Monday, March 7, 2011

Martial Arts Comics: Intro

There's certainly no mandate for karateka to be interested in fictional accounts of martial arts, but some of us are.  I would venture to say that a significant number of practitioners got hooked originally by some fictional portrayal of the arts - more often movies, I'd bet, but still.

I happen to be a huge fan of martial arts in movies, books, comic books, and manga or manwha (Japanese or Korean comics).  If you're not, that's fine - I certainly wouldn't say that reading comics about martial arts will enhance your art, unless you happen to find it motivational.  But if you are interested in these topics I thought I'd put out a few reviews.

First of all understand that these reviews will be far from comprehensive.  There is simply no way I can read every martial arts themed comic in any particular category.  I will also be using my own rating system.

I'm going to rate every piece of media in three different categories.  The first is realism - basically, how realistic is the title?  By "realistic" I'm going to mean specificially in terms of the physical abilities demonstrated.  For example, in All-Rounder Meguru the main character is a semi-professional mixed martial artist.  He uses real moves, he loses some matches, he doesn't ever get into fights outside the ring.  The action is super accurate - no crazy moves, no huge jumps, nobody even taking huge punishment, then coming back to win miraculous victories.  On the other end of the spectrum is, say, Dragonball.  In one of my favorite scenes in Dragonball, maybe in all of comics, one character wants to prevent another from transforming into a rampaging, gigantic monster, which his species does every full moon.  To prevent the change he uses a blast of ki energy to destroy the moon.  I happen to enjoy stories with a wide variety of realism scores - I'm perfectly happy to appreciate Dragonball for what it is.  Other people have a harder time suspending disbelief enough to enjoy titles where characters can catch bullets in their teeth, destroy objects at a distance, cast spells, etc.

My second category will be fun.  Some strips are fun without being good.  This is probably the most subjective rating of all, so beware, I have a weird sense of humor. 

My third category will be quality.  Well developed characters, authentic emotional reactions (even if the situations aren't authentic), complex and believable storylines, all contribute to quality.  Also subjective.

I'll use a 1-10 rating scale for each.  I hope to make this sort of an ongoing series, but we'll see how much time I have.  I'll use "MAC" in the titles.  If you find yourself enjoying these reviews, let me know. 

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