Comix Review

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I thought the group did a good job of juggling the idea of “myth” in different ways, and presented adroit analysis of their respective source materials. In looking at the first page, I think the simple but attractive layout worked well to highlight the great JFK quote in the corner. As for the individual projects themselves, I particularly appreciated how “Seeing Africa” and “Using African-Americans” contextualized their analysis… the visual aids of the individual panels were well-placed and well-dissected, and both gave just enough explanation to stabilize/direct the reader without weighing down the project. (Which I struggled with a lot in my own project, personally. It’s hard to gauge how much background info will actually enlighten versus just bore and distract from the real analysis.) However, the comic panels needed a bit more enlarging, particularly in “Seeing Africa,” for full legibility. I also wish that someone had gotten a chance to explore contemporary African-made comics within the lens of this class. (Partly because it would just be cool to see what they’re doing in that field, or if there’s even a market for it! Hm, or even if there have been aborted attempts to try to get one going in the past, to little effect… It would be interesting to assess how/why such a venture would fail or succeed in that cultural climate, and how stereotypes might feed into that.) The drawings in “Mystifying Africa” were incredible! Really enjoyable to see it unfold like that. I think it would have benefited even more from having the author give a more detailed, textual overview of her aims and thought process behind the project, though. I could glean some of it from the storyboard of course, but it was difficult to make out some of the penciled writing once the scanner had done its thing. So some sort of addendum would have been a great way to hammer out themes of the comic and the way in which the main character was supposed to be haunted by specifically African myths/representations (I have to admit, I don’t quite see how he was being plagued by A. myths yet), while also just lending insight into the whole creative process.

“Smile” is another project that definitely would have benefited from some sort of authorial addendum. I was pretty confused as to what the two guys were supposed to represent, so a paragraph or two about the author’s intentions would not have gone amiss. (A transcript with the video would also have been helpful; there were definitely stretches where I couldn’t quite make out what the characters were saying.) And I wish I’d gotten a chance to look at “Going to Africa,” as well, but the page didn’t seem to be working for me. On the whole, though, I really enjoyed looking at such diverse explorations of African myth!

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