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Red String

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Red String

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Last night I decided I was not up to karaoke, for a couple of reasons, so instead, I went on a mini link hop: Penny and Aggie had a link to Alpha Shade had a link to Red String.

Red String is a shoju-styled webcomic, which starts with a girl learning her parents have arranged a marriage for her, and goes from there.

I'm not sure what I think of these deeply manga-inspired comics created by otaku (Megatokyo, of course, being the most widely known of that description).   I go back and forth between thinking of it like a sonnet, where one adheres rigorously to form but has total freedom regarding content, and thinking that some very talented unknown artists are stifling themselves by wrapping their artistic expressions in these pre-determined forms. 

Then again, how many artists of any stripe really manage to exceed the established parameters of their predecessors/peers?  Perhaps some of these artists will move on to create something really stylistically original, and some others will do great and unique things with other elements even while using  some formulaic means of expression.

There's a touch of eeriness in the cultural echoes - it's bizarre to me that there are footnotes about Japanese culture, highlighting things I personally do not know, in a text written by someone named Gina Biggs - but ultimately, you have to go with what inspires you.  If you love another culture enough to learn this much about it, I guess there's nothing really artificial about writing as if from within it.  People transplant themselves all the time.

Anyway, I appear to have stumbled across a very good representative of this breed of comic - Red String has been picked up by Dark Horse - it will remain available online at Strawberry Comics but also come out in print sometime next year.  It wasn't bad, either, as webcomics go.  I had trouble telling some of the characters apart, but there were distinctive traits there that I was seeing but not connecting, so some of that might have been me, and the art style, while highly derivative of manga, also shows some unique elements and is on the whole very appealing.
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