The mark of strong critics is that you take their views seriously even when you most sharply disagree with them. Or as F.R. Leavis once said, the essential critical sentence is “Yes, but—“ There were many occasions where my own impressions diverged sharply from Kim’s. I’ve tried to like Dave Sim’s Cerebus because of Kim’s eloquent advocacy, but I’ve never been able to quite see in that work what Kim did. Kim was also dismissive of Jack Kirby’s 1970s work in ways that I thought were unfair. (! generational divide might be at work here. In my experience it helps to be born after 1965 and not grow up with Stan & Jack era Marvel comics to appreciate 1970s Kirby). The mental arguments I’ve had with Kim are as much a part of my education as the words he wrote.
And Chris Mautner brings us an interview with Carol Tyler.
Loss is a very big part of the book and I experienced loss while finishing the back part of the book. I think one of things I’ve learned this year — I’ve never seen anyone . . . I watched my mother die this year, being attentive to the end of her life and now my sister’s got this disease. When I drew “The Hannah Story,” I had just lost my job. The emotion of loss is powerful and one of things I recently come to realize. You actually do go through a period of mourning that’s physical.
There were lots of other losses too. In fact, last year was the suckiest year ever! I had to put my dog down. You name it. All the worst shit you could deal with I had to go through. Everything from my house being robbed twice to my daughter’s car being stolen. Justin & I got invited to [Europe] and I got sick on the trip. Some weird virus that lasted two months. Twenty-two days of fever and being bedridden, unable to move. I had a reaction to the virus and ended up with reactive rheumatoid arthritis. I couldn’t move. It traveled around different joints in my body. Couldn’t roll over. Couldn’t walk. I remember when I could finally move my foot one day, “Wow. There’s hope.” After the fever broke, I had lost 25 pounds and weighed 119. This was in November.
Ben Schwartz remembers Kim Thompson at the Los Angeles Review of Books.
And finally, an interview with Benjamin Marra.