Making the World Better LinkBlogging

Fighting Sexism

How do you find out what girls want in comics? Try asking them! Author Hope Larson (Mercury, Chiggers) conducted an informal survey among her LiveJournal and Twitter followers, asking almost 200 girls and women about their comic reading. Now, she’s summarized the results.

There are a number of similarities. Most female fans were hooked before their teens. TV adaptations and male relatives were key introductions. They’re looking for satisfying characters, compelling stories, and strong artwork. (Who isn’t, right?) There’s also a list of things publishers and creators can do to interest this audience — much of it is common knowledge, like avoiding condescension and over-sexualization, and welcoming female customers — but it’s nice to have it reinforced.

Fighting Ignorance

Via Dave Lartigue comes this comic strip by Darryl Cunningham exposing the greed behind the bogus connection between vaccines and autism.

Comic by Darryl Cunningham

Update: (5/21/10) Brigid Alverson analyzes the mechanics of the strip and how effective the comic format is in sharing information.

Fighting Fans

Betsey Swardlick’s illustrated essay about doujinshi, Japanese fan fiction in comic form, includes this image that I love, summing up differing attitudes:

But the whole thing is worth reading as a good introduction to another country’s view of fandom and comics. Great picture showing the size of Comiket, too. Now I want to read Homicide: Life on the Streets manga!


12 Responses to “Making the World Better LinkBlogging”

  1. Rob S. Says:

    Homicide Manga?

    That is MIND-Blowing. And it’s the scene where they’ve got the Araber in the Box!

  2. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Johanna,

    Swardlick is ignoring the huge difference between the copyright laws of the US and Japan. In Japan, once you have a copyright it’s yours. As a creator you can chose how vigorously you want to preserve that copyright. You can only lose the copyright if you fail to defend it from a direct challenge. In the US, once you have a copyright you have to vigorously defend it to maintain it. If you allow fan groups to openly use copyrighted material, then you can lose the copyright. So it’s much easier for fan comics to exist in Japan.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Ed, that’s not true. You have to defend trademark in the US, not copyright, or risk losing it. And she does acknowledge that the laws are different, but she also says that while doujinshi is technically illegal in Japan, it’s treated much differently culturally.

  4. Johanna Says:

    But my intent isn’t to reopen the copyright debate — I just loved the idea of a company executive seeing a lightbulb go off and yelling, “They will buy anything we print!”

  5. Suzene Says:

    “Now I want to read Homicide: Life on the Streets manga!”

    Oh my lord — seconded! I don’t even have to be able to read it, the pictures will be enough!

  6. Simon Jones Says:

    If anything, Japan has even tougher copyright laws and enforcement, and they respect “moral rights” like Europe. There is *no exception for parody* in Japanese copyright law. Doujinshi exist because the vast majority of the Japanese content industry recognizes its value, even when it finds particular doujinshi distasteful.

    Unlike counterfeiting, this sort of derivative copyright infringement in the US is never a criminal case; the copyright holder must initiate action, and s/he has sole discretion when to exercise that right.

    There is one difference between the US and Japanese comic industries that make fan comics in the US more difficult, and it’s purely down to corporate culture. US comics are based on perpetuating character properties. Most output from the big two are essentially official adaptations; a comic may have an original creator, but there is no single author. Every release contributes to the overall mythology. In execution, they are basically parody doujinshi.

  7. Dwight Williams Says:

    Well, considering all the fuss over ACTA negotiations around the world…maybe it’s worth (re)opening the debate?

  8. Dwight Williams Says:

    And I would give much to see a Due South or This is Wonderland comic. Or manga. Or whatever you want to call it.

  9. Joan Says:

    How interesting to read Hope Larson’s “girls and comics” survey and see how completely average I am! *g* Especially the first two questions- that was just the age I got sucked in, and it was all Dad’s fault. He first handed me the Archie/Harvey/Sugar&Spike type comics at 6-7 or so, and as soon as he noticed I was outgrowing those, it was on to Dr. Strange (his favorite). Which was pretty over my head still (I was… 10, maybe?), but the art was perfect as a kid-magnet. And that was it- then I found X-Men on my own, and was gone. So thanks, Dad!

  10. It’s Award Time! Submit Isotope Minis, Vote Women (My FoL Award Suggestions) » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] who filled the organization’s gap while it was laying fallow earlier this year, conducting a female readership survey that brought lots of attention to what women want in comics. She also founded the Drink and Draw [...]

  11. *Psychiatric Tales — Recommended » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] pages as part of this Comics Journal review. Cunningham has gone on to make other comics about science facts at his blog. He has been interviewed at The Comics Reporter, where he talks about future plans, [...]

  12. Science Tales » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] The most “balanced” section (and Cunningham takes on the idea of fake media balance in the final chapter) is the first, the one about electroconvulsive therapy, in which Cunningham presents pro and con before suggesting we move forward in a different way. The most famous chapter is probably “The Facts in the Case of Dr. Andrew Wakefield”, a damning indictment of the greedy physician who manufactured the perceived connection between vaccines and autism. (You may have previously read it online.) [...]

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