Disney’s Maleficent, beyond the surface

(C) Disney. Maleficent.

Disney’s Maleficent is a movie with many meanings. It can be taken as a “modern” fairy tale, or you can scratch and find our more about it. Maleficent, beyond the surface, is much more, and explains far more, than meets the eye.

We must agree that Maleficent explains a story about rape, but also a story where the stereotypes of the hero and the villain are shattered as well. Moreover, it’s also a metaphor for our current state of economy and governance, and a warning for environmental issues, industry versus natural resources.

Let’s take a brief look to all of these aspects.

Continue reading

Free Xmas present: dePepi Calendar 2015!

calendar 2015, free calendar, free, free goodie, goodie, depepi, depepi.com

Yay! Here you have a Xmas present for you: a dePepi Calendar 2015! Click on the image to see the full size picture. The maximum size in which you can print it without getting pixels is a DINA4 size. More than that, the image will start to get a little bit weird. You can also use the image as a desktop one. It will be somewhat cut, though.

The artwork, comic-book-style female superhero, was created by Katrina Hill. She is my alter ego, and well, the logo of this webpage. (I love Katrina’s drawing style, it is really fresh and cool!)

I hope you like it! Let’s start celebrating Xmas and prepare for 2015!!!

Extreme fame: living in a small claustrophobic cage

Jennifer Lawrence

How is it possible to be a celebrity, attain extreme fame, and feel like you are living in a small claustrophobic cage? Jennifer Lawrence is not the first celebrity who has “nightmares” about it, and won’t be the last. Though it might seem paradoxical, extreme fame can be quite freedom limiting.

While many fantasize in reaching the top of the fame pyramid and be able to attain the so precious extreme fame, it does not come without a cost. Those living in the faceless crowd sometimes dream about the glamour and stylish images that media presents us about being a celebrity. But are we taking a look at the whole picture? Worshiping celebrities from afar might give us just the wrong image about what it really means to be the center of the spotlight.

Continue reading

Is Loki of Asgard really loved by Odin? + Loki as a metaphor for women status in society

loki, loki of asgard, original sin, original sin: thor & loki, original sin: thor & loki #5, marvel, marvel comics, loki's army, comics, geek, geek anthropology, anthropology, anthropology through comics, depepi, depepi.com

This is tough question: is Loki of Asgard really being loved by his adoptive father Odin? Or is Odin loving him in a very particular way? Is Odin following a cultural set of rules that their children might be challenging somehow? We’ll discover it thanks to a masterpiece. In Original Sin: Thor & Loki #5 we can find a page that speaks volumes about the relationship of father and sons, and a clash of generations and cultural values that are changing, specially related to gender.

It is a compelling page, which has lots of visual information. It gives us different points of view, several ways of interpretation, and some clues about the drama that encloses. If we divide the page in three columns and three tiers (rows) we’ll find out that the page conveys far more information than it seems to state. Let’s go first with the tiers, and then we’ll move to the columns. (Note: I have divided the page in equal columns and tiers, someone else would have left the tiers on the edges where characters appear, but I’ve decided to do it in equal parts, maintaining a traditional cut. You can, however, decide to divide this page in unequal tiers, where the first one is composed by Odin’s panel, the second by the scene in the center, and the third by Old Loki’s panel.)

Continue reading

Fantomex Diabolik: cultural background

diabolik, fantomex, comics, marvel, marvel comics, depepi, depepi.com, geek anthropology

I went to the comic book store the other day and I found a Fantomex solo comic. In fact, I mistook him with Diabolik. I was puzzled with the cover of the comic, thinking it was a funny one for Diabolik. But then I noticed the huge title: Fantomex, Max. Which meant he was Marvel’s Fantomex, and not the Italian thief. Despite the confusion, I decided to take Fantomex home and compare his solo adventure with Diabolik.

Continue reading

Fall Seven Times, Get up Eight: The Japanese War Brides



When I saw this project I couldn’t stop myself to back it up. It is about Japanese War Brides, who, after the WWII married american soldiers and went to the US without knowing about the culture of their husbands. They landed on a country where most of people regarded them as enemies. Their cultural ways were at odds with the american ones. Now, three daughters, of three Japanese War Brides, are creating a film about them.

This is a unique opportunity to preserve the memory of these women, their experiences and a piece of history. This is also very valuable from an anthropological point of view. Why dis these women go to a place they did not really know? Why did they go a place with no Japanese-American communities? How were their lives? Unlike other immigrant groups, these women had no existing support networks, and they had to do everything, in a way, “alone”.

If you are interested in Japanese culture, WWII history and anthropology, this might be a very interesting project to fund and follow. Check it out here.

Focal vocabulary related to comics

Hatsune Miku. Example of Japanese animation.

Anime: [from the Japanese abbreviation “animation,”] Japanese animated hand-drawn or computer-made films.

Anthropomorphism: [from the Greek, “anthropos” (man/ human) + “morphe” (shape/ form)]. A literary device by which you attribute human characteristics or behavior to anything other than a human being, including animals, objects, gods…

Antihero: a main character or protagonist that lacks some o the qualities of an idealized hero, like morality or courage, and acts in an unheroic manner. An example: Wolverine.

APA: “amateur press association.” A group of people who publish collections of works and distribute them among their members. Many APA were founded in the 30s by fans of science fiction, comics, cinema, etc. APAs are being changed by internet mailing lists, etc; though many still exist.

Asynchronous: [from Greek “synkhronos” (happening at the same time); from “syn-” (together)+ “khronos” (time)]. The depiction of sound in a panel that is not happening at the same time as the events that are pictured in the panel. The sound can be music, dialogue or sounds.

Back issue: a back number of a comic.

Bande dessinée: comics from the Franco-Belgian tradition.

Broadsheet: a single page of printed material which has images and words printed on it (for example, a newspaper). The first broadsheet newspaper was published in 1618 in Europe.

Continue reading

Economic independence of women to change Hollywood gender stereotypes

gotg, guardians of the galaxy, women, women stereotypes, women status, hollywood, movies, comics, depepi, depepi.com

The structure of the family is changing across the US, according to The New York Times. Women’s economic independence is not only changing the shape of the american families across the country, it is also changing Hollywood. How? Female audiences are buying more tickets, and using their freedom of choice they are also deciding which movies are making more cash than others.

Even though women will also decide to watch male-oriented movies, their power to choose and demand is growing as family trends change. The more economic independence women have, the better their status within society. Thus, the potential of women to change Hollywood grows.

Even stars like Downey, Jr. are demanding more female leading roles in superhero movies. He has recently stated that:

“I think that the interesting thing particularly after Guardians with Zoe (Saldana), (or) even from the first Iron Man where Pepper was kind of this really – to me the Iron Man franchise would never have taken off without (Gwyneth) Paltrow. There’s something about her that grounded the story. She’s not your typical lady in a superhero movie, and then by Iron Man 3 she’s swallowing serums and putting on suits and kicking (butt) and all that stuff.”

Continue reading

Were Viking females like Lady Sif?

viking, viking female, viking female warriors, female warriors, lady sif, nordic, anthropology, geek anthropology, archeology, depepi, depepi.com, marvel, comics, marvel comics

Norse migrants to England in the latter ninth century were supposed to be mostly males. However, a recent study suggests that the ratio male/female might be different from that previously thought. Till now, researchers had misidentified skeletons as male in burials just because they were buried with their swords and shields, while female burials were identified because of the jewelry found in them. However, researchers have found out that around a 46% of the burials belonged to female.

Though the study doesn’t say that half of the females were female warriors, as many pages around the net suggest, nor the study is wide enought as to verify that this practice as normal among Vikings, reality is that the idea of more Viking females as “Lady Sif” is quite an appealing idea. At least if we connect it with THOR becoming a woman in Marvel Comics this fall.

It is well-known that there have been female warriors along history. Romans were more than once puzzled with female “barbarian” warriors who were as fierce as men. However, there are no accounts as to verify the exact number of female warriors among the Vikings. Even though we might love the idea, we must wait a little bit longer for further evidence that might give more light. However, we can take the reaction of the internet, while connecting different media and news, as a way pop culture has to express itself.

Continue reading

Teaching through comics: Marvel Comics agaisnt bullies

marvel, marvel comics, stomp out bullying, gamora, guardians of the galaxy, bullying prevention, geek, geek girl, depepi, depepi.com

Comics can be a great medium through which you can send messages to the audience. They have been use as propaganda in many times during recent history, including WWII. Marvel Comics has joined forces with STOMP Out Bullying™ and released a set of variant covers in commemoration of National Bullying Prevention Month. The idea is to use comics to teach that bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and any other digital abuse, homophobia, hatred, etc is wrong and should be out of schools and from communities around the country, and beyond it.

The problem of bullying at schools is not something that can only be found in the US. Unfortunately is something that happens worldwide. And while this initiative might be local, it can have effects beyond its borders.

Comics are a great mirror for popular culture. To see what’s up in their narratives is to glimpse the state of society as well. Superhero comics, in special, are a mirror in which to find out the foes and hopes of society. Using it to send a message for stopping a foe, is a great idea. Comics are also a way to export ideas to the world.

Continue reading