Comics Alternative, Webcomics: Reviews of Isle of Elsi, Late Bloomer, and Carriers

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:28 – Introduction
  • 00:03:03 – Eisner Award nominees announced
  • 00:10:04 – Isle of Elsi
  • 00:47:30 – Late Bloomer
  • 01:09:44 – Carriers
  • 01:31:32 – Wrap up
  • 01:32:31 – Contact us

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Very Punny

Sean and Derek are back with your monthly dose of webcomics analysis. Before they jump into their reviews, however, they spending a little time discussing the recent announcement of this year’s nominees for the Eisner Awards. The guys will devote next month’s episode to the actual webcomics nominated, so they don’t go into much detail this time, but they do mention the big news that the judges have tried to distinguish “webcomics” from “digital comics”…albeit rather ineptly. Tune in next month for more in-depth discussion on this matter!

But for May, Sean and Derek already have plenty to consider. They begin with Alec Longstreth’s Isle of Elsi, an all-age fantasy with a penchant for word play. Both of the guys are bowled away by this webcomic, one of the most impressive that they’ve discussed on the show. Not only are the art and storytelling top-notch, but the design of the website is a big draw, as well. (And while you’re at it, check out the Two Guys’ 2014 interview with Longstreth.)

Next, they turn to another webcomic from Webtoons, Late Bloomer. Written and drawn by Zealforart (AKA Tiffany Woodall), this is a shōjo-inspired romance about a young woman with a flower bud growing out of her belly, a family condition that can only be overcome with her being “deflowered.” Yes, it is quite an unusual premise.

Finally, Derek and Sean wrap up with Lauren R. Weinstein’s Carriers. This completed webcomic was originally published in five parts on the Nautilus website, and it received an Ignatz Award nomination in 2015 for the “Outstanding Online Comic” category. It’s a sobering look at being a carrier of cystic fibrosis and what means for young couples wanting to start a family.

Comics Alternative, Manga: Reviews of Revolutionary Girl Utena Complete Deluxe Box Set and Ghost in the Shell Deluxe Edition

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Time Codes:

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A Deluxe Show!

On this episode of the manga series — a few days later than expected — Shea and Derek discuss two new deluxe editions of older titles. They begin with Revolutionary Girl Utena Complete Deluxe Box Set, soon to be released by VIZ Media. This is a different kind of shōjo, one that the guys don’t often encounter, and an aspect that makes this title stand out is its conceptual genesis. Revolutionary Girl Utena was conceived by the creative team known as Be-Papas but written and drawn by Chiho Saito (also a  member of Be_Papas). Shea and Derek discuss the “collaborative feel” of its genesis and the unusual mix of characters, costumes, and scenarios that define the series.

Next, the guys turn to a new deluxe edition of Masamune Shirow’s classic Ghost in the Shell, just released by Kodansha Comics. The paperback versions of this title, and of the two follow-up volumes, are still in print, but Kodansha now has these wonderful new hardbound editions. The new Ghost in the Shell volumes stand out because for the first time in English, the story is presented in the original right-to-left reading order, they retain the author’s original hand-drawn sound effects, the translation has been updated, and everything has been done under the author’s supervision. Both Shea and Derek have a great time revisiting Ghost in the Shell, and they hope that Kodansha will be bringing back more of Shirow’s manga — e.g., Appleseed and Dominion — in these nice deluxe editions.

Deconstructing Comics #487: Maya Kern and “Monster Pop!”

Monster Pop!Maya Kern‘s “Monster Pop!” features monsters and humans living together at a university. In Kern’s mind, it’s like, and also not like, shojo manga. How so?

This week, Tim talks with Maya about the increased acceptance of gay characters in comics; the problems with blogging from a character’s point of view (and of making your character a musician); why comics conventions are good for connections, but anime conventions are good for making money; repetitive strain injury, online comics promotion (Tapastic, Patreon), and more.

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Deconstructing Comics #371: “Nana”: Don’t hate it because it’s shojo

nana“What?!” I hear you say. “Deconstructing Comics doing a whole show on a girls’ manga?” Ye of little faith! Have we ever steered you wrong? It may look like nothing but a sappy romance comic, but Ai Yazawa’s Nana features realistic, conflicted characters who deal with romance, infidelity, coming of age, fame, and rock & roll from all angles. It also boasts some fantastic storytelling techniques, so there’s plenty here for comics fans of all stripes to enjoy. Tim and Kory discuss.

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Deconstructing Comics #336: “A Drunken Dream”

A Drunken Dream - Iguana Girl

Up until the late ’60s, Japanese girls’ comics were mainly done by men, and could often be formulaic and sappy. But then several female creators broke into the field and revolutionized the genre. One of them was Moto Hagio, whose stories (even when they had science fiction aspects to them) dwelt on not fitting in, losing what you love, and other themes that could be depressing, but were usually expressed in innovative and compelling ways. Little of her work is available in English, but Fantagraphics released an overview of her work, A Drunken Dream and Other Stories, two years ago. Tim and Kumar review.

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Deconstructing Comics #334: “Magic Knight Rayearth”

Magic Knight RayearthIn the early ’90s, girls’ comics in Japan took a superheroesque turn with the appearance of Sailor Moon. It was shortly followed by CLAMP’S Magic Knight Rayearth, featuring three 14-year-old girls in a world that reminded them of RPGs.

A few years later, Tokyo Pop and other US publishers took the risk of releasing girls’ comics stateside, with unexpected success. Yes, American girls WILL read comics!

Manga critic Shaenon Garrity joins Tim to talk about the ’90s evolution of shojo manga and its debut in the States, and the place of Magic Knight Rayearth part 1 in that mix.