Writer & Artist: Becky Cloonan
I was drawn to “Wolves,” a short 20 page comic in which the readers follow the story of a hunter on a mission that will change his life, by the beauty and simplicity of the artwork. Happily, the writing follows suit. Cloonan rarely uses dialog, but reveals the depth of the character through first-person captions and compelling full-panel close ups. The plot is sophisticated, employing flashbacks and memories, yet simple. The world of the hunter is depicted as chilling and cold by the sharp lines of the black and white artwork. Cloonan’s panels are expressive as well. Square panels enclose events happening in real time, rounded panels, the past. The last panel on the second page encloses a smaller panel within it, an interesting technique.
It’s hard to talk about the writing separately from the artwork, since the two work together so closely. This syncing of art and writing is no doubt the result of Cloonan’s work on both aspects. She even self-published the piece, making me re-think my prejudices against self-publishing. The only disappointing elements of “Wolves” are the occasional lack of clarity in artwork and the somewhat cliche fantasy motifs. Nonetheless, it’s a lovely read.
% Panels Devoted to Women
Women in Action
˜˜ Women occasionally participate in plot-moving action.
The one female character provides the romantic interest and the personal motivation and internal struggled for the male protagonist.
Women as Leaders
˜Women are followers, not leaders.
The woman in the comic is significant, but her role is passive.
Women as Sex Objects
Women’s features are over-emphasized. Their sex separates them from male characters, but they do engage in plot-moving action.
Cloonan does a lovely job of creating a sexy female character who isn’t over the top sexual.
Men Deviating from Male Stereotypes
˜˜Men sometimes deviate from the male stereotypes of a logical mind, rationality, lack of expression and empathy.
We’ve got a hunter as a protagonist, so luckily the first-person captions reveal his inner struggles and emotions. This guy’s a fighter and a feeler (Yeah, I made that term up for the sake of alliteration, but you get it, right?)
Something to ponder: As readers, do we expect women writers/artists to create works with female protagonists? Do we, without knowing the gender of an author, assume that books with female leads are written by women?