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.

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Economic independence of women to change Hollywood gender stereotypes

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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.”

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Were Viking females like Lady Sif?

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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.

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Teaching through comics: Marvel Comics agaisnt bullies

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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.

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DIY: fans creating for fans, the Loki Movie

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What happens when the mainstream makers do not deliver what fans want? Very simple: they do it themselves. The “do it yourself” (DIY) phenomenon is not only something related to crafts, but also a very deep trait of fandom. When a mainstream maker does not deliver what the audience wants, the audience will eventually create what they want.

One recent example of fans creating for fans is the unofficial “Loki movie” called “Loki, Brother of Thor”. Fans of Loki have been demanding a solo Loki movie for a long time now. Tired of waiting, some fans have decided to take action and create a solo Loki movie editing the existing Marvel movies, creating a version of the events using available material.

This not only happens with movies, it also happens with cosplay dresses, t-shirts, jewelry, shoes, and all sorts of different merchandising. Traditionally, fan fiction and fan art have been the realms of the “DIY” expression. Fans who wanted things to happen in the movies, but didn’t happen write down the alternate stories. Others, decide to create for themselves, as well as for others, goodies that would love to have bought from the mainstream makers.

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New Spider-Woman #1 variant cover is showing her butt!

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Women have been reduced to sexual objects, or mere objects, in media narratives in order to stress male characters journeys. Marvel has been trying to smash stereotypes of women in comics during the recents years, that’s why Spider-Woman #1 variant cover might come with a big surprise, specially knowing that female comic book readers are increasing in astonishing numbers.

Re-known Milo Manara, erotic artist, has created a variant cover for Marvel that puts everyone on fire: it stresses the old “cliché” of the woman-object trying to allure men and ignoring the presence of women all altogether. However, Milo’s depiction of Spider-Woman even fails to do so because of being “anatomically inconsistent.” Not only his Spider-Woman is showing up a huge “open-to-the-whole-city” female butt and stressing out that women are mere objects, it also fails to depict women in the correct way altogether.

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Valor: Fairy tale comic anthology about courageous heroines



Valor is a comic anthology with fairy tales plenty of female heroines. Tales have been re-imagined or scripted from zero. The aim is to re-imagine or create brand new stories that are centered in strong leading female characters.

I found this project thrilling, and I decided to back it up (you have time till August 31, 2014). What got me in was not only the artwork, but the potential and the trend that it shows up. It focuses on female leading figures, it re-imagines fairy tales and creates new ones for nowadays audience.

These are not superhero comics, but fairy tale comics based on fairy tales. We are used to listen to traditional fairy tales with different types of female characters. In many instances, female characters are the ones who need the help of male characters. Here, however, females take the lead.

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Project 562 and the Tribes in the US



Matika Wilbur launched her Project 562 to photograph every federally recognized Tribe in the US (566). I found this project in Kickstarter by chance and I decided to back it up because iti s a great way to record a reality of every Tribal Nation in the US through photography. A really nice project that can be a window for anthropologist studies as well.

This is an ongoing project that, I personally find, amazing. You can get news about its project here. If you happen to be in the US you can have the opportunity to attend one of the exhibitions, or be able to, perhaps, meet with the phographer.

Matika sold everything she had and hit the road, and she’s been on the road taking pictures ever since. Her efforts might open the heart toward recognizing US indigenous communities, and open their customs to the rest of the world as well.

The book Matika is making does not only contain photographs but also untold histories from Apaches, Swhinomish, Northern Cheyenne, Lumbee, and other Tribes.

If you want to know more about this project, please visit Matika’s blog.

Superhero partners: Mary Marvel

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Mary Marvel is a female superhero from the 40s, the sister of Captain Marvel, a comic book originally published by Fawcett Comics (now owned by DC). Marc Swayze, the artist, based Mary Marvel’s appearance and personality on Judy Garland, the quintessence of “virtuous” girls during the time (remember that she was Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz, 1939). Mary first appeared in Captain Marvel Adventures #18. She discovers that she is a long lost twin sister of Billy, Captain Marvel. When Mary uses the magic word “Shazam” she transforms herself into a preteen girl, capturing the essence of Judy Garland, and the stereotype of “a good virtuous girl” in the 40s (again, remember Dorothy). When Billy uses the magic word, he transforms into a grownup man.

Mary Marvel is not a woman: she is a girl. She is not “Lady” (like Lady Luck) nor “Woman” (like Wonder Woman), she even has no rank during the war. She is not voluptuous nor sexy. The target here was to attract girls into read comics, not to appeal males, nor to appeal young ladies. She is only treated as “Mary,” plain and simple. Despite not being treated as a “woman” nor having any ranks and being just a girl without any female sexy attributes, she had her own comic book through Wow Comics during the 40s. Her origins and behavior have changed under the hands of DC, but her origins in Fawcett Comics give us a glimpse of how women were seen and considered within society during the 40s.

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