MYTHOMANIA: The cartoonist becomes the hero

By Garbiñe Jaurrieta. June 4, 2012

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The stereotyped geeks and nerds, specially characterised in the North American teenager series and films, don't go to secondary school anymore.

Since the seventies, the North American cinema and television industry, in its eagerness to socially stratify high school, created the archetype of the “simpleton”, the “nerd”. The character that lacks social aptitudes, slightly clumsy, Steve Urkel from Family Matters, Millhouse from The Simpsons or Screech from Saved by the Bell. They all shared common features, like the extreme dedication to their interests (physics, science fiction, comics or IT), little dress sense or little physical appeal. But, until well into the 21st century except for a few cases and with exceptions, it was never contemplated further from these clichés. The "dork" wasn't taken into account outside school.

But new sitcoms have appeared and, not only there has been a complete rupture in the canon and treatment of the so-called freaks, but the television products have also changed. Now there are sitcoms like The Big Bang Theory, which presents the life of thirtysomething scientists, or The It Crowd, which does the same with a misunderstood IT department. And among these relatively new varieties we find a small project called Mythomania. A web series that follows the life of a group of illustrators and comic lovers who have just finished university and are waiting for a job opportunity.

Derek Kirk Kim, the cartoonist behind Same Difference and the creator of the series, says he embarked in this project to demythologize the image of the cartoonist as solitary and self-absorbed. In Mythomania, the main character Andy Go (alter ego of its director) and his friends meet every Sunday in his living room, presided by the figure of Harrison Ford in Star Wars and a poster of Cassavetes, and they draw and talk about comics and their personal lives. Two elements that, as Kirk Kim shows, are completely related in the creation process.

With nine episodes of no more than 10 minutes, the first season was launched in 2011 with relative success. The second is now waiting to be financed through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

Geeks, nerds, freaks, the superficial imagery so far created by blockbusters and successful teenager sitcoms has changed; and Mythomania is a clear example.

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