Author: Nadia Bauman

Your Average Russia: Codename Baboushka And Cultural Appropriation

Codename Baboushka is a pulp story about Annika Malikova, the last member of a Russian noble family… who turns out to be a mafia boss, as well as professional hitman and a double agent running errands for a USA government agency. In few words, she’s a blend of everything pulp movies usually appropriate from Russian history and culture. She even has her own ex-KGBist Gyorgy. Using those glamorous visions of Russia as a selling point, the book completely ignores real facts about the country. Usually, I’m glad to encounter any reference to my native culture. I’m flattered when people...

Read More

When Down Is Up: What’s Wrong With Indie Comics?

We’ve already discussed why “mainstream” comics are not that mainstream these days in my last “When Down Is Up” article. Let’s now look at the opposite of the mainstream at the so-called indie or creator-owned comics.  Both these terms were brought in use in the ‘70s and initially indicated comics that were released by small publishers. Back then, before our “everyone is one’s own Gutenberg” era, it also meant narrow readership, less money, and consequently limited resources of both creators and publishers. As I think about Francoise Mouly’s RAW and Robert Crumb’s Zap Comix, it occurs to me that...

Read More

We’re Sick of This Beauty: All the Women in These Comics Have the Same Face

We all know the common problem with female bodies in comics: oversexualized, unrealistic, packed in tight suits, bent at unnatural angles and looking seductive even in the midst of a battle.  The supporters of such representation of women—those who insist that an armored tankini is a smart distraction technique—are willing to explain to you the reasons for female superheroes to look like this. Yes, they are fit because they work out and kick asses. Yes, they can freeze in a position that gives you a simultaneous view on the chest and butt because they do stretching and probably have a...

Read More

The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie: A Quest For A Perfect Doll

They say parents willingly fill up kids’ rooms with toys that Mom and Dad missed in their own childhood. It is probably true for me. I have a three-month-old girl, and I can’t wait for when she will be big enough for our first visit to a toy store. In the meantime, I stroll around “pink aisles” wondering which doll would compensate for a shortage of toys in my childhood and considering how it correlates with my perception of a proper companion for a modern girl. So that’s how I wound up in an average New Jersey Toys”R”Us with...

Read More

When Up Is Down: There’s Nothing Mainstream About Mainstream Comics

Mainstream and indie are two counterparts of the comics industry; two gears that spin interdependently, shaping the medium. You’ll meet these two terms at any comics-themed website or discussion, both online and in real life. People use them when talking about comics history, or describing the current state of the medium, or specifying their own affections. The two are inevitably put into contraposition to each other. We humans love to play the yin and yang game, and it seems natural to compare something small and authentic with something big and well-recognized. David and Goliath thing, if you prefer western...

Read More
  • 1
  • 2