“The initial Scarlet Witch romance worked for about 50 issues of subplots in some pretty good Avengers comics from back in that time, including the intrusion of the Swordsman’s hooker girlfriend, Mantis. I’m not sure anything about the marriage worked even a tenth as well as the initial “can you really fall in love with a robot” stuff did, though.”
I think that’s true for any couple in serial fiction, at least in serial fiction with no anticipated end point. It’s the same in daytime dramas; the build-up is always more interesting than the tear-down, and the tear-down is inevitable, I think. Happy couples are more sustainable in comedies than dramas. Serial fiction is a furnace that needs to be fed, and when that fiction is predicated partly or even wholly on romantic pairings, you can’t maintain a status quo for too long. It’s why soap characters marry and divorce so often, and why Spider-Man seems like such a player on the aforementioned list.
That’s one of the advantages of romantic pairings in manga, which generally has a designated end point. There are closing credits, and right before them, the couple can gaze into one another’s eyes and ponder their wonderful future together. Since it’s over, neither you nor the manga-ka need to dwell too much on the unpleasantness that can follow “happily ever after.”
Which brings me to my favorite manga romance, Yukari and George from Ai Yazawa’s Paradise Kiss (Tokyopop), but I’ll save further discussion for after the jump, because I’m headed into spoiler territory.
It takes very little to get me to rhapsodize over either of the defining writing Steves (Gerber and Englehart) of Marvel’s 1970s super-hero comics. For me, Englehart embodied a number of qualities whose general scarcity led me to dump spandex comics a few years back:
He tended to take fallow ideas and inject them with new life and potential. (The Cat’s old costume + a retired romance comic heroine = Hellcat. Enchantress’s sidekick-weapon becomes independent character and first female Defender. And so on.)
His crossovers were generally restrained and sensible in terms of not derailing the momentum of any of the books involved. Just because comics companies have abused the concept doesn’t mean his Avengers-Defenders War wasn’t an entertaining story.
He tended to leave female characters more interesting and formidable than he found them. Male characters too, now that I think of it.
He managed to find the comedy in melodrama without undermining suspense or lapsing into self-referential cynicism. (Example: rivals Scarlet Witch and Mantis independently coming to the conclusion that Wanda must be the Celestial Madonna, because seriously, consider the alternative.)
Really, Englehart’s (and Gerber’s) comics are some of the few from my childhood that I can still read and enjoy without irony. Or at least too much irony.
Real vol. 4, by Takehiko Inoue (Viz): Inoue’s tremendously good comic about wheelchair basketball continues.
Higurashi: When They Cry vol. 2, by Ryukishi07 and Karin Suzuragi (Yen Press): I read the first volume over the weekend, and I’m intrigued enough to see where it goes for at least another volume. I wish the characters were as involving as the creepy plot twists.
As you know, Viz is rolling out two series from Naoki (Monster) Urasawa at the same time, the aforementioned 20th Century Boys and Pluto. I like 20th Century Boys fine, but I suspect I’d like it a lot better if I weren’t reading it side by side with Pluto, which I think is superior. So I thought I’d throw out the question as to which book readers prefer.
“Informative descriptions for 18 different animated series and all relevant licensing and partner information are also featured. Current titles include Bleach, Blue Dragon, Buso Renkin, Croket!, Death Note, Deko Boko Friends, Detective Conan (CASE CLOSED), Grandpa Danger, Hamtaro, Inuyasha, Kilari, MÄR, MegaMan Star Force, Mirmo, Naruto, ICHIGO 100%, Zoids Genesis, and Honey & Clover. The site was developed in partnership with leading web design communications agency Megalo(s).”
“Grandpa Danger”? What in Pinoko’s name is “Grandpa Danger?” And why can I not buy it yesterday? Let’s investigate.
Will the day come when we evolve from bestseller lists to “largest number of unique visitors” lists? I have no idea, but one might anticipate future press releases from Viz talking about how many people have popped by TheRumicWorld. Just a theory, mind you. And as you may have guessed, that’s the topic for this week’s Flipped.
“The Asahi Shimbun paper has announced the winners for the 13th Annual Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prizes this weekend. For the first time, two manga titles shared the Grand Prize: Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ōoku: The Inner Chamber, and Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life.”