Monday, February 13, 2017
I wanted to draw something nice and jerkin' for Black History Month, so here's Valerie from Josie and the Pussycats. It turns out Valerie was the first black character to be a regular on a Saturday morning animated show! That's actually pretty legit. While I've never actually seen the show or read the comic, one of my favorite movies of all time is the Josie live-action (not that I've seen many movies to be a good judge...). I watched it a bunch when I was little (we had it on VHS), and while drawing this I realized how important this movie actually was/is to me!
I've written a little bit about this before, but stories about guys and adults have never really resonated with me, and while drawing this, I realized that seeing this movie so early on was instrumental in my tendency to sympathize with female characters more than males.
I guess part of it was cuz the alternative was like DBZ and stuff, which always felt so much more apparently fictitious, whereas stories about females always seemed just a bit more plausible and that victories there tended to feel more "earned." One of my other all-time favorite movies is "You've Got Mail," haha, so I guess it's the romantic aspects they always shoehorn into female stories that get me.
The biggest female characters to me were Luann from the newspaper comic, and Misty from Pokemon, who combined with the general "Girl Power" movement (haha!) of the 90s to nurture my affinity for female protagonists. I enjoyed the stories overall just fine, but gravitated toward the "uncertain" of female-centric narrative (since male-centric stuff tends to be more "certain"--that is, it's more about "How will I prevail?" as opposed to "Will I prevail? If so, how?"), similar to stories about younger protagonists. Obviously, the hero tends to win in western fiction anyway, but you get the idea. With females (and kids), it always feels like more of an uphill battle, whereas guys tend to start at least partway up the hill.
Anyway, I loved the Josie movie because I remember how funny it was. It wasn't until college when it occurred to me it was a satire on marketing and pop culture! When I was a kid it was just a funny, charming movie with a sweet soundtrack! We started talking about movies one day in the common room, and then Phil mentioned about how underrated the movie was for its great social commentary, and I was like, "haha, yeah," and internally I'm like, "...Heyyyy....yeahhh..."
This piece actually started as a study of a guy from one of the civil rights documentaries I've been listening to lately, as I wanted to draw something for Black History Month, but then I thought it would be important to draw a female. Thinking back to the Women's March, I thought of Josie and the Pussycats, which had a black character, perfect! As a tie-in to their 70s roots I wanted to make the background kinda psychadelic-y, so I did a riff on one of their background stills from the show's theme song.
Bonus early version before I realized it was looking a bit off, and I even forgot they all have "long tails" in addition to their "ears for hats." Anyway, I love this movie and still continue to mock myself when I feel depressed by asking, "who's a rock star?" though I'll sometimes change it to some shade of "who's a great artist?" Haha. Idiot.