Oh yes, my lovelies, it’s our special friend Elli Puukangas at it again.
Or to be honest, this should be “At it for the first time” as this is apparently her oldest published work, which I should have dissected years ago, but I was not able to get my grubby hands on it at the time.
Phew.. so after not being able to kill myself despite all my effort (oh the effort..) I seem unable to not update my blog. Besides I’ve been having these angry and impatient e-mails and comments.. thanks guys, you have given me the love my mom never gave to me :’| snivel..
So. Long, long ago, when Vartijat was only a mere script rejected by all capable artists (capable to run away and hide, that is) Elli was drawing Shunkaashuutou, and when she published it and won some colouring contest which Tammi cleverly put up to lure unsuspecting victims to draw some precious money making finnmanga for them. She “got” the job. But really Shunkaashuutou was what caught the attention of the publishers. Elli was able to do manga-like comic and hundreds of pages of it. Perfect victim. The horror had begun.
So what is it that caught the eyes of publishers so well?
They even show trough thick fur! I’ve heard about giant eyes that show trough multi-coloured hair but this right here is ridicilous! Screw the anime eyes and magically transparent hair we got some doggy moobs here, people! Doggy moobs!
This is honestly The Ultimate Ginga Fantard Test. If you see someone who draws dogs with huge manboobs, that dude is a Ginga fan. I should know this, I used to draw like that when I was like.. nine and Ginga was the most awesome thing since Turtles and Swamp Thing. There’s also more signs to look for when determining how fantardish and affected by this style someone is and for our luck.. this comic has ALL the signs! Let’s educate!
Body type with curled up tail and pointy ears
If someone could please tell me what episode it was on I would be grateful. I remembered it was on the episodes where the pack arrives to the homelands of Iga and Koga dogs, but I watched all those episodes, didn’t find it and wasted some precious time.
I also loled when I noticed the main character gets very similar scars to the main character of Ginga Nagareboshi Gin
As you can probably see, I’m a Gin fantard, too. I fucking love that show. To be honest, I feel like it is the only dog comic/show which was actually good. I have honestly waited all my life to see another dog story like this one and re-watching these episodes make me feel sad because I know I will never see anything that good again. It’s like wathcing Monty Pyton and then trying to laugh at other jokes, it’s just not the same, nothing will top that genious. So yes, I do understand why some people are so influenced by this. In my opinion, the only movies or books which had been able to rise to the same level as Ginga, are Watership Down (the first book I cried for like a little, frilly-pantied fag) and Happy Feet. They don’t even have any dogs in them!
Every kid who tries to copy Balto, Ginga or Lion King lies flat like Ben squashed by a rock, like Steele falling off from a cliff, or Timon sat on by Pumba and I think it’s incredibly weird. Let me tell you why by making a point.
When Simba’s father dies, when the penguins all dance together in a group scene that rivals LOTR, when there’s a death of a comrade in Ginga and.. goddammit this scene from Watership Down!
I don’t know about you, but I’m in chills and goosebumps and on the verge of tears.. even that I know he will be fine! And the only thing keeping me from bawling like an infant with a wet diaper is that I’ve already done it about fifty times during the time frame of what.. fifteen years?! And I know this to be the case of any influenced artist. They fucking love their influence and even after years and eras they still feel the same attachement and could drive their fuel and inspiration from these movies and books forever.
So how come they end up making such shit!? I mean.. goddammit if I see one more fucking comic with Dogs vs Cats theme I will go insane. There’s one comic which shows perfectly the influence of Lion King and Balto together and I’m sure most of you have already quessed what I’m talking about.
The fucking Blackblood Alliance – epitome of all Balto and TLK comics that ever existed. Everything looks like Balto and everything sounds like Lion King, it even has the Cats vs Dogs theme which TLK started*
It does what every other hugely influenced comic does, it relies entirely of clichés, character stereotypes, mumbo jumbo magic/beliefs which don’t bring anything to the story and it starts by assuming we will immediately side with the “good guys” without telling us anything about them. Or telling us only that they are peaceful and persecuted, thinking it will be eough to make us decide that we care about the characters when they die on the first fucking scene.
I think it does actually work sometimes, but you know why it works? Because the audience has seen the same movies or read the same books that the artist was influenced by, so they have a ready consensus or a ready audience who are drawn to the comic for it’s similar story, similar style or other superficial similarities. This of course falls flat when the general audience is found and the ones who actually want more than mental masturbation over the artist’s muses are lured in. Unfortunately by this point it’s too late as the fan-audience has already bloated the artists ego and no matter how much talent they have, they cannot escape from their influences to become something greater.
This comic has already been torn to shreds by other snarkers and critics a million times so I won’t go into excessive detail. If you want to read more snark about BBA you can read it here: http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Kay_Fedewa even that I really don’t agree with everything in that article, it is funny, especially the parody comic with renewed dialogue. Though it is funny only after you read the whole original story first.
So, artists cannot become anything greater than copycats unless they are able to take off their blindfolds and surpass their “masters”.
Shunkaashuutou is actually so unoriginal that it rips off stuff without probably even meaning to do so, but the effect of Naruto is especially noticable.. besides Ginga, of course.
Oh, there’s some Keyblade and WoW in there, too. All of those are not rips imho, but just screamingly generic.
Now this would not be so bad if she had grown out of these already, but she has not. I’ve seen some not-great ginga ripping artists overcome their idols and start researching on anatomy, wildlife and colour theory (for example DA artists like Yoruko, even that she seems to only be able to draw side profiles, Sashatiainen even that everyone she draws is so angry and IsisMasshiro.. lol look up “Battoga Fail”) but nowadays Elli.. or Erwil as the DAtards know her, has been doing more comics on her free and not so free time. One of them I absolutely loathe because.. well, just look at it!
COLOR THEORY! FOR GOD’S SAKE THINK OF THE POOR COLOR THEORY! I promise to think of my poor capslock when people stop doing this kind of horrors to the poor, poor color theory. What has she ever done to you?! Huh?! HUH?! This comic also was nearly impossible to follow and.. ugh. Just a mess. Elli doesn’t seem to have enough patience or interest to complete one whole story, even that she clearly loves her characters and can’t stop telling stories about them. All of her comics what I have showcased here actually have the same main characters, but in vastly different settings.
Shunka is her Most Precious story at the moment, and it is apparently a vastly bettered Shunkashuutou. It starts out just like any other wolfdogcomic
Dogs are fighting cats and you are just brought into the middle of the situation and you should immediately root for the wolves. Goddammit. If someone would make a comic about bland gray sabre tooth cats with mange who kill off colourful and dumb wolves, I would pay 100 euros for one copy of it, just out of spite. The story has to be compelling so that the sabre tooths actually have a reason to kill the wolves and art up to the quality of passable but.. you get my point. I would pay for that.
Here’s the recipe for the ultimate dog comic: It starts with a fight, then someone important dies and one dog has to tell the alpha about the losses but the alpha is way too elegant and noble to be angry, then they go in search for the ultimate warrior who is too awesome for his own good and everyone persecutes him because he’s too pretty and powerful 😥 Then they journey trough massloads of ridicilously fast changing enviroment – they walk trough desert to rainforest (with dragons!) to mountains to snowfields to a pretty forest where everyone has the final battle. Oh, and everyone must be super-random and silly. And this comic would never get completed. It’s visual image should be like this:
But after a clumsy start this comic is not actually that bad. Elli has progressed immensely since Shunkaashuutou and oh god Vartijat. This time the characters are much less cookie-cutter and she seems to have actual story going on. Even Shunkaashuutou in it’s lengthyness (about 100 pages? 130??) was just a collaboration of nonsensical comics which had the same characters but didn’t seem to connect to eachother very well or at all. But now I was actually so into the fight scenes of Shunka that I couldn’t go to the loo untill I had read how the battle enfolds. And damn, just check out this scene!
Those buildings are fucking great! That old guy has a great expression! I never would’ve expected to see this great scenery after what was in Vartijat. I’m starting to get confident that it was the project of Vartijat which killed every ounce of Elli’s creative forces. When she’s doing something she loves to do, it looks good. But I also suspect she relied heavily on references on this page – which is good and I hope she keeps it up in regards of animal anatomy.
But not trough these tutorials..
That’s absolutely.. wha.. you should not be giving out advice on this!! Oh god my pet peeve – bad tutorials! Lemme fix a few things..
I know in Ginga and Disney movies they bring out the impression of snarly expression by drawing lumps and bumps, but that’s not how it works in real life! This is prime example of what happens when you learn your anatomy from cartoons. Cartoon taxonomists.. pshah! What next? Cartoon physicist? “Hey, let’s give this rabbit an anvil, it should give us enough momentum to investigate the Higgs particle!” But on Elli’s defense.. these tutorials are rather old.
The characters and story still feel empty and the influence of Naruto is overpowering the influence of Ginga, but it is very apparent that she has matured as a person as well as an artist. This is not bad. She also seems to have become very.. self-aware.
Aerodynamics haha! Great!
But this was absolutely the best part for me:
This expression says so much! Anger, confusion, fear, alertness. Absolutely great. She has gone far from those canned, basic anime expressions, these start to look like living beings and not puppets that get smilies drawn on them.
Also, while browsing Erwil’s gallery today I wondered for the longest time why she has disabled commenting.
Oh my~ I know I’m scary and all but blocking me when I have never commented or even watched her? I.. am so flattered. But seriously now folks, I am rather nice at the DA because I’m not able to pull off my gimmick when doing something as social as Deviantart’s system is. This tickles me pink.
Also, I got this peculiar link from one generous commentor not long ago:
For you non-finns: Sangatsu Manga is searching for a new artist for the Vartijat-comic. I have no idea why the fuck are they still trying to revive that piece of scrap paper, if I were them, I would start a whole new comic project or at least re-write that comic and start over. So they will change the comic’s style for the third time?? Unbelievable! I hope they have learned something from working with poor Elli. She’s doing so much better without this project.
So? Who wants to sell their soul for Sangatsu Manga? Maybe I should apply for shits and giggles? Nevertheless, this will be very interesting no matter what the outcome. I will wait with great interest but no anticipation.
I’d also like to give some advice.. Take an experienced artist! Or if the artist is young, give them more time! See what Elli could do when she had some time? It’s much better! I’m tempted to even say it is even marvelous! Manga as a style has not integrated to our comic culture yet. American style and French style has already integrated so that this generation right now can do really good comics with it, take for example Sarasvatin Hiekkaa (french style) or Saniaislehdon Salaisuudet (imo american style). To “integrate” manga style, you will need a big group of people who have assistants and talent. This is not easy and fast money, this is evolving, this takes time and I hope there will be chanses for the artists to do just this.
To wrap this up..
We have a sort of consensus, a memepool of ideas, comics, movies and books which we are supposed to be influenced by! But the meaning of this influencing is to enrich the memepool with even better stories, think of it as an evolution of culture or ideas. I don’t suggest there’s some sort of Ultimate Story which we will achieve at some point, I’m saying that the memepool is alive as long as we make good, original stories and continuosly surpass our influences so that our culture and it’s stories become something greater, something to be remembered and re-told for centuries.
Miisa for all your trouble and anime expertism.
Also thank you, who is not amused, you know who you are. I am so sorry ❤
*Even that I said TLK started the Dogs vs Cats trend as we know it, most people fail to realise that hyenas are actually not related to dogs more than cats are related to bears, but hyenas looking like dogs in the movies was enough to start this. They also acted exactly like dogs do in Disney movies. Hyenas are their own order, hyaenidae which is much closer to civets than anything else, but if we would have to choose, they would be much closer to felidae than canidae.
Ps. WTF is that “like” button? Apparently even I can press it. I feel awkward now.