Bani Garu: Hat Trick

Bani Garu is Lea Hernandez's story of becoming the U.S. merchandising vice-president of notorious Japanese animation studio Gainax, "a year-long trip down a rabbit hole of reality." Start with page 1.


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  1. I quite like this webcomic, and I look forward to each episode... though there's a rather large gap between each one, so it's a tad slow going - it doesn't move forward very quickly considering each page is months apart. Some sort of meta-commentary on the subject matter, maybe?

  2. LDoBe says:

    I don't know if it's meta commentary, but I'm gonna have to let this slip from my mind. As it is, it's a waste of time to try and check for new Bani Garu every day when it's released not once in a blue moon, but on random blue moons.

  3. Whenever these show up, the general consensus seems to be - I'd like to like this and it seems to have the potential to be interesting but so far this series has been the equivalent of taking a stack of Rex Morgan MD comics, cutting them into individual panels, shuffling them, and reading a single panel every few weeks.

  4. shutz says:

    My own problem with this series is that it keeps jumping around in time, seemingly randomly. I understand that some stories work better when told in an order other than chronological, but usually, there's some logic to the alternate order.

    Here, it feels like I just met her, and she's telling me her life story as the anecdotes randomly occur to her, except I don't know her, so I have no baseline that I can drop each random event into to make sense of it all.

    She tells me about something that happened, and I want to know what happened next, but instead, she tells me about something that happened 20 years later, and doesn't appear to come back to the story she started.

    From the first page, she repeatedly mentions how things are going to blow up later. After the first couple of times, it just gets annoying.

    To me, it feels like she should have organized her thoughts a bit more before she started drawing this. The order of the presentation might have emotional resonance for her, but I need a steadier base before it can resonate with me.

  5. Everyone participating and reading, please go back and read the full thread, then read this.

    It's taken me a while to sort out what's troubled me so about Cris disagreeing with me about my experience in comics circa 1989, and I've got it: because he's telling me I'm wrong about my own experience. That's just patently ridiculous. Not only that, it undercuts what I'm saying, which is also troublesome. Cris has seized on two of three facets of what spurred me to take the Gainax job (those being the market for creator-owned books and manga style art).

    My experience is a three-legged stool:
    1) I needed a truly creator-friendly publisher that was also not flaky--so many were. I once was with a publisher that tried to get me to invoice for work I hadn't done so they could present these invoices as their expenses to another company and get paid for the publishing rights for my work.

    2) I was drawing in a manga-influenced style. Manga was still seen as a genre not an art influence, and if a publisher had one manga book, they typically felt they were covered. Moreover, manga and anime were, to most people, "big eyes and speedlines" or porn.
    I'll point out that even after the HUGE success of Sailor Moon and Pokemon, publishers were STILL reluctant to have more than one manga-style book/artist. Guess how I know this? I pitched to all of the publishers that had creator-friendly contracts. ALL OF THEM.
    The fact that even after manga became a phenomenon in the late 90s-early 2000s, comickers working in a manga style flocked to TokyoPop and took ass-reaming deals to get into print says that even over a decade after 1989, there were still not a lot of places to get manga-style books published.

    3) I'm a woman. At the time, I was also a young and attractive woman, which was another whammy: a lot of assumption that I was less intelligent and merely decorative. There were also shit tons of sexual harassment, ranging from pestering me for a date, to flat out sexual assault. (I have been sexually assaulted three times by people in the business over my career and creep-shot many times, and patronized, dismissed, had jokes made about my weight, had the fact that my house burnt down described as "karma," and had my social circle utterly nuked because I wouldn't stop talking about how shitty women creators were treated, female readers overlooked, and female characters written and drawn in ugly, UGLY ways.)

    I spent time today with Deni Loubert, who goes about as far back in modern creator-owned books as you can. (She was the wife of Cerebus creator Dave Sim, and she ran the business while Dave made the comic.) She corroborated that the atmosphere of print comics was (and is) a boy's club.

    All three legs of that stool MUST be taken into account, otherwise you miss the full picture of what was happening. It's smart to not tell me how it was for me as a woman, but it's not right to ignore it to make a point that I'm wrong.

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