06 October 2009

Diversity In Comics

In Scott McCloud's Reinventing Comics he discusses the Twelve Revolutions. The three main ideas are gender balance, minorities, and genre. Ever since the first eruption of comics it seemed as though all the authors were male. In fact if you were to go back and look at all the "historic" comics you would find that majority if not all were written by males. [Ex: Superman, Batman, Spiderman..etc.] There were female comic writers, they just didn't get all the spotlight and weren't as successful representing their work to the public. Then there's the minorities. A lot of the comic writers were white males. It would be rare to see an African American comic writer with a #1 bestseller. It would be hard for the white males to give an exact account on any other culture because in reality they probably weren't fully educated in any culture other than their own. Lastly there is the Genre problem. It seems as though whenever a comic is mentioned the word superhero pops into mind. Comics haven't really been tied to anything other than superheroes in the past. I think with a wider range of ideas and situations the public would respond a lot more and maybe take more interest. I beleive that pieces of work I can relate to are a lot more fun to read. So basically, there are a few things holding back the full potential of comics according to Scott McCloud. I would have to say that I agree.

05 October 2009

Battle to Fit in

Scott McCloud has done it again. Mr. McCloud is very noble for this of course. If you do not know what I am talking about then obviously you are not reading his work. Reinventing Comics is a firm continuation of his belief that comics are true literature and with this excerpt it is hard to argue. Scott McCloud starts this chapter off with how there is endless diversity with the potential of millions of new writers and artists. Only around a half a billion people read comics and graphic novels in America. Scott McCloud believes that is too low of an number. "A professional community reared on such a limited body of work," that is how Scott McCloud looks at the authors in the comic industry today. McCloud thinks that even popular strips are losing grounds because people do not just read enough anymore. Also, McCloud says that there is not enough contact between the reader and the creator. And causing even more complexity is the publisher. Publisher often stop the creative minds behind the pens to actually put it on the paper. That is why creators of start small often have to stay small when it comes to publishing.

Gender imbalance is still a major problem is comics according to Mr.McCloud. A female writer is considered a rarity in the comic world. Comics made by women was of course read by the sad hormone driven teenager. Women characters still are portrayed as the woman in distress. Will the ever be a male in distress? McCloud informs the reader that women in this comic book game have been doing it for quite some time. Female writers had a hard time because of the fact that the works was appealing to an commerical audience. Too frank, and honest were many of the comics. Brought male character back to ground zero and was not always bandfared. But over recent years, female authors are making an comeback with refreshing new ideas. The eighth revolution is still a problem in comics as well: race and diversity. In the 70s, skin color was a popular concern with the audiences of comics are where not well recieved. In the 90s, DC attempted to form an alliance with Milestone Media but was heavily criticized. But some authors have gained a bit of steam. Gay and Lesbian authors are also trying to transend the artform.

The 9th revolution diversity in the genre is being met head on. Scott McCloud states that there was only a time where people could name on one genre: Superheros. Now more autobiography, western, and naturalistic fiction are being written as comics. Comics like the Watchmen have given a different breath of air to the superhero comic. Scott McCloud leaves us with he states in his last comic that this medium has no limitations to what it can be.

This excerpt is very very redundant and boring. McCloud takes a subject and runs with it endlessly with mix results in my opinion. McCloud is a very strong writer but at times he annoys me with his understanding of everything. But, this article was decent no the less.

Diversity of Comics

Reinventing Comics “Big World The Battle For Diversity” is about the three revolutions that are centralized around Diversity. The three revolutions are Gender Balance, Minority Representation, and Diversity of Genre.
McCloud first addresses the seventh revolution, gender balance. Gender imbalance was considered wasted potential in comics. Women making comics were considered unusual, because it was a male dominated world. Women had made modest gains in comics during the labor shortages of World War II, but as the 1950’s approached women were given the boot “back to the kitchen”. In the late nineteen sixties traditional girl comics was dying and the same young artists had to find or make there own markets to be heard. So women created works that “were raw, emotionally honest, politically charged and sexually frank”.
Next McCloud talks about minority representation. McCloud discusses how this revolution “is vitally linked to the experiences of the owner of the hand that holds the pen”. Scott McCloud gives an example of how a white writer should not write a black character, because it would be overly broad. It would be more reasonable to have a white writer to write about a white character. When writing about a social or physical difference, members of that minority will have an advantage of portraying it. McCloud also says that in the mid seventies, skin color was a popular subject. White writers and artists strove to give voice to the African-American concerns with predictably mixed results. White writers began to create black superheroes, but they didn’t know how to present them in a positive way without draining their subjects of their humanity.
Lastly McCloud talks about the ninth revolution, Diversity of Genre. McCloud says that the Diversity of Genre is a key result of Gender Balance and Minority Representation, and confronts the same obstacles. McCloud talks about how super hero comics were the only type of genre that was popular and made sales. But in recent years things have gotten a little better and more genres are being created. McCloud also explains how comic book shops only had so many shelves and that they only could hold so many comics. So by choice the seller is going to stock up on the books that are in demand, for example the superhero comics. Sellers aren’t going to bother selling romance comics if superhero comics sell faster and more people want it. That’s part of the reason why we are so reduced to one single genre. Scott McCloud believes that with more genres it will draw more diverse readers to comics.
I found this reading very difficult to read. I had to read it several times in order to get the main points. But I do agree with Scott McCloud because with more genres I believe more people will read comics. I think when people think of comics they think of superheroes only. So we kind of reduce comics to a single genre. I think these three revolutions would definitely help to enhance the potential growth of comics.

A Big World

This chapter was about three specific revolutions to Comics. These three revolutions are all based on one thing, diversity. McCloud clearly expresses that with out diversity in Comics the industry by which the medium depends on to survive will surely break down. According to McCloud, the diversity of Comics was starting to grow. This was during the time of World War II when mean had to fight for their country, so women took up the reins in some Comics. However, When the war ended, so did most of the female comics.

Other then gender, minority representation is a another revolution that is key to Comics. By this he means minority writers. McCloud wants this because, "when writing about a social or physical condition which onlya minority can experience, members of that minority will have an advantage in portraying it" (McCloud 12). This is meaning that basically the person with the same enthnicity as the reader is going to have an advantage in the way of communicating and or portraying the story to the reader themself.

After the first two revolutions discussed in this chapter are complete, then is when 9, genre diversity will happen. McCloud states this in, "Diversity of Genre is a key result of our two previous revolutions and alos in a sense, contains them both" (McCloud 17).

This chapter was more difficult to understand. However, what McCloud is talking about, I think is key to Comics coming out of its dreaded slump. Hopefully Comics can get out of it before it's too late.

Let's Save Comics

Scott McCloud has come up with twelve revolutions and of them there are three main one's that are holding back the expansion of comics to reach their full potential. Gender balance, genre diversity, and minority representation are the three things that are holding back comics. Comics are made by men and they appeal mainly to men. By only appealing to men, comic creators have cut out half of their potential audience. For women to become big time comic creators they must go through many obstacles like the unwelcoming boys' club image prejudice and starting off small. Women started to take over during WWII but were soon taken over by men afterwards. Though women artists started dying out there was still the few underground one's that would stick it out and they created different kinds of comics that were "raw, emotionally honest, politically charged and sexually frank. The structure and the art was different and it appeals now to both sexes. The minority representation is a problem because most comics are made by white males, some of which have little or no knowledge or interactions with different cultures and can give the wrong idea to the creator. Genre diversity is a problem that is hard to get past since comics are mainly associated with super heros. If the only kind of comic books being made are about super heros then the readers will eventually become bored. Different genres would appeal to different kinds of people. If all these revolutions were to improve then there would be a lot more comics book fans. Not only would it improve the fan base but it would make comics more interesting because their would be comics being created by so many different kinds of people that readers would get a different view. And maybe some people aren't comic fans but can eventually become one if a genre was made that appealed to them.

Go Diversity!!!

Scott McCloud talks about the revolutions and how all of them come from the single idea, which is diversity. He talks about how this might help comics. He says that if comics could produce a more diverse product then it has a greater chance of earning a more diverse audience. But along with these solutions comes obstacles. Scott McCloud says that these obstacles include the disadvantages of beginning small and staying small, industries attitudes towards the work, and prejudice.
To help overcome these obstacles are the revolutions. Gender is one of the most striking, seeing as comics were made for little 14 year olds who could find anything else to do with their time but read comics. And nothing appeals better to little adolescent boys then superheroes. Along with these comics women were making comics of their own, and had been doing it for a long time. He talks about the issues of gender and how we can better improve it. Scott McCloud said “Through organizations and collective publishing efforts, the visibility of women in comics has been consistently promoted.”
Minority Representation, skin color is a popular issue. Scott McCloud says “Gradually, the ranks of comic free lancers began taking on more color and in the early nineties, a multicultural group of artist and writers called milestone formed an alliance with publisher from DC Comics to produce a line of multicultural heroes.” Along with skin color are politics, religious groups, and history.
Diversity of Genre, there is many genres in the world of comics and as Scott McCloud puts it as Genres are rarely created out of a whole cloth. He relates the story of Batman being a detective comic and not an action comic such as Superman. He also talks about how there are many different types of comics aside from superhero comics. He talks about how he loves superhero comics just like he love chocolate pie but who would want to eat chocolate pie for the rest of their lives.
The potential for comics is great! And these revolutions will only increase comics’ potential. There are many different diversities and many issues comics face. Comics I have found are a very complicated genre of writing. So much thought has gone into making comics more successful!

04 October 2009

The Battle for Diversity?

The Battle for diversity is about comics needing to branch out and add some culture and gender diversity. This chapter addresses three out of the twelve revolutions, which are gender balance, minority representation, and gender diversity. This will help comics to relate and appeal to different types of people. For example, it will help to appeal and relate to females and people of minority decent, instead of just appealing to young adolecent males not of minority.

I absolutely loved the comic illustration on page 101. It’s about a male comic artist that goes off to war, then a female coming in and creating comics because the men have gone off to war, and then the male comic artist coming back from far and giving the female comic artist the boot. I thought it was hilarious. I actually laughed out loud. The only words that came to mind was…Wow, so true…

I looked up friends-lulu.org, but the site said it was temporarily unavailable.

I think Scott McCloud has won me over by explaining to this male based comic book world, that they have carelessly overlooked our potential in the comic book industry. If I knew that females wrote comic books I would definitely go out and buy more comics. I’m a book worm and I love to read. After high school I stopped reading Japanese comics because one I had to buy my own books and I couldn’t afford to pay ten dollars for a comic book I could finish in 10 minutes and second, the literature was a little weak to continue to invest in them. For me this has brought on a whole new interest in comics because comics are stereotyped as only for males and I think I’ve only read comics by males. I would love to see the women’s perspective and compare the male and female styles of creating comics. I’m a girl and I’m all for girl power, I guess.

With this whole minority section I agree one hundred percent. Although, it is not wrong for people to write outside their experience I don’t think they can portray an event or experience that a person who has experienced it can. When people do movies about Hawaii it irritates me that they stereotype us. I don’t go around saying “hey bah” or “You Haoles get off my beach”. The movie that bothers me the most is Lilo and Stitch because every brown person has a big nose. I do not have a big nose and neither does every brown person in Hawaii. Oh yeah and Blue Crush is the dumbest movie I ever watched!! That movie is worse then lilo and stitch. People swimming in their evening gowns...dumb...dumb...All I can do is shake my head...who comes up with these movies!!

Biases and Sexism is the Wrong Direction

I have come to the conclusion I have a hate-love relationship with Scott McCloud. One moment I feel like I’m grasping his ideas and I’m feeling confident. Then I come across a chapter that is completely filled with twists and turns with double meanings, and I’m completely lost. Sadly, this past chapter, Big World: The Battle for Diversity, took me for a loop where I couldn’t find the beginning. I re-read the chapter multiple times and I still found it hard to understand where McCloud is going with his gender/ethnicity/genre diversity idea.

To begin with, women in comics aren’t being respected. Regardless of their “raw and underground” ideas, men in the field are being prejudice against women since comics have been apart of the boy’s club (102). Apparently there isn’t enough room for women. Or is there? Despite the demurred image of women during the 40’s, McCloud’s point is women have original ideas that are helpful towards reaching a new audience and the expansion of comics for the future. Tying in with gender equality is minority division; which is also problematic for comics. I found this particular section hard to follow, but what I learned was McCloud establishes that minority comics are tricky for comic writers and artists. Multicultural comics are having a hard time making a place next to popular comics, and it is easy to cross the line and offend other ethnicities. Also, guessing and writing about a different ethnicity other than your own is a bad idea. Next, McCloud discusses genre diversity. Superhero comics have created this bar where it’s become a stereotype that comics are only that. Come to think of it, that is all I thought comics were until I started to read Scott McCloud’s books. It proves that the genre needs to become more diverse where it can attract different audiences, but first we have to relieve comics of the superhero label. How does one do that though? McCloud suggests comics need a clean slate for them to re-surface, and also writers, whom are very talented yet aren’t respected, need to catch the eye of the right audience in order for them to take off.

Another chapter down for Scott McCloud and I can only hope I gets clearer. I doubt it though. I respect McCloud’s relentless attempts at drawing in a varied audience; I just hope comics can have a revolution. McCloud is sensible and he has legitimate answers for all of his questions he is proving. Right now, though, I feel like there should be more than just talk. I would like to see the change in comics, but when will this happen? Like Woody Allen says, “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not being very innovative,” is there some truth to that? We will see…

Diversity to the rescue!!

Scott McCloud has come up with a very good theory of getting comics back on the map. To widen the medium of comics and targeting a more diverse group of people. McCloud has this idea that "it's a big world out there, a world filled with millions of potential stories by millions of potential writers and artists, with the power to connect with billions of potential reader". This idea of McClouds expresses a way to get comics out there. Comics is not a big deal out there. There are many people that have not really looked into comics. To get a more diverse audience the writers must come with a more diverse product. McCloud states that the comics industry is prejudice. Minorities are not given as big of chance to help create comics. Thus the comics are staying right where they are. In order for comics to move up the minorities must step up to the comics challenge. Comics today are male dominated and women are not seen in the comic world. Even now that women are writing comics know one knows because its mostly men reading them. The gender balance must level out in comics. Scott McCloud believes that the genre of comics must broaden as well. It is the same muscular superheroes that McCloud believes is boring the readers. He uses the example that superheroes in comics are like chocolate pies and no one wants to eat chocolate pies all the time. Readers want a larger diverse genre to choose from
I am with McCloud all the way on this. Comics need to start writing about sports. I believe that if it is good enough some readers might actually like it. Sometimes in Sports Illustrated there are skits that make fun of players. I bet if there were more comic strips like that, some sports fans may be interested.

Comics for all genders, race and styles?

In this reading from Scott McCloud, he covers three of the twelve revolutions. The three revolutions that he covers have to do with Gender Balance, Minority Representation and Diversity of Genre. McCloud says that these three things go hand in hand and are created from the same idea. This idea is that comics could really have great potential if these three revolutions were considered while writing comics.
The first one that McCloud talks about is Gender Balance. McCloud says that, “the history of gender imbalance in comics is one of the most striking examples of comics’ squandered potential.” Women didn't really get any kind of recognition until the men were called out to war, but as soon as World War II ended women got “booted back in to the kitchen.” They were no longer reading or writing comics. Now there were some women who were writing, but they were “creating works that were raw, emotionally honest, politically charged and sexually frank.” Even though women writers hit a rut for a while, they have started to make a comeback, they are still a minority, but there writing is in lots of different styles.
The second revolution that McCloud talks about is Minority Representation. McCloud discusses that minority representation is different than gender balance because he says that a male will without engaging persons of color in conversation, or encountering someone who is openly gay, or moving outside their own language. Even when outwardly visible prejudices are lessened, ignorance can still remain.” Today, the diversity issue is getting better, but it is still hard for creators to write about something they may have no idea about. If a white, middle-class male writes about an African American/Hispanic, poor male they really don’t have a clue how to portray the correct ideas and they may give a false impression to those who read their comics. The diversity representation is getting better, but it still has a long way to go before it comes to its full potential, according to McCloud.
The third revolution that McCloud discusses encompasses the last two talked about above. It deals with Diversity of genre. McCloud states that “the push for diversity of genre is the push for comics to achieve excellence in many different genres.” The reason for this push in different genres will help the minority representation and the gender balance because by having different genres, different people will read many different things. At least that is what McCloud is hoping for. McCloud talks about how if he brought together 1,000 authors, her would be able to get 1,000 different ideas or styles of writing. The thing is, is that even if you get those different styles, some are definitely going to have the same theme and some are going to sell much better than others. So, most likely only one genre will be produced creating the same thing that we have now with the diversity of genre.
Each of these revolutions do go hand in hand in creating a great comic, but the question is: Are they really all going to be applied to the creation of comics? I think that in a way, comics are achieving, at a very small level these three very important revolutions. Even if I take our class for example, how many of us read comics, or even really knew about the different genres of comic books? If I remember correctly there were only like one or two people who really read comics and knew what comics could offer. So out of our 25 students, 23 of us now have a better idea of comics. Some of us being a minority, some the majority, some of us with different ethnicity and some of us middle-class or pour. So, just in our class we are helping comics by reading different types of comics and trying to get the Superhero look of comics not as dominant. I am actually interested to read different comics that have nothing to do with comics. McCloud creates a very good point and I think that his points are valid and are coming into their own in this day and age.