The Yin of Earthsong
Earthsong is, at the time of writing, unfinished. However, its most unique quality shines through from the first page: Someone has written a comic for girls and about girls. Of course, there are predecessors (Meridian springs to mind), but Earthsong is the best I have read so far, for many reasons. The first is that elusive quality of writing, energy. When one takes the symbols, settings, backstory, politics, laws of physics, and other differences, one finds the energy of a work. For Eragon, this is high, masculine fantasy; for Meridian, a teen girl's fantasy adventure; for Earthsong, a feminine fairytale. The story is set in a world that is lush, verdant, and filled with subtle colors and stone worlds. Its colors are mainly dark green, dark red, and dark purple. Its characters are not only female, they range from capable superheroes to shy, timid teenagers, with everything inbetween. The few masculine characters and symbols it does carry are sensitive, inventive ones, such as a demon bookworm or cowardly vampire. The universe itself, as seen apart from the characters, is also a very feminine one. Sentient worlds that nurture and provide; shades of gray that are not always seen by every character; moral complexity and the sheer laziness of even planets. Subtle understanding of human nature is a feminine characteristic; it shines through here, in vivid detail. The characters are the most obvious female trait, of course. At first glance, an average comic-reading male would assume shy, timid Willow is the main character; girls are either dumb babes or warrior babes in his world. However, it slowly becomes apparent that Willow is, in fact, a secondary character; this story belongs to Nanashi and the guard she leads. The women here are prominently featured, but have many different types of personality, anywhere from hyperactivity to strength to shyness. All find a place on the team, and all have a role in protecting their world and the people who have soulstones. The few male characters, even the main villain, are complex, thoughtful, and thought-provoking, instead of bash-and-smash 'heroes'. Earthsong is, overall, a very unique work, and one of the best comics for girls out there. In many ways, it is the Eve of a genre, and I can't wait to see what else it'll come up with.