Dec 16, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 660: Monster Fighters, Inc.: The Ghosts of Christmas #1, December 1999

Apologies. Having one of those days where I just feel like burning everything to the ground. I'll try to catch up tomorrow.

(Ahhh, that Christmas feeling.)

 Though published by Image, this is an all Canadian creative team, which perhaps accounts for the realistic depiction of snow in the story. (That's me, reinforcing national stereotypes and all.)

(Of course, it's hovered around -25 - -30 Celsius here for about two weeks, so perhaps it really is just a type, not a stereotype!)

I'm curious about this series, and from what I can tell, there's only one other issue of the series, at least according to the GCD. The characters are intriguing, and considering that I had no context for them, I didn't feel lost or confused by the story at all. That's the nice thing about one-shots, I suppose.

I think there's something to be said for the adaptation of Dickens' seminal Christmas story into comics. In fact, I think that the Outsiders comic that's coming up in a couple of days also takes on A Christmas Carol. It really speaks, and unsurprisingly, to the way that that story resonates, the notion of our pasts, presents, and futures speaking to us, if only we had the ears to listen. The metaphor of the ghost facilitates that in the fictions - it behooves us to attempt to raise those ghosts in our own lives, I think.

Francis Manapul's art is emblematic of a moment in the late 90s where every new North American comic was trying to look like a manga - this was a trend that one could see occurring in the comics coming out of the major publishers over that decade, and it's unsurprising, given the explosion in the popularity of manga at that time. But there's also definitely something of the North American superhero tradition in the art. Rapunzel's hair, for example, is highly reminiscent of Medusa from Marvel (okay, they basically have the same power set, as far as I can tell, so that makes sense). It's a nice combination.

I concern myself sometimes with the idea that this appropriation of styles from manga into North American comics constitutes Appropriation in the negative sense of the word. Where do we draw a line (pun intended) between influence and appropriation? Does appropriation, the negative kind (is there any other?) necessarily involve erasure as well? Does the acknowledgment of influences somehow assuage the appropriative problem? Or is it a matter of what gets appropriated, or how it is deployed in a new cultural setting?

Questions. Always questions.


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