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200: A Potpourri of Writing, Comics,Texas Politics, and Current Children’s Cartoons

I had intended this post to explore my love for Fairy Tail, but I decided to wait until I read volume 19. So, it could be a while. Instead, I have a potpourri post up tackling some issues that have been bugging me over the past week or so. Let’s begin with:

Texas Politics

I’m dejected right now. Seriously, should I even bother to vote? Yeah, I could just vote for President Obama and the democratic senate nominee then ignore the rest of the ballot. But still, this is depressing.

What I find so distressing is the real weakness of the Texas Democratic Party in my area. I’ve checked and no Democrat is running for our congressional seat, or state house seat, or seat on the state board of education. Who am I to vote for, the Libertarian candidate if he/ she is less egregious than the Republican candidate?

Well, I guess that is what you get for having a one party state…

Next topic is . . .

Current Children’s Cartoons

This is an example of me putting my foot in my mouth. I had, for years, believed that PBS’s children’s shows were the best. But having watched many cartoons geared at children with my niece, I have come to the conclusion that I am wrong.

Dora the ExplorerGo, Diego, Go!Ni Hao, Kai-lanPocoyo, Yo Gabba Gabba, etc. are all very good. And they’re all on Nick. That’s not to say that PBS’s offerings are any worse than I remember. But, PBS is not the only show in town anymore when it comes to excellent and educational children’s programming.

It is always nice to be proven wrong.

Moving on to . .  .

Comics of two subjects

The rumors are true, Alan Scott is revealed to be gay in Earth 2 #2. Personally, I love this development. Reading James Robinson’s interview about his processes in making the decision is highly informative and, I think, paints DC in a much better light than a number of fans seem willing to grant. Unlike Northstar’s wedding next month, DC had not intention of announcing it. Dan Didio answered a question at a convention. The media (both comic and not) took it from there.

Despite the fact that gay and lesbian characters are becoming more common in all sorts of media, the inclusion and introduction of gay characters still draws media attention, however the company approaches the issue.

One aspect of this whole event is how much it reveals about the relative ignorance of how the creation of a comic book actually works. Robinson has been planning this book for at least eight months. And the same is true of Marjorie Liu’s run on Astonishing X-Men. Comic books are not produced on the fly. It takes months of planning, editorial input, rewrites, artwork, etc. to produce a final product.

Speaking of writing, I’m wondering if one of the problems with global manga may be issues of writing. Whenever I read articles on creating global manga, I mostly see it discussed almost exclusively in terms of art  rather than writing.It is important to remember that sequential art tells a story. And that story requires some form of writing. To be a successful manga artist, one needs both excellent art skills and strong writing skills.

But regardless of my own feelings on the matter, I look forward to Deb Aoki’s look at ways to correct the sorry state of American manga.

Now finally. . .

More writing

As I have stated before, it is important for writers in this day and age to be willing to produce works in multiple formats. From novels and short stories to video games, comics, movies, etc all should be on the table at least in the contemplative stages. Now, some of these formats are harder to break into than others and all have their own intricacies when it comes time to shop your ideas and work around. And, at the end of the day,  you may find yourself preferring one or two formats rather exclusively. The key thing is, I think, to explore one’s options to the fullest.

And this is true of how one publishes. I’ve gone on record that I prefer a more traditional approach to publishing, but I also think that all writers need to be aware of what e-publishing offers. Personally, I would feel like a hypocrite if I rooted exclusively for self e-publishing. How can I write about this subject when I don’t have an e-reader?

Anyway, that’s it for my 200th post.  I’ll try to get a few more posts up later this weekend.

 

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New Directions and the Approach to Two Hundred

So, I was planning on getting a comparison of the novel and film versions of Howl’s Moving Castle posted. But, as with much of this blog, other events have preempted it. In addition to the Howl post, I was thinking of writing my thoughts on the role of the critic. However, I think I can actually incorporate that post into the present one. So, what is this post about?

Well, it’s about taking stock of things. Of analyzing where I’ve come and where I’m going. It’s about questioning ideas and directions. It is, largely, about revising.

For one thing. I’m not going to do a post, an essay, a research paper, etc. on the grimdark in fantasy. I’m interested in the topic. But, I don’t want to do it. I don’t want to waste my time reading books that I don’t like several times to make sure I don’t mess it up. I certainly don’t want to waste my time reading a bunch of secondary sources and texts of influence that will bore me to death.

The simple fact is that I really don’t want to be a critic. I’m not a scholar. I don’t have the credentials or, honestly, the wherewithal to do it. For a while, I wanted to be an academic. To be a professor of English. But not any more. So, why should I beat a dead horse anyway? I shouldn’t.  Time to buy the damn thing.

And, finally, wasting my time with all of these genre fights takes time away from me doing what I really want to do. Which is writing fiction. And I don’t need distractions.

As many of you who read my blog on a regular basis know, I am keenly interested in writing comics. Lately, I’ve taken a harder look at that interest.

My harder look has convinced me to pursue both novels (prose) and comics. Some of my ideas clearly make better novels than they would comics. And some of my ideas positively demand to be comics.

For a while, I toyed with the idea of writing a manga influenced series. But I’ve changed my mind on that. For one thing, Deb Aoki’s recent posts on About Manga have explored the problems of “original English language” manga publication very well. To be honest, unless something changes, it is nigh impossible for “OEL” to even begin to gain in popularity. I hope that is not the case, but I’m not sure how the situation can change.

Another problem with me doing manga style is that I’m a writer not a drawer. I wish I could draw, but I don’t have the talent. My lines are crooked and never look right. I’m not very good at it, period. So, I’ll need actual artists to work on the art side of it. And manga style is largely a melding of the role of writer and artist.

Finally, the more I think about the differences between manga and American comics, the more I’m convinced that I’m split. I like the storytelling style of manga. But I love the artistic style of American comic books more.  And when I envision my embryonic comic book series, I see it being a series that would be carried in a comic book shop.

Now that I’ve got all of this hashed out, where do I go from here? Well, there is publication. I’ve looked into traditional publishing in addition to self publishing. Honestly, I don’t think self publishing is the way I want to go. If I were to go the route of self publication, I would demand of myself as nearly professional level of editing, book design, etc. that a traditional (and more experienced) publisher can bring to bear. Honestly, I don’t have that kind of money. And I don’t have a sense for business (yet). So, I think a more traditional publisher is the way to go, at least for now.

So, that’s it for now. There’s a few things I want to do before I go to bed in an hour and a half. But there is one thing I want to  do before I leave: a taste of the posts coming as I march to our two hundredth post. Next time will be the Howl post. Then comes a post on research. And I’ll cap off with Post 200- Why I  love Fairy Tail.

Well, since it is so near my bedtime, I’ll leave you with a goodnight.