Wedding flowers, comics, marriage, and mental load.

I attended a wedding just seven days ago, and it was an incredible afternoon and evening.

The design choices, speeches, and spirit of the event could not have been more bright and joyful.

I want to share one photo of the wedding flowers. They embodied this sense of joy; new beginnings; pure celebration, and shared love between the couple.

Babies breath, white chrysanthemum, and a light-pink rose  represented these sensations. I was definitely grateful to be there.

But where is marriage going in the future? What stresses are there on couples, and how can these be understood and solved?

To start answering these questions, I wanted to share  a short comic on marriage and relationships that was recently translated into English.

On their website, cartoonist and blogger Emma calls her comics “ugly sketches”. Regardless, the content presents a vital discussion about mental load and long-term marriage.

But you might ask, what is mental load?

It’s the finite capacity humans have for information processing.

Mental Load could also be called Cognitive Load.

John Sweller talks about cognitive load from a teaching perspective:

Humans have limited ability to actively plan, and acquire new information.

There is a finite amount of Working Memory available when processing information.

Exceeding mental load too often results in stress.

Ideally , problem solving, learning, and sharing of new information will not exceed cognitive working load (Solomon, 2015, Instructional Design).

In a long-term marriage, under the pressure of a society placing household management demands mainly on women – as Emma delineates in the comic – reducing long term marriage stress between partners flows from making a few societal changes:

  • Manage toys and gender stereotypes given to children growing up.
  • Encourage closer ties between fathers and their families by introducing more paternity leave options for parents.

Emma delineates more of these problems and solutions, on mental load and marriage, in their comic:

Source: You Should’ve Asked, by Emma

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Wonder Woman #32 – Comic Review

Wonder Woman #32 proves again that it’s essential reading: A great super hero comic, and a story for anyone interested in mythology.

Emphasising the gods as a family allows Wonder Woman to show loyalty and guardianship toward her supernatural family.

What Wonder Woman#30 offers:

  • The pantheon of gods shown off in this issue have strong character and costume designs
  • Action scenes convey motion across panels
  • A theme of guardianship communicated through Wonder Woman’s selflessness

This comic celebrates a pantheon of Greek Myth in its characters, and the art work that has gone into their designs. Action is several scenes also flows across panels.

The comic celebrates the pantheon of Greek Myth. Each figure in the pantheon had a role, a purpose, and a skill set attributed to them. In this issue, their role as representatives of greater, essential forcers that are facts of living on the earth; Life and Death, the Ocean and the Sky, Chaos and Desire; Messages carried through the air; the moon, the sun, and parenthood. All powerful forces that define us.

Design choices in the artwork for each god are effective. For example: Eros wears a long scarf, and wields gold guns, and Demeter’s hair is closely knotted leaves – a pattern of flowing tree roots spreads across her face.

Then there are the new gods: Wonder Woman herself wears red armour, and ties back her hair in this issue. Her costume features strongly plated armour. The First Born remains zombified. He’s essentially a grisly and bloody corpse, ranting about his power.

Action scenes establish movement across panels. Characters leap through the air, running toward and away from threats.

The First Born begins a coordinated attack on the Gods of Olympus. Wonder Woman continues to champion diversity.

The First Born is the key villain here. A long neglected son of the Zeus and Hera, First Born seeks to destroy his entire family of magical deities. His revenge is the driving force of the story. He is uncomfortable with vulnerability, however, which becomes clear after he encounters Eris, the goddess of chaos.

Wonder Woman still believes in, and embraces diversity. Last issue made that clear. She made a progressive step forward – telling the exclusive Amazon community they must change their long held beliefs, and accept a baby boy onto the island community. Her actions made a strong comment about diversity and change, and were comparable to the real world problem of exclusion and lack of female representation in a misogynist community. Showing deeper vulnerabilities, she asks Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, if she is making the right decisions.

Wonder Woman defends Demeter from harm. She tells the other gods on the run from the First Born to flee, while she faces the enemy. Her selflessness builds a theme of guardianship

Wonder Woman #32 shows Diana as a defender, and a warrior for those who cannot defend themselves. Demeter is the Greek god of harvest and life, and being the sister of Poseidon and Hades, she is a major target of the First Born’s attack on the gods. Demeter is a peaceful character. Wonder Woman steps in to protect her. Not only does she defend Demeter, she tells the other gods to retreat to safety. This selflessness builds a theme of guardianship.

Wonder Woman faces the First Born alone, and in a burning forest. A cliffhanger to close this section of the story.

Wonder Woman #30 is published by DC Comics ($2.99 USD). Brian Azzarello (W.) Cliff Chiang (B.D) Goran Sudzuka (A.) Matthew Wilson (C.) Jared K. Fletcher (L.) Cover Artwork by Cliff Chiang.

Wonder Woman #30 – Comic Review

Wonder Woman has risen to new authority over the past story arc. Now returned to her home, she has changed, but faces a stilted and traditional society. Wonder Woman#30 embraces equality with a strong statement about change.

What Wonder Woman#30 offers:

  • Great colour choices and use of perspective that show the reader tone and mood.
  • investigating Wonder Woman’s responsibly and success.
  • A strong statement about the problems of old ways of living, and equality.

This review contains some minor spoilers.

The colour of the sky gives clues about the tone of each scene in the comic: Blue for clarity, Grey for danger, and Indigo for thoughtfulness. On the river Styx, Hades summons an army of bleached white souls. They form a startling and enormous wall behind him.

Magic and energy pulse from the gods that dominate the story. Hera’s emerald powers cause her eyes to glow – there is no doubt of her strength in this comic book.

Perspective establishes power. Wonder Woman stands on a balcony overlooking the amazons. The First Born has built a squishy, awful looking platform on which to stare down at the captured Cassandra. Perspective in these scenes shows the characters new authority. There is also a strong sense of space, and no scene feels cluttered.

Wonder Woman has solved many problems, and overcome harsh obstacles to save her friend Zola, and the baby Zeke. With new responsibility, Wonder Woman must confront unexpected challenges: including the effects of her own success.

A large part of the comic deals with the problems of Wonder Woman’s success.

Her sisters on paradise island are restored to life. Hera is restored to her state as a goddess, and no longer a burden.

The First Born has control of Olympus, but has also captured and neutralised another dangerous villain, Cassandra, in the process.

With no clear leader, Wonder Woman is given the title of “Queen”. Such success surrounds her. She is the God of War, and Queen of the Amazons. But with this new pressure, there are more problems. In this comic, we see Wonder Woman succeeding under pressure.

And there is pressure: The Amazons of paradise island do not trust Diana. Not an easy problem to solve when several dangerous and flighty gods are strolling around the island (Hera, Hermes, Dionysus, Artemis.)

There is a second problem on top of that: no boys or men, young or old, are allowed on paradise island. Zeke is Zola’s son. Yet another threat has appeared against Zola and her baby: The Amazons themselves.

Wonder Woman takes an extraordinary step to solve that problem.

Within all this stress, there is a calm moment: Zola wants to leave paradise island (she knows Zeke is in danger), and Wonder Woman agrees: It’s what she wanted once.

Despite the comic missing some action, a strong statement about equality appears. Wonder Woman strikes out against stifling traditions

As their new Queen, Wonder Woman has the Amazons pledge their lives to the protection of Zeke, a baby boy.

This step crosses their old traditions of valuing one gender over another. Wonder Woman asks: does this tradition benefit or weaken our society?

This is a strong story about challenging and changing tradition. It holds up a mirror to the real world. Where equality can be just as disparate between men and women. For example, the recent critique of Teen Titans #1 cover artwork, and the threatening, and inappropriate responses that followed.

Writing for Comics Alliance, Andy Khouri made several strong points about women, men, and gender equality in the comics industry.  Just as Zeke, a boy, needs to be accepted on paradise island, the real world community needs more equality. That’s the statement Wonder Woman makes here.

It’s contained within a strong story, with fantasy and magic elements. While it may lack action and combat story elements that make Wonder Woman a strong comic book, the statements made here are worth reading.

Wonder Woman #30 is published by DC Comics ($2.99 USD). Brian Azzarello (W.) Gorian Sudzuka (A.) Andrew Wilson (C.) Jared K. Fletcher (L.) Cover Artwork by Cliff Chiang.