4/19/2013

Man Of Tomorrow

Did you know the never-ending battle began 75 years ago today? Comics would never the same.

Action Comics #1 (1938): Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
Back then, Superman was a bit of a jerk to the rich and powerful.
Joseph Shuster: We were both great science-fiction fans, reading Amazing Stories and Wonder Stories in those days.

Jerome Siegel: When Joe and I first met, it was like the right chemicals coming together. I loved his artwork... I thought he had flair - though he was a beginner - I thought he had the flair of a Frank R. Paul, who was one of the best science-fiction illustrators in the field.

Shuster: And I was an avid reader of H.G. Wells -

Siegel: Right... Joe as well as I; and we were both reading the same type of material.

Joanne Siegel: In fact, the three of us were destined to meet, because we were kids all playing at being grown up, trying desperately to be grown up. And since that first day of our friendship, we're still together.

From a 1983 interview published in Nemo #2.
Action Comics #1 (1938): Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
standing up to the Man. Well, a man.
... So I ask you to please consider – do these mean spirited tactics meet with your approval? Do you really think the families of Superman’s creators should be treated this way?

As you know, DC and Warner Bros. have profited enormously from 72 years of exploiting Jerry and Joe’s wonderful creation. Superman is now a billion dollar franchise and has been DC’s flagship property for all this time.
Joanne Siegel in a 2010 open letter to Jeffrey L. Bewkes of Time Warner Inc. regarding the corporation's actions directed towards the Shuster and Siegel families during their protracted legal battle to reclaim the rights to Superman.
Superman and Lois Lane were created by and .  Lois was originally modeled by .

Action Comics pages referenced here.

Cross-blogged here.

Update: DC confuses. Cleveland rocks.

4/06/2013

4/04/2013

Honey and Clover Vol. 9

Honey and Clover Vol. 9 By Chica Umino
By Chica Umino

As expected, vol. 9 of Honey and Clover advances the individual story lines of Hagumi "Hagu" Hanamoto and Shinobu Morita in a manner that is comparatively more melodramatic than those of the rest of the cast. We're finally let into what exactly Morita and his older brother have been up to all this time, and their actions retroactively explain Shinobu's prolonged periods of absence from school and his often fanatical obsession with accumulating vast sums of money while still remaining exceptionally miserly towards everyone.

Both Shinobu and Hagu have been largely defined as the series resident geniuses. In many ways, this role has hemmed them in. While most of Shinobu's friends, classmates and teachers have tolerated his selfishness on account of the brilliant work he supposably turns in from time to time, they've handled Hagu with kid gloves. She's the delicate flower whose extraordinary gifts must be carefully nurtured lest they wilt. At the beginning these surface differences resulted in much comic relief as the two butted heads for alpha-artist status, despite an obvious mutual attraction developing between them. But for the most part they're remained enigmatic figures, and after awhile this gets kind of boring to read. Something needed to be done to shake them up, which is what happens here.

What this volume demonstrates more clearly is how being labelled a genius has isolated these two characters. We learn that throughout the series Shinobu has been assisting his brother in a personal vendetta against the people who've wronged their late father. Shinobu is compassionate and loyal to a fault, but he's beginning to manifest some dissatisfaction over being perceived primarily through his incredible talent. Nevertheless he doesn't reveals his quest to the rest of the cast, further increasing his separation.

Honey and Clover Vol. 9 By Chica Umino

Hagu can't avoid being infantilized for her childlike stature and mannerisms. It doesn't help that she's supremely timid. Hagu claims that she wants to return to her childhood home once she graduates from art school. But she's at the cusp of admitting that she might actually want more out of life. The central event of this volume is a horrible accident that pushes her to grow up a little. While Hagu has demonstrated amazing powers of concentration in the past, this is the first time she's had to apply herself in ways that are well outside her comfort zone.

As for the third person in their love triangle, Yūta Takemoto is left mainly on the sidelines. He briefly considers abandoning his career plans to care for Hagu, before realizing how disastrous a choice that would be for everyone. As the POV character, Yūta is the primary voice for the series deeply nostalgic tone. He's a guy who expresses regret that the cast wasn't able to go on a certain beach excursion, and he conjures up an imaginary beach episode in his mind. It sure does suck to be Yūta. While the last volume focused on some of his friends moving on with their romantic relationships, not only does his five-year long infatuation remain unrequited, he'll be moving away after graduation and lose regular contact with everyone. No wonder the entire manga's narration is so wistful.

Getting back to Shinobu and Hagu, the accident is the catalyst that finally compels them to confront their shared anxieties, and someone raises the possibility of leaving it all behind. Can these two escape their respective reputations? Could these two volatile personalities even function well together?

Cartoon Strip: Borb

Borb by Jason Little