Many, many hands are wrung all the time about the dearth of original ideas in the world, and how to create something new. Sometimes the answer lies in simply combining elements from existing genres – supernatural detectives, alien spies, pop witches. And while the results of these mashups can be a lot of fun and, yes, original, sometimes a better route is to take an existing genre and subtract things from it.
Don’t read this review. Don’t play this game. Don’t look at me.
There’s a lot of talk in video game analysis about game designers’ overwhelming reliance on violence as a mechanic, and the culture that it encourages. There are, of course, reasons why violent video games are so popular; they allow players a relatively harmless outlet for negative emotions, for one. Certain kinds of violent games also encourage ideas about masculine power and the perceived link between “manliness” and violence, letting men fantasize about shooting people without having to deal with the real-life consequences of doing so. And of course, making characters you only interact with through murderation is a lot easier, development-wise, than letting you have, like, a meaningful conversation with them.
There are certain comics that I might, if pressed, refer to as “entry level”: comics that are accessible, easy to read and follow, and that tell original, quality stories that are nonetheless a bit familiar to readers. Comics you can recommend to new friends, acquaintances, people you don’t really know – comics that can enjoy a fairly wide appeal. Then there are comics that I would have to call… “advanced”.
So the Ignatz Award nominees were announced last week, and two comics from my reading list were on it: Witchy and O Human Star, both extremely deserving works by skilled (and queer!) authors. There was another comic nominated that I was less thrilled about – so much so that I felt the need to go out of my way to write a review of it. If that makes me petty, so be it; I’ve got an axe to grind with Super Mutant Magic Academy.