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sexy superhero comedy (or not): Assistant-artist mangaka: A concept applicable to American comics? Maybe not.



Behold, another compilation of a lengthy, comics-related Twitter rant from a year or two ago! This time around, the topic was Japanese comics’ famed, long-established system of assistant artists, and that system’s theoretical application to North American comics production.

The manga…

To note:

The assistant program in Japan isn’t profitable either. For beginner Manga artists their assistants are friends, family or people of their art “circle/club” who are working with them for that comic, often for free but sometimes for a very, VERY meager salary that’s attached to the completion of the product. (Not based on time or rewrites or page counts.)

Only when an artist is taken in by a major publication do they get publication hired assistants but even then sometimes these assistants DON’T live in your area and DO live with you while the comic is being completed.

On occasion for larger publications (Say if JUMP were to sign you for something, JUMP is the Japanese equivocal of Marvel) and you DON’T live in Tokyo sometimes JUMP will have apartments that they’ll bring everyone to live in while they work on their comic. If the comic does get popular it might be well over a year or two before you move out of this very small group housing situation to get your own place (because you have the money) or to go home (because your time is up.)

((To quick note here there are more comic publication circles in Japan than you can shake a stick at unlike in America where it’s kind of Marvel, DC and maybe one or two other names and then you’ve fallen into vanity press and personal publishers.))((Also realize these “Apartments” are like maybe 200 squared feet and 3~5 people are living in them.))

So yeah not all Manga Artists live in the same city, some move into the same house from all over in order to work on their comic, they receive a salary based on the completion of the project not based on the physical time they’re working so many of the assistants are only getting maybe the equivocal of $20~25/page and any artist can tell you a single page of even just inking can take 2+ hours. And if they fuck it up? The Editor wants a change? The lead artist changes their mind? They don’t get extra money for the overtime of having to re-draw it.

So even in Japan being an assistant to “Work your way up” isn’t a shortcut. It’s a trial by fire and many assistants never get higher than that. Ether because they meet a Manga-ka they like so much that they’re happy assisting them forever or because they realize they just don’t have what it takes.

And getting assistants isn’t a “Short cut” for Manga artists either since many artists will produce up to 20 “Names” just to apply to a publisher. (A “Name” is a short 20 page introduction comic to your idea. Basically you’ll make 10~20 “First chapters” of different ideas and the publisher will look at them and if they like one they’ll buy it and you have to develop that) These “Names” are usually done in the space of about 2 months. That’s 200~400 pages in 2 months! And you thought Nanomango was hard!) And then if they’re accepted they’re expected to put out 20~30 pages of product EVERY MONTH. And no they CAN’T be late or miss a date because if the comic magazine is printed without them in it then often they’re dropped completely (If they’re just starting) and this is a major black mark on their record.

So yeah if you’re thinking about being an assistant to an artist it is a good idea if you want to get into major comic publishing or even vanity press publishing and want to see what it’s like first before you invest all the time and possible money into doing it only to realize you’re not very good and hate it, but realize that in all things art there are no short cuts and you’re not doing it for the money, because there’s very little of that too.

And if you want to get an assistant then realize you’re not hiring some noob you have to teach but hiring someone who’s good but just new to the field or doesn’t have the drive or ideas to make their own works and realize that if they’re expecting good coin for their work then you’re better off just doing it on your own or getting friend labour for that kind of stuff.

And Japan is wondering why their birthrates are plummeting.






This is actually really interesting.

This is legitimately not jut about boobs,just watch it,youll learn something about modern cinema

A video about the straight cis male gaze in cinema (and video games), examples of it, and talking about how even when men are sexualized on screen, it’s still as active agents and not as a collection of body parts where the camera zooms in and cuts to various secondary sex characteristics.  Not a new concept, but the video is still interesting, even as just food for thought.

I also think having it deconstructed visually like he does, helps one pay a little more attention to how the world around us is constructed via the media we consume, in even small subtle ways, like where the camera focuses, pans, and zooms in on, and the difference between cuts that show pieces of the body versus full face & body shots.  (This is, of course, also applicable to stuff like comics, such as this Vampirella page where several panels are dedicated to her butt, or Ed Benes’ penchant for drawing “looking up at her butt” angles in panels with women in them.)

Sometimes it’s a conscious decision, and the artist wants to do it that way, or has been told to by higher ups, or it’s a goal of the company/marketing department, and sometimes, I think, it’s not necessarily conscious, but just how we’ve grown used to seeing scenes/panels with women constructed and having grown up with this media, we do it ourselves without thinking (i.e. “just what you do” as discussed in a previous post.)

Also, this doesn’t mean it’s NEVER a thing to do, sometimes it can be used very effectively, and increases the understanding of a scene (like the Austin Powers example where we are supposed to be seeing her through his eyes), but it’s when it becomes the norm of depicting women in all situations, that it can be a barrier to some of the audience in their enjoyment of the media, or their feeling of immersion, and send a message of “this is not for you.”

It can also hurt what you want people to get out of a scene.  If every character is being treated to the “wow look at that hottie” camera angles and framing, then what do you do if you actually have a character that’s supposed to have that conveyed?  Kind of like if every heroine must be in high heels and revealing clothing, it can make it difficult to distinguish the characters where that choice of clothing is supposed to inform the viewer about their personality.

As I said, just something to think about once you’re aware of it. :)

So I have a serious question - if showing sexy images of women objectifies them but showing sexy images of men empowers them… *scratches head* I don’t think that has as much to do with the nature of the images as it does the attitude of the viewer. A fit guy takes his shirt off in a movie and all the girls want to be with him and all the guys want to be him right? That’s the general attitude? But if a girl is shown wearing a low neckline and a short skirt, or a bikini or whatever, the assumption is that guys only see her sexy bits and discount any other quality she might have, and women see her and… I guess do the same thing? Why don’t guys want to be with her and girls want to be her? Well, the guys do want to be with her but now that’s a bad thing because… I don’t know, slut shaming gone mad? And women don’t want to be her because? They’re taught to be territorial and catty about other women? 

I’m not saying there isn’t way more male gaze in media, it’s just that the argument that the non-equivalency of the reversed gaze is something that’s bothered me for a while, but I think a lot of it does have to with the attitudes of the viewer and society in general about women and men. Of course, how do you go about fixing it? I think an inundation of the female gaze in media wouldn’t hurt, certainly. Equal exploitation for all I say. Also knocking it off on the slut shaming would definitely be a step in the right direction. Personally I think sluts should be lauded as national heroes - a national slut day would not be out of order.







Tumbling over the past year and a half has made me see the problems of gender roles that exist in media, but sometimes it gets to the point where I over analyze every single piece of television or film that I come across. (However this in no way means that I think feminist media criticism is wrong, or should be avoided!) Mostly I just over think everything.

This is awesome!

Oh god, my life.

And this is what Butler and Foucault mean when they talk about knowledge production being a reproductive process. Butler says that, “the naming is at once the setting of a boundary, and also the repeated inculcation of a norm” (Bodies That Matter, xvii). As feminists, each time we locate and name a particular issue, we participate in discursively reproducing it. This is true of all things, in a post-strucuralist sense. I think avoiding this trap is an impossible feat! However, the critique is powerful in that creates the necessary fissures and gaps in the reproductive process to create new ways of imagining. The power of fantasy then becomes the vehicle for embodying new ways of being and seeing. 

This is excellent! When people think that feminist opinions are meant to be simple, black-and-white, with no moral uncertainty or doubt, they’re wrong.

Basically one of the themes of my comic in a nutshell.

I generally am fairly reserved about commenting on feminism related stuff because I get tangled up in this sort of quandary.

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