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Another Day, Another Deluge

Pascal Girard takes a somewhat melancholy taxi ride in his final diary entry this morning, and it is similarly bittersweet to bid him farewell. How did the week fly by so quickly?

Katie Haegele brings us a short profile of the young Swedish cartoonist Naomi Nowak.

The great Tom De Haven returns, with a review of Jerry Robinson’s re-released history, The Comics.

And Jeet Heer makes the case for S. Clay Wilson as the central figure of underground comics in his latest column. (Incidentally, congratulations are in order to Jeet, to whom a daughter was born this week. He is actually the second Journal contributor to father a child since the site relaunched. Maybe there’s something in the ink…)

A few quick orders of business: 1. Some readers reported having trouble with pre-orders of issue 301 on Amazon yesterday. We are aware of the problem, and looking into it. In the meantime, we apologize for the confusion. 2. Some of you may have noticed that the comments are a little wonky, with reader comments sometimes appearing over in the left “recent comments” sidebar on the front page, but not underneath the story in question—and vice versa. We are working on this one as well. Luckily, it doesn’t seem to be happening all that frequently, but we still hope to have it fixed soon. Thanks for your patience.

Off-site:

I liked Joe Ollmann’s Mid-Life better than he does (maybe it helps to read it? the art definitely isn’t the main attraction), but Nick Gazin’s latest review column for Vice is pretty good, and opens with a nice rant on the sad sack foundation of the funnybook business. I think the Chris Ware stuff here seems off, too, as I don’t remember him ever idealizing himself—I may be forgetting something, but the only “Chris Ware” in his comics that I recall turns him into a lecherous, pretentious, and pony-tailed high school art teacher. Gazin’s reviews will be too sloppy (& occasionally too fake-dumb) for some of you, but here are the things I like about them: 1. They are funny. 2. They are unpredictable. 3. They reflect a seeming fearlessness about who will be pissed off. 4. I strongly agree—and strongly disagree—with at least one thing in his reviews each time, and they’re often points I haven’t seen articulated by anyone before.

On the exact opposite side of the writing-about-comics spectrum, Neil Cohn has discovered comics-related lectures available at the Semiotics Institute Online that may be of interest to more academically oriented readers.

Friday Fun Time: If Joe McC’s recent essay got you interested in watching Frank Miller’s The Spirit (and I hope for your sake that it didn’t, because that movie will drain you of all self-respect—no offense, Joe), then (via Sean Howe) the script Miller wrote for a never-completed film version of Elektra has turned up. It seems to be the antediluvian Miller, too.


4 Responses to Another Day, Another Deluge

  1. RobClough says:

    Gazin's reviews are indeed frequently very funny and have value in that regard, at least. As you note, however, they are quite sloppy and frequently descend into lazy. His "review" of You'll Never Know, for example, was awful, dismissing it as "greatest generation' hagiography when it was something quite different. I have little patience for critics who don't try to engage a work and then actually write about it afterwards, saying "this looks boring" or "this looks ugly". And you're right that the Ware he's talking about is pretty much all in Gazin's head.

  2. RobClough says:

    That said, I do like his fake-dumb persona, in part because his illustrator's bias is very strong and his expertise in that regard comes out in interesting & surprising ways. More importantly, I never get the sense that his tendency to say outrageous stuff that pisses people off is calculated. He has a visceral reaction to certain comics (dominated by the visuals of said comics), he prefers gag comics over narratives, and he likes to state those opinions bluntly. Unlike some critics, he's not simply looking to say something provocative just to get attention or show how bad-ass they are for going after sacred cows.

  3. UlandK says:

    Gazin is a hipster hack. He never properly explains himself, tossing out random pronouncements as though we share his hipster biases ( or "illustrator's bias", I guess).
    I've come to believe that no one would give a shit about what he writes if the word "VICE" wasn't attached to his name, so that's what I try to do.
    Still, hard to avoid ( for me, anyhow). His latest involved calling exhibitors at MOCCA "Assholes" because they dared to try to sell their comics in a way he didn't think was cool. It reeked of art-jock calling out the nerds. FOR SELLING COMICS AT A COMIC BOOK CONVENTION.
    And yeah, awesome dick drawings dude. Everyone look out for the dick drawings.

  4. UlandK says:

    You give him way too much credit, Rob. You're filling in gaps for him, when there's no evidence that he's given any of it a moments thought.

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