The Power of Context

I know I promised I would let my blog go back to being dead in peace, but something curious happened to me yesterday and I thought it was worth blogging about it. It involves this comic, so it would be a good idea to go read it now. Also, the following paragraphs talk about the comic itself and my interpretation of it, so it would be a really good idea to go read it now.

The comic can be divided in two sets of panels, the first group describes that there is a huge asteroid set to collide with the Earth, and that experts say there’s nothing anyone can do about it. The second group shows how different types of people react to this news. Of particular interest is the last panel showing a girl with a baseball bat ready to hit the asteroid and send it away from Earth.

The first time I read this comic, I had not read any other minus. comics before and knew nothing about who minus was. The way I interpreted the last panel was that she was just a naïve kid who refused to believe that there was nothing to do to avoid the collision and decided that since no one was doing anything about it, she should take the matter into her own hands. To her, fending off the asteroid seemed as simple as grabbing a baseball bat and hitting the asteroid off course. To me, this seemed like a really nice way to showcase different reactions people might have to this type of news and to illustrate how some people refuse to go out down without a fight, even if everyone else has already given up.

But then, I started reading the rest of the minus. comics. I quickly realized that minus was capable of doing some pretty magical things, thus making my first interpretation of this comic no longer “right”. She is not naïvely thinking that she can use a baseball bat to hit the asteroid away from earth, she can actually do just that. She is no longer trying to do something against all odds, now she’s just saving the world. Even with this interpretation I still like the comic a lot, and in fact I’m glad I decided to read the rest of the minus. comics since most of them are really good. But I’m sticking to my original interpretation because I think it’s much better.

I find it quite interesting that I liked the comic more when I didn’t have the full context than when I did. It makes me wonder if I would have liked more the rest of the comics if I had seen those first. Or if I’ve been going around life missing really cool interpretations of things just because I look at them within certain context.

8 thoughts on “The Power of Context

  1. It immediately reminded me of an anime mini-series called “FLCL” (furicuri) which features a character using a guitar to bat a similar object away from Earth.

    But after reading your post I agree that context might lessen the irony of the comic on its own. Good share, though–thanks for posting this.

  2. this exact this happened to me yesterday and then i found this post while looking for the page for those comics again. also FLCL rocks

  3. Funny:
    I did not know the minus comics before, but I did not see the little girl as naive at all, when I first viewed it. On that picture minus just gives me the impression that she knows exactly what she is doinng.

    But then my (somewhat special) life experience tells me that seemingly ordinary or powerless people often have most extraordinary of talents. – And I’ve been watching a lot of “Doctor Who” these days. 🙂

    This comic is a great piece of art! Thanks for “showing it to me”. 🙂 I might actually order a print… Let’s see what they cost…

  4. Loona,
    I bought a print of this comic too, they’re actually very good quality and as I remember not too expensive. Unfortunately, Ryan (the minus author) doesn’t take orders for prints all the time. Also, minus recently ended and I think the last batch of prints has already been shipped so I think you can no longer order prints 🙁 However you may try contacting Ryan to see if there’s still some way to get a print. Good luck!

  5. Great. I only came here to get Postalicious, and now I’ve got yet another web comic to waste time with.

    Seriously though, great plugin, great comic. so thanks for both.

  6. Glad to hear you like Postalicious Martin. I agree, minus is a great comic, it’s a shame it’s over though.

  7. That comic was my first exposure to minus aswell, and I had a similar reaction. Such a powerful image, without context.

    Thanks for the blog post, I wanted to post this comic elsewhere and if you weren’t the #1 hit for “magic girl comic meteor baseball” I probably wouldn’t have found it 🙂

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