A look on 'Ojingogo'

(from my previous blog... October 2008)

Several days ago, I finished reading Ojingogo.

As you can read on the back, Ojingogo has been received warmly by the critics. It's important to note that the comic is for children, but I think that older anime fans & manga lovers will also find this interesting.

People shouldn't read Ojingogo like a manga or manhwa comic but they should carefully observe it as if it were something like a collection of art works. Matt Forsythe is not Michaelangelo, but in Ojingogo expresive gestures dominate over words. Don't get disappointed if you find the "plot" to be poorly constructed or if you don't find a "plot" at all because, as one of my friends commented, "it's like a dream sequence."

So, what is it about?

I think it's about freeing up our imaginations. It's about challenging our perception of what comics are supposed to be like. We think that comics = manga, cartoon = anime because the Japanese anime & manga are so popular & their approach is predominant. After reading the interviews from The McGill Daily & Montreal Mirror, I've come to believe that Forsythe has set out to raise the benchmarks of comics higher & to rescue its original status. The Japanese mangas have completely ruined the reputation of comics (see anime haters) so that today you're either a girl or a pervy old man if you like them.

Ojingogo look different from a manga from bottom-up all the way. It doesn't have the rectangular outlines and doesn't follow the organization format of a manga (i.e. volume 1 chapter 2; instead, the first book has 3 chapters, and I assume that the next book will have chapter 4, 5, and 6)

I appreciate how Forsythe used the Korean alphabets. I think there's only 2 instances when Matt writes in English, and the few instances when words appear are in Hangul. Even if people might not be able to know the precise meaning of the words (many of them don't make sense in Korean either & most are just exclamations & short, onomatopoeic sounds), they will almost "feel" the words because
"The images in Hangul are based on the shapes our mouths make when we say those sounds, so essentially, Hangul is sequential art—like a comic."

How should I categorize Ojingogo? American/Candian/western comic? Manhwa? Not too sure.

Rating: 7/10.

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