Monday, January 26, 2004

These Foolish Things…

Talking to friends with children over the weekend, a few snippets stuck in the mind.

Their daughter is nearly 11, and now, being tall and lanky, takes adult size 8 clothes. Child-size clothes were enough of a trial, trying to find ones that are fashionable (i.e. acceptable to the wearer) without looking like a junior trollop outfit. Outfits aimed at teens seem almost entirely to be aimed at the child prostitute demographic.

I wax nostalgic for the days when, if you could read what someone was wearing, that someone was a geek with an obscure T-shirt slogan, rather than everyone who's so much a fashion victim that they consider shopping at French Connection.

Aside from the problems of outfitting a girl of her age without essentially hanging a sign reading "jailbait" around her neck, conversation turned to comics - fond memories (by the blokes, at least) of things like The Trigan Empire in Look and Learn (which spanned enough of a time to be common to the girl's father at 40 and myself at 46), along with others which didn't. And given the pleasure of such memories - and of hunting down fan-sites to feed the nostalgia, prompted the question of how to provide such things for the next generation.

So what do you give an extremely bright 11-year old girl with the social problems from Asperger's to read as a comic - especially given the constraint that it has to have a female lead character, as that's something she's very sensitive to at her age? There is no lack of strong female characters - but not so in stuff suitable for that age group. It's not as if they are all inherently aimed at teenage males - Promethea, being an example. About the best I could come up with would be a careful selection of shoujo manga - but many of the translations of those sell to middle aged men who don't mind reading a book that reads "backwards", the layout having been left un-flopped from the Japanese.

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