Author Archives: Madamoiselle

About Madamoiselle

Born and brought up in the sun soaked Orient, I studied for a few years in the Northern Occidental snow clad plains. A diamond in the rough, living in the Emerald City.

Presidential Cartoons

Since Election Night is coming up and our two presidential candidates invest heavily in their biographies – John McCain as the wounded warrior who is a political maverick and Barack Obama as Luke Skywalker who will bring change, two comic books are produced that will deal with both their biographies since both the presidential candidates are authors (McCain’s had the help of a ghost writer). McCain’s comic is inspired from his book, the Faith of the Fathers while Obama is inspired from Dreams of his Father. I don’t know whether McCain read any comic books but Obama used to sketch Batman and Spiderman with a childhood friend named Yanto in Indonesia and was supposedly excellent at it (Imagine – Barack the cartoonist).

Here is an interpretation of McCain’s Biography.

And here’s an interpretation of Obama’s journey in Dreams.

Here is a detailed review of both books talking about both McCain and Obama. First McCain…

This comic book is jam-packed with McCain’s political life, personal life, and chronicles decades of idolizing people like Nixon and Reagan, passing legislation, working with Democrats and Republicans alike, earning a reputation for being skilled in foreign policy, becoming a national political figure, the vicious George Bush campaign headed by Karl Rove, and much more, including rebounding from two major scandals: Keating Five and his 2nd wife Cindy’s drug addiction. Ultimately, the man who was the independent rebel actually became the establishment.

Then Obama….

Barack’s childhood and adolescence is that of isolation, being unaccepted, counterculture, and searching for his identity. He had no traditional family structure. Although he went to a Muslim school in Kenya and a Christian school, he had never fully been indoctrinated into organized religion as a youngster. As an angry and hurt young man, he got involved with drugs, loud music, and not putting effort into school. But there were turning points in his life, like a stern lecture from his mother. The comic traces how he got involved in politics in Chicago, through legal work and community activism. His beliefs were formed from his influences in life, and from his ancestral African home. His influences are Martin Luther King and Malcom X.

His Senate races are detailed, along with how he just burst upon the national scene due to his two unbelievable speeches, which are covered. The Democratic Primaries are depicted, along with his defeat of Hilary Clinton.

All in all, it was a perfect sketch of the man who is Obama. He’s someone who no one would ever believe would have a chance to be president, since he was a troubled teen, and later a local community organizer, with some questionable black nationalist associates.

But he struggled and he overcame, and was an excellent student and lawyer, respected by his professors as being brilliant.

Here is another review of both the books from the Guardian Books blog.

Hope this helps!

PS: This took me a VERY long time to find. Hope you guys are thankful!

Yours

Nyx

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Weirdest Story Ever AKA the end of the world

I just read this extremely Bizarre story about a Japanese Man campaigning to marry comic book characters. Only in Japan.

A JAPANESE man has enlisted hundreds of people in a campaign to allow marriages between humans and cartoon characters, saying he feels more at ease in the “two-dimensional world”.

Comic books are immensely popular in Japan, with some fictional characters becoming celebrities or even sex symbols.

Marriage is meanwhile on the decline as many young Japanese find it difficult to find life partners.

Taichi Takashita launched an online petition aiming for one million signatures to present to the government to establish a law on marriages with cartoon characters.

Within a week he has gathered more than 1000 signatures through.

“I am no longer interested in three dimensions. I would even like to become a resident of the two-dimensional world,” he wrote.

“However, that seems impossible with present-day technology. Therefore, at the very least, would it be possible to legally authorise marriage with a two-dimensional character?”

Befitting his desire to be two-dimensional, he listed no contact details, making it impossible to reach him for comment to explain if his campaign is serious or tongue-in-cheek.

But some people signing the petition are true believers.

“For a long time I have only been able to fall in love with two-dimensional people and currently I have someone I really love,” one person wrote.

“Even if she is fictional, it is still loving someone. I would like to have legal approval for this system at any cost,” the person wrote.

Japan only permits marriage between human men and women and gives no legal recognition to same-sex relationships.

Japan’s fans of comic books, or “manga,” sometimes go to extremes.

Earlier this month, a woman addicted to manga put out an online message seeking to kill her parents for asking her to throw away comic books that filled up three rooms.

Nyx

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Uncanny resemblances in Gossip Girl – Part 1

Light in Death Note

Nathan in Gossip Girl (Chace Crawford)

I wonder who Chuck Bass resembles. Any ideas?

Nyx

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Comics from Around the World – India

A PBS commentator once remarked that India has always been a land of vision, of the eyes. It can be seen in its 3000 year old history, in its carvings of gods and demons as well as its present day multimillion dollar Bollywood film industry. The visual medium occupies a high degree of respect in India and this has translated into India being one of those countries that has a great number of comics.

The reason for the profusion of comics is simple. First, it is the history in India of visual art – almost all of Indian epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana are depicted either through drama, play or drawings. Sculptures and idols are enormously popular, mostly due to the influence of Hinduism, India’s indigenous religion. The second is the great amount of young adults in India – India has one of the youngest population in the world. Because of this demand, entertainment in India is targeted towards children. Children are also great consumers of comics. Third is the strength of storytelling in India and the budding comic industry.

India is very much a traditional country and globalization has not affected its indigenous comic industry. Most of the comics tend to be mediocre with low production values but the most famous comic, the Amar Chitra Katha (translated into Eternal Stories) are the most famous as their production values are good and their stories are absolutely amazing.

The stories in Amar Chitra Katha are specifically Indio-centric, dealing with the neverending yarns and tales in Ancient India which are tremendously entertaining. India might be one of the only countries where traditional stories have not died but are played out through modern visual mediums like graphic novels.  They mostly deal with Hindu/Buddhist/Jain tales that end before 9th century BCE though they also deal with the saga of “Akbar and Birbal”, the story of a Mughal emperor and his smart Hindu courtier, set in the Mughal era. They avoid the contempary era with a vengance and usually the contempory era stories tend to some of the most weakly plotted.

Here is an example of Amar Chitra Katha’s Akbar and Birbal series.

Here is also a comic that I found with a Chinese character. Comics that star non-Indian characters are usually extremely rare in Indian comics.

There are several comics in India – Tinkle (that focuses on contempory issues, on children’s issues specifically), Amar Chitra Katha (focuses on Hindu/Sikh/Jain mythology, Akbar/Birbal, usually past history), Panchatantra (a morality tale with animals) and Chacha Chaudary (the oldest and the most inane Indian comic). I will update as soon as possible and try to increase your International knowledge, even a little bit.

Yours

Nyx

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New York Times talks about Heroes

This is of course tangentially related to our blog but the television series Heroes encompasses so much of our graphic novel fantasies that a review about it, especially by the New York Times, is a exciting topic for discussion. As par the course for the New York Times, the piece veers between pity and condescension of what the series says about the oh so precocious Generation Y.

First comes the pity

“Young people today can’t repay their college loans; they can’t afford apartment rents, let alone mortgages; their Social Security is being sucked up by their elders; and H.I.V. left them out of the sexual revolution: what was once free love is now a viral minefield. It’s a plight lamented in books like “Generation Debt” and even in ads for Freecreditreport.com that showcase debt-crippled lads gamely doing menial work as they warn others about the dangers of letting bills pile up. (“They monitor your credit and send you e-mail alerts/So you don’t end up selling fish to tourists in T-shirts.”)

“Heroes” gives its fans cathartic validation: You inherited a screwed-up world, and it’s not your fault.”

Then the condescension,

“And Generation Y has more special abilities than any previous one: these are people who came of age taking the Internet, BlackBerries, cash machines, Facebook and iPods for granted. They also take the taking for granted. They are the most coddled, indulged and overprotected generation ever. Swaddled in safety and self-esteem, they have all been assured that they are special. They don’t rebel against their parents or even seek independence; they welcome an electronic umbilical cord that stretches through high school and college and even the post-graduate return to the empty nest. On “Heroes” those filial bonds stretch beyond the grave: even after his father is dead, Hiro (Masi Oka) still receives his fatherly advice via prerecorded DVD.”

And more speculation about the state of the inscrutable Generation Y*

“Some of the most likeable characters are stuck mopping up their parents’ mistakes. In Season 2, after Peter manages to wrest back the vial containing the world-threatening virus and destroy it, his fellow hero Matt (Greg Grunberg), whose father was also one of the founders of the Company, is less relieved than disgusted. “Your mother, my father, God knows what else they’ve done,” Matt says bitterly. “How much longer are we going to have to clean up their mess?”

The only interesting part about the review apart from the absurd psychoanalysis of the plight of Generation Y was the last paragraph which actually talks about the upcoming new season.

“The ratings for last season slumped, probably because there were too many pointless diversions and time-travel to feudal Japan. Mr. Kring has assured interviewers and fans that the third season will correct those mistakes and recover the fast-paced suspense and tension of the first season. The premiere episode lives up to that pledge, with lots of violence, special effects and laser-fast editing.”

Ahem.

The Heroes would premiere today at 9:00 o clock on Monday, September 22, 2008.

*In case any of you have been following the financial bailout in the past few days, just wonder why would the cheery Y ever think they have to clean up the mess produced by the Baby Boomers.

Nyx

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Tired of the tragic hero archtype

Is the world a fundamentally just place? This question has been under the driving pulse of many graphic novels, all featuring the tragic hero. But does the main character (hero/heroine) always have to be so tragic? Can he not be dastardly, cruel, vicious, cold and the utter rarity – comic.

I have not seen a truly funny main character in a graphic novel in a long time except perhaps autobiographical ones (because don’t we all have to laugh at ourselves).  Humor in graphic novels for some unknown reason has been relegated to the reliable side kick or the three dollar issue of Archie comics on the aisle in the super market. Which is a shame considering Archie Comics has been a real treat. Three thumbs to Jughead who is a metaphor for the finite infinite universe. None of the other characters make much sense.

But comedy is the perfect medium for a graphic novel and Its high time we had a non mopping non wimpy non agonizing funny in a non sarcastic manner main character. So if any artists are reading, please do listen.

Nyx

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Funny article on why Superman Sucks…

I had always disliked Superman for varied reasons, mostly because l hated the simplistic good vs. evil framework and Superman’s omnipotent alien powers (t did not hurt that I liked Batman and Spiderman better, as well). At last, I had found something that articulates my thoughts here. An excerpt

“It almost goes without saying, but if your hero cannot possibly be killed in any instance which does not somehow involve an incredibly rare space-rock, then you’ve got one boring-ass hero. It’s sort of like watching Neo fight all the agent Smiths in The Matrix Reloaded: we know our hero can’t possibly die, and he doesn’t act like he’s in any danger whatsoever, so the entire fight is a foregone conclusion and the audience becomes bored out of their skulls.

I mean, yeah – we obviously go into most superhero stories more or less positive that the hero won’t die, but they still entertain us because the hero doesn’t know that. Spidey is always scared, even if only a little, that one of the Green Goblin’s pumpkin bombs will be the end of him; Daredevil is fully aware that a well-placed projectile from Bullseye could kill him. As a result, these characters act with restraint and forethought; since Superman knows nothing bad can happen to him no matter what, he acts with no such subtlety. He flies headlong into every conflict, fists thrust forward, because he knows he’s in no immediate danger. Thus, we know he’s in no immediate danger, and we get bored out of our fucking skulls.”

Again, the article is here via Sullivan.

Nyx

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