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​Mikiko Ponczeck , Tom Taylor

M.I.D.A.S.

YEAR: 2015

COUNTRY: Australia

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Title of the work

M.I.D.A.S.

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2015

First Edition Details

Tom Taylor, Mikiko Ponczeck. M.I.D.A.S. Perth, Australia: Gestalt Publishers, 2015, 27 pp.

Genre

Comics (Graphic works)
Dystopian fiction
Graphic novels
Science fiction
Short stories

Target Audience

Crossover (especially Young adults)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Miriam Riverlea, University of New England, mriverlea@gmail.com

Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il

Female portrait

​Mikiko Ponczeck , b. 1984
(Illustrator)

Mikiko Ponczeck (1984), was born in Tokyo and has lived in several countries around the world. She is a German-Japanese Manga Artist, who sometimes works under the pseudonym "Zombiesmile." She worked as a colorist for Taylor’s Rombies series for Gestalt comics, and has published a number of manga and comics, including Grimms Manga Sonderband – Perfect Edition, Mikiko’s Mini Comics, Crash-Burn (a boy’s love story, which won the Audience prize for the prestigious German Max & Moritz prize for comics). She hosts J-Mag, an online live-stream video show about manga, anime, and pop culture, which runs on Germany’s MyVideo portal. Her DeviantArt profile has over 3 million page views, and her style ranges from Japanese to other traditions.


Bio prepared by Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au


Male portrait

Tom Taylor , b. 1978
(Author)

Tom Taylor was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1978. He is an Australian writer of graphic novels, comics, and animated television work. His work largely fits into the superhero genre, and he has written for a number of graphic novel/comics franchises, including comics from the Star Wars series of films and associated stories; Marvel X-Men series, with comics relating to the Wolverine and Iron Man series; DC Comics’ comic of the fighting video game Injustice: Gods Among Us; and the Earth Two series; and a duology of Rombies comics, about an Ancient Rome that is taken over by zombies ("Friends, Romans, Countrymen—lend me your brains") He is the creator of The Deep, an award-winning comic for young readers, about a family of aquanauts solving underwater mysteries around the world, which was adapted into a television series by an Australian-Canadian co-production. He lives in Melbourne.


Bio prepared by Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au


Summary

M.I.D.A.S. is a graphic short story about Andy, a man who has become radioactive after being struck by a bomb blast. He lives in a bio-hazard suit, designed to protect others from his radioactivity. Occasionally he assists a bomb-disposal squad called M.I.D.A.S. He is isolated from others, lonely, and dealing with an inner anger that may be a side-effect of his radioactivity. Everything he touches turns to BOOM. He is called by Captain Turk to defuse a suitcase bomb. Seeing it is organic, he takes his glove off, and sets off an explosion. He sees in the eyes of a witnessing child that he has become a monster and his depression increases. They know. They can see what I am. When he meets Maya Mooney, a beautiful doctor who spends time with him, and gives him a sticker of a puppy to cover the ‘radioactive’ sign on his chest, he falls in love. But love only makes him realise how isolated he is; seeing Maya touching another patient; his rage builds. ‘And something builds inside me. Something burns. And I want to [images of Andy setting off an explosion that destroys a city block]. I want to explode. But I don’t. I just go home. There’s a frustrating unceasing echo. I can’t escape it . . . because it’s me. It’s the sound of me reverberating back at me. A constant reminder I’m stuck in here.’ (23-27)

Analysis

M.I.D.A.S. alludes to the myth of King Midas. Where the original Midas wished for the source of his isolation (turning all he touched into gold, including his daughter), Andy’s isolation is the result of an unspecified explosion, perhaps a nuclear explosion. It has disintegrated his mother. Andy is kept alive by technology, but lives an isolated life in which the ability to touch is removed from him. This is the main point of comparison with the myth, and the key allusion is spelled out in the title of the story, and in the name Andy has been given by the military (represented by a gruff older man called Captain Turk). Though the reference is in part tangential, the spirit of the original myth is reflected in the emphasis on isolation. King Midas was ultimately isolated by his powers. Andy has been isolated by his radioactive powers. As Ben Kooyman notes in his review, M.I.D.A.S. has intertexts with contemporary superhero stories, which often muse on the loneliness of the superhero. In the condensed form of a short story, the thematic resonances come through strongly. 

Tom Taylor is well versed in superhero stories. He writes for DC Comics, has written comics versions of the Mad Max series of post-apocalyptic road movies, and wrote The Deep, an action-adventure comic (and animated series) about a family of aquanauts descended from a mythical race called the Lumerians. M.I.D.A.S. participates in a number of genres, including myths, superhero stories, and science-fiction or dystopian fiction. Mikiko Ponczeck’s artwork emphasizes Andy/M.I.D.A.S.’s isolation. The bulk of his biohazard suit is reminiscent of the Incredible Hulk; the action takes place in lonely streets and empty rooms, and the colour palette is a greeny-grey, underscoring the story’s sadness, suggesting a reflection on urban alienation. There is a possible link to adolescent themes of isolation through physical difference (i.e. obesity), and an uncertainty about the use or direction of one’s powers, emotions, or physical urges.


Further Reading

Ben Kooyman, "This comic goes boom: M.I.D.A.S. #1 Review,” Australian Comics Journal, October 2, 2015 (accessed: July 27, 2018). 


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Leaf pattern
Leaf pattern

Title of the work

M.I.D.A.S.

Country of the First Edition

Country/countries of popularity

Worldwide

Original Language

English

First Edition Date

2015

First Edition Details

Tom Taylor, Mikiko Ponczeck. M.I.D.A.S. Perth, Australia: Gestalt Publishers, 2015, 27 pp.

Genre

Comics (Graphic works)
Dystopian fiction
Graphic novels
Science fiction
Short stories

Target Audience

Crossover (especially Young adults)

Cover

Missing cover

We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.


Author of the Entry:

Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au

Peer-reviewer of the Entry:

Miriam Riverlea, University of New England, mriverlea@gmail.com

Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, lisa.maurice@biu.ac.il

Female portrait

​Mikiko Ponczeck (Illustrator)

Mikiko Ponczeck (1984), was born in Tokyo and has lived in several countries around the world. She is a German-Japanese Manga Artist, who sometimes works under the pseudonym "Zombiesmile." She worked as a colorist for Taylor’s Rombies series for Gestalt comics, and has published a number of manga and comics, including Grimms Manga Sonderband – Perfect Edition, Mikiko’s Mini Comics, Crash-Burn (a boy’s love story, which won the Audience prize for the prestigious German Max & Moritz prize for comics). She hosts J-Mag, an online live-stream video show about manga, anime, and pop culture, which runs on Germany’s MyVideo portal. Her DeviantArt profile has over 3 million page views, and her style ranges from Japanese to other traditions.


Bio prepared by Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au


Male portrait

Tom Taylor (Author)

Tom Taylor was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1978. He is an Australian writer of graphic novels, comics, and animated television work. His work largely fits into the superhero genre, and he has written for a number of graphic novel/comics franchises, including comics from the Star Wars series of films and associated stories; Marvel X-Men series, with comics relating to the Wolverine and Iron Man series; DC Comics’ comic of the fighting video game Injustice: Gods Among Us; and the Earth Two series; and a duology of Rombies comics, about an Ancient Rome that is taken over by zombies ("Friends, Romans, Countrymen—lend me your brains") He is the creator of The Deep, an award-winning comic for young readers, about a family of aquanauts solving underwater mysteries around the world, which was adapted into a television series by an Australian-Canadian co-production. He lives in Melbourne.


Bio prepared by Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, ehale@une.edu.au


Summary

M.I.D.A.S. is a graphic short story about Andy, a man who has become radioactive after being struck by a bomb blast. He lives in a bio-hazard suit, designed to protect others from his radioactivity. Occasionally he assists a bomb-disposal squad called M.I.D.A.S. He is isolated from others, lonely, and dealing with an inner anger that may be a side-effect of his radioactivity. Everything he touches turns to BOOM. He is called by Captain Turk to defuse a suitcase bomb. Seeing it is organic, he takes his glove off, and sets off an explosion. He sees in the eyes of a witnessing child that he has become a monster and his depression increases. They know. They can see what I am. When he meets Maya Mooney, a beautiful doctor who spends time with him, and gives him a sticker of a puppy to cover the ‘radioactive’ sign on his chest, he falls in love. But love only makes him realise how isolated he is; seeing Maya touching another patient; his rage builds. ‘And something builds inside me. Something burns. And I want to [images of Andy setting off an explosion that destroys a city block]. I want to explode. But I don’t. I just go home. There’s a frustrating unceasing echo. I can’t escape it . . . because it’s me. It’s the sound of me reverberating back at me. A constant reminder I’m stuck in here.’ (23-27)

Analysis

M.I.D.A.S. alludes to the myth of King Midas. Where the original Midas wished for the source of his isolation (turning all he touched into gold, including his daughter), Andy’s isolation is the result of an unspecified explosion, perhaps a nuclear explosion. It has disintegrated his mother. Andy is kept alive by technology, but lives an isolated life in which the ability to touch is removed from him. This is the main point of comparison with the myth, and the key allusion is spelled out in the title of the story, and in the name Andy has been given by the military (represented by a gruff older man called Captain Turk). Though the reference is in part tangential, the spirit of the original myth is reflected in the emphasis on isolation. King Midas was ultimately isolated by his powers. Andy has been isolated by his radioactive powers. As Ben Kooyman notes in his review, M.I.D.A.S. has intertexts with contemporary superhero stories, which often muse on the loneliness of the superhero. In the condensed form of a short story, the thematic resonances come through strongly. 

Tom Taylor is well versed in superhero stories. He writes for DC Comics, has written comics versions of the Mad Max series of post-apocalyptic road movies, and wrote The Deep, an action-adventure comic (and animated series) about a family of aquanauts descended from a mythical race called the Lumerians. M.I.D.A.S. participates in a number of genres, including myths, superhero stories, and science-fiction or dystopian fiction. Mikiko Ponczeck’s artwork emphasizes Andy/M.I.D.A.S.’s isolation. The bulk of his biohazard suit is reminiscent of the Incredible Hulk; the action takes place in lonely streets and empty rooms, and the colour palette is a greeny-grey, underscoring the story’s sadness, suggesting a reflection on urban alienation. There is a possible link to adolescent themes of isolation through physical difference (i.e. obesity), and an uncertainty about the use or direction of one’s powers, emotions, or physical urges.


Further Reading

Ben Kooyman, "This comic goes boom: M.I.D.A.S. #1 Review,” Australian Comics Journal, October 2, 2015 (accessed: July 27, 2018). 


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