Jul 20, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 876: Weather Woman #6, January 2001

https://www.comics.org/issue/340190/

On the cover of today's issue, Keiko is either putting on or taking off what looks like a nurse's outfit. A popular trope in manga, that nurse thing, but Keiko neither dons nor doffs this clothing in today's issue. In fact, the opening of the comic is yet more focus on gastrointestinal distress, and the second half is pretty much a how-to for stalking television personalities.

I really don't think I was prepared for what I've got myself into with this comic.

I don't know if it's an intentional narrative device, or if it's because I'm missing an issue or two, but I'm having trouble figuring out exactly what this story is trying to tell me, both from a literal and a figurative point of view. I don't see the build up to a climactic moment, a la Freytag's Pyramid. It more so seems to be a depiction of some of the more ridiculous and cruel moments of working in television weather (manga really does use every fucking thing as subject matter), rather than a narrative with a recognizable arc. Not that this is a bad thing. As long as we're all on the same page about what to expect from a piece of fiction, everything's fine. The trouble comes when you watch/read/experience such a fiction and it doesn't fulfill what you were expecting. Like watching the most recent episodes of Twin Peaks, and expecting to have any idea where things are going. You're just going to be disappointed. So perhaps, for the final issue tomorrow, I should bear this in mind. There may not be a satisfying conclusion of some sort, as we're doing more slice of (very strange) life rather than arc-based narrative.

Maybe. Maybe issue #7, which I'm missing, would wrap it all together, and it would all make sense. Or perhaps there's something in issue #2, which I'm also missing, that would have performed the same function. Somehow I doubt it though. However, this brings to light an interesting idea about the experience of reading such incomplete fictions. Even if it's meant to be a more traditional, arc-based narrative, reading it in the way that I am makes it seem more like a slice-of-life drama. So in terms of serialized fictions, the completion, or incompletion, of such fictions affects the manner in which one treats, or can treat, the narrative. Neat.

To be continued.

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