In the last site news, I talked about how simply including people of various identities in your work isn’t enough. Creators have an increasing awareness that representation of marginalized identities in fiction is important, but lacking good examples, many don’t know what good representation actually looks like. This leads to an effect where creators fill their work with as many different identities as possible without giving those experiences the depth of treatment or culturally competent touch they deserve. Such works can feel like they were cast by checklist: “Okay, we’ve got a lesbian character, a trans woman, and a trans man, we just need a gay guy and a bisexual. Flip a coin for the bisexual’s gender.”
Yes, I’m going to talk more about early-2000s webcomics. No, I’m not sorry. Okay I’m a little sorry. But the differences between modern webcomics and, for lack of a better word, “historical” webcomics are fascinating, especially when identifying the strengths and failures of the medium throughout the years. For instance, the most obvious stylistic influence on modern webcomics is clearly other webcomics; there’s a self-sustaining culture that has grown up around putting pictures with words on the internet. But back in the day? The biggest influence on most early webcomickers was newspaper comics.
You’re familiar with the internet, right? You’re here, so you must be, unless you’re some 90 year old granny at the public library who sat down at a computer looking for that new-fangled digital library card system and happened to find the browser open to yeshomo dot net. In which case, welcome to the internet! You should probably ask a librarian for help.
Fairy tales adapted for older audiences are a modern ubiquity. TV, movies, comics, and video games have been tapping into the timeless impact and universal familiarity of children’s stories for almost as long as I can remember. Most often, it’s the mark of a lazy writer; instead of needing to come up with something original and make it convincing, one can simply take the instantly recognizable characters and plots and alter them to make them more “edgy”, creating a contrast with the perceived innocence of the source material that some people, I guess, like, consider interesting for some reason?
One thing that I always found hard to swallow about X-Men was how the government was so hardline anti-mutant. I guess it makes sense if you’re maintaining the whole mutants-as-civil-rights or mutants-as-militant-queers metaphors, but Marvel never seemed to want to go all in with those metaphors, so the question still lingers: Why not draft the mutants, get a bunch of superpowered cops and soldiers of their own?