If you’re interested in participating in the Geek Out Challenge, read this post here! Each day I will be posting a question for that day for the next 30 days. Follow along each day with your own post or feel free to wait until the entire challenge has been released and take it on when you like! Be sure to link back to the master post at the end or link back to each post for each day.
Day Eleven: Favourite manga or comic book series?
One of the joys of the last year of writing has been the exposure to a number of new genres and media format beyond the realm and remit of this original groups intention. What begun in an earnest attempt to craft a narrative around gaming media in general has morphed and grown into a wider celebration of all aspects of this community and fanbase. Certainly, there is an almost implied, intrinsic link between comic books and manga and the video game industry and fandom. But here is my contentious point, in truth, I have never really enjoyed or found them to be an appealing art form. With the greatest respect to all those who enjoy them and their merits, it has never been a particular style that has connected or resonated with me.
In my youth a great many years ago I dabbled somewhat with the old marvel comic books and saw the appeal to a degree but I was always more captivated by television and film, this question was always going to be a difficult one to answer. However, as alluded to in my opening remarks, I have been fortunate to be exposed in the last year with a great many creative minds and opinions and even more fortunately, the opportunity to attend Comic Con events in London which for any comic book and manga fan is treasure trove of riches.
In May this year I attended my first Comic Con convention in my life, as you can see my level and spirit of intrepid discovery and forward thinking extended to a Zelda t-shirt, the notion of cosplay and dressing up, thereby drawing attention to myself is to much to process at the moment. As a Zelda fan of some degree, I came across during my explorations on the day the Manga comic books at the Viz Media stand, specifically the adaptations of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask in Manga form.
I opted for the former as a big fan of this seminal release and to my surprise found out the creators were there at the event and signing books and merchandise for the first 100 customers who purchased media from this stand. I was fortunate as this was my first real exposure to this art form but from what I saw I was very impressed with the style and because of the familiarity with the subject matter could follow the art form. I’ll concede its most likely an issue that comes with age and lack of exposure to comic book form but I do struggle with the more obscure comic art structure to actually understand and follow the narrative. Here, I understand, so that helped.
Fortunately for me they were lovely to meet in person, with a personalised signed copy of Ocarina of Time, it has since become my favourite manga series, and by happenstance, my only manga series. I was tempted to explore the subject matter a little more however given its impact not only on Japanese gaming and culture but also how it has seeped out into the west and left a lasting legacy on print media over here. As such when the Manga exhibit opened at the British Museum this year it seemed fortuitous to attend and as such, I packed up my trusty camera and travelling bear companion and attended to expose myself to some of the history of this art form and its impact on western civilization.
I’ll fully admit a great deal was probably lost on me as someone who has only started to dip their toe into this art form in the last year but it was structured and set up both for veterans and long standing fans and those of us curious to visit and find out a little bit more. Has it left a lasting impression on me, a new form of media I’m desperate to explore and expand upon? arguably not, I can fully appreciate the artistry and the cultural legacy, how it was instrumental in lifting a culture and nation devastated by the impact of the second world war, and acting as a tool to normalise the world around them, to make sense and characterise perceptions and emotions.
Ultimately where time is a finite resource, you do find yourself prioritising certain subject matter and material over others. For me, at this point in time I find the ease of access to gaming, film and television far more easier to absorb and relate to, given the plethora and scope of manga both in printed and visual form it is somewhat daunting and a barrier to entry for novices such as I. If someone were to give me a closed list of the most influential titles to read and enjoy I could probably find some merit from them, indeed looking back and reading my Zelda comic book I can see the merit and attraction in reading these types of novels.
Equally from a cultural perspective their legacy has been immense and shaped a great deal of western culture, cinematic and gaming releases that a base knowledge of the various novels and studios does enrich the geek fandom to some degree. But for me, right now I can only prioritise so many forms of media input whilst not distracting from the day job that pays the bills and keeps a roof over my head. So manga and comic books, great things, great work and artistry with a rich tapestry to explore and enjoy, but only in very limited quantities for me. And Zelda is her name.
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