Category Archives: Writing

Attack on Titan: Analogy to World War II

Okay, I just had to get this off my chest…

The Japanese manga and anime series Attack on Titan made absolutely zero sense to me until I realized it is an unmistakable analogy to World War II.

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All over the internet, I kept seeing disturbing images of a giant human with no skin. I’m not particularly squeamish about violence in the media — most horror movies drive me into a fit of hysterical laughter. Plus, I’m generally fascinated by the macabre.  But certain things just get to me. Like the part in the brilliant Pan’s Labyrinth when Captain Vidal’s face is mutilated and he sews it back together (though I adore the Pale Man). Or in Boardwalk Empire (one of my favorite shows) when Richard Harrow (one of my favorite characters) scalps another character without hesitation.  And this giant skinless human is no different — sending shivers down my spine!

Screen shot 2013-09-27 at 1.13.46 AM

Image from Attack on Titan
Disclaimer: I do not own this image!!

I soon discovered that this giant skinless human is from a series called Attack on Titan (進撃の巨人, Shingeki no Kyoujin). When I first became interested in Japan around middle school, I used to watch a lot of anime. But I tend towards live-action series or movies nowadays (a wonderful tool for practicing my language skills). I do find the occasional anime series like the amazing Gankutsuou (巌窟王): The Count of Monte Cristo (which is actually the most faithful adaptation of Dumas’s masterwork) and the gripping Monster (モンスター) (scheduled to be adapted into live-action for HBO by Guillermo del Toro). In other words, I’m usually extremely picky about my anime. But, after being utterly confused by the Attack on Titan Wikipedia summary, I decided to give the series a try out of pure morbid curiosity.

So, I’ve been working my way through the episodes on Hulu. It might be a bit melodramatic at times and the so-called “Vertical Maneuvering Equipment” that allows the characters to leap around is pretty implausible. But it has a relatively well-constructed plot line and decent character development. The main characters Eren and Mikasa have particularly tragic yet compelling backstories. But I couldn’t help a strange feeling of déjà vu

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A page from Barefoot Gen by Keiji Nakazawa
Disclaimer: I do not own this image!!

And then it hit me! I realized that certain elements of Attack on Titan bear a striking resemblance to the renowned manga Barefoot Gen (はだしのゲン, Hadashi no Gen), about the bombing of Hiroshima and its survivors.

For instance: In Attack on Titan, Eren and Mikasa attempt to free Eren’s mother from underneath their collapsed house. But Eren’s mother begs them to save themselves. Eren and Mikasa, with the help of a city guard names Hannes, flee from danger as Eren’s mother is killed and eaten by a titan. This directly parallels Barefoot Gen. After the atom bomb drops on Hiroshima, Gen and his mother Kimie discover Gen’s father Daikichi and Gen’s siblings trapped underneath their collapsed house. Gen and Kimie attempt to free the rest of the family before they are consumed by the fire that has broken out all across the city. But Daikichi begs them to save themselves. Gen and Kimie are forced to flee from danger.

This parallel leads me to believe that the humanoid titans may have been inspired by the victims of the atom bombs. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, many victim’s skin melted off or hung from their bodies in tatters. These victims must have been in excruciating pain and are depicted moving very slowly and blindly, almost like zombies. Although the titans are not meant to be sympathized with (at least not yet) as one would sympathize with the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, their movements are very similar. In this context, the one skinless titan makes so much more sense to me. I really won’t be surprised if the series reveals that the titans are resulted from a human scientific experiment gone wrong and that we are indeed meant to sympathize with them.

Attack on Titan‘s analogy to World War II does not stop with the atom bombs. The series often explores themes related to militarism, group mentality, and self-sacrfice — topics often associated with Japan during World War II as well as World War II across the board.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps I’ll post more correlations between Attack on Titan and Barefoot Gen as I continue watching!

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Copyright 2013 by G. E. Gallas


Preview: “The Ink Drinker” Zine

Related Post: Upcoming Zines: “The Ink Drinker,” Etc. and Adventures in Bookbinding.

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I’m very pleased with how these turned out. You’ll be able to get your hands on a copy when my online store (thepoetandtheflea.storenvy.com) opens at the end of this month! :)

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Description:

The Ink Drinker, a short story by G. E. Gallas.

A dystopian story about a young girl who learns the truth about an outcast of society.

Printed and assembled by G. E. Gallas. Cover printed on 65-pound, nautral-color paper. Interior printed on 24-pound, white paper.

The Ink Drinker Zine 1

The Ink Drinker Zine 2

The Ink Drinker Zine 3

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Copyright 2013 by G. E. Gallas


Upcoming Zines: “The Ink Drinker,” Etc.

Related Post: First Zine Progress and Contest: Round Three!!
The Ink Drinker Title

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a number of short stories. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to submit them to literary journals or put them up on my blog. But my recent discovery of and appreciation for zines led me to find the perfect solution of self-printing/self-publishing.

There are about five short stories from my collection I think I’d like to one by one turn into zines, not necessarily in the following order:

  1. “The Ink Drinker”
  2. “Bludgeoning The Walrus”
  3. “Robots Are a Girl’s Best Friend”
  4. “Ulysses in Hell”
  5. “Go Jump in the Lake”

Each zine will include cover art (illustrated by me, of course), a card stock cover, and will be hand-bound with awl, needle and thread.

I begin with “The Ink Drinker,” a dystopian story about a young girl who learns the truth about an outcast of society. This story is somewhat influenced by Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast and illustrations, possibly some Edgar Allan Poe and definitely some Edward Lear among other things.

I’ve always wanted to continue or expand upon this story (as a novel, graphic novel, or screenplay), but haven’t had the chance yet. So I thought I’d share it with all of you as it is now for the time being. :)

You can expect “The Ink Drinker” up on my store (thepoetandtheflea.storenvy.com) once it opens!!

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Copyright 2013 by G. E. Gallas


Brief Update

Don’t forget to check out my most recent posts!:

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Here is a brief update on my current creative projects and endeavors…!

★ “The Poet and the Flea 100 Day Countdown to the Premiere” is underway!! Join us on TumblrTwitter, and Facebook!

Tuesday, November 6th
  1. Continued to work on application for Chronicle Books Children’s Design Fellowship.
  2. Added information to my Coroflot.com profile.
  3. Worked on The Flea script and the script for a comedic zine idea.
  4. Applied to a publishing job.
  5. Worked on my long abused Pinterest.
Wednesday, November 7th
  1. Finished work on application for Chronicle Books Children’s Design Fellowship
  2. Dropped off fellowship application at Chronicle Books!
  3. Attended Scary Cow information session.

Thursday, November 8th

  1. Took care of some errands.
  2. Worked on The First Reich.
  3. Worked on the second rough draft for Elias & The City of Cats.

Friday, November 9th

  1. Worked on application to the Cannes Film Program.
  2. Attended Cinema by the Bay with Wes.

Saturday, November 10th

  1. Decided to apply to a fellowship at Wired Magazine.
  2. Thoroughly enjoyed Skyfall. (´∀`)♡
  3. Did some more research on fellowships and jobs.

Sunday, November 11th

  • Took care of some e-mails and applied to a few more jobs.

Monday, November 12th

  • Took care of some e-mails, etc.

Tuesday, November 13th

  1. Worked on The First Reich.
  2. Worked on the second rough draft for Elias & The City of Cats.
  3. Worked on some color samples for Elias & The City of Cats.

Wednesday, November 14th

  1. Coming soon! — Meeting with the Bay Area Film and TV Connection (Connect with Others in the Film and TV Industry).

Etcetera

  • The Poet and the Flea: 49 pages of written script (1 page of script = 4-6 illustrated pages), and about 36 pages (1-24, 27-30 completed, and 25-26, 31-36 in progress) of illustrated work.
  • The First Reich: about 1-6 pages of illustrated work in progress.

To Do:

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Copyright 2012 by G. E. Gallas


Work in Progress: “Elias & the City of Cats”

Just wanted to share some of the work I’ve been doing collaborating with writer Gabe (G. Martinez Cabrera) on the children’s book Elias & The City of Cats.

I’m really enjoying working with Gabe — we’re good at bouncing ideas off one another and both have the creative energy to push one another to make the best book that we can!

Currently, we’re working towards creating a mockup of Elias to shop around to publishers.

A few weeks ago, Gabe took the time to cut up his story and arrange it into a format that gives me a better idea of the images he’s looking for. From that, I worked on a rough sketch storyboard draft of sorts.

Recently, I showed Gabe this first rough draft, and from our discussion I’m putting together a second rough draft. I’m sure both of us will be doing a good number of drafts before we have a polished mockup!

Elias and Ignis, preliminary character designs.

Ignis, another preliminary character design.

Two pages from the first rough draft.

Another two pages from the first rough draft.

The second rough draft, in progress!

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For more updates, don’t forget to follow me on tumblr and/or twitter.

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Copyright 2012 by G. E. Gallas


Much Ado About Bubbie: Bubbie’s Mad About Hamm

This is an idea I had a while back for a comedic blog about my Bubbie and her antics. If you all enjoy this, perhaps I’ll write a few more, such as how Bubbie voted entirely Democratic except for Mitt Romney because she thinks he’s handsome or how Bubbie now has a crush on Jake Gyllenhaal because he’s a “nice Jewish boy.”

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Much Ado About Bubbie

Bubbie (noun): A term of endearment for a Jewish Grandmother.

Example: My Bubbie doesn’t keep kosher outside of the house.

My sister Sydney, Bubbie, and me.

Bubbie’s Mad About Hamm

My Bubbie Isabelle has a crush on Jon Hamm.

Just like the rest of the family, Bubbie tunes into Mad Men every Sunday night to watch the admen of 1960s Madison Avenue drink, smoke, whore, and gossip – not to mention dish out sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, and anti-Semitic dialogue by the second, all of which (with the exception of the anti-Semitic variety) go unprotested by my Bubbie, a true product of the time.

To me, the series is a literary masterpiece on film regardless of how small the screen. To Bubbie, it’s just another one of her “weekly stories,” on par with General Hospital and The Young and the Restless.

Jon Hamm plays the brooding protagonist slash advertising genius, Donald Draper, on the show. Ever since reading in The Kansas City Star that the handsome actor is a St. Louis native, Bubbie – who’s lived in Missouri for over seventy years – has harbored a vicarious pride for Mr. Hamm. Much to my family’s embarrassment, this is not Bubbie’s first crush on a man that is at least a decade younger than my dad.

One time on vacation, while my family was checking into the Waldorf Astoria for a night, Bubbie was mesmerized by the dazzling charm and good looks of an Israeli desk clerk.

What a five-foot tall, eighty-something-year-old – complete with her teased-and-set helmet hair, her rhinestoned schoolteacher sweaters, and her constrictive girdle that makes her waddle – would want with a thirty-something-year-old desk clerk was not exactly a welcomed thought in my thirteen-year-old brain.

…a thought that was only exacerbated by the phrase Bubbie used to convey her attraction to the young man:

“He can put his shoes under my bed any day!”

Bubbie employs the same phrase in regards to Jon Hamm.

Whenever I phone Bubbie, my curiosity always gets the better of me. I can’t help but ask her what she thought of the most recent episode of Mad Men. And just like that, she goes off on her classic rant.

Firstly, Bubbie is angry at the show for not portraying the 60s how she remembers it, what with the show’s excessive drinking, smoking, and sex in the office. “When I worked in an office, they didn’t do that kind of stuff!”

Furthermore, Bubbie not only treats Jon Hamm as if he truly exists during the 1960s, but as if Jon Hamm is accountable for his character Don Draper’s actions. Whenever Don Draper does something that Bubbie doesn’t approve of (for instance, whenever Don has sex with a woman he’s not married to – an incident that occurs almost every episode and with what seems like a different woman every time), Bubbie is not only upset with but in disbelief that Jon Hamm would do such a thing, as if she’s oblivious to the profession of acting.

That’s when Bubbie whips out yet another one of her famous phrases, this time to express her disappointment with Jon Hamm’s behavior:

“Why, it’s disgusting!”

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For more updates, don’t forget to follow me on tumblr and/or twitter.

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Copyright 2012 by G. E. Gallas


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