Family Dynamics in Gravity Falls [OWLS August Blog Tour: Bloodlines]

Everyone has their own experience with and definition of family –some positive, some negative. In the media, however, we often only see certain portrayals such as a positive family with one mom, one dad, and children, or a broken family who all work together to change their ways in the end. In his hit animated series Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch tackles the complicated issues that shape families and addresses the fact that not all families are ideal, but that doesn't make them bad...

Tropes: When You’re Fairly Certain You’ve Seen These Odd Parents Before

Anybody that watches cartoons or anime is familiar with today's topic: the trope. Tropes act as a visual way for the creator of a work to quickly and easily convey a concept to their audience. They can take many forms-- a figure of speech, a character type, a plot device, a location or location type, a pattern of storytelling, a sub-plot. If you've seen the concept before, it is most likely a trope. Let's take a look at a few examples of tropes found in Butch Hartman's The Fairly Odd Parents.

Eight Literary Allusions in Cartoons: Celebrating National Book Lover’s Day

It's National Book Lover's Day, an official-unofficial holiday celebrating literacy and books. People often mistakenly believe that real readers only read novels, especially the literary classics such as The Scarlet Letter or Oliver Twist. That's not strictly true. Whether you read comics or novels, literary classics or fantasy, you are a reader. Books have been … Continue reading Eight Literary Allusions in Cartoons: Celebrating National Book Lover’s Day

Allusions: A Literary Niche

When we talk, we often make references to popular culture in order to convey information quickly. If a person says “Sam acts like such a Romeo,” they mean that Sam is a romantic person. Calling the internet a Garden of Eden shows that the internet is a plentiful place that fills the needs of its users. We don’t usually stop to explain these references to our listeners; we assume that they have prior knowledge on the subject and thus understand. These references are called allusions, and they appear in many elements of pop culture, including video games...

Mirrors in Wandering Son: Navigating Visual Gender Norms [OWLS July Blog Tour: Mirrors]

Being transgender is tough. Every stage of the long, multi-step transition process contains sharp twists and turns, as well as hoop after hoop that people must jump through just to be themselves. On top of it all, trans individuals have to overcome discrimination and social rejection, which can put them in very real danger of … Continue reading Mirrors in Wandering Son: Navigating Visual Gender Norms [OWLS July Blog Tour: Mirrors]

Symbolism Bonus: Rise of the Guardians

While discussing Over the Garden Wall, we took a look at a few specialized symbols from the show. I know that symbolism can take a few tries to understand, so I wrote this as a follow-up to explore a specialized symbol in another work. Let’s take a look at Rise of the Guardians...

Symbolism in Over the Garden Wall

One of the fastest ways to kill someone’s interest in a tough topic like symbolism is to set them up with a novel they end up hating. So instead, let’s explore this element through pop culture in order to get a better understanding of it and how authors use it to ...