I Got A…

Today on the site we have: Steve Ringgenberg's obituary of Sheldon Moldoff; And Ken Parille, who swears he's not writing a superhero column, turned in a piece about superhero bodies and costumes. Ken is the co-editor of the forthcoming (and excellent, but more on that in another post) book The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist. That same book holds a very funny and insightful essay by Chris Ware, whose home is examined in photographs over at Trip City. Yesterday, in a link to Joe McCulloch's incredible post, Tom Spurgeon mentioned a possible shift in how comics history is being built these days. I think he's right. Part of the impetus for ye ol' Comics Comics six years ago was to reshape the way we thought about the cartooning lineage, and I think it's gone even further than we ever imagined. The surge in interest in things like Heavy Metal, and the corresponding HM-link comics being published now is a real generational shift. How it plays out is anyone's guess, but if I was still in the writing-books-about-comics-history biz I'd be looking over my shoulder. Speaking of which, here's Michel Fiffe on the mostly forgotten series Wasteland. For some "trad" comics history here's a mysterious Joe Simon publishing discovery.

And, hey, Kevin Huizenga finished a new book. This is good news.

Finally, since we all love videos, it's TCJ-fave Tom De Haven talking about comics in the curriculum.



10 Responses to I Got A…

  1. “I think it’s gone even further than we ever imagined”

    Too far?

  2. Frank Santoro says:

    I met some kids while I was on tour who were like – “oh, what’s that group of cartoonists – Thunder Island? They draw all crazy. Do you know about them?”

    “Fort Thunder?”

    “What did I say?”

    “Thunder Island.”

  3. Joe McCulloch says:

    In the interests of specificity, my intent behind the post was to (very casually!) offer some nuance in the consideration of Métal Hurlant, both in how it was an evolving entity over its life in publication, and (to a lesser extent here) how its interests differed from that of the Heavy Metal publishers, owing to the separate environments in which they were cultivated. Many of these descreet areas of interest have been covered for years by, say, Paul Gravett, yet I think it’s a symptom of the renewed focus on this stuff that simplifications crop up to summarize the ‘Heavy Metal’ aesthetic as Moebius and Bilal and etc. — I’ve seen a bunch of it in reaction to Brandon Graham’s Prophet, for example — when it was actually a diverse thing, prone to reflecting changing tastes and artistic shifts, in this case the Atom Style, which was a greater thing than Métal Hurlant alone could contain. Basically, I was interested in presenting the magazine as a vessel, rather than a impetus, since it’s so often frozen in discussion as the latter.

  4. Dan Nadel says:

    Nah, we need all this comics history we can get. And the canon advocated by Art Spiegelman is doing just fine (as it should). But, a few things: 1) Comics as a culture (like the rest of visual culture, but without any institutional support to push back against it) seems to have a short-term memory problem. Things just slip under the radar and stay there. And, I think Joe’s point, below, is important — Metal Hurlant as a vessel is really crucial. As is, for example, Weirdo, which is mostly unexplored as such (except in a couple of old TCJ pieces, one by Jim Woodring). If I had one comics history wish it would be more meatier (a la Joe) analysis of historical works, even if that meant slowing down the publishing pace.

  5. Mike Hunter says:

    Thanks for the Michel Fiffe link! That Wasteland should be a “mostly forgotten series” is one of the great injustices in an art form, well, packed to the rafters with such.

    An amazing series with extraordinarily varied tones. Featuring at least one tale, Secret Lords of the DNA! (story by Close & Ostrander; art by David Lloyd) that’s a Dr. Strangelove-quality masterpiece of satire and black humor; worthy of being included as one of the all-time great comic stories…

  6. I’m not complaining about works of history like Joe’s — I mean, I’m not crazy! I’m more just being a grumpy fuck about the pervasiveness of this influence on cartoonists and critics, which feels to me on my bad days like a retreat from making and reading more challenging work/work without sexy scifi explosions, given intellectual cover by superior acts of genre reclamation on the comics front by Fort Thunder and on the critical front by you and the rest of the CC gang.

  7. Dan Nadel says:

    Oh, I didn’t think you were complaining at all. Sorry about that — I think there’s a case to be made for your grumpy day thoughts. A very good case, actually. But it’s kind of a necessary swing in the way opposite direction… makes me think it’ll just even out.

  8. You’re probably right. It also has a lot to do with what I happen to be seeing, I’m sure.

  9. Dan Nadel says:

    @Sean, but I’d certainly like to see a long essay about what you’re seeing. I’m seeing it too, but sometimes I think “we” are looking at and reading a very small subset of things/people and so our view gets distorted. That in itself is interesting to me.

  10. patrick ford says:

    Part Three of the Groth/Crumb conversation at the India Comic-Con is now up:
    The best of the three parts in my opinion. It’s largely on Weirdo. Crumb touches on the “Slicks vs Pulp” attitudes surrounding every aspect of comics.
    Dan has a perspective pretty close to the one encouraged by Crumb I think. Not to say Crumb would share an interest in Heavy Metal, but outside genre, Crumb sees value in certain things which are often seen as lowbrow/pulp/trash.

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