Sundry and Various

*A good essay from the ever-good Mark Fossen, undoubtedly one of the better new bloggers around, on how recently-reinforced (they were drawn long ago) battle lines must be rejected by those looking to the future. I suppose my own views (on the rare occasions I manage to sort them out) ultimately rest on the rejection of notions of volume-dominance-as-rhetorical-superiority, so I find myself inclined to agree with Mark, especially in his characterization of ‘Indy’ fans (though there's as many factions of 'Indy' fandom as there are birds in the sky) as shoring up the primary positioning of the Big Two (‘ceding the front racks,’ to paraphrase Mark) by establishing themselves as The Other.

Granted, I think the thrust of Mark’s essay as a whole is to secede oneself from the paradigm of conflict entirely, while I’m more likely to acknowledge the thrust of so much online argument as essentially focused on the Big Two, even as villains, further canonizing them as what’s ‘worthy of chat,’ but I think I eventually reach the same conclusion as Mark does (really, we might simply be saying the same thing in different ways): the only way is to free the mind, cast off notions of The Other, and concentrate on a more uninhibited approach to reading and enjoying (“I don't care if it's a multinational conglomerate or a basement inkjet, I'll read what appeals to me. I don't feel the need to be an activist, and I don't feel the need to let Marvel/DC frame the debate.” - YES, exactly, though I do think activism is a viable approach on a title-by-title basis, though I don’t know how thoroughly ‘activist’ has been redefined as useful term!). Naturally, there are many other arguments (by way of example, I’ve read an interesting piece recently on how the characterization of ‘manga’ as something other than ‘comics’ is in fact beneficial to the appreciation of manga as an art - just wish I could find it now), but Mark’s is very nicely done.

Remember - we don’t need to enter the cave at all, and in that way the Super Medusa can no longer wield power.

*Amusing Find Dept: Reading through the first volume of Crying Freeman, I was struck by a tendency on artist Ryoichi Ikegami’s part to throw in an extreme close-up of whatever gun(s) a thug or villain happens to be brandishing at any particular moment, whenever such a weapon appears. It’s kind of distracting, but sort of funny too; it’s like the unnecessary fashion spreads that shoujo manga used to throw in whenever a female character would sport a fresh outfit. And in much the same way that the young girl target audience of such shoujo manga would presumably ooh! and aah! over the delightful styles, I expect that Ikegami’s near-erotic weapon renderings serve to satisfy the gun otaku among the readership.

You see, there is a certain subculture in Japan focused on the building of model guns and classic weapons (actual gun possession is a big no no in Japan, hence the very existence of the fandom - that’s what got Kazuichi Hanawa of Doing Time tossed in the cooler, I believe), and I think the existence of such panels is essentially fan-service for fans of guns (rather than fans of panties, though I expect there may be some overlap). I wonder if such a crew is often attracted to the ‘manly romance’ (in Ikegami’s own words) of books like Freeman?

*Well crap, I’m out of time yet again. Always fun when I have a crapload of things to do on the weekend. Anyway, expect a longish piece on Grant Morrison’s The Mystery Play posted sometime on Monday (Morrison has a very particular means of approaching books like this and Arkham Asylum - seeing as how these two are among his weakest works, you can consider it a type of ‘evil formula’). And then there’s Alan Moore’s The 49ers, which I haven’t quite finished yet, but I’m working on something in regards to that one too. Oh, and Or Else #3, once I get the chance to buy it!