Category Archives: Introduction to Comics

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Comics THORsday: 2016 Comic Book Selection

I can’t believe this is our last Comics THORsday of the year! 2016 has proven to be a very rocky year. Today I’m going to share my 2016 comic book selection of best comics. Although this year has been weird, it has also been good for comics. I’ve made great discoveries, and I’ve also found series that I love and want to keep reading. Reading comics is a pleasure, and I must say that 2016 has been a great year for them.

1. Spider-Gwen

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Spider-Gwen is one of my favorite comic books. Not only the story is thrilling and interesting, but I also love Gwen’s fashion. This is not the first time I get inspired by a comic book character to dress in a certain way, but this is the first time I get so hooked in geek fashion. If you haven’t read this one yet, what are you waiting for!?

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Comics THORsday: the Marvel Method

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Welcome to another comics THORsday! We’re going to talk about the Marvel Method today. It is a model of comic production that some publishers use and that was introduced by Stan Lee in the 60s. As he was overworked, writing and editing almost everything at Marvel, he decided to take out some of his work and pass it onto others. So, he plotted a method by which he would give a plot summary to the artist to develop. And this was odd to say the least! Till Stan Lee came up with a solution for his overwork problem, most comic books were done in an assembly-machine like manner. So, imagine in a room a chain with the editor, the writer, the penciler, the letterer, the inker, the colorist and the cover artist. The writer would pass on a full script to the penciler to draw, and this meant that artists had not much freedom. However, Stan Lee’s method made it possible for artists to have a greater freedom in coming up with visual elements.

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Comics THORsday: Comic Literacy, learning to read comics

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Welcome to Comics THORsday! This time is a rather surprising topic for me: comic literacy, learning to read comics. Time ago I was approached by one of my friends who does not read comics. He said to me that he would love to, but he had no idea of how it worked. He left me speechless. I’ve been reading all types of comics since I was a kid, so, in my mind there was no way there would be people out there who would have problems in reading comics. I was blown away. I decided to help him read a comic and found out that he wasn’t joking. He was unable to follow the panels. Once I told him how to do it more or less, he started to navigate the pages of Loki Agent of Asgard #1 (the comic I had at the moment). He told me that thanks to my explanation things started to make sense. Till then, for him, comics had been mumbo jumbo. However, he also told me that he would need time and lots of read comics to feel comfy while reading a comic. On the bright side: he now can read comics.

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When someone tells you that they don’t read comics, one must now think about the possibility of them being unable to follow the panels and speech balloons. If you are new to reading comics, follow reading because I have some examples for you that might help you. Don’t despair nor get nervous. Reading comics, it’s fun! And it’s not difficult at all!

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Comics THORsday (on Friday): Superior Iron Man and Marketing

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Welcome to Comics THORsday! This week… on Friday! Today we’re going to explore how superhero comics might hide critics on present society. And we’re going to do it exploring Marvel’s Superior Iron Man Infamous and how it presents a critical eye onto nowadays marketing towards young people (or marketing, in general, really). Also, we’ll discover the fear of corporations taking control of us. Are you ready?

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[SPOILERS ahead! If you haven’t read Superior Iron Man yet, I recommend you to do so before diving into this post. If you don’t mind the spoilers, please go ahead.]

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Comics THORsday: comic book genres

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Welcome to comics THORsday! Today we’re going to talk about the different genres that we can find in comic books. A genre is just a type of classification. Comics, like books and movies, are classified in different groups using as a base their similarities. Perhaps, one of the best known comic book genre is the Superhero genre. However, there are other interesting genres that I am sure you already know.

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Let’s discover all of them!

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Comics THORsday: Test Yourself

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Welcome to comics THORsday! Today we’re taking a test. How much do you remember about what we’ve been talking about comics? If you want, you can check out the introduction to comics in this blog, and then, jump to the test. You will find 10 questions about comics. When the answer is correct, it will appear in green. When it’s wrong, it will appear in red. In any case, once you’ve chosen your answer, whether correct or incorrect, you’ll be able to read what was the correct answer. Let’s do it!

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Comics THORsday: Modern Myths & Archetypes

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Welcome to comics THORsday! Today we’re going to give a look at modern Myths & Archetypes. Modern mythology does exist, specially in American comics. From times immemorial, different societies have expressed their beliefs, cultural values and fears through myths and legends. They have tried to explain the world around them, and personality types through myths and heroes. From this perspective, we can see that a myth is a statement that a certain society does about itself. Myths also work as a way of having hope when there are dark times ahead, or when a society is living in a hard time.

Myths can take different forms, like poetry or narrative. In recent times, we can find myths in media: comic books and movies. In different types of art we find not only how a certain society explains its models of beauty or behavior, we also find which sex roles there are, and what is considered good and evil.

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Myths are the messengers which bring culture to members of society, and are also the agents that keep or change tradition. In this sense, the power of a myth, whether its roots are totally metaphorical or based on reality, is greater than one might think at first sight. And since we do find myths within the world of comic books, specially within the Superhero genre, we must take a serious look at them.

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Comics THORsday: Comics as Visual Language

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Welcome to comics THORsday! Today we’re going to take a quick look at comics as a visual language. In a sense, we can understand comics as sequences of images working as a language. Neil Cohn has a great page dedicated to his theories. However, we’re going to take a much mundane approach to it today. Comics are a literary form that has its own language, in which we can find narratives conforming to the myths that we can find in pop culture. These myths explain archetypes that make sense to people at a given time. Thus, comics are a very unique form of narrative.



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Comics THORsday: Publishing Comics & Adapting Them To Other Cultures

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Welcome to comics THORsday! Today we’ll take a look at comics from a publishing perspective. We’ll also take a look at what happens when publishing companies adapt their comics to different markets. We’ll use superhero comics to do so.

As we saw last week, comics are volumes of juxtaposed images ordered in a sequence with a certain narrative. Comic volumes are fixed by sheets of bounded paper. But, we can also find them digitally as well. Comic books and graphic novels are marketed in a different way. Comic books tend to be serial, having many volumes, while graphic novels tend to be self contained.

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On the left, US-printed Marvel monthly comic book. On the right, a Marvel monthly comic book for the Spanish market.

In the US, monthly comics have around 30 pages and volumes are slim, with a thin paper cover. Pages are fixed by sheets of bounded paper. The same can be found in Spain. Marvel superhero monthly comics seem to use the same pattern.

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Comics THORsday: Introduction to Comics

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Welcome to comics THORsday, an introduction to comics! Every THORsday we’ll explore comics: what are they, what are superhero comics, which is their history, what is the psychology of superheroes, and we’ll take a look to them from an anthropological point of view. Let’s discover comics, not only as an entertainment, but also as a source of sociological, anthropological and psychological source.

Let’s start with what you’ll find in this course, a simple introduction and some vocabulary!

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