Friday, August 9, 2013

What's going on with Sinfest

I don't know.

Okay, answering a non-question with a non-answer isn't going to cut it for a post.  The last few years of Sinfest has been dominated by one thing:  Feminism.  It's filtered through the whole of the comic, and dominated the storylines for some time now.  A lot of people have been turned off by the way it's been handled, even feminists.  So why?

I bring this up because I'm starting to get an idea what might be going on.  Nothing concrete now, but the idea is starting to form.  It all started with a dragon.  Specifically the Dragon, one of Sinfest's goto characters of balance, that and Budda, both of whom usually act as Tatsuya's personal voice in anything the comic does.  Until recently, both have been utterly absent from the comic and the comic has had some odd things happening.

Odd being both good and bad.  Good for some characters, bad for others, and probably the comic as a whole.  Some characters have abandoned their old ways and are trying to be some one new.  Fuchsia, the pink devil girl, has been the major mover here, along with Lil'E and Seymore.  All three have actually developed beyond their old stereotype forms and have become actually really interesting characters.

And then there's the Sisterhood plot.  It's gotten a lot of flak in recent days and I get why.  It's not the same style of Sinfest people expect.  The entire Feminism angle of the strip has been odd for this comic, and has left me a bit dumbfounded.  If it was just Tatsuya coming into the idea of Feminism, okay, but he never really struck me as someone who needed to do such a thing.  The female characters in Sinfest were never treated like they were on display, and when they did, it was part of the joke.  So, what is he going after?

I've been thinking there might be a method to what he's been doing.  Sinfest is a comic that likes to play with various political ideas and show a bit of the absurdity on both.  It's more "liberal" leaning than not, but it's never been this far over.  So perhaps that IS the point.  That this angle of Feminism that Sinfest has been playing with is almost to the point of absurdity.  The comic tipped over this far ON PURPOSE to show the extreme end.

The fact that Budda and the Dragon have been missing for so long, and the tipping of the comic seems to have accelerated in their absence MIGHT support this idea.  Might.  Their return might be the final reveal of the greater issue and finally wrap up the more extreme end of the Sisterhood plotline.  After all, one of the first actions of Budda was to place flowers at the end of a beating stick held by one of the Sisterhood.

Which actually brings me to an interesting idea regarding the leader of this group, Xanthe.  I'm wondering if she isn't actually a she at all.  It would be a decent twist on the story to show she was actually a man, and one that did walk a more extreme path (though she's never really show to walk the more extreme path).  It's a random thought, and one that might provide some more insight as to what has actually been going on during the length of the comic.

The issue is in the meantime, some readers are feeling alienated by it.  Taking a risk like this is a BIG risk, so either Tatsuya has prepared for this risk or he has taken it so strongly to heart he doesn't realize it's actually hurting his comic.  If sources are to be believed, he is at least aware of the criticism, so perhaps the return of the Dragon and Budda are part of a response to it.  What form that takes, however, has yet to be seen.

Personally, I'm not enthralled with the Sisterhood and much of what is attached to it.  I much prefer watching the side characters doing their thing, and is why I still read it.  If I wasn't already a long term fan, and didn't have the connection to these characters that I do, I suspect I wouldn't still be reading it because, honestly, I don't like being hit in the face with a message.  But if there is something else at work, maybe it'll be worth a bit of pain.  Maybe.

Next week, I will finish up the backend stuff I promised last week (so many links, SO MANY!).  Until then kiddies.

1 comment:

  1. Since this storyline has been going on for a couple of years now, it seems unlikely that it is a subtle narrative experiment. I don't think he's making a meta-comment about the extremes of radfem, I think he's really tasted the cool aid. And most of the central characters have been sacrificed to the message...their richness is gone because they are no longer represent distinct personalities but rather 2D cardboard cutouts for the various strawmen and ideological avatars he's trying to promote. In short, the strip has become propaganda. Frankly, it's become humorless and not many comic readers like to be preached at.