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Battlin' Jack Murdock
Jack Murdock is one of the most famous superhero dads in comics ever. The simpleminded palooka who desperately wanted his son to be smarter than him and even refused to take a dive while his son was (metaphorically speaking) watching.
In the comic series "Battlin' Jack Murdock" we see the story from Jack's perspective. He has anything but high thoughts about himself and we get to see a man desperately trying to be decent as well as staying alive, something that is easier said than done when you are an old boxer who also works for a mobster.
The comic has a gritty artstyle provided by Carmine Di Giandomenico who also worked on Spider-Man Noir. His style matches the tone of the story perfectly.
Jake Mahoney is an old washed-up has-been contender who has nothing left besides an EXTREMELY patient stripper girlfriend named Kitten, but that actually makes Jake feel even worse in some ways. But he finally gets a job... as a money collector for a sleazy loan shark.
Jake has lost a lot. Did he lose his self respect as well?
"Pug" is a pretty standard story all things considered. But it is a work of art with its art style as well as the craftmanship behind the comic's structure. There is some pretty solid symbolism, like something ringing at the first and last panel of every chapter... or rather "round". Every chapter starts with young Jake at his corner where he gets more beat up as the story progress and Kitten is even ring girl, holding the number of the chapter and she is part of the symbolism of the story as well.
"Rocky" is one of those movies that it is a miracle that it was even made at all since it is a low-budget movie among low-budget movies. But it still worked. Not only that, it is one of the best movies ever made since it is partly about a gentle giant who is a bum due to being dealt an unlucky hand in but then gets the chance to prove his worth, but it is also the love story of two extremely awkward people. A piece of beauty, simple as that.
Tommy Riley is a young man with a big problem: His dad is in debt because of gambling. Tommy agrees to fight a single fight in an underground boxing arena to get enough cash to make the collectors leave him and his dad alone for a while so they can figure something out. But that was a mistake since Jimmy Horn, a former boxer turned promotor of these illegal fights, thinks Tommy has talent. So he pays the dept, meaning he owns Tommy till he has worked off his dept in the ring.
This movie shows us boxing at its absolute worst. Brian Dennehy plays Horn who takes advantage of teenagers in the extremely poor neighborhood that Tommy lives in by making them fight for cash in matches that are potentially deadly since the referee is basically just a spectator who can count to ten. The movie can give you a bad taste in your mouth which is the intention as Tommy is surrounded by awfulness and violence. But that makes the ending so much more satisfying when Tommy not just takes a beating to save a friend but also figures out how to beat Horn in his own game.
Saotome Senshu, Hitakakusu
The series follows 16-year-old Saotome Yae, a highschool boxing star who is described as ”the hope for all of girl’s boxing”. Everyone admires her and has high expectations of her as a boxer. Unfortunately, this is the reason to why she gets rejected by Tsukishima Satoru, a guy who is also in the school’s boxing club, only he sucks at it despite his impressive knowledge about the sport. It’s not that Satoru doesn’t like her or that he is intimidated by strong women. He likes Saotome a lot. He just worries that he would distract her as she is on her way to become one of Japan’s greatest amateur boxers. That, and he is kinda worried that if them dating goes sour that he would become the school’s persona non grata.
However, the rejection really bothers Saotome, and being a teenager who has hormones and stuff AND is already under a lot of pressure and stress due to her status as a boxing prodigy makes her somewhat more vulnerable. After their coach learns about the confession disaster, she suggests that Satoru with his waste knowledge about boxing could become Saotome’s trainer as well as secretly date her.
This series deal with the definition of masculinity and femininity. Saotome likes boxing and she is amazing at the sport, but the prize she pays is that she is seen as somewhat less feminine. Because she is a girl athlete, she is expected to devote her entire being to the sport and her training, and it makes people like the city’s mayor and her school’s principal very happy that she intimidate boys at her own age, so she won’t “waste time” with a boyfriend. If that is not a gender double-standard, I don’t know what is. And even before she became her city’s hero, she has been used to not being treated like a girl simply because she is tall and has big hands.