kids have no say in their future.

It'd be one thing to lament the fact that her son has to put his priorities elsewhere, but to actually force him to put studying over training and thus jeopardize the world's safety is quite another. Then again, Goku and Vegeta also jeopardized the world's safety countless times (though in Goku's case, almost all of them worked out in the long run, though he couldn't have foreseen that).
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Greg Aubry



Joined: 10 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:10 am Reply with quote
MsCongeniality:

The "direct market" in comics has a lot to do with the decline of more or less every non-superhero genre over the last 15 to 20 years. When comics left the grocery stores and drug stores and only became available in dingy head shops, a lot of the female readership just dropped off. See also: the prices of books.

Things are changing with the advent of the graphic novel movement, but we're not there yet.
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Princess_Irene



Joined: 16 Dec 2008
Posts: 1764
Location: The castle beyond the Goblin City
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:11 am Reply with quote
MsCongeniality wrote:

I can't see the 1950s style romance that ends with marriage and becoming a housewife in the suburbs being all that attractive to a modern audience. By the same token, I've never understood why the American comics industry never resurrected any of the old titles during their occasional attempts to attract female readers. Women used to read these books; with a revamped modern outlook, I bet they would again.


What did you think of Dark Horse's Harlequin line? I don't know how well it did, but it certainly seemed to be an attempt to lure in a female readership that might not normally be reading comics. (I didn't care for them myself, but I think that was more due to the fact that I prefer historical romance of a longer nature than most Harlequins.)
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Maidenoftheredhand



Joined: 21 Jun 2007
Posts: 2404
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:26 am Reply with quote
I was thinking of the topic of "cute". It seems we associate "cute" with something a female audience will like but in Japan there are plenty of these "cute" series that are aimed at a male audience even an older male audience.

There are a lot of comics/series that are seinen but if I showed them to my friends who are not used to manga/anime I doubt they would believe me. I am thinking of things like Air, Azumanga Daioh, Yotsuba&, Chi's Sweet Home, etc. I even know some anime fans who assume these series are shoujo based on their content.

As a female reader of manga I like shounen, shoujo, joisei, and seinen. I don't look at the audience it was intended for (in fact I dislike the focus on target audiences in general) if it is a good story then that is all I care about.

I admit I should try to look into more Western comics. I remember reading my dad's old superman and supergirl comics as a kid but I haven't read Western comics in years.
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Julia-the-Great



Joined: 14 May 2005
Posts: 328
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 9:56 am Reply with quote
Just a question, does anybody proofread the articles on ANN? Because I've been noticing a lot of typos lately, especially in this column.
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