COLUMNS

Riff Raff Riff Raff

New Small Press Comics

I was over at Jim Rugg‘s house last week and, as usual, we sat around looking at comics. He had a copy of Marc Bell’s The Mojo Action Companion Unit #1. I remember this comic from when it came out. It was the ’90s and autobiographical comics were all the rage.

———————–

Marc Bell

—————-

I flipped through the comic and laughed out loud at this:

Marc Bell

Marc is, if you don’t know, the creator of the Shrimpy and Paul comic strip:

Marc Bell

What’s that? You never heard of Shrimpy and Paul? Shame on you!

 

Marc Bell

—————

Anyways, Marc is one of those awesomely wacky Canadian cartoonists like Peter Thompson, Jason McLean, Mark Connery, and a million others I’m probably forgetting. Here is Marc’s big deal D&Q book from a couple years ago:

Marc Bell

 

And here is his most recent big-deal book from D&Q (someone tell them to remake their “artists” page – a simple list would be better than this) called Pure Pajamas:

Marc Bell

———————–

So, Jim Rugg came back from Autopic in Minneapolis (is it “Auto-Pic” or “Ahh-Topic”?) and brought back a new Marc Bell book I had not seen yet, Cowabunga Schnauzer :

Marc Bell

 

IMG_2175

It’s magazine-sized. Slick paper. I really like the format.

IMG_2176

 

It seems to be one of Marc’s “art zines.” The first few pages are packed with some great drawing:

IMG_2177

 

Here’s a closeup. It took me about ten minutes to “read” this part of the zine. I think that’s a good thing.

IMG_2178

 

After three or four pages of tightly packed black-and-white pages, the book then opens up into full-page one-panel color cartoons:

IMG_2179

 

IMG_2180

 

Then Marc shows off his painting skills (below left) and his short-story writing skills (below right):

IMG_2181

 

IMG_2182

 

Back cover:

Marc Bell

For those of you out there who may not be super familiar with Marc’s work – check out this interview that Marc did with Dan Nadel here on TCJ.com back when Hot Potatoe came out. Marc is one of those rare artists who actually has an “art career” and a “comics career.” He’s not one of those art-world snobs who slums it with the comics folks. And he’s not a cartoonist who is trying to get out of the comics ghetto and stay out. Great stuff. Pick it up here.

=========================

=========================

At the other end of the alternative comic book spectrum is Jason Karns. I had never really heard of Mr. Karns until a couple years ago when Jim Rugg showed Karns’s comics to me. If you are unfamiliar with Karns’s work then check out this interview that Jim did with him awhile back.

Jim just got this in the mail:

Jason Karns

Jason Karns

Jason Karns

 

This issue has newsprint and glossy pages in it. It is interesting to see how the type of paper used changes the colors. I like both equally. I think Fuckitor is one of the most interesting print jobs out there. Love the size of the book and the feel of the paper. Apparently, Karns does it all himself.

Jason Karns

Jason Karns

 

Karns is one of those guys who is almost “too real” to be part of the contemporary comics conversation. Just about everything compared to his work seems “pretentious”. Karns is not trying to do a throwback style or appropriate “bad comics” in order to make some sort of art comic. This is the real deal. This shit is SERIOUS! Buy your own copy here.

===================

Over and out. Thanks.


173 Responses to New Small Press Comics

  1. Jacob C. says:

    Is Fukitor as insanely racist as it looks?

  2. Frank Santoro says:

    No, it’s tongue-in-cheek…

  3. Jacob C. says:

    Is there some satirical payoff? Because, having not read it, all I see is “Ufukistan” and yellow-teethed caricatures of Muslims speaking “hilarious” gibberish and dying gruesomely. Generally speaking, when I see things like this I assume whoever made it is being intentionally racist. I get that it’s an over-the-top GI Joe-type parody, but I’m not seeing any justification for the depiction of the “terrorists.”

  4. Greg Fontaine says:

    It’s tongue in cheek? You ended your essay by stating “Karns is not trying to do a throwback style or appropriate ‘bad comics’ in order to make some sort of art comic. This is the real deal. This shit is SERIOUS!”

    How many layers of irony are we supposed to be decoding in reading your review?

  5. Jason says:

    First off, the word “muslim” is never implied. Second, the terrorists aren’t real. They are cartoons based loosely on the fact that there are people on this planet who will kill you because you don’t believe in their imaginary god. Again, they are CARTOONS. It’s complete fantasy. So, your last line about “justification for the depiction of terrorists” really makes no sense. Are you a censor? Depiction of what exactly? They aren’t real to begin with. The key phrase in your ridiculously reactionary statement is “having not read it”.

  6. Jacob C. says:

    Hi Jason, thanks for responding! (I’m assuming you’re Jason Karns, but if you’re not, thanks anyway.)

    When you say “First off, the word “muslim” is never implied” and then follow it up with “They are cartoons based loosely on the fact that there are people on this planet who will kill you because you don’t believe in their imaginary god.” do you see how that could, in fact, imply that the characters in question are supposed to be Muslims? Either way, they’re definitely portraying some kind of Middle Eastern people, wouldn’t you say so?

    I’m not a censor, no, and I’m not really worried about the fate of your cartoon characters. My point is that they’re depicted in a pretty racist way. I’d say there’s almost no way for the way you’ve drawn those characters not to be racist.

    And you’re right! I haven’t read it, that’s exactly why I was asking Frank a question about them. I’ll ask you: what are you getting at with these characters? Are you making fun of the way Arabs are depicted in action movies, for instance? I was wondering if there was some broader context, or framing mechanism for your story. Your response seems to imply that there’s not.

  7. Jason says:

    You’re still on this “depiction” thing. You seem to be seeking something that isn’t there. I don’t understand the implications of racism. The “imaginary god” line could be implied about any race of people. You’re knee-jerking with the muslim thing. Why didn’t you assume they were christian? Meanwhile they’re not real. They are cartoons.

    Having not read it, you’re getting closer to what it’s really about. Yes, 80′s action flicks, macho paperback fiction from the same time period, and the overall gung-ho, over-the-top gi -joe thing is what the comic is referring to. The cartoon americans in the comic are also depicted as bumbling, trash-talking, alcoholic buffoons. And they’re white. So does that “depiction” fit into your agenda-driven babble? Probably not.

    I wish you luck in your crusade against bad guys in comics being depicted as what you assume are of middle-eastern descent. Martians are depicted pretty poorly in the same issue. No one’s whining about that, because….oh yeah, they’re aren’t real. They are cartoons.

  8. patrick ford says:

    R.Crumb: “People have no idea of the sources for my work. I didn’t invent anything; it’s all out there in the culture; it’s not a big mystery.”
    http://undergroundcomixart.com/drawings/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=3493&g2_serialNumber=2

  9. Jacob C. says:

    Hi Jason,

    I think you’ve said pretty much everything that I need to hear, so I don’t really know if it’s useful to continue this. For what it’s worth:

    -When you say you “don’t understand the implications of racism,” it seems like you’re right!
    -It’s hilarious that you think I’m “agenda-driven.”
    -It’s pretty disingenuous to suggest that I’m in the wrong for assuming they’re Muslim. Are you serious? “What [I] assume are of middle eastern descent”?!? Frank, is this the tongue-in-cheek you were talking about?
    -It may shock you to hear this, but cartoons CAN be racist! If you are honestly trying to equate cartoon Martians and racist caricatures of Middle Eastern people, then I’m wasting my time talking to you.

    I hope you were able to get through my agenda-driven babble!

  10. R. D. says:

    People really have got to learn that it’s only acceptable to depict the killing of Able-bodied, Straight, White, Men. They’re expendable, and nobody really gives a shit.

  11. Jason says:

    Jacob,

    You’re proving my point by saying “racist caricatures”. That’s not the intention, but you assume it anyway. In the same sentence you defined the martians as “cartoon”. Why do the terrorist characters seem real to you and not cartoons as well? That seems agenda-driven to me. Maybe you just don’t realize how you sound.

    Plus, you dodged my point about why you’re not concerned with the depiction of the other characters in the comic. That’s called cherry-picking, and is expected from someone who has some kind of agenda. And hey, maybe that’s irrelevant since you didn’t read the comic in the first place.

    Also, it’s not disingenuous on my part to simply respond to what you already said and assumed without reading the comic.

    I mean…are YOU serious?? Are you suggesting that cartoon terrorists shouldn’t be depicted as something that’s relatively close to reality? You do realize it’s not a stretch, right? Maybe you don’t. Meanwhile, it’s all just cartoon fantasy and you’re throwing the word “racist” around like you have some kind of point or endgame to this. That kind of thinking eventually leads to censorship. I’m sure that’s not your intention. But just understand that’s the kind of territory you’re leaning toward when you react like you did.

    Good luck, and thanks for the dialogue.

  12. Sammy says:

    For what it’s worth, I don’t mind racism in comics when EVERY character is a buffoon/broad caricature and the general point of view of the author is misanthropic. I haven’t read the new Jason Karns book, so I can’t speak of it specifically, but I think it’s crazy when people get offended at the racial stereotypes in Johnny Ryan’s comics for example when he clearly doesn’t have a beef with Muslims any more than he has a beef with the entire world and has an irreverent pov regarding everything, where nothing is sacred, etc. What I have read of Karns’ work is similar: every type of person is given the same treatment, it’s not just the non white males.

  13. Jacob C. says:

    Just one more, I guess, since nobody else is saying anything.

    If you cannot understand the difference between a drawing of a martian, an invented character, and this, a stereotyped Arab caricature of a “terrorist” from “Ufukistan,” then I don’t know what to say. One of those things is a non-racist drawing. The other one of those things is a racist drawing.

    Why am I not concerned about the depiction of other characters in the comic? Because they’re not racist stereotypes? Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that making fun of Americans as “bumbling” is PRETTY DIFFERENT than making fun of Arabs/Muslims as violent, jihadi terrorists. Portraying a white American guy as “dumb” or “a drunk” or whatever, those are largely individual character traits. Portraying an entire race of people as fanatical, gibberish-spouting terrorists? That’s racist.

    And, ok, I have to take a deep breath here, but how on EARTH can you jump from ‘it’s not real none of it is real it’s all cartoons are they even Muslim???’ to “Are you suggesting that cartoon terrorists shouldn’t be depicted as something that’s relatively close to reality? You do realize it’s not a stretch, right? Maybe you don’t.”

    I’m hoping other people are reading this exchange, because I would hate to be the only one to read that little gem.

    If I have an “agenda” to promote, it’s this: There is a pervasive and accepted racism and misogyny in the independent comics community that is very rarely talked about. I’ve written about this before, but it disgusts me that any discussion – and I mean ANY discussion – of problematic elements in independent comics is shut down or ignored. We can talk about how bad the Big Two are all day, but when it becomes more personal people shut right up. I understand that it can be difficult to criticize, or hear criticisms of, our friends in the comics community. But the fact that nobody speaks up against these absurdly obvious problems is just bad. What’s more, racist and misogynistic comics are endorsed and recommended without any criticism, with effusive language, by saying how “raw” and “wacky” and “satirical” they are.

    For you to invoke a slippery slope argument when faced with a very obvious criticism shows how little ground you have to stand on. I should be able to criticize an artistic choice you’ve made without having you cry censorship. You actually tried to shut down a criticism of your work, on a site that has celebrated you proudly, by squealing about censorship, without hesitation. That’s pathetic.

  14. Frank Santoro says:

    What’s interesting to me – is that when I do shows and folks browse different work in my boxes – like say, Tim Vigil’s Faust – and are repulsed by it or offended by it – we talk about it and then sort of might agree to disagree. However on the internet things get heated. So it’s tough. I hear both sides and appreciate that there is this exchange at all.

  15. dennis says:

    is it racist or not racist? to me is kind of too broad a term for talking about comics, if it’s problematic or just weird let’s get to the bottom of it. all the characters in Fukitor are constantly screaming “ah fuck” and “fuck you” “oh shit” basically they sound like teenage boys do while they play video games. and obviously you see the same sort of characters and themes you see in action comic books, action movies, video games. and it’s all bathed in cartoonish violence. basically Fukitor IS entirely a view through the lens the late the 20th american century, white, comic book & horror movie loving boys club experience. it’s like comic book drawn by Beavis. is that “ok”? or something WE/YOU need more or less of?
    thats up to you to decide. it’s certainly the world I was a child in and it’s a POV that my experiences are forever orbiting and bouncing against. is Karns’ making an examination/parody of these factors or is this just the guy he is? I don’t think that matters as much as the fact that the act of reading this work is an examination of that world view. and if that sparks some thought it’s worth while.

  16. Jason says:

    I assume you are leaning towards censorship. What else would you be trying to achieve?

    I just assumed that.

    Just like you assumed that the comic is racist.

    Good luck in your quest for entertainment that contains nothing but singing unicorns, rainbows, and dolphins hugging people until candy falls out of their butts.

  17. I don’t really mind if a work is racist or misogynist or homophobic or trans-phobic or whatever. People can express what they want in their art, that’s why it’s art.

    Hoooooweeeeever,

    “They are cartoons based loosely on the fact that there are people on this planet who will kill you because you don’t believe in their imaginary god. Again, they are CARTOONS. It’s complete fantasy. So, your last line about “justification for the depiction of terrorists” really makes no sense. Are you a censor? Depiction of what exactly? They aren’t real to begin with”

    Is a terrrrrrible defense. The cartoons are real. The lines on the page are physically there. The shapes of their faces. The words coming out of their mouths. All of that shit is as real as blood. And you can make what you want to make. But if you draw a racist cartoon, and someone points out “hey that’s a racist cartoon”, saying “hey, it’s just a cartoon, therefore…not racist” is nonsense talk.

    People are valid in their expression of offense at what you make. And critics are valid in bringing up themes and issues they see within the work, even as they pertain to social issues. I mean that’s what happens when a work is given over to an audience. The discussion has to be more than “hey that looks racist” “shut your piehole you censorous pig!”

    Adults presumably have discussions.

  18. Jason says:

    Criticism is fine as long as it’s not uninformed and/or misdirected.

    “Arab” is never used in the comic. “Muslim” is never used in the comic. The characters happen to be brown in skin color. They don’t speak a real language. “Arab” and “muslim” were assumed based on those observations alone.

    That’s racist.

  19. It seems like a bad idea entering into this conversation, however, if you are to have an opinion based on the assessment of the images provided above, one would very likely come to the conclusion that Marc Bell is awesome, and Jason Karns makes some violently hostile and racist looking shit. I like the cartooning, but, based on the images above, which are most likely representative of the comic in question, and based on the comments, this is still racist looking shit. And I am to infer, based on the head explosion image, that there is some very scary hatred beneath the surface. This of course, would not be something I would feel if there head being exploded were of a martian. The person doing the crushing has a mask so we do not know much about them, but their light skin makes me think of white power/hegemony… I project a white person. The man with his head being crushed immediately registers as middle eastern and most likely Muslim. In light of current events how could you not have this immediate reaction? Nobody is calling for censorship, but for comics makers to actually think about this shit.

  20. Jason says:

    This just got even more ridiculous.

  21. Mike says:

    Fukitor looks like pure gold. People who can only see it as “racist” need to grow a fucking sense of humor!

  22. Greg Fontaine says:

    Wow, a lot of disingenuous and evasive replies from the author of the comic.

    “‘Arab’ is never used in the comic. ‘Muslim’ is never used in the comic. The characters happen to be brown in skin color. They don’t speak a real language. ‘Arab’ and ‘muslim’ were assumed based on those observations alone. That’s racist.”

    The words “Abdul” and “Akbar” are spoken by these characters. “Abdul” is an Arabic name and “Akbar” is an Islamic name. In the sample pages, characters are shown wearing the taqiyah, an Islamic cap.

    There are plenty of arguments you can offer for artistic freedom but first you have to be honest rather than hostile and dissembling.

  23. jameswheeler says:

    Today Comics dealt Videogames a crushing blow in the hotly-contended race to be declared the most awful, strictly-for-manchildren medium.

  24. Scott Stripling says:

    This whole thread starts with the question of whether or not the work is “insanely racist”…then the artist is asked to give the pat liberal response for defense of his work…when he doesn’t, he’s shamed…this whole thread is ridiculous…the samples are there Jason has a website…you have more than enough information to make an informed decision of whether or not to buy the work…would Crumb survive if he started today?

  25. Mark Stewart says:

    As soon as someone starts cracking out the ‘you’re racist for identifying racism!’ argument then you know the whole thing’s not worth the effort.

  26. Greg Fontaine says:

    Who is threatening’s Jason’s survival? Is your hypothesis that no one was ever critical of social content in Crumb’s work?

  27. Dapper Dan says:

    Oh shit, did someone break into his house after reading this thread and piss on his comics, rendering them all crinkly and unsellable?

    It’s a slippery slope on the way down to censorship. The slope is slippery because it has been pissed on. With piss.

  28. Zé Burnay says:

    All I see here is self-righteous people who haven’t even read the comics yet!

  29. Scott Stripling says:

    Of course not…I am flattered you can read a hypothesis out of my few sentence comment on the internet though…do me a favor and obliterate my ignorance with your beautiful knowledge…on the internet…

  30. Scott Stripling says:

    Exactly!

  31. Dapper Dan says:

    I am trying to read through the mystical portal of your words to the promised land of whatever you’re actually talking about but I feel that the important question of whether or not pissy censorship has been deployed has yet to be answered clearly.

    Or maybe… are ellipses used to signify piss on the internet now? If so: I NEED TO KNOW!

  32. Dapper Dan says:

    YES!

    Or, maybe someone suggested that “insanely racist” caricatures were on show in the excerpts from Fukitor used in this post and Jason’s response to this was to suggest that they were just lines on the paper/not actually muslims, but then again actually maybe these lines on the paper did exist out there in the world, e.g. in muslamistan, except that no one said this was about the muslims so maybe the real racists were out there, on the internet, paying attention to things and trying to maintain a line of thought for more than three seconds. Then he started crying about censorship and people thought he was coming off like an idiot so they broke into his house and crinkled his papers in order to spare him some future embarrassment. Then people started getting sad because only Nazis crinkle paper.

    This… this is what the internet is for people.

    We are living in a golden age. An age the colour of crinkled paper. Drink it up.

  33. Scott Stripling says:

    Oh…the great elipse dressing down…nice try…I think you can do snark better than that…c’mon…not to mention the fact my comment wasn’t even for you…good thing you jumped in with your “insanely” relevant piss talk…

  34. Scott Stripling says:

    And here I thought the internet was for people to hide behind aliases to say things they’d never have the nerve to say in public…oh wait…

  35. Dapper Dan says:

    Word up, I remember my first internet fight too.

  36. Dapper Dan says:

    It’s true. My pissy dreams are the dreams of a coward. A coward who would never piss on a bit of paper in public, who therefore shares his golden dreams with his masked brothers on the internet.

    On the other hand it’s good to see that skilled debaters like you are alive and thriving on the internet in defiance of masked perverts like old Dapper Dan here. I am now convinced that Jason Karns’ clown shoes are not, in fact, the shoes of a clown. The arabs are not arabs except that they are, just like in life, except that they’re not, because it’s a comic.

    I am the real racist. I see that now.

    *pisses pants*

  37. Thrills says:

    Cheers for the comments, Jacob C. You’re pretty much saying what I’ve been thinking, but am too crap to articulate correctly.

  38. Mark Stewart says:

    This isn’t an actual argument though, is it? Who cares what people would and wouldn’t say in real life? I’m pleased there’s a forum for ideas to be addressed without social awkwardness getting the way, just so long as the arguments are cogent and the points of view meaningful.

    Anyway, how do you know Dan wouldn’t straight up call Jason out IRL?

  39. Nate A. says:

    Arguing that a depiction of something is racist is not the same as advocating censorship. Nobody is asking you to stop publishing your work; they’re asking you why you chose to depict the characters as you did. That is, they’re asking you about your art. If you’re unwilling to have an actual discussion about your art, that’s fine. Just don’t get huffy when people call you to the carpet for being evasive in your answers.

  40. Dapper Dan says:

    If you drew a group of dudes in trad Hasidic clothing poisoning wells and kidnapping kids and using their blood to make special bread then it would still be anti-semetic regardless of whether the men in question were identified as being Jewish, right?

    And if you noticed this that wouldn’t in any way make you the anti-semetic one, right?

    Right.

  41. Dapper Dan says:

    Tintin’s adventures in the Congo would still be racist as fuck if they weren’t identified as happening in the Congo, is what I’m saying.

  42. jimrugg says:

    It’s even more insanely racist than it looks, and also it is insanely misogynistic, exploitative, misanthropic, nihilistic, antisocial, funny, engaging, shocking, dynamic, beautiful, inspiring, scary, and well-designed!

    It’s the kind of comics that scared a generation into burning comics in the 50s.

    These comics feel genuinely dangerous and entertaining like slasher movies and cheap, violent 80s action vehicles. I’ve never seen any other comics like these. I was happy to see comments that mentioned Crumb, Johnny Ryan, and Vigil’s Faust. This is divisive, complex work. It’s not for everyone. But it’s a reminder, like other great comics, of why I love the comics form. Images and drawings can be powerful. I think many cartoonists do not focus on that aspect of the form.

    I hope this post and the followup comments inspire some of the current crop of comics critics to take a close look at Karns’ work. Critical debate is a sign of a healthy, dynamic art form and Karns’ work is definitely exploring some interesting territory in my opinion.

  43. Thrills says:

    I dunno if racism and misogyny are dangerous and transgressive or anything, though. They’re more sort of depressingly banal, everyday and lazy. If I want to see those things (which I don’t), then I just need to, like, read any internet comments section about a news story.

    Does the comic address these things in any interestingly satirical way, or just add to the huge fucking pile of racist, misogynist, whatever-ist images that we see everyday anyway?

  44. Scott Grammel says:

    See, the problem isn’t the comic. The problem is the internet.

  45. It seems as if it’s all about excess. It’s not going to pat you on the head and tell you that you’re one of the good guys for reading this. It’s not going to soothe the blow with some bullshit irony.

    My impression is that it’s not here to tell you what to think, it’s just for people who can enjoy a gloriously over the top comic, like somebody who can “handle their high” when doing cocaine.

  46. Goat Fucker says:

    Fukitor is the best independent comix being made now, so shut the fuck up you PC cry babies!

  47. …Which all sounds quite refreshing to me. I’m so fucking bored of all these comics that won’t go into dark territory without a “Just kidding!” That won’t do anything without approval, that won’t risk offending anybody anywhere at all ever.

    Indie comics should be an avenue for insane, bizarre ideas, but it’s always so goddamned “safe.” Show me something I disagree with, it beats a comic that won’t tell me anything I don’t already know.

  48. “There is a pervasive and accepted racism and misogyny in the independent comics community that is very rarely talked about.”

    Yeah, racism and misogyny, two topics nobody ever talks about.

  49. Jeremy Baum says:

    as frank stated above:

    “Karns is one of those guys who is almost “too real” to be part of the contemporary comics conversation. Just about everything compared to his work seems “pretentious”.”

    i agree with sentiment and, and as proud owner and reader of Karns’ work, do not get offended at the sterotypes in his work. are there stereotypes? of course. but not really that many. and since Karns is clearly not drawing comics with any sort of agenda, statement, moral or pretention, but rather making really fun crazy over-the-top slapstick comics that are not to be taken seriously.

    read the comics before you get upset over one image.

    same thing with the fervor over ben marra’s work. this is a man who has clearly no agenda or pretensions about him and just wants to entertain and make you laugh with crazy slapstick fun.

  50. Mark Stewart says:

    There’s nothing ‘insane’ or ‘bizarre’ about racist stereotyping/imagery. It’s banal and you already know all about it. We all do.

  51. Peter Sattler says:

    I think that part of the blame here rests on Frank Santoro’s shoulders.

    He seems unwilling to address the strengths or weakness — or even the content — of this comic, other than to say (1) that he received the book recently and (2) that he appreciates the coloring and its effect on different types of paper (you know, as in, “I really like the subtlety of hue of this decapitation”).

    Of course, he does say that the book is “SERIOUS,” but what does that mean? In the context of that final paragraph, it seems to say, “This artist is not trying to appropriate bad comics; he’s trying to make an authentically bad comic.” But I assume that is neither the reviewer’s nor the artist’s intent — although it may be the effect.

  52. Frank Santoro says:

    I meant that the back and forth is different.

  53. Frank Santoro says:

    Oh, I totally take the blame for this dust up.

  54. Shannon says:

    Jim Rugg still has the best comment in this thread, IMO.

  55. patrick ford says:

    I blame it on trolls.

  56. jimrugg says:

    I find this comic interesting and satirical (or maybe parodic?)…I don’t know. It’s definitely subjective as to whether or not this would appeal to you. There’s a lot of material that could be considered similar that does nothing for me. Comics have so many moving parts and the comics I tend to enjoy are hard for me to take apart and determine exactly why I react the way I do.

    There is certainly an aesthetic component to this work that appeals to my sensibility as well. Again, I hope some of the more articulate critics take a look at this. I’m horrible at concisely describing work that I enjoy.

  57. jameswheeler says:

    @jimrugg “I find this comic interesting and satirical (or maybe parodic?)” Jason’s pretty much ruled that out in the comments here though, hasn’t he? Intent isn’t the be-all and end-all – certainly you could have parodic intent and still end up making some racist shit – but when the author’s straight up saying “the guys with Arabic names who look like stereotyped Arabs aren’t Arabs or Muslims, but if they were it wouldn’t be far off the mark”, it’s hard to entertain arguments of subversion.

  58. Thad says:

    I’d like to comment on how great I think Jason Karns’ work is, but I feel that 80% of the population on this thread would instantly outcast me as a racist, misogynist pig. Because despite the work that is shown above, Karns has been really impressive to me. His drawing style is magnificent and his over-the -top violence invokes the 13-year old boy inside of me to obsess over every page and panel. I’ve seen his work before and while it does strike me as a offensive, I still really dig what he does. He’s not trying to be safe and he’s coming from a place that’s purely his own, he’s not afraid to let the contents of his sick mind pour onto the page without shame.

    It occurs to me that one can see some racism in the characters he depicts, but for chrissake what isn’t offensive nowadays and what he’s doing seems to be across the board offensive. He’s not “picking and choosing” which political, religious or ethnic groups he decides to make caricatures of in his comics, in less words, nobody is safe.

    As a way to stress my POV that he’s not making generalities about any certain race or ethnicity, one only has to look at the context of the comic. It’s all military based and so why should any of it matter what color their skin is or the language they’re using. Sure it’s based in reality, but it’s the reality of war and who really gives a shit about offending anyone in battle.

  59. This seems transgressive in the way Rambo III was transgressive.

  60. Sean Aaberg says:

    If this was the mid to late 80s FUKITOR would be one of the biggest selling indie comics up there with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & I would have bought the shit out of it, listening to Megadeth & NWA on my Walkman while drinking Slurpees & playing NARC at the 7-11. These comics are totally fucked up with radical home-grown art & that’s why I like them. When people get words like “racist” & “misogynist” thrown at them or their work, the implications of censorship come up because those labels are used to get people who care about those things to ignore, boycott, work against & generally isolate the labelled thing/person from their reality. So, while it isn’t top-down censorship, it is reality tunnel censorship & cultural marginalization.

  61. Dray says:

    You guys might literally be retarded. The point is the shock value, not racist caricature or social commentary. Who cares if it’s racist? That’s completely fucking irrelevant. What matters is if it’s shocking and entertaining. And you know what? Terrorists from Ufukistan rambling in fake languages IS shocking and entertaining, and it’s still not as bad as a Batman-Punisher clone chopping off the cocks of a rape cult. In fact, I would say that the Ufukistani are the least offensive thing I’ve seen from Karns.

    In summary, fuck your stupid little sensibilities. No one gives a shit what your stupid opinion is, you lily white cunt.

  62. J Edge says:

    You guys, there are brown people with machine guns and white people who are ninjas. I don’t think Fukitor says that every brown person has machine guns or all white people are ninjas. As a fan I can’t say that Fukitor is a comfortable read just like I can’t say ANSWER Me! is and comfortable read or Straight Outta Compton or Songs about Fucking are comfortable listens. Do we really want no art to be transgressive anymore?

  63. Ayo says:

    Your mother named you “Goat Fucker.”

  64. Ayo says:

    You can’t be this stupid. It isn’t possible. A review with images is up and you say people can’t make a decision unless they also Read The Comic In Full? That’s what you’re saying? That is stupid. I refuse to believe that you literally think that.

  65. BVS says:

    I see Fuckitor as carrying the EC/Greg Irons/S.Clay Wilson/Creepy &Eerie mag torch. and I like the comics, but I ask myself, is that a still burning torch which needs carrying in 2013? or is the appeal to me just well crafted nostalgia? not that there is anything wrong with well crafted nostalgia. but it’s not 1955, or 1980. Karns’ isn’t some kid at catholic high school with some nun looking over his shoulder. I’ll compare him to a few of the Fort Thunder guys. one thing I’ve always appreciated about Chippendale, Ralph, and Brinkman’s work is they are all white boys like me who liked metal, punk, and horror movies who grew up lurking at the comics shop. but their work is about being that kind of person from that kind of world who is evolving to something new for the newer larger world. there is no reason to disregard the flawed place that you came from which still informs your likes and dislikes. is Karns like the 30 something dude who wears Misfits t-shirts and still only likes the same things he’s loved since he was a teen for exactly the same reasons? at some point do rigid tastes become a prejudice against everything else? as for racism. clearly Karns doesn’t like terrorists. but if you just making fun of terrorists for the way they talk, and for having yellow teeth. then you’re actually just making fun of them for being non english speakers from the impoverished parts of muslim world. that doesn’t have anything to do with terrorism.

  66. J.B says:

    This comments section proves only one thing to me, and that is that the independent comics audience at large are either the type of people that I always thought read comics, and the other half are people that are slowly ruining it.

  67. Avi says:

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Spongebob and Adventure Time are some of the most popular kids shows ever.

  68. Ayo says:

    I find it ironic that you cannot tolerate people disliking your work yet your work is built around contempt for others and violent hostility. That’s very sad. You are so small.

  69. Scott Grammel says:

    As enjoyably outrageous as Karn’s comics at first appear (and, yeah, I laugh every time I even think of that “Death punch, bitch” line above), it didn’t take me long to realize that they were finally about as subversive or satirical or sophisticated as you’d suspect from his posts on here. Comparing his work to that of someone like S. Clay Wilson reminds me of the devastating characterization of Little Feat after Lowell George’s death as the band “without a brain.”

    The genuine pleasure to be had from Karn’s graphic and comedic abilities doesn’t change the fact that they are, essentially, comics for morons.

  70. Avi says:

    It’s super disingenuous of you to say that this comic is both realistic depiction of terrorists and a fantastical cartoony depiction divorced from real world context. Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  71. Avi says:

    I can only judge by the five pages posted here, but Karns’ comic looks like one of Rush Limbaugh’s feverish masturbatory fantasies.
    Compare how someone like Matt Bors draws terrorists – like actual people who act in a wide range of situations and display a wide range of emotions – to how any other political cartoonist draws them – hooked noses, wiry hair, beady eyes, screaming in one dimensional rage. Even setting aside racist implications, stereotypes of Arabs are lazy, uncreative, boring, unoriginal, nothing we haven’t seen a thousand times before.
    I mention editorial cartoons because all racial stereotypes are political in nature. In context of our broader culture, these stereotypes exist to justify political violence against nonwhite people. Of course usually the violent animosity that underlies racial stereotypes is dampened and not so overt as in this particular comic.

    P.S. It’s very telling that you think so little of Muslims that you’d compare them to nonexistent aliens. As if we’re all waiting with baited breath for NASA’s Curiosity rover to discover one! There’s a billion of them living in the world, try talking to one sometime.

  72. Scott Stripling says:

    It tells me we have a generation of “indie” comics fans who grew up on Blankets, not Zap…

  73. Ian Harker says:

    Hey guys, what’s going on? What did i miss?
    *internet explodes*

  74. Ayo says:

    If you want to be subversive, let’s think about what that means and what it is you’re subverting and what it is that you represent.

    For something to be subversive it needs to both mimic and undermine the societal power structure. The society of the Western world is invariably white dominance and anti-brown. To be truly subversive against that power structure, a work of art would be clinging closely to that as well as poking holes in the structural integrity of the white power structure.

    Since nothing that we can see here in “Fukitor” does anything to undermine white power while it makes a big show of making sport of nonwhite people, it literally just *is* what it looks like.

    This isn’t subversive, this is the real thing. This is what racist caricature and hostility against nonwhites in the popular arts looks like. This is what racism looks like, served straight up.

    Now this fellow Jason Karns hasn’t done himself any favors in his replies to this blog post. It’s a shame because the least he could do for himself is lie about his intentions and not look like a fool. But one almost (almost) admires his determination to die on this hill of racism, glorification of violence against brown people and aggressive dehumanization in general.

    It saves us all a lot of time because we instantly understand that there is no reasoning with this man, no debate to be had. His heels are dug in and sure, he’s invested the money to print these comics up. I get it. (That’s called empathy, by the way)

    What I don’t get is how Karns doesn’t seem to have empathy for anybody else. How he seems oblivious to how he comes across and oblivious to why his work is being regarded in an unkind way. He even lashes out with that well-worn nonsense about “you ASSUMED that I was caricaturing this group of people–it is YOU who is the racist!” That’s just so stupid that it is tiring. An accusation that doesn’t even pretend to make sense. Unworthy of serious dissection. Jason Karns, your comic is racist. And most likely, you are “a racist,” whatever that means. You’re absolutely a product of your environment but at some point you crossed from passive racism to embracing the ideologies of hate and wrapping yourself in the cloak of cultural insensitivity. It suits you, perhaps.

    It’s whatever.

    Now look listen and please understand: all of you older cartoonists.

    We are living in a new world of cartoonists who aren’t caught up with these thirty-year-late ideas of “edginess.” Exploding heads just don’t do the trick anymore, I’m sorry to break it to you. Hastily slapping gibberish dialogue into the mouths of brown characters doesn’t excite people nor does it challenge people in any way. Not anymore.

    You’re boring. Racist, boring and not in any way “real.”

    There is nothing real or unbridled or unfiltered about this nonsense. It’s extremely filtered. Filtered through the hacky independent comics of the 1980s, filtered through the rather privileged aesthetic tastes of the 1960s undergrounds, filtered through B-movies and action blockbusters. If art like this represents someone’s unbridled self, I’ll have the restrained version, thank you.

    This style, which is not at all limited to Jason Karns here, is actually very common. This style of comics is something that deserves its own name so that adherents can find it easily and the rest of us can avoid it entirely. The saddest thing of all is that there is Absolutely Nothing Special Happening Here.

    Everybody else: I’m embarrassed for you. Step your game up. Comics deserves better and better is on its way.

    @darrylayo

  75. Ian Harker says:

    This is what happens when we stop keeping score at Little League.

  76. Adam says:

    I blame Little Feat.

  77. Jeremy Baum says:

    you really shouldn’t judge without reading the comics themselves, then . it’s harmless slapstick camp, albeit explicit.

    the antagonists of each comic range from being terrorists, drug-dealers, nazis, occultists, werewolves, zombies or aliens. the actual topic of religion never being a subject.

    much unlike rush limbaugh, these comics do not have an agenda or a message. there are no pretensions to this work and in fact are actually brilliantly crafted comics that are anything but to be taken so seriously.

  78. Scott Stripling says:

    Because S. Clay Wilson’s work was chock full of intelligent social commentary? Spain, yes…Crumb, debatable…but Wilson?

  79. BVS says:

    well dude, today is actually Crumb’s birthday. he’s 70 years old. he’s got grand children.
    Zap was a long long time ago. Blankets is 10 years old. times change.

  80. It is an inarguable fact that Karns drew something with racist depictions of Arabs. His “they aren’t named as Arabs! You’re racist for thinking they are!” excuse is laughable when you consider “Ufukistan” and the Arabic-inspired gibberish he puts in their mouths. The gibberish alone is a hallmark of racist literature. It’s why racists think Chinese people say “ching chong” and African people say “booga ooga.” It’s a way to dehumanize them, a way to make it okay to throw jabs at them because they Aren’t Like Us. Comparing actual, living people with fictional things like Martians is another sign of no respect. Comparing the treatment of actual people with that of Martians says a lot about how you see those people.

    You can argue otherwise, but let’s be real here: this duck is quacking and ducking all over the place, so the odds are pretty good it’s a duck. It may be a work of staggering and life-changing genius, plenty of works with racist elements are, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t using racist tropes for the sake of edgy comedy.

    The reaction to someone asking “Hey, what’s with all these racist depictions of Arabs? Does it have a point?” being derision, insults, and “What are you, a censor? Help help I’m being oppressed!” is pathetic. You aren’t being oppressed by somebody having questions about your work.

  81. Frank Santoro says:

    I don’t know how I would do this post if I were to do it over again. I have comics in my collection that are equally “difficult” – comics which if I were to show here in one of my columns would cause a similar uproar. I’m fine with getting beat up over this post or taking the blame for not providing enough explanation for Karns’s work. It just makes me think how I would present something like “Real Deal” comics if I were to do a column about that comic – a comic that I think is visually compelling and not “pretentious”. Anyways. Feel free to clobber me in the comments. I can take it.

  82. Scott Stripling says:

    Thanks for the warning! I’m off to work on that Anna and Froga/Adventure Time mashup to post on my website for you to read free!

  83. Steve LeCouilliard says:

    Yes to all of this. Karns draws well, even if his style is dated. His jokes are stale shit though from the looks of it. Ain’t nothing edgy about racism in 2013.

  84. Claire says:

    *echoed*

  85. G.Y. says:

    “KEEP COMICS DUMB”

  86. Ian Harker says:

    I’ll probably get yelled at by someone for this, but here goes nothing…

    My opinion is that satirizing depictions/perceptions of racism, misogyny, xenophobia, etc. is not the same thing as racism, misogyny, xenophobia, etc itself per se. White people are SURROUNDED by these sincere attitudes in our everyday lives and culture with individuals, institutions, interest groups, etc. expecting us to to accept these things as NORMAL (which is really gross btw). So when i see a white artist doubling, no tripling-down on these things to the point of absurdity i see self-deprecation and satire. But that’s just my perspective, i know some people who feel as though they are the target of ridicule would feel differently.

    I think the artist deserves the benefit of the doubt. I’m not even going to assume that he’s necessarily some expert satirist. He might just be a guy trying to suss out a lifetime of toxic culture. I don’t believe that this is the same thing as perpetuation said culture. Is there no longer room for the id at the inn?

  87. Jacob C. says:

    Ian, did you read what he said about his own work, though? There’s no doubt left to give him.

  88. Steve LeCouilliard says:

    Racism towards Arabs is shocking? To whom?

  89. Avi says:

    All art is created with intention and purpose. Every artist has an agenda.

  90. Ian Harker says:

    No, actually i didn’t. I just found out about this topic and i’m confused about the linear progression of the comments so i gave up trying to read them all (since there are sub threads for each comment.) I’m just assuming that this material is similar to other like-minded work i’ve read and enjoyed. Maybe i’m wrong? I’ve never read Fukitor.

  91. Scott Stripling says:

    Good point…Zap was still coming out when I started reading undergrounds in the early 90s and I never had the desire to read Blankets…but…Kirby would have been 96 last week and his work still holds up as better than any superhero book out now…of course that’s subjective area I’m getting into…

  92. Lightning Lord says:

    Amazing response, Ayo. Thank you.

  93. Lightning Lord says:

    This is also great. Thank you guys for speaking up against this kind of claptrap.

  94. Jeet Heer says:

    @Jacob C. I think this is a case where the artist’s statements are an impediment to understanding the art. Karns work is actually much more interesting and defensible than the rather incoherent arguments that Karns makes. But we should pay attention to the art, not the post facto justification.

  95. Jack Flash says:

    Long story short: when people asked why there were racist depictions of Arabs, Karns responded “I never said they were Arabs! What, you see brown skin and you think ‘Arab’? You’re the REAL racists!” And even if there was a joke, like maybe this is a hypothetical future Michael Bay movie, Team America got there almost ten years ago. There’s nothing “edgy” about this, it’s just…lame.

  96. Lightning Lord says:

    The independent comics scene’s obsession with this sort of material is just embarrassing and juvenile in all the wrong ways, and beyond idiotic. I guess it does serve one purpose – it makes it unappealing to anyone but an immensely tiny audience. Some people might mistake that for being elite. It isn’t.

  97. Lightning Lord says:

    A terrible deployment of “death of the author”.

    In the light of Karns’ statements, his art becomes just that much worse.

  98. Steve LeCouilliard says:

    That’s not how humor works. If he was taking the piss out of white liberals, then you could tell us to have a sense of humor. This is dehumanizing people the West is literally killing in the real world right now. Yuk yuk.

  99. Lightning Lord says:

    Haha I just noticed the “too real” comment. Is that some sort of stealth parody of gushing fanboy style reviews? I certainly hope so, because otherwise you should be ashamed your fingers ever typed that.

  100. Ian Harker says:

    I couldn’t say for sure without reading the book. If you were to take a clip out of Team America you would say that the depiction of Arabs is racist (which it is) but in context of the movie the butt of the joke is clearly American hegemony so the racist depictions make sense in context. The same might be true here, but it really don’t know.

    I agree that the defense he put up was some pretty lame intellectual-judo, but it doesn’t say much about who he is either way. Not everyone spends their entire day arguing on the internet and knows what works and what doesn’t. I trust the taste of people like Santoro & Rugg that this work is ultimately harmless.

  101. Rick Vance says:

    I am going to bet the comic is more than 6 panels and a lot of the comments in here read like people who have made a snap judgement about the content of the entire thing and the inner workings of the artists mind. The judgements seem so firm in which the same people will choose to not interact with the entire work.

    If I looked at any 6 Johnny Ryan or Suehiro Maruo or Junji Ito panels out of context I could probably make the same strange assumptions I am reading all the way down this conversion.

  102. Lightning Lord says:

    Or maybe, maybe just possibly, people are bone tired of this sort of crap being justified with “it’s art!”

  103. Steve LeCouilliard says:

    Since this is all based in 30-year-old nostalgia, why didn’t he just make the generic bad guys Russian? I can only infer that he wanted to push a certain button. That button being racism. The fact is that Western politics are already defined by racism, so that’s about as subversive as using the word “retard”. It’s not censorship to call something boring.

    And you really just used the term “cultural marginalization” in defense of a white dude making racist jokes. Without irony.

  104. Costa says:

    All this column and comments have done is reinforce how self-inflated “alternative” indie comics are and how terribly-fucking worried people who read and make them are about protecting their shitty racist sense of humor.

  105. I’d argue Rambo III is transgressive, since it endorsed the guys who would be Taliban/al Qaeda.

    Maybe that’s transgressive in hindsight, but still far more than Fukitor.

  106. Carmen says:

    Thanks for this comment. I was thinking it but could have never stated it in such a pithy way.

  107. Rick Vance says:

    I am not making justifications for anything, nor however am I saying it doesn’t belong alongside everything else as art (because that is what it is).

    There is no clause that states this has to be in taste to be art. I also haven’t read it and do not like making snap judgements about things I have not seen in their entirety, especially when they are clearly based off of terrible Chuck Norris movies from the 80s.

  108. R. D. says:

    When Artists start giving a shit about offending people they are no longer creating Art.
    It’s purpose is self-expression, and it’s put out there for the world to react to. You don’t have to like it, in fact if the idea of someone expressing themselves offends you so much, fuck off and go live in North Korea, or some other Communist shit-hole. It’s funny that nobody seems offended by the ultra-violence on display here, just the portrayal of Muslims.
    The thing I find so exciting about Karn’s work is how primal it is, it looks like the stuff I used to do back in High School, and I mean that in a good way. It’s like Rock and Roll, two guitars, a drum set, and everything turned up to eleven. The world of comics needs more stuff like this, and a lot less of the slick shit stinking up the stands these days.

  109. Lightning Lord says:

    I am not saying it doesn’t deserve to be called art because of the content, just that “it is art” doesn’t provide immunity from criticism, just like what it’s based on doesn’t provide any such immunity.

  110. Lightning Lord says:

    This is a parody comment, right?

  111. Lightning Lord says:

    I love how the next comment down reveals this to be 100% true.

  112. Jack Flash says:

    I was wondering when a “fuck off Commie scum” comment would appear, and boy was I not disappointed.

  113. Sean Michael Robinson says:

    Thanks for this Darryl. The last bit especially. Man o man.

  114. Rick Vance says:

    I only brought up the source because it was terribly common to put the villains in those movies as caricatured racist stereotypes. As he is clearly going for that time and look it would seem odd to me to clean up the portrayal of the villains without altering everything else around that too.

  115. There’s not much difference between something like Fukitor or the first two issues of Age of Ultron (which is further into that shit than I should have ever gotten, but hear me out): they’re comics for white teenagers trying to be “edgy” without, oh say, going to a punk concert in Detroit or living in the tundra for a year with nothing but clothes and a knife. It’s Not Too Edgy, since it’s still all about how much it rules to have all the coolest guns and gadgets and kill brown people (or, in Age of Ultron’s case, poor people).

    Maybe if you’re from the suburbs and only hear stories about scary roving gangs of the inner city, that might be “refreshing” to partake in a little power fantasy. Otherwise, it’s shrug-inducing.

    Caveat: it looks pretty.

  116. Avi says:

    RD you seem to be really offended by the idea of someone expressing their criticisms of a comic. You ought to develop a thicker skin, you sound like you’re way too sensitive to participate constructively in internet discussions.

  117. R. D. says:

    @ Lightning Lord & Jack Flash
    When the pussies take over the Earth you’ll be kind to us right?

  118. Annie Mok says:

    but ian — it does say something about who he is. it says that he denies privilege outright, and that he’s more interested in avoiding being called out than acknowledging problematic content. and you can’t trust santoro and rugg to decide that the work is harmless. i like and respect both those guys plenty, obviously, but you can’t trust anyone outright to decide what’s racist, especially when they share the same privileges that the artist does.

  119. Annie Mok says:

    thank yooouuu as always

  120. Annie Mok says:

    same as to ayo: thanks for a good response that doesn’t further shield this guy from criticism.

  121. Jack Flash says:

    Have you got a point to make other than being a common-or-garden Internet libertarian who just read Atlas Shrugged for the first time? This comment makes no sense.

  122. Dan Z. says:

    I can’t wait to get a copy of COWABUNGA SCHNAUZER. Thanks for the link!

  123. R. D. says:

    I missed the part where they actually critiqued the comic. Claiming someone’s work is racist is not a criticism of the work, but of the Creator. The thing that offends me are the whiny bitches want to protect their PC agenda.

  124. Soupy says:

    I don’t think anybody would call you a terrible person for liking Karns’ works, the problem seems to lie in Karns’ inability to acknowledge what his defenders on this page already have: his depictions are racists. As you and others have said in so many words–in a way that tries to circumvent the use of the word racist–these depictions are based on “””reality”””.

    That’s fine.

    Seriously, there’s nothing wrong with still enjoying his work while knowing the humor is at the expense of another culture, but why is Jason Karns SO opposed to acknowledging it himself?

  125. Ian Harker says:

    I just mean that i trust them enough that i’d be willing to read it myself, just like i’d trust them if they thought something was a total piece of crap enough to avoid it. I’m willing to concede that the material may be completely out of line, but from what i’m seeing myself it’s seems cartoonish and absurdist enough to reasonably fall into the space i described above. Maybe i’m wrong though, i do think it’s important to read the whole thing to understand it’s context but i can appreciate that someone might rather avoid that all together.

    To me, the average insular-fanboy superhero comic reeks of privilege more that something as seemingly absurd as Karns’ work. He’s at least exposing something raw about himself, good bad or ugly.

  126. R. D. says:

    I hate to live up to/down to your expectations, but fuck off is the point.
    There is nothing else to say to people like you who have their heads wedged so far up their asses they can’t hear any opinion not their own.

  127. Jack Flash says:

    I’m still not convinced you’re not a Reddit account that somehow gained sentience in a freak thunderstorm. You want critique? Look at Ayo’s comment above, he lays it down pretty well. Even if this thing is a joke, like a Michael Bay parody or something, it’s old-hat; Team America kind of has that pegged. There’s nothing “edgy” or “subversive” going on, it’s just grotesque art in the R. Crumb mold. Admittedly, I’m going on limited information, only this article and Karns’ Blogspot, but I’m not spending $12 on a comic just for proof. I live on a tight budget. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, etc. etc.

  128. Zack Soto says:

    Cool! New Marc Bell comics! I’m going to have to order that bad boy.

  129. Only whining I see here is from you.

  130. Iestyn Pettigrew says:

    But I think the point here is that his comments – and honestly i feel like I’m being kind – come across as trying to defend his comics as non-racist. Either he’s in denial or has a different definition of racism than some of us use. To me, something is racist when it portrays negative stereotypes used to de-humanise a race.

    Jason Karns may mean to appropriate those kind of OTT images because he thinks they are funny and they make him laugh. That’s fine, but then don’t wig out and get all passive-aggressive when someone says that they don’t like you playing with racist humour. No one is calling for his comics to be banned, censored or destroyed. Really until he made his comments about terrorists nobody was even calling him racist.

    I get that for him this stuff is just funny because he can look at this stuff and see its bullshit and ridiculous. I feel the same about most 80′s slasher stuff, makes me laugh because it’s so unreal. I kind of guess thats what’s being said when he says that they are just cartoons- he means that the whole thing is meant like a caricature, a cartoon reality – but I think you also have to accept that those images are not clever things to appropriate they are shit things that are hurtful to many others in real ways and if someone calls you out on it – have the balls to hold up and say, yeah I’m using racist images. Not try and lie your way out of it, like you been caught out by the headmaster.

    If you don’t care about that, then – you know what – that’s fine, you don’t have to. You probably aren’t meaning to properly upset people just needle them and you should be able to say that ‘Hey i just take this as fun, I don’t mean to attack those people, this stuff is just trash meant to make me laugh’.

    But don’t cry censorship and get all stroppy and call people uptight and PC because they burst your teen boy fun bubble. You just come off as someone who sounds like they feel they need to defend the racist shit rather than someone is isn’t taking that stuff seriously.

  131. If people are looking for racism in mainstream, they need look no further than Star Wars and Star Trek. Jabba the Hutt and Ferenghes– I wonder what they’re supposed to represent. But they’re not referred to as “black” or “Jewish” so they couldn’t be.

    No subject is off limits. I’m not going to judge Karns’s character based on a few panels. Personally I’m not offended. There’s nothing wrong with anyone else being offended though. Other people have their own experiences as to why they don’t like something and don’t need to be told “they don’t get it”. People shouldn’t be judged either way by association either. Objectively there’s only one’s personal level of tolerance. To everyone else it’s just a statistic.

    People can make personal boycotts and comment though by doing so they’re promoting something most people otherwise never would have heard of. I choose ignoring over blacklisting but will admit it’s probably because I’m a (WAS)P.

  132. Annie Mok says:

    I just mean that i trust them enough that i’d be willing to read it myself, just like i’d trust them if they thought something was a total piece of crap enough to avoid it. I’m willing to concede that the material may be completely out of line, but from what i’m seeing myself it’s seems cartoonish and absurdist enough to reasonably fall into the space i described above. Maybe i’m wrong though, i do think it’s important to read the whole thing to understand it’s context but i can appreciate that someone might rather avoid that all together.
    —-that makes sense.

    To me, the average insular-fanboy superhero comic reeks of privilege more that something as seemingly absurd as Karns’ work. He’s at least exposing something raw about himself, good bad or ugly.
    —–i don’t see much difference. personally, i feel much more uncomfortable with people that justify problematic work under the guise of satire, because it tends to get justified and defended as satire. like karns trying to construct a criticism-proof wall.

  133. Jeppe says:

    So, that Marc Bell comic looks pretty damn cool. Think I’m gonna get me one of those …

  134. Jack Flash says:

    And yet you still felt the need to call everyone who objected to a comic that kinda looks racist a Communist and an advocate of censorship, even though you “knew” it was pointless. So clearly, you weren’t above talking to “people like me”.

    Art does not exist in a vacuum, and artists are not unimpeachable. If they do something you think is wrong, feel free to call them out. I’m not denying Karns the right to produce whatever shit he wants, I question his decision to use that specific type of shit. I question the stupidity of a grown man who, when challenged, goes “But they’re CARTOONS, they’re not REAL!”, selling his chosen medium and profession short. I question why he has to cut a discussion short and use the pathetic “you liberals are the real racists! excuse rather than actually explaining himself.

    I’d be open to him talking about why he made that decision, but he doesn’t want to. His pwecious feewlings are hurt. So he can fuck off. And you can go back to Reddit and whine about how girls don’t notice you.

  135. Alixopulos says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that, from the little I’ve seen, this comic is more defensible than the Bayer kerfuffle because it’s so technically perfect at conveying its idiocy-base weltanschauung that it paradoxically undermines itself objectively. Whereas Bayer’s thing was so vague and messy it left a toxic wiggle room.

  136. Iestyn Pettigrew says:

    I think you need to read your own comment – claiming someone’s work is racist is talking about the work, not the creator – it is directly a criticism of the work.

    The thing that offends me is how bloody pissy and whiny people get when their bubble is threatened with being burst.

    I don’t think the guy is racist I think he like shitty trash and is doing his best to make similar, but more over the top and funny stuff. Fine. But accept that when you rip-off racist shit your stuff look and sounds like racist shit.

    Just say – yeah i know, but don’t you love how really stupidly unbelievable I’ve managed to make that stuff look?

    Stop whining about people attacking what you like as if you liking is all that matters in the world and anyone expecting you to acknowledge they may see it differently is the end of true freedom

  137. Ian Harker says:

    I agree that his defense is an over-simplification. Not saying his work is indefensible, but it’s not as simple as “it’s just a joke.”

    I’ve tried to present a context for this kind of work that i find meaningful, whether or not Karns’ work applies to this context requires a closer reading.

    That being said i feel bad for him, i know how it feels to get attacked online and it’s not fun and sometimes you say things you regret. His defense was weak, but it just may have been poorly prepared. He’d be well served to reflect on his work and the impulses that lead him to express what he expresses. It can only lead to stronger work!

  138. Lightning Lord says:

    One thing I take away from all this is that the attitude of “It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s a comic stapled together in a basement that’s not published by Marvel or DC (we can probably add IDW, Dark Horse, Image, etc to that now) it’s automatically golden” is still alive and well.

  139. Lightning Lord says:

    Seeing this kind of attitude and posting on TCJ is kind of surreal, but considering the long history of posturing and histrionics in the magazine’s history, it kind of makes sense.

  140. Both camps here are moronic fucking fuckwits and this is an extremely stupid conversation, on par of the worst days of the TCJ message boards. I miss Kim Thompson.

  141. BVS says:

    N.A.R.C? MEGADEATH? slurpies at 7/11? so basically the appeal is well crafted nostalgia for the initiated. dude, you and I can’t be too far apart in age. and as much as I wish I could hop on my BMX and head down to 7/11 for a slurpy and few rounds of NARC with you. I have break it to you. but our youth was a long ass time ago. back then the tastes of the average comics shop customer were what steered the ship that is this comics medium. those days are GONE. slurpy slurping megadeath fans aren’t, and will not again find themselves in charge of what happens to comics any more. no one today is beholden to tolerance of the stuff we thought we thought was cool when we were were kids. these days Slurpies make the fillings in my teeth ache and last time I saw NARC it was smashed and laying face up in an abandoned building being used to store hazardous waste.

  142. R. Fiore says:

    Or anyone with the authority to lock down a thread.

  143. Goat Fucker says:

    As a cartoonist that has been criticized by the same type of pretentious PC patrol comic elitists I completely understand where Karns is coming from and support him and his comix 100%. “Underground Comix” are meant to be offensive, pornographic, violent, filthy and loaded with bad taste so obviously they’re not for everyone. It’s incredibly close minded when people assume every artist has a clear agenda and believes everything depicted in their work. Dali said “It is completely irrelevant whether the public thinks I’m serious or not” art is subjective people can see totally different meanings from the same piece. Do you dumb fucks think everyone who likes death metal is a sadistic homicidal psychopath that advocates the torture and murder of women? if you do then you truly are ignorant dumb fucks. I own every issue of Fukitor except for the new one, which I cant wait until I can afford to get it, so i can say it should be obvious to anyone that doesn’t have their head shoved all the way up their ass that Karns isn’t racist, he’s just a guy that loves offensive humor, over the top gore and action movies/comix and doesn’t give a fuck about the mainstream comic community. I’m the creator and editor of Goat Fucker Comix which is an anthology of metal inspired gnarly satanic stoner art by a diverse group of artists who all share similar influences in art and Comix, and I’ve been accused of being a misogynist(which is total bullshit!) lately by a group of PC shit heads that think DIY comics should all be about ‘taking back comics from white hetero males’, so it’s ok to say straight white guys cant draw comics unless its about how guilty they feel about being straight white guys? Besides anyone that reads the credits in the back of Goat Fucker will see that many of my contributors are women. I’m dedicated to keeping alive the unholy torch of EC, S. Clay Wilson, Zap, Jim Osbourne, Slow Death, Heavy Metal and all the other great underground artists and publications, which is more necessary than ever in this age of pretentious, boring, and poorly drawn comics . FUCK THE CENSORS AND FUCK THE PC POLICE. GO listen to Anal Cunt and get your pathetic asses raped with true offensive force!

  144. darrylayo says:

    R.D. says: “when the pussies take over the Earth you’ll be kind to us right?”

    Listen up R.D., it means something that you equate weakness with the organ that brought you into this world and could still snap your weak phallus in half.

    You aren’t built for the kind of trash your talking, boy.

  145. Michael DeForge says:

    you’re old

  146. darrylayo says:

    Long time no see, Luke.

    You know, you’re a real piece of work, invoking a recently-deceased man’s name just to try to score points that nobody will ever award you. Your disrespect knows no bounds.

    Now in case you haven’t noticed, real people are having a real discussion, nobody has time for your “BOTH CAMPS ARE WRONG,” absolutely nobody is served by your contributions to this thread or to comics in general. Glad you are well. Take care, Luke.

    ~Darryl

  147. Lightning Lord says:

    This is some seriously stupid shit you’re saying here, man.

  148. Lightning Lord says:

    And so what? If the source material is “terrible”, why is it suddenly so great just because some guy stapled it together in his basement?

  149. Lightning Lord says:

    Goddamn.

  150. Scott Grammel says:

    Wilson’s comics, I was suggesting, were, for all of their accomplished obscenity and vulgarity, the work of a sophisticated and intelligent artist. The most I could claim for Karns comics is that they are dumb fun.

  151. Goat Fucker says:

    HAHA Dood I’m actually quite young I just like old stuff. You spoke to my comic class via skype 3 years ago when i was still in art school, I was the kid who said it was lame that you stopped listening to metal, lol. How you been man?

  152. Lightning Lord says:

    I can tell you’re real young, that gibberish you posted is the ravings of a young man starting to realize that other people have perspectives, and getting mad about it.

  153. Ghastly Fop says:

    Out of curiosity, what was the Bayer kerfuffle?

  154. behind the times in comics
    behind the times in metal

    btw nice job using a Dali quote out of context.

    and in response to:

    ““Underground Comix” are meant to be offensive, pornographic, violent, filthy and loaded with bad taste so obviously they’re not for everyone”

    When you say “not for everyone” you obviously mean “not for people of color, women, or LGBT people”.

  155. Steve LeCouilliard says:

    Ooh, scary. The point is that your wittle prince up there is claiming his work isn’t racist, when his depictions of Arabs clearly are. He could own that, but he’s too much of a coward. He wants to have his boring hackneyed cake and eat it too. There’s nothing subversive about satire that punches down. This is Family Guy with lower production values.

  156. Ed Gauthier says:

    Ouch! The war on terror has come a heckuva long way! Not only are we all for killing Ali Baba in the tradition of the good old American underground here, we’re also hijacking Joe Sacco’s style in the process! Spain already did the whole militant comics angle, try finding something new to rip off, you young guns!

  157. Jack Flash says:

    You know how a good deal of superhero fans, and Bob Harras, seem to think that “DARK, EXTREME, THIS AIN’T YOUR DADDY’S COMICS” storytelling is the same thing as maturity?

    It’s comforting to know that juvenile mentality persists even in indie comics.

  158. R. Fiore says:

    Well, if you can’t draw anything you like in a comic you staple by hand, where can you do it?

  159. Frank Santoro says:

    Well, like I said above I would probably present this work differently if I had to do it over again. I don’t know how I would do that but I’m glad that this discussion happened.

  160. Iestyn Pettigrew says:

    you can, just be honest about what you’re drawing

  161. Lightning Lord says:

    Fiore, I thought you were supposed to have a brain?

  162. David says:

    You try too hard.

  163. Scott Grammel says:

    Every time another Karns advocate posts in his defense, I’d hazard a guess that Rugg and Santoro get just a bit more uncomfortable with the company they’re keeping. Or, at least, I would if I were them.

  164. Jeremy Baum says:

    the work isn’t built on contempt for anyone. if you had actually read any of his comics you would know that your reaction to the panels above depicting a terrorist are way out of hand.

  165. Jeremy Baum says:

    fine. but fukitor’s intent is to entertain. not propagate hate and/or have the delusion of moral superiority.

  166. ginette says:

    Wahhhh straight white males can’t make racist comics, that means straight while males can’t make comics about anything!!!!

  167. Jeremy Baum says:

    dude you’ve clearly not read any of jason’s comics. you’re basing your ridiculous judgements of this man based solely on the terrorist panels posted above and placing this man’s work completely out of context.
    accusing this man of being racist is fucking absurd.

  168. Iestyn Pettigrew says:

    Can I ask why? I think it’s interesting that probably the thing that has caused the greatest stir is not necessarily the work itself, but the reaction of the creator to someone calling out the imagery.

  169. Dan Nadel says:

    This thread has run its course, so comments are now locked.

  170. Pingback: They’re called underground comix for a reason | Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources – Covering Comic Book News and Entertainment

  171. Pingback: Should we even try to give indie comics a wider cultural context? — The Beat