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Tag Archive: social issue comics


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Three years ago I reviewed a comic book from an aspiring artist named Mickey Lam.  Lam, a self-taught illustrator based in London with a degree in biomedical materials who was then a secondary school science teacher before committing to illustration work, creates a variety of artworks for his clients, using all types of media.  He also writes and illustrates comic books to experiment with his style.  With his most recent projects it’s clear that it is time for publishers to take note of not only Lam’s finely honed illustrations, but his excellent writing, too.

I read three recent works by Lam: two from his cheerful Fwendly Fwuit characters and a more serious book about the horrors of deforestation.  When I first reviewed Lam’s stylish action book Mr. Yang Fights Aliens here at borg.com I took note of his great artwork.  What jumps out at me today is his incredible writing.

As for Lam’s Fwendly Fwuit books, these are perfect for kids of all ages.  His first in the series, Summer Adventure, shows the coming together of a banana and strawberry as pals, and reminds of me of Frank Cho’s early writing in his University² comic strips.  The content is completely different, but like Cho, Lam’s characters pop off the page from the get-go as fully realized, likeable leads.  With his high-quality, magazine-sized follow-on book, Winter Wonders, Lam catapults into the realm of Adventure Time and SpongeBob SquarePants.  These are unique and creative characters in the same vein as the outside-the-box critters in those popular lines.  His environments visually are superb and his creations, like the Melon Wagon in Summer Adventure and his updated Space Melon Wagon from Winter Wonders, are like imaginative features you’d see in a Hayao Miyazaki movie.  Lam could be writing the next Adventure Time series, with his Fwendly Fwuit pals or with whatever the mind of Lam creates next.

Mickey Lam Please Save Our Rainforests

His more serious content work, Please Save Our Rainforests!, is entirely different and shows a very clean writing style conveying a message that can change the minds and actions of its readers.  Please Save Our Rainforests! is the kind of publication that should be picked up and distributed by groups like Greenpeace and PETA, and reminds me of the classic 1960s Smokey Bear comic books handed out by the U.S. Forest Service carrying Smokey’s “Only you can protect forest fires” theme.  Lam’s message in his book is no less important.  His characters are cute and adorable, and they are juxtaposed against an effort to spread awareness of the ugly, illegal deforestation in Malaysia for palm oil production in Malaysia involving the mass slaughter of orangutans.  The story and the message are completely effective.

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By C.J. Bunce

The TV series Arrow has done some surprisingly good things with the classic DC Comics character Green Arrow.  Many elements of Green Arrow’s more than 70 years as a popular superhero at least get touched on in the series, and if you ask around, comic book fans and more mainstream TV viewers are watching, enjoying, and talking about the show.  It blends the best of the superhero genre, a good adventure series, and yes, a bit of the CW Network’s prime time “soap” formula.   Oliver Queen gets his billionaire status, he even has a potential sidekick in a sister with substance abuse issues he calls Speedy, he has his bow and arrows, and one thing that has helped define him for the past 50 years–his love interest, Dinah, now Laurel, Lance.  Without his Black Canary, you don’t really have Green Arrow.  Just look back to the best of Green Arrow’s past via writers Denny O’Neil and Mike Grell.  But if there is one thing missing in the TV series Arrow, it is the most obvious thing of all: the “Green”.  It’s not just a word describing the guy’s supersuit.  At least it doesn’t have to be.  In a time when the green movement should be at its strongest, it’s ironic that the creators of the show have shied away from the concept.  Sure, the new Oliver Queen is all about saving his city.  But the Oliver Queen we have all loved since 1971 is an activist–ever since he first chastised Green Lantern for not watching out for everyman, not just every alien.  Oliver is outspoken.  He is political.  He is progressive.  He’d probably be considered a social liberal today. This defines Green Arrow and it has for years.  Arrow–the series–is getting far closer to the core of Oliver Queen than the writers of the New 52 over the past year.

Granted it is difficult to make a mainstream TV lead be political like Green Arrow has been in decades of the comic books.  But even the New 52 writers have stayed away from the core beliefs behind Oliver Queen in favor of a more safe, merely anti-corporate, frustrated figure, who just happens to wield a bow and arrow (and to be fair the creators are pretty much adapting the modern comic book mini-series Year One, itself a reboot). And Jim Lee even had his artists nix the goatee–a physical element that has come back into style in recent years more than ever.   Why eliminate such elements when they could only help Green Arrow’s mystique–why take away the very traits that can make him modern?

So what does Green Arrow have to do with Great Pacific, a new series this month from Image Comics?

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