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Early manga translations in the West: underground cult or mainstream failure? by Martin de la Iglesia

The comic market in the Western world today is heterogeneous and complex. However, I suggest it can be divided into three main segments, or groups of readers (see also the American market commentaries Alexander 2014, Alverson 2013): the first segment are manga fans, many of which also like anime and other kinds of Japanese pop culture. The second segment are comic fans in a narrower sense, who, at least in America, read mostly superhero comic books, and other comics from the genres of science fiction and fantasy. These are the ‘fanboys and true believers’ that Matthew J. Pustz writes about in his book Comic Book Culture (Pustz 1999). Finally, the third segment is the general public. These readers are not fans, but only casual readers of comics – mostly so-called “graphic novels”, newspaper strips and collections thereof, and the occasional bestseller such as the latest Asterix album.

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Posted by on 2014/07/14 in Guest Writers, Manga Studies

 

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The Reinterpretation of the superhero in Seagle and Kristiansen’s ‘It’s a bird’ by Esther Claudio Moreno

Steven T. Seagle’s It’s a bird is a comic that reflects on the figure of Superman and on the author’s life to pose a question: Do we need heroes? Through a personal story, Seagle provides the reader with a brilliant, meaningful and moving work, a cathartic experience that transforms him into the hero of his own epic.

With superb mastery and sobriety, the autobiography combines the deconstruction – a typical (but not exclusive) device of postmodern art – with traditional epic. One of the characteristics of postmodernity is the deconstruction of “meta-narratives” and myths. In It’s a bird we witness the deconstruction of, arguably, the greatest myth in comics –Superman, the symbol (among other things) of the American Spirit: “You’re as much America as jazz, baseball or comic books”(p. 41), Seagle says, and throughout the comic the validity of the superhero is challenged as the representation of the American way of life, as the personification of masculinity, of the exemplary citizen, of the immigrant who longs for the land of liberty, of “the metaphysical ideals – truth, infinity, faith…” (p. 42), etc. Superman presents himself as the self-made man, the winner, the embodiment of the American dream, and Seagle cleverly destroys it.

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Posted by on 2011/06/17 in Gender, Guest Writers

 

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