Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Comics in South America III:The Next Generation

Because of limited job markets, many Argentine comic creators, including Productora artists Cristian Mallea and Angel Mosquito, started offering workshops for students of all ages. I visited these workshops a couple times. I volunteered to translate some key ideas from a comics essay on manga, or Japanese comics, from Scott McCloud’s new book Making Comics and lead a chat on the topic. About 10 students and 3 Productora artists/teachers attended.

I started by asking “What are your favorite comics?” Students responded first with a mix of Argentine and alternative American comics. Ony two were fans of manga. ‘Did I overestimate the popularity of manga?’ I thought. ‘The whole reason I selected this topic was because it treats slavish imitation of manga and Cristian talked about how pervasive that phonomenon is. Was he talking about the kids that they haven’t had a chance to influence? Would I be preaching to the choir?’. I focused on broader questions like “What is the nature of cultural interchange from an Argentine perspective?”.

Productora artist Mosquito quickley noted that Argentina is a “cultural colony” and a student said that the interchange is not mutual but one-way, from countries like the U.S. and Japan into Argentina. Another student pointed out that many Argentines even have prejudice against local stuff. Nonetheless, as artists, the students explained that that they like to mix and match, taking what they like from all over the world to develop their own style.

We made a list of traits unique to manga before looking at McCloud’s list. As we read through the chapter together, I pointed out panels that contain relevent pictures. After the chat, one student told me that he had never thought of the topic that way before.


After my presentation, they returned to business as usual and I got to see part of the learning process. The students and Mosquito sat in a circle. Mosquito went through each student’s work critiquing and complementing it as students chimed in occasionaly: “This looks rushed”, “Why did you choose an old style train?”. While teaching can be tiring, Mosquito and Crisitan enjoy seeing kids grow over the years as they apply the tools they learned in class to their own ideas.

7 comments:

Reuben said...

Wow, truly awesome stuff. Just as the comics creations of America have been sent to Argentina, so too have you made the trip south to help inspire the youth of tomorrow. Comic books: a truly universal language.

Abe said...

Damn Pliskers, this is awesome! That's what you came to Argentina to do, right? Get into the comics scene. That's awesome, you look right at home with those scruffy muthas. Keep it jiggy always.

OttO said...

Hey... where am I?
Nice talk, dude.

Take a look at my blog:
http://decrepito.blogspot.com/

-Franco- said...

hi! the chat was great!i liked it a lot,
i leave my blog if you want to see more stuff,http://francoverso.blogspot.com/
and http://chickengwing.blogspot.com/

Lietti said...

hi!..... i´m so bad to talk english...
se nota?... je.... espero que entiendas lo que escribo en castellano.... acabo de sacar una revista, y si queres una y seguis por argentina avisame....
http://www.elchabondecamisa.blogspot.com/

chau

Laura said...

La verdad que fue muy fluida la charla. Esperemos que salga pronto la edición en castellano del libro...

Pd: Sobre las fotos yo no me puedo quejar...¡aparezco en casi todas!.
Antes que me olvide... Adina me dejó una direccion para ver cosas suyas www.floatinggaleries.com pero lamentablemente no puedo entrar... ¿sabés si la página esta activa todavía?

Un saludo desde Argentina!

melissalee said...

Looks like your teaching skills are inspiring worldwide! DO you still want to teach as a long term career, or are you having second guesses like me? One Love, Melissa.