Author: Emily Lauer

The Shadow Hero’s Shadow is New Super-Man

Welcome to the non-negative Year of the Knockoff on Women Write about Comics! Long ago in the wilds of October 2016, I wrote a guest post for the American Studies blog that discussed how Gene Luen Yang’s 2014 graphic novel The Shadow Hero seems like a rhetorical successor to Superman, particularly because its hero, Hank, is a first generation American calling on his Chinese heritage as he becomes a superhero. That seems connected to Superman’s immigrant roots and source of power. Little did I know that Yang was already, in fact, writing New Super-Man! For DC! The first issue...

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Draw the Line Offers Inspiration with Broad Strokes

Draw the Line Various creators, Myfanwy Tristram (editor) 2017 Draw the Line is an anthology webcomic, in which “over 100 comic(s) artists present positive political actions anyone can take.” It recently won the Broken Frontier Award for best Web Comic in 2017, and it does indeed offer a wide array of positive actions aimed at a variety of people. Gathered into a couple dozen categories, links to lists of “actions that cost nothing,” “actions you can take if you’re a coder,” and “actions kids can take” are right next to links to lists of “actions that fight homelessness or...

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Go Ahead, Skip the Origin Stories

Action Comics #1 gets Superman’s origin story and “a scientific explanation of Clark Kent’s amazing strength” out of the way on the very first page, and the rest of the issue is devoted to his activities as a grown-up “champion of the the oppressed.” Though obviously his childhood with the Kents, and his infancy on Krypton were expanded drastically after Superman became famous, they weren’t necessary to start telling his story. In fact, origin stories are not required to launch a superhero–or even a franchise of one. But gosh, America loves an origin story. The plot of becoming a...

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Shakespeare on the Page: A Better Way

I was recently rereading Manga Shakespeare: Twelfth Night, and found myself surprised all over again by how much I like it, and how well it works. The Manga Shakespeare series, published by Amulet/Abrams in the US & Canada or SelfMadeHero in the UK, uses a “manga” drawing style (but the western left to right reading order) to present a pared-down script of Shakespeare’s plays, keeping his original words. It’s good. I don’t usually appreciate comic book adaptations of “classics,” which are plentiful and often quite boring. Traditionally, a canonical literary text gets ruthlessly reduced and then shoehorned into a...

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Fun Home On the Page and the Stage

Small and Big, Close and Far, Same and Different The award winning Broadway musical Fun Home, based on Alison Bechdel’s graphic memoir of the same name, is now on tour. By the time this goes to press, the production will most likely be in Schenectady. Or Providence. And somewhere else after that. Whenever shows go on tour, they need to re-position themselves for a specific audience and context in each new place. With Fun Home, of course, the musical has already done that. First, the creators adapted Alison Bechdel’s work for the stage, and then, when the production moved...

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