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Downhill From Here

Today, Abhay Khosla continues his four-part, month-by-month takedown of 2015 comics culture. This time, it's April through June, highlights of which include Frank Cho's Spider-Gwen, all-male women-in-comics panels, multiple public apologies, and the "Killing Joke" Batgirl cover.

Despite Batgirl co-creator Cameron Stewart himself stating, “It’s not censorship. We the creative team never wanted [the cover],” Gamergate insisted that comics were being “censored.” As per Gamergate standard operating procedure, deranged arguments ensued that anyone who didn’t like the cover wasn’t a “true comic reader” (even though any “true comic reader” could spot the problem with the cover in a half-second)... as did online threats of violence-- SURPRISE!!

Even DC Comics, a company with a long history of courting a middle-age Juggalo audience with images of sexualized violence, were shocked enough to mention the threats in their statement on why the cover was being pulled: “Regardless if fans like Rafael Albuquerque’s homage to Alan Moore’s THE KILLING JOKE graphic novel from 25 years ago, or find it inconsistent with the current tonality of the Batgirl books - threats of violence and harassment are wrong and have no place in comics or society.” Even DC! (It later had to be clarified that the person receiving threats was not Albuquerque, but those objecting to the cover.)

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—Interviews & Profiles.
Alan Moore talks at length (as he does) about his participation in a new horror anthology, Cinema Purgatorio, and also holds forth on anthologies and black-and-white art more generally:

While the massive improvement in comic-book colouring, printing, and production techniques over the last thirty or forty years has led to some exemplary pieces of work it has also given artists a lot of places to hide their flaws, in the same way that rambling continuities have provided a lot of cover for the shortcomings of writers. In America particularly, with its tradition of dividing up the pencilling and inking chores, this has seemingly led to a deficiency of artists with the abilities of, say, an Al Williamson, or a Wally Wood, or a Jack Kirby. These were all artists who were fluent in the use of blacks or in their deployment of shading techniques, all the hatching and feathering that exemplified the work of that classic generation of American craftsmen. What I’m concerned about is that abilities are being lost here, and if the comic medium is to genuinely progress and to be adequate to the coming century then I can’t help but think of that as a bad thing.

Kriota Willberg, dancer and author of the immensely useful-to-artists minicomic, (No) Pain!: A Guide to Injury Prevention for Cartoonists, is on the most recent episode of Virtual Memories.

People don’t realize they need to pay attention to their bodies when they’re drawing, until they have an injury.

—News. Jillian and Mariko Tomaki's This One Summer has been pulled from two Florida school districts' libraries.

After a local television news station picked up on an Amazon review that called the book “practically porn for kids,” the school district removed This One Summer from its high school libraries as well.

[Middle school librarian Esther] Keller thinks that’s going too far. “It could have been a ‘mea culpa,'” she said. “‘We missed this and should have not put it in an elementary collection.’ But instead the district has gone a little crazy and is pulling it from high school collections too. And that’s the real censorship to me.”

—Reviews & Commentary. The Atlantic has published a very long article wondering if Superman can be fixed? It's a smart piece, but seems to me to be missing the forest for the trees. Superman is very, very old and stale. The only way to fix him is to take ten or twenty years off and then go back. Or even better, just stop. We don't really need any more Superman stories. No one's trying to "fix" Leopold Bloom.

—Misc. This Ohio exhibit examining Carol Tyler's creative process looks pretty great.

The Comix Creatrix exhibit in the UK also looks worthwhile (despite the off-putting name). Sequential is temporarily offering a free 200+-page selection of art and information from the show.


One Response to Downhill From Here

  1. steven samuels says:

    “The only way to fix him is to take ten or twenty years off and then go back. Or even better, just stop. ”

    I’ve said it before a million times- public domain

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