History. Comics. Comics about history.

Archive for May, 2011

I’m a hungry lil animal, and I’ll bite your soul and never let go

(title is from the manga Saiyuki, which remains, to this day one of my favorite mangas, if not my MOST favorite manga, I just love the story and the whole ‘spanning centuries and about loyalty despite time and demonic influences’ thing. Maybe someday I’ll write a post about it but for now, sorry, a tangent)

Recently saw ‘Thor’ twice, and am kind of planning to see it again, this time in 3d. But anyways, it got me thinking about Loki, bad guys, Magneto, Richard III, etc. A lot of times, I usually end up liking what is supposed to be the villain (read: Magneto, Dark Phoenix, Catwoman, Shakespeare’s Richard III, Callisto from Xena, Schwartz from WeiB Kreuz, the Kougaji group from Saiyuki, and now Loki)because they are sometimes more dimensional than the good guy. They’re more interesting to follow, story wise, and sometimes, in the case of Magneto(and I assume Loki also, from what I could get from the movie) have very valid and good reasons for being the way they are that I often hesitate to label them bad guys. My friend and I often have this discussion where we say ‘ I can’t say Magneto is my favorite villain because I actually don’t think he IS a villain,’ ‘Can we relabel Catwoman as something else since she’s not as evil and horrible as the Joker so why do we keep putting her in that same group?” And so when I get started thinking on bad guys and how their stories are so interesting, heartbreaking, even, it makes me want to make a story about a bad guy.

Currently, I’m in the midst of writing a webcomic about five people after they survive the Civil War and the people around them. I want to explore the ramifications of the War and their lives on the characters, but I don’t have a real ‘bad guy’. I have a bitchy woman, I have a man who made a mistake when he was younger and it’s chased him since, I have a woman who was hurt so badly she’ll never recover. The only bad people are the ones in  those characters’ backstories, and the only bad guy I’m even thinking about using is a psycho who kidnaps one of the main female characters, but I’m actually thinking about not doing that story: a kidnapping where the female has to use her wits to escape the killer while her friends look for her has become a trope after all.

But after watching Thor and remembering how I feel about Magneto and Loki and Richard III, I kind of wish I was a better writer so I could introduce a real ‘bad guy’ into my story, and have the person be subtly playing the other people against each other for some reason, but..I wanted to do a comic about people and how they learn to heal after their time in the Civil War. Also, ironically, it kind of serves my point that I can’t just make up a bad guy/villain, because my story is trying to express the idea that in life there are no bad guys OR good guys, but just people doing the best they can with what they’ve endured.



Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I’m not attending Stanford, nor have I applied to Stanford. What the title refers to is a Symposium I’m presenting at this Saturday. The site is here if anyone is interested in reading it to see what the heck I’m on about.  I was accepted a few months ago to present my research on the lives of Civil War women spies, as well as present the comic book I made based on the research. It’s pretty exciting and terrifying. The closer it gets, the more nervous I get. I also plan to name drop Lora Innes and her ‘The Dreamer’ comic in it, and even messaged her asking if it was ok to use her art to mention it. She wrote back wishing me luck on the presentation, which really meant a lot to me. She takes the time to interact with her fans and get to know them, I know she didn’t HAVE to write back saying anything, much less ‘Good Luck!” so it really stuck with me. I even screencapped the message to have proof. Lora Innes=the kind of comic creator I want to be.

And plus, on top of all that excitement and worry, my history teacher/mentor for whom I did this project is going to be attending my presentation. THIS makes me nervous: He’s the stereotypical grumpy cranky old historian who hates everyone and wants to live in a library. But he’s always been very nice to me and was the one who made me realize ‘hey, maybe I’m actually good at history’ so he’s been a real support for me. When he told me he was going to see me present, he told me to think of him as the speech teacher from ‘The King’s Speech’ so if I get nervous, to just look at him.

So I was pretty nervous already, as I really look up to him and don’t want to let him down. Then Jen, the head of the Honors Club at my school and the woman who’s putting on the Symposium(she actually started the whole ‘Honors’ thing in the district where I live) told me later that she’s been begging my teacher to go to these Symposiums, to go to the Honors retreats, to participate in the Honors Club activities more than as only an Honors Teacher and this was the first and ONLY time he was even bothering to go to this, just to see me present.

I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m bragging. Trust me, I’m not, I’m just so overwhelmed with how much he’s willing to do to show support for me and how much I’m terrified to let him down. I’m also really intensely excited to get to talk about the women I researched, in my readings of them, I started to love them and feel for them and have moments of indignant anger that more people don’t know about these women. I want to tell everyone about Emma Edmonds, and Elizabeth Van Lew and Olivia Floyd and Mary Elizabeth Bowser and..Well. I’m feeling all these emotions and the closer it gets to Saturday, the worse they get.


Well, I finally got a wordpress, I’d been thinking about getting one for a while and then my friend Alicia said she had one for her longterm AWESOME project over on twitter, where she’ll be tweeting the Lewis and Clark Expedition diaries: exploringwestwords  and I wanted to subscribe to her blog.

Well anyways, I figure she’s using her blog for something amazing, I should try and use mine for something important too.. So, this is what I plan to use wordpress for:

Talk about my plans for my future webcomic

Share sketches and art

Talk about my love for Nathan Hale

I think that’s a good goal for this site.