On Blade and Shade the Changing Girl

This week I don’t have a specific aspect that I’d like to delve deeper into based on the titles we explored. I can say, though, that I didn’t ever think that I would like each text more than the last. I thought that Blade was my favourite so far until I read Shade the Changing Girl, which was when I went “damn, this was fantastic!” and promptly decided that I would be buying the next volumes. But let’s backtrack a little bit back to Blade.     Blade simultaneously made me laugh at its sheer 90s cheese and marvel at how cool it was and how well it held up to the test of time. Apart from the camp that came from Blade’s fist-pumps and stylized fighting, what I appreciated most about the film is that there was no forced love subplot. It is so common in action movies for the male lead to rescue a woman and then – without sharing any onscreen chemistry – they hook up at the end and treat it as if they were sooo in love from the very beginning. Blade did not do this. Instead, Karen went off to improve her cure and Blade went off to fight more vampires. They made choices that suited their characters and it was wonderfully refreshing.

It is a little more difficult to explain why I adored Shade the Changing Girl as much as I did. It would be too easy for me to blow it off as “oh, I just like weird things.” Which is true, I adore weird fiction (in the Lovecraftian sense and just bizarre stories). I also like stories where I have to try and piece everything together even when I have absolutely no idea what is going on. But, with those kind of stories, there also needs to be something to keep my interest during the confusing times. Shade the Changing Girl had that something. I think the first thing that grabbed me was the use of colour. Comics are such a visual medium that – just as with animation – if I don’t like the art style I will be drawn out of the story. In this comic, from the first page, I am greeted with an explosion of psychedelic colours that emphasize the strangeness that surrounds Shade. This makes it a treat to look at, and I could honestly enjoy this just for the art work. However, the art alone is not enough to make this my favourite text so far. I found that, even when the plot line had me lost and confused, the characters were so well written that I could enjoy them and their experiences even amidst the confusion. This can be difficult when writing about a bird-like alien who put on a madness jacket and is inhabiting a teenage girl’s body, but somehow the author made Shade to be relatable and interesting for me to follow.

Now I’ve ranted about how much I loved these titles, so maybe next time I’ll get to some better analysis or I can start to nitpick at some philosophical topic that is present in the text, but for now, I needed to get my gushing out of the way.


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