Hi, I promised this post a bit earlier than how long it has taken now, but I have a reason for that
So it will be quite fitting for me to dissect a comic about the dark sides of alcohol right now. Sit back and learn people, this is important.
Varjomaailma is this far the only finnmanga I’ve read that I actually like. It is drawn by Maaria Laurinen, written by Tomi Kontio and funded by Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliitto(a child protection union founded by Marshal Mannerheim) A-klinikkasäätiö(Provides help to drug and alcohol-addicted people) and Elämä On Parasta Huumetta ry.(Also helps with drugs, as their name “Life Is The Best Drug” indicates)
Now what I really like about this is that it’s completely free, non-profit comic and you can read it in 3 different languages here:
English is in the bottom, and I encourage you all to read it and e-mail the link to your friends. Even if this wouldn’t be a delighteful “Please think about the chiwldruun!”-comic, it would still be a great read. In this dissection I try not to post alot of pictures from the comic because I’m doing my darnderst to make people go and read it.
Aren’t I such a bleeding heart human rights hippie?
In this comic a good cause has found a good writer AND a good cartoonist. Why the obvious wapanese style of the artist didn’t throw me into a frothing, insane dispise and utter disgust is because her style actually fits where it is used, and she can use it well.
You see, the previous cartoonists who’s work I’ve dissected were some nobodies who FINALLY got their chance to get on top because of their style. The publishers are thirsty for the bloo.. er.. money of the stupid teenage masses who spend all their pocket money like rabid monkeys to every anime-styled thing that might pop up, but all those anime-style things come from foreign publishers so the finnish ones had to take the first losers who just could poop out 100-pagers for their money-making machines.
Varjomaailma uses the style in a bit different manner. Yes, they chose an artist who has an appropriate “popular” style to appeal to the kids, but this time they hit an actual growing talent, because this artist does something what others just don’t do.
I mean, holy moley! She’s actually studying horses instead of tracing Sailor Moon! look!
And THAT if something is remarkable and deserves million asskisses and not this “BAWWW! Someone commented to me on deviantart and said my style is copied! Give me pity and praise, not critique because I don’t want to grow as an artist!”-bullshit that I keep seeing around ALL manga and comic artists alike. It’s like cancer that’s killing the comics.
I see alot of potential with Maaria, and what I read from her blog she seems very eager to draw a published comic of her own. She has started a project called Phantomland(finnish only, I’m afraid) and it looks pretty good this far. you can check it out at this link: http://amph.nipponfever.net/phantomland/
I first saw her comics at Finnmanga vol. 2 and because her storytelling is down-to-earth and there’s no fighting and big explosions and muscular men kissing their slave women I found it to be pretty disinteresting. It relied heavily on human relationships and mystery. But it was pretty.
Which brings us back to the topic I have hardly touched and what this entry SHOULD be about – the Varjomaailma comic. The story for it was written by a person who seems to have quite similar style to her so everything seems to click. It seems like the style that comes from her naturally.
Relationship drama or relationships anyway don’t really interest me in comics or movies, but this does not take away from the message. The comic is about how children could talk to reliable adults about their parent’s drug problems.. unless you didn’t already catch that from “Mannerheim’s child protection” and “Life Is The Best Drug”-sponsors and didn’t already read this and send to all your friends even that I told you dammit! No one listens to me here!
The visual image of her style also reminded me of my old teacher’s words about comic art “The most important thing is the character, then the plot, you don’t even need dialogue for a good comic and THEN comes the background. You don’t really need the background for anything else than showing where the characters are and what is happening with the plot, but someone who really wants to go trough some trouble to make the comic look good will draw alot background.. but not too much, and sit straight you fucking slouch! You will never be a cartoonist! NEVERRRRRR!!” so with my old, dear teacher’s wise words I can say that Maaria does alot idle background and it actually looks good!
The background really sets the tone and makes this thing realistic and almost touchable. I don’t think anyone else could’ve done this project any better. It just works.
Also her use of expressions is remarkable and out of the range of cookie-cutter. They are really fitting and I didn’t see her using any of the stupidest clisches that the weeaboos usually do like animesweatdrop or the angryvein.
But yes indeed I really need to applaud her for the expressions. They are very lively and realistic. Usually people make their “anime” characters have this one basic face, like their face cannot be drawn without the expression they are known for and my god is it annoying.
I don’t really have any gripes about the anatomy. The previous hideous jokes of comics had EVERY PAGE full of dislocated joints and broken bones but quess what the worst frames of this comic looked like?
The half-tones used don’t cause dot-disease either
She reminds me a bit of a friend I have. She has set great standards to her art and is determined to meet them. It’s something that will burn artists out and usually make them especially vulnerable to critique – they tried their best after all and met their quality starndards so why is it not enough for others? I do not know this person at all but all artists who have put this much effort to something and I’ve known them have been exactly like I explained, so I could imagine that the greatest problem Maaria may have is her self-critique. This will cause alot of lag and wait for her audience and that will always cause problems.
But I’m eagerly waiting for her next projects and she’ll definately get my money. Apparently she is on her way of making 50 pages of Phantomland for desucon. I will be there.
I think that’s it. Don’t let your drinking go overboard, take care of your kids and read good comics. This will be the end of my finnmanga-theme and I’ll go pick something fitting for my mood for the next entry.