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Mo’ Art, Mo’ Problems

It’s a great day for podcast fans, with Mike Dawson talking to Craig Thompson for the latest episode of TCJ Talkies. When his Habibi was released last fall, Thompson seemed to appear on every podcast produced, even those devoted to things other than comics, like fishing and plumbing, and so we decided to hold off until a bit later and see if it wouldn’t make for a slightly fresher interview. Now we find out if that strategy worked.

Also, continuing the sex-in-webcomics theme started by Shaenon Garrity earlier this week, Sean T. Collins contributes a review of the anonymously produced q v i e t.

Elsewhere, Mahendra Singh has started his series of posts on the work of Moebius with a very technique-heavy look at Airtight Garage, which he provocatively links to the Goldberg Variations.

Graeme McMillan doesn’t like the term “artcomix.” What he may not realize is that no one likes the term artcomix. And that’s true whether it’s spelled as one word or two, with an x or an s. But the alternatives (such as “alternative comics”) are pretty bad, too. And a shorthand way of differentiating between stuff created by artists who are trying and those who are merely fulfilling a commercial formula is often very helpful, at least for those of us who regularly write about comics, so this dilemma isn’t going away very soon.

The anonymous fellow or lady behind that New Yorker cartoon critique Tumbler from a couple weeks ago explains the philosophy behind the site more here and here.

Chris Stigliano reviews the new Nancy collection.

Finally, I don’t believe we’ve mentioned yet that Sparkplug Comic Books is holding a fundraiser to publish several new books. I know I just wrote last week that I tried not to link to these kinds of things, but this too seemed worth an exception.


11 Responses to Mo’ Art, Mo’ Problems

  1. patrick ford says:

    Comics is fine, what needs a new name is the so called “mainstream” stuff.
    My suggestion would be “Weird-ass fetish crap.”

  2. Ian Harker says:

    Tim, is differentiating “art comix” as a sub-genre of “alternative comics” even worse in your book? I don’t use them interchangeably, i think of art comix as specific thread within.

    • Tim Hodler says:

      No, it’s not worse. It’s all annoying, but I don’t blame anybody for trying to communicate with the poor vocabulary we have.

  3. Francis Dawson says:

    sexy etsy comics?

  4. My grandma called them funny books, and that works for me.

  5. Dave Knott says:

    In the world of fiction book publishing, there are no terms, aside from “literature”, for serious-minded books to set themselves apart from genre material. A new novel from Hiroki Murakami is branded as nothing other than fiction. Contrariwise, commercial books do have specific labels. A Danielle Steel book is a “romance” and the new Sue Grafton is a “mystery”.

    “Art comics” don’t need a special term to set them apart from the general category of “comics”. Rather, the onus should be on commercial or genre comics to come up with specific labels to differentiate themselves.

    • Ian Harker says:

      The market share for mainstream comics is still so lopsided that “comics” as a term tips heavily in the favor of capes among the preconceptions of the American public. And yes, this can get you looked at funny in polite company.

      • Briany Najar says:

        Hence, in a lot of places, use of the word “comics” refers specifically and unambiguously to the heroic-fantasy genre,
        as if the word “film” evoked nothing more than action flicks, and for the most part, Westerns.

    • Dave Knott says:

      Eugh… my apologies for misspelling the name of Haruki Murakami.

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