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Manga Studies #8: Shōjo Manga History: The Obscured Decades by Dalma Kálovics

Previously on Comics Forum, Monden Masafumi shed light on the fact that Japanese shōjo manga discourse tends to prioritize a gender-related perspective, disregarding the majority of graphic narratives which do not fit a subversive reading of the genre, or even dismissing them for their allegedly conservative representation of femininity. But this is not the only one-sided approach to shōjo manga, there is also a historical bias at play. Shōjo manga of the 1970s, notably works by the so-called Magnificent 49ers (see below), have been the main focus of discussion, overshadowing other eras, both before and after. In the following overview, I will outline how the 70s and especially the 49ers ended up as the center of attention, how this favoritism has obscured other periods, and finally how views on shōjo manga history are beginning to change.

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The Joy and the Burden of the Comics Artist: The role of boredom in the production of comics by Greice Schneider

There is something very intriguing in the high incidence of comics about cartoonists whining about the struggle of their métier, especially in the realm of alternative comics, in which the combination of autobiography and a tendency towards a depressive mood has been setting the tone in the last decades. In fact, the idea that many ‘alternative comics’ feature stories in which ‘autobiography would be the mode’ while ‘neurosis and alienation the dominant tone’ (Leith) is so well spread that it has become almost a genre in itself. It is not a coincidence that these two elements appear together, though. There is a connection between the subject (the routine of making comics) and the mood it awakens (most of the time, self-deprecating, depressing) that is directly related to the tricky dynamics of boredom and interest in the creative process: making comics appears both as the escape from boredom and the source of it. Although the role played by boredom and melancholy has been addressed in many arts, there seems to be something special with comics, given the high number of artists that bring up this topic in their work, such as Lewis Trondheim, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes or Ivan Brunetti.

Cartooning Will Destroy You

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