Graphic Mythology: A Good Example

So after all my carping, can I point to any positive examples of the portrayal of women in graphic novels? I hope I don’t sound too much  like Mr. Rogers, but sure I can. In fact, I already did (Winged Victory and Cleopatra from the Astro City series). So let’s do another this week.

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Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (written and illustrated by Hayao Miyazaki) is a manga comic that offers a very imaginative blend of environmentalism, militarism, sociology, political intrigue, and religion. Some reviewers have claimed that it mixes Christianity with Japanese animism. I personally enjoyed this series even more than I did Watchmen. It took me a lot further into a story which is relevant, sometimes gritty and fatalistic, but still inclusive of ideals.

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The title character is one of the best female leads I have ever seen in a graphic novel. She is honorable, heroic, physically capable, intelligent, compassionate, and spiritually sensitive. And … she is dressed. This is not an over-sexualized character. Women in general are treated well in this series.

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Let me state emphatically that this is more than just a comic. In terms of plot, theme, character development, and setting, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind is truly a graphic novel. At over twice the length of Watchmen, it provides an engaging read. The view from the high road is indeed a good one.

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7 thoughts on “Graphic Mythology: A Good Example”

  1. I love Nausicaa. I think her, Ashitaka, and Kaguya are my favourite Ghibli heroes/heroines. They are each exceptionally admirable and portray not just their genders, but humanity as a whole, in a complex and hopeful light.

    Liked by 2 people

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