Does showing an action condone it?

Something I’ve been thinking about lately when it comes to stories is the current temptation of creators to only show things they condone.

for example. personally, I don’t swear. however if I made an historical film about the mafia I’m not going to have Scarface or whoever running around saying “those darn cops”. he’d say something like “those fuckin’ pigs”. Now from my personal views I object to what mr. Scarface says, I don’t think it compromises my views to show his, even if I may heavily disagree with it.

I feel like in this time and place in the world there is almost an assumption that any point of view shown, if not explicitly for the sake of vilifying it, must necessarily be agreeing or promoting it. I don’t think this is true at all. For example, I find no joy whatsoever in inflicting pain on others in my life, but in this comic a lot of people will die- and not in tasteful ways. guilty people and innocent people. this happening has been the case since the dawn of humanity and it will continue to be so until the end. Generally when I show violence in Motherland it is for a reason other than violence for violence’s sake. does showing violence mean I agree with it? I don’t think so. I’m showing something that is, you choose what to make of it.

of course it can be very hard to show events, actions, or what have you in your work without trying to provoke an emotional response one way or another, let alone to help a reader try and empathize with ‘the enemy’. with today’s ease of communication, everybody is [able to be] a critic and often feel an obligation to vehemently agree or disagree. it’s so easy now. being offended is addicting. being offended makes me feel powerful, as it requires you to change. I think the fact it’s so easy to spread your views (via social media especially) without any real consequence is a big reason why so many controversies get so blown out of control now. while I also don’t subscribe to the current notion that “everybody is correct, truth is relative to you”, I don’t believe that every minute controversy one is exposed to needs to elicit an immediate choice, especially one of extreme rejection or acceptance. true beliefs are much more than knee-jerk reactions. sometimes it takes a topic without a clear answer to come to your own conclusions. I just wish more people would do it, and more people would be open to it in return.

that said, of course not every creator will agree with my position, I can only point out trends I see and pressures I myself feel. And of course there is a time and place for the author to condemn or condone whatever trend or action or philosophy he or she feels passionate about – just as there is a time to present it but not necessarily comment on it.

i’ll have to give it some more thought. will probably talk more about it in a post later.



Rene text

This comic is going to show a lot of different languages and accents. I never was too big a fan of the star trek-like tendency of making characters who are from very different regions speak the same language, especially in eras before mass communication or quick travel. back in ancient times it was common to develop extreme dialect differences even in fairly close areas just do to the difficulty of traveling to other regions. i want to try and show that here.

When a character speaks a language that’s foreign to the other characters, I’m generally going to leave it ‘untranslated’, and will avoid subtitles for the most part. generally the reader will be as in the dark as the characters are. i like this. it makes it seem more real. google translate didn’t exist in ancient times. it also kind of adds to the mystery and sense of wonder by experiencing different cultures, at least i hope.


the Rene text above is Gujarati script, a language and alphabet from western India. the font is courtesy of Google Noto, which is a pretty neat project that I would highly recommend checking out if you are also interested in different alphabets and languages. I wanted something foreign (to most americans) but still a believable-looking script. didn’t want something made-up like vulcan or whatever. I browsed through many different ones before deciding on Gujarati because it is pretty unknown in my region and looks very elegant while also simple. fitting for the Renes in the context of the story.

Different languages will be represented by different scripts, but I haven’t finalized most of them yet. I also need to figure out a way to convey accents of languages as well, which is a pretty interesting challenge. will try to avoid spelling out the words (ie texan: “‘ah love ya’ too”) so i’m coming up with other solutions. it’s annoying to read anyway and doesn’t really convey it the way i want.