Wolverine has faced many challenges in his long life, but he’s also found love on several occasions. Logan has loved many women, with one of his most enduring relationships being with Mariko Yashida. Their relationship is essential to understanding who Wolverine is as a person because Mariko is a physical representation of his relationship with Japan. The Comic Vault is taking a look into the nature of their dynamic in order to see how Mariko inspired Wolverine to become a better version of himself.
Wolverine is a character that has been continuously redefined over the years, with his link to Japanese culture being a major part of his backstory. Japan is a place of great love and tragedy for Wolverine, and Old Man Logan: The Scarlet Samurai, written by Ed Brisson, brings an older Wolverine back to the Land of The Rising Sun to face the past. Logan is forced to confront an old love, which makes for one of the most emotional graphic novels I’ve read for a while. I was hyped to read the story and I’m glad to say it didn’t disappoint. Continue reading “Old Man Logan: The Scarlet Samurai Review: An Emotional Story Of Lost Love In Japan”
Comic Cover Corner puts the spotlight on a remarkable comic cover and the artist responsible for creating it. A cover I came across recently that blew me away is Old Man Logan #31, which was drawn by Mukesh Singh. The cover features an elderly Wolverine reuniting with one of the great loves of his life, Mariko Yashida. Not only is the art stunning, but the cover itself tells an emotional story through body language and colour. As a fan of Wolverine and Japanese culture, I think the cover does a brilliant job of capturing the soul of the character and his connection to the Land of the Rising Sun.
“Gurume” manga is a derivation of the word “gourmet”. Quite obviously, it refers to food. Gurume anime/manga has plots and storylines which makes food and its creators the real superheroes of the tale. Unsurprisingly, food is vital to Japanese culture and the genre centres around food found in different parts of Japan. However, (much like other anime/manga subcultures) gurume manga has a massive global cult following. The widespread availability of Japanese cuisine— such as sushi, sashimi, tamagoyaki, and gyoza—definitely helps. More importantly, it attracts fans because of the finesse of detail and design of the animated meals. Many people call gurume manga “food pornography”, because there is a voyeuristic pleasure to merely watching this animated food being made and presented.
Japanese folklore is filled with spirits and mythical creatures, and one of the most well-known beings is the tengu. Tengu are an important part of Shinto and Buddhism and form part of the yokai. Originally seen as demons, the importance of tengu have changed over time. Many people wear tengu masks and the image has been woven into popular culture. The Comic Vault is looking into the history of the tengu to see what they are and their significance to Japanese culture.
Symbols are an important part of any culture and there are many significant images in Japanese folklore. Spirits play a vital role and one of the most important is the kitsune, or fox spirit. Kitsunes are depicted as intelligent shapeshifters whose magical ability increases with age. They have the ability to be benevolent or malicious depending on the situation. Some stories portray them as guardians, while others depict them as tricksters. The ambiguity of the fox makes it an interesting symbol in Japanese folklore, one that’s transitioned into modern pop culture.
“Nine years ago, when I began working with the dead, I heard other practitioners speak about holding the space for the dying person and their family. With my secular bias, ‘holding the space’ sounded like saccharine hippie lingo. This judgement was wrong. Holding the space is crucial, and exactly what we are missing. To hold the space is to create a ring of safety around the family and friends of the dead, providing a place where they can grieve openly and honestly, without fear of being judged.”
Addressing death is difficult for many people, even though it’s a natural part of life. Whether it’s having to confront the notion that a loved one is gone, or attending a funeral, death isn’t an easy subject. But death can take on a whole new meaning in other cultures. Mortician Caitlin Doughty went around the world to write From Here To Eternity, a book about funeral rituals from various cultures. Death isn’t presented as something to fear, but as rather something that can heal, that connects family members together. Doughty takes the reader on a journey that features wish-granting skulls, open-air pyres and mummies.