-UOW- BCM111-Post 3- “Discuss one social media platform and the way you use it to present a sense of self (whether that is a self that is curated and selective – a persona – or one that is more authentic).

Persona is defined as “the mask, role, or character which society expects individuals to present” (Buchanan 2010). One important thing to remember, as Buchanan eludes to is, that the notion of “persona is the fact the subject is always conscious of the fact that ‘they’ are never quite ‘that’, they are never quite what they appear to be” (Buchanan 2010, p.365).

Social media is a double edge sword in many ways, designed to help express your yourself, views and identity not to mention connect people with both information and image sharing capabilities. However, overtime it has become a massive marketing tool, used to market products, and monitored to see what people are buying as well as a career launching platform. Thus, remembering Buchanan’s definition of, and putting into question, the idea of persona, and can you remain authentic and have a persona?

James Messe presents the idea while discussing funeral selfies, but still is applicable, that as part of creating this identity or persona online you categories your life, whether it be selfies -photographic self-portraits-, or images from an event or your location; done through the use of hashtags, a way to directly connect to an audience who would search the particular hashtags you use e.g. music, comics, kitten etc. (James Meese et al., 2015). Another use of the hashtag is to get noticed by brands or celebrity, think of models tagging their cloths brands, or how an artist tags the brand of the materials they use. This recognition either by the brand or celebrity could be beneficial to push the person into the public sphere, but what does this mean for the persona presented and can you remain authentic.

Duffett presents the problematic nature of persona and authenticity, it is also potentially and puts forward the notion that fans are “more than consumers because they have especially strong emotional attachments to their objects and they use them to create relationships with both their heroes and with each other (Duffett, 2013). Meaning that with the aid of a celebrity your hashtag, or if a celebrity uses this platform to sell a product, the person who uses would instantly have a greater platform, but it leaves the question of- does the celebrity or the person posting using the hashtag really care of is this a persona to make them more appealing to the public, presenting a better public image or to gain press opportunities?


1. James Meese et al., (2015) – Selfies at Funerals: Mourning and Presencing on Social Media Platforms (International Journal of Communication, vol. 9, pp. 1818-1831)

2. Buchanan, I, 2010. Oxford Dictionary of Critical Theory. 1st Edition. New York, United States. Oxford University Press.

3. Duffett, M (2013) Understanding Fandom: An Introduction to the Study of Media Fan Culture. Ist Edition. London, Bloomsbury Publishing.


The media coverage on the Black Lives Matter protest in many cases was miss handled and shown through a very bias point of view. Most media sources focused on the violence and perpetuated it by linking it to other cases of violence. The MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics, as outlined by Mark Pearson and Mark Polden in The Journalist’s Guide to Media Law stress that the fundamental principle as a journalist is to strive to tell and respect the truth when it comes to sharing information to the public. (Pearson and Polden, 2019).

Pearson and Polden continue to say that journalist’s main concern to “report and interpret honestly, striving for accuracy, fairness and disclosure of all essential facts. Do not suppress relevant available facts or give distorting emphasis. Do your utmost to give a fair opportunity for reply” (Pearson and Polden, 2019).

Using the parameters of the MEAA to analyse how journalists covered the Black Lives Matter protests, one main concern about how the media continued to more often or not fall back on the cover the Black Lives Matter movement was by continuing to fall into the protest paradigm. The protest paradigm as covered in both the lectures and tutorials is a way that the media follow a negative bias towards the cause they are reporting on.

As reporters follow this paradigm it often lands causes and protests like the Black Lives Matter movement in an anti-status as it challenges the status quo. As the movement is similar in some ways to the Civil Rights movement under Martin Luther King Jr, as it continued to break down unfair treatment and or limitations placed on a group of people for either their race, religion, gender or sexual preferences. Some news sources did break this paradigm however by interviewing the founders and covered how this female led movement started from tweets on twitter that led to the formation of a website after 17-year-old Traywan’s killer was released from prison, not the murder of George Floyd by the police force as most media sources had presented through their coverage. These media outlets that did break the paradigm also shed light on how the movement was similar but differed from the Civil Rights movement with similar demands for equality but had a more inclusive nature rather than the male dominance of the Civil Rights movement.

The paradigm also discredits movements by focusing on the actions or the dramatics associated with it, and with that focus on the violence or property damage other cases of violence is connected rather than focusing on the reason behind or the history of the movement, which happened in the case of the Black Lives Matter rallies- as most news footage showed police pushing back protestors or burning and or vandalised property.

Another way of continuing to discredit this movement was they way most media avoided interviewing or telling the perspective of the movement from its participants and rather a -most likely conservative point of view that would emphasise the belief the movement was causing upset to the status quo-government official or a police officer. These interviews often have a lack of information, as show how little of the foundation history of the movement is known in the public and continued to write the peoples of these movements to violent actions or criminals. Whereas the government/ law enforcement are given benefit of doubt or even if negativity is linked, details are removed and those actions that remain are written in a passive voice to lessen the blow to them from the people reading or viewing the media source.

Overall, the media coverage on the Black Lives Matter protest miss handled and in future cases be used as an example on bias in the media. Indeed, some news sources did break from the bias perspective, that goes all the way to the ownership of the media and the current sate we are in where a conservative point of view is being told on mass to the public as shown by the emphasis the violence or property damage rather than the reason for or the story behind why the movement was formed.

As a final thought of a journalism student, has the MEAA Journalist Code of Ethics been followed I believe a less bias reporting would have occurred.


1- Pearson, M. and Polden, M., 2019. The journalist’s guide to media law. 6th ed. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, pp.527-528.


-UOW- BCM111-Post 2- “Do you believe citizen journalism through social media is good, bad, or a bit of both? Why? Use academic readings to justify your conclusions. In doing so, choose a country/region of the world (that is not the US, UK or Australia) and discuss how it involves citizen journalism. Is it a practice that is beneficial for that region, exposing truths and stories the traditional media doesn’t cover? Does it obscure truth and spread misinformation, muddying the waters of good journalism in the region?”

The embrace of social media as a new resource of news and information gathering justifiably so deserves the criticism it has received. As the public have both published and consumed news of some description across these platforms, it presents a significant problem, the lack of fact checking, biases, agendas and editing; not that biases and agendum is not present in mainstream media.

Social journalism has been both a in a way a blessing and a curse upon the world, perpetuated by social media. Stuart Allen expresses regarding the flaws in social journalism, “the contributions to so-called “personal Journalism,” or what some describes as “DIY [Do-It-Yourself] reporting” or “citizen-produced coverage,” appeared from diverse locations, so diverse as to make judgments about their relative accuracy difficult, if not impossible”. (Allan and Thorsen, 2009) Mainstream journalism, while often carrying its own biases and agenda- see the Murdock’s media empire favour towards a liberal government- still is governed by a code of conduct and ethics.

News stories are passed through editors, sources confirmed, and information fact checked, when there is something that is misrepresented, there are consequences, retractions are made and sometimes damages paid, one case in recent times was The Daily Telegraph slander of Geoffrey Rush settling in court. But ultimately in most cases there is accountability.

The main purpose of this “DIY reporting using social media, is to report on things that may go unreported or to show events or someone’s actions, corruption that might never be reported or as events unfold i.e., footage coming from America and the Black Lives Matter rallies/ riots. The main concern with this form of journalism is that these videos and stories are posted instantly, with no fact checking and missing context in some cases

Zhang Zhan, a 37-year-old former lawyer, a Chinese citizen journalist who was covering COVID-19 in Wuhan is now facing up to five years in jail, as her reporting was deemed, by the Chinese government as spreading false information through video, texts and other media through social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube and WeChat.”. Zhang Zhan was also accused of accepting interviews from foreign media outlets where she is said to of spread information about the outbreak and the handling of it in a malicious way.

It is cases like this where citizen journalism is need in a way, as China’s news media carefully selects what information is chosen to be reported. There is a history in China where the Chinese authorities are known to have a no tolerance policy towards activists who speak out against what information was selected or policies/ decisions made by authorities. It is reported that over the course of the pandemic three citizen journalists have disappeared; one still missing, the second claiming she was in quarantine and the third being placed under government watch.


1- Allan, S. and Thorsen, E., 2009. Citizen Journalism. 1st ed. New York, United States: Peter Lang Publishing Inc, p.24.

2- BBC News. 2020.Coronavirus: Chinese Citizen Journalist Faces Jail for Wuhan Reporting. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-54969682> [Accessed 23 August 2020].


UOW- BCM111-Post 1– “What popular culture do you consume? Explain its popularity using one of the key theories introduced this week?

As both a comic consumer and creator it is clear to see that comics to this day still have a stigma attached to them, granted not to the extent they originally experienced under the comic code, but in some circles, they are still deemed nothing more than low brow entertainment for children. A form of mass-produced stories and artwork that have no meaning in our cultural proximity. As an artform the books reflect social issues like racism, drug abuse, crime, and corruption, presenting these topics in digestible 32-page books from month to month.

From personal experience the artwork in these books are also deemed inferior to high or fine art. due to being mass produced, and commercial. All through my art training both at TAFE Wollongong and here at UOW my work has been called over stylized, kitsch, and not relevant in the art world. This, naturally as a comic creator I found infuriating as art styles like pop art was deemed art, art nouveau was also deemed art. But they were two forms of art that were also commercial, and mass produced. Were held as art. So, what was the difference? In his article Storey outlines the difference between popular culture and high culture “This definition of popular culture is often supported by claims that popular culture is mass-produced commercial culture, whereas high culture is the result of an individual act of creation” (Storey 2015, p.6) Storey challenges this train of thought using Shakespeare as a prime example of the flaws in this definition. “William Shakespeare is now seen as the epitome of high culture, yet as late as the nineteenth century his work was very much a part of popular theatre. (Storey 2015, p.6) Even though Shakespeare is now considered literature, his work originally meant for consumption by the masses.

Maggio in the article Comics and Cartoons: A Democratic Art-Form highlights that comic offer a different view and understanding of the world. “Most discussions of comics engage in the analysis of the content of the art-form. This is-of course-of great importance, especially as in the way that comics offer a critique of the dominant power structure”. (Maggio 2007). One benefit of comics considered low brow entertainment is that these books tend to gain audiences in subcultures that don’t conform or hold the same views as the mainstream, so the ideas and social commentary fall beneath the radar of the elite. These books tackle issues within communities that mainstream media tend to avoid, i.e., when DC Comics depicted one of their heroes Green Arrow sidekicks, Speedy being caught on the front cover about to shoot heroine, or when marvel had Tony Stark-Iron Man- on the front cover surrounded by empty bottles of alcohol and in withdrawal with a label across the image ‘demon in the bottle. Media tends to idealise the people who are called or labelled a hero, whereas these two covers used as an example help shatter that illusion that everyone has private demons, and the world isn’t as media presents it. “Additionally, comics’ subterranean existence allows cartoonists to create a unique aesthetic and a “distinct alternative vision” that often says more about our culture than so-called high art” (Maggio 2007). A prime example of this would be Allan Moore’s V for Vendetta, a social commentary on the government and the control they implement, Moore stating the influence was the Thatcher Government years of the UK.


1- John Storey – What is Popular Culture? (Cultural Theory and popular culture: an introduction, Routledge, pp. 1-16)

2- Maggio , J. . (2007). Comics and Cartoons: A Democratic Art-Form. PS: Political Science & Politics. 40. PP 237 – 239.

Vamoose #2

This was a cool gig, I got to know the creator Rob Lisle- the creator of ‘The Devil’s Toilet‘ and ‘Vamoose‘, currently being published by Reverie Publications- by helping put together a calendar project for Shane Syddall of ComX.AU that showcased 18 of Australia’s indie comic creators. From there I further worked with Rob on ComX Studio’s ‘Presents‘- an anthology of short serialized stories from all Australian creators. Once I got the assignment Rob was a treat to work with, if you ever get the opportunity to work with him on a project, take it.

The design of the cover went through a few ideas, with the theme of “NOT ON MY WATCH”. At first I liked the idea of referencing Dali’s melting clocks, which did somewhat happen, but ultimately I settled for the design below that was warped a little further in Photoshop ending in two designs I was really happy with. The first was the lead character, Ol’ Man Biscuit with locks making up the background, however the original drawings of the clocks had a halftone filter laid over the image. In the second version

Image Comics & the shift from “Mainstream” to “Indies”.

“If we stop drawing, they have nothing to sell.” Todd MacFarlane 2017

Comics as we know them now have been published since the late 1930s, with both Marvel Comics and DC Comics at the forefront of mainstream publishing. These companies hold properties like Batman, Wonder Woman, The Avengers, Spiderman and so on. But over time the self-printing or indie scene saw a boom in the mid-1980s with the underground and black and white movement, a notable title to come from this movement is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This new wave of publishing allowing creator owned properties that break the standard work for hire agreements held by Marvel and DC Comics.

But why the shift, why are these industry writers and artists seeking out creator own agreements or delving into publishing their own material with the aid of Kickstarter and other fund-raising platforms? In part it could be the world is much more connected because of the internet and social media, making distribution a lot easier than say twenty years ago. Another reason for the departure are the warning tales from older creators expressing how they have been used and receive no compensation, especially with the boom of the comic-based superhero film industry. These past deals have granted both the studios and the publishers a loophole in not paying them royalties for their work, one recent example of this is Warner Bros using the costume design Alex Ross created for Wonder Woman in the DC Comics Book Kingdom Come in the recent Wonder Woman 1984 which acted as the base design and influence for the golden armour shown throughout the film. Not to mention his portraits being imitated to market the original release of the 2017 Justice League.

However, this departure from mainstream comics is not a new thing. 2021 marks twenty-nine years since the foundation of Image Comics, a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a group of bestselling artists at the time. Image has since become the third largest comics publisher in the United States, with properties have earned multiple awards and nominations across all categories, winning two of the most sought-after awards in the comic industry, the Eisner Awards, and the Hugo Awards. Image Comics emphasises the creator and their rights to the properties they created. But how and why was this publishing house created to start with?

The foundation of Image Comics.

In a 2017 interview with Noah Callahan-Bever, Todd MacFarlane, one of the founders and creator of Spawn outlines how he; Jim Lee, Erik Larson, Mark Silvestri, Rob Liefeld, Jim Valentino and Whilce Portacio met with Marvel Comics and DC Comics to inform them of their plans to leave the companies due to growing frustration with the companies policies- work for hire agreements-  and other practices, which they felt did didn’t reward the creators for the content being created monthly  for the comics and the merchandise generated based on their work in which they received  the most modest if any royalties.

Image was established to have multiple imprints, all working under the one banner, Image Comics. Todd McFarlane Productions, owned by Todd McFarlane; WildStorm Productions, owned by Jim Lee, Highbrow Entertainment, owned by Erik Larsen, Shadowline, owned by Jim Valentino, Top Cow Productions, owned by Marc Silvestri and Extreme Studios, owned by Rob Liefeld. These imprints were responsible for some of comics most successful franchises.

In 1996 Silvestri withdrew Top Cow from Image due to infighting, but later returned to Image after Liefeld resigned in September 1996, who also gave up his shares to the company. Jim Lee left Image Comics and sold WildStorm to DC Comics in 1999, which ran as an imprint until 2010 when the WildStorm titles were either cancelled or absorbed into the DC Comics universe. Jim Lee has stated in the past his reason for leaving Image was to peruse more creative ventures in comics and less responsibilities as a publisher.

As of 2021, the current board of directors has six individuals and It consists of five major houses under the Image banner: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline Comics, Skybound Entertainment, and Image Central. Robert Kirkman- the creator of The Walking Dead and owner of Skybound Entertainment- and Eric Stephenson being the two newest members to join the ranks with the remaining founders.

What image offers to the creators.

So why did Image seem so, and remains a enticing way for independent creators or established creators now seeing freedom and the desire to maintain ownership of their work? In an Interview with Cartoonist Kayfabe! The Shoot Interview in 2020, Tod McFarlane outlined that apart from a few details anyone who walks through the doors have the same contract as the founders. In the interview McFarlane stated “creative people should be in control of their own creation, and that ownership should be 100%. And that 100% should let you decide good, bad or indifferent what you want to do at any given time with that creation.”

Final thoughts and the legacy of Image Comics.

Apart from the seven creators leaving to form Image, other mainstream creators left and continue to leave DC Comics and Marvel Comics to pursue a creator owned careers. This has led to some of the most recognisable and commercially successful creator owned franchises. Two such creators were Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy – plus the spin-off books- and Frank Miller, the creator of Sin City, 300 and Ronin. The lesson from the shake up Image Comics caused is that there is always a way to get your work out there, even without a major backer or publisher to support you, especially in the age of the internet. Ideally if you are in comics, you are in it for the craft and realise the level of commitment, hard work and how little money is in it so why not be the publisher or find the best deal for yourself? Why surrender your rights to your work or characters you create? Job security is rare in mainstream comics now it is a freelance market, so it is easily justifiable to work and release your work at your own pace. Granted you may not have the brand recognition that a DC Comics or a Marvel logo can provide you, but it could prevent you missing out royalties due to contracts that best serve the publisher, like the case involving Alex Ross, that many other creators have been through and other creators have been through.