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Missing Much

It's been a very sad weekend, but off we go into the new week. Our thoughts are with our Parisian colleagues.

On the site, Ken Parille is here with a great piece about superheroes, taking a recent Chip Kidd project as a starting point.

Countless comic-book fans, critics, and historians tell the same story about the moment when “everything changed” for the superhero:

Comics finally grew up in the mid-1980s with groundbreaking grim and gritty works like Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen, two comics that, for the first time, portrayed complex and realistic superheroes. 

I’m not convinced, though, that the emergence of psychotic superheroes ushered in an age of psychological realism. While these graphic novels and their offspring deliver a darker vision of heroism and “the hero’s motivation,” they frequently rely on familiar moral dilemmas, stale genre conventions, and worn-out tropes of “superhero grandiosity”: Our metropolis is overrun by villains! The end of the multiverse is near! What great man will rise to save us? While the world of superhero fantasy may be grimmer and grittier than it was in the early ’80s, in many ways it hasn’t changed at all.

A recent Daniel Clowes faux-Batman cover offers a genuinely new version of an old superhero that I find more disturbing and enlightening than the genre’s revisionary classics. Clowes created the drawing for genius designer and mega-Batman fan Chip Kidd, who asked artists to draw the Dark Knight on a page with the Batman: Black ’n White logo.

Elsewhere:

Joann Sfar posted a series of images about Friday's attacks. It's a moving sequence. Tom Spurgeon has some thoughts about how it relates to the Hebdo attack.

And, on a lighter note, here is a fascinating look into "lost" animation archives.

And I wrote a piece about comics-related artist (sort of, barely) Carroll Dunham.


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