Category Archives: mythology

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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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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Filed under comics, india, mythology, william and mary comix club