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Box Brown on The Cute Manifesto and BORB

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Box Brown gets comfy in the Talkie Hutt for a chat about James Kochalka's The Cute Manifesto and Jason Little's BORB.

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It is funny to think about what a stir Kochalka's infamous "Craft is the Enemy" position caused, because for the most part nowadays it seems like a pretty accepted way of thinking about making comics. As I'm sure will be frustrating to some listeners, neither Box nor I had all of our facts lined up to talk about the genesis of this pre-Internet-era kerfuffle, remembering only that Kochalka sent it in a letter to a print issue of The Comics Journal, and that the battle was pitched back and forth mostly in issues of the magazine. That's hard to fathom. How do you have a heated flame-war when you have to wait for months in-between retorts? Terms like "Sea-Lioning" didn't even exist back then. It must have been like trying to fly blind.

Thankfully, on this very site, the most memorable missives fired have been collected and archived and arranged in a readable format, HERE. I remembered that a notable cartoonist had told Kochalka to "Wish it into the cornfield, Jimmy," but couldn't recall who exactly that had been. Turns out it was Jim Woodring!

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One Response to Box Brown on The Cute Manifesto and BORB

  1. i think that when kochalka says “craft is the enemy,” he’s not saying that you shouldn’t work to improve at making art, just that you can’t let your ambition for improvement get in the way of making comics now. if you just work on getting better at drawing, or writing, or playing the piano, and you allow that pursuit to delay the actual creation of the comic, the story, the song, then you’ll never make anything because you’ll never be completely satisfied with your ability.

    i don’t think he’s saying that drawing well doesn’t matter or that you shouldn’t put effort toward improving, but that you shouldn’t let it get in the way of actually making something right now with whatever skill level you have.

    just make something. if it’s not perfect, or not great, or not even good, it will at least be done, and the next thing will be better for it. you can cultivate your skills in parallel, and in the making itself, but you can’t give yourself the excuse to wait to make something until you know you can make it perfect, because that day will never come. there is no such thing as perfect.

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