Give it up.

Well, I wanted to interview TCJ and Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth about the new EC line, and began by asking him to respond to a review. Gary turned in a fine essay on the subject instead, with both close readings of some comics and a broader aesthetic investigation of the publishing company.

The question of how artistic values apply to comics was rarely ventilated by its practitioners in the first 50 years of the comic book and for good reason: the entire context of the comic book was devoid of self-understanding or self-reflection. The wider culture never took comics even as seriously as it took its movies, never demonstrated any appreciation for it, never rewarded achievement in any way — because the wider culture never saw an achievement there worth rewarding or cheering, and mostly for good reason.

The artists toiling in comics who cared about such matters were few and far between and usually at the level of craft, not art. The few artists who did have a sophisticated grasp of the concept, or the integrity to implement their beliefs, toiled in obscurity (such as Barks or Stanley) or were marginalized (like Kurtzman and Krigstein). There was no place for them. (The cultural context of newspaper strips was entirely different, but the cartoonists in that area still thought of themselves as something less than artists — as newspapermen, cranking out dandy entertainments to build readership — of which Caniff was probably the nonpareil practitioner and proponent. Although George Herriman thrived in this context, thanks to the patronage of Hearst, the absence of a genuine aesthetic context had its drawbacks — just as our more self-conscious age of artistes has its own set of drawbacks.)


The underground illustrator and cartoonist Yossarian has passed away. We'll have an obituary shortly.

Auction sites have become of the best places to trip over unexpected visuals. Here's an illustration sale. Check out the William Steig drawings.

This article made people mad on the internet.

Sean Howe posts information about a sale of original Marvel artwork that may have taken place during a time, the company used to maintain, that no artwork was being sold.

A list of notable manga covers of 2012. Via.


4 Responses to Give it up.

  1. Robert Stanley Martin says:

    …the company used to maintain, that no artwork was being sold.

    Citation, please?

  2. Dan Nadel says:

    Stated in the letter referred to in the post, JS.

  3. patrick ford says:

    It would be a great service if TCJ would add to the highlights from the archives area, WHERE DID ALL THE ART GO? by Tim Heintjes, which was published in TCJ #105.

  4. Robert Stanley Martin says:

    Yes, in the letter in which they agreed to sell the pieces in question, they stated they weren’t “in the habit” of doing so and made an exception.

    Forgive me for misunderstanding you. However, the implication of what you wrote was that Marvel had denied selling originals, and here was proof to the contrary.

    To the best of my knowledge, Marvel has never made any such claim.

    Whether the lack is in your writing or my reading, others can decide for themselves.

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