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Number Seven

A panel from Sturm & Baxter's "Response to Chapter Nine"

Today, Kim Deitch continues his memoir-via-music in part 6. If you aren’t reading these because you think they’re all just a bunch of old music talk, you’re really missing out on an incredibly enjoyable (& repeatedly jaw-dropping) autobiography from not only one of the most significant cartoonists alive and working today, but also someone who led a rich life, which partly because of his family and partly because of his own career, intersected with all kinds of interesting people and events. For example, today’s entry includes appearances by Jules Feiffer, Pete Seeger, children’s television host Freddie the Fireman, Connie Converse, Handsome Harry (a Brazilian gigolo), and Bill Griffith, not to mention such topics as his parents’ divorce, a trip to Prague, a mysterious suicide, the loss of Kim’s virginity, and his entry into art school. So if you’ve already been reading along, the new installment is here, and you need no encouragement. Otherwise, go back to part one, and get caught up as quick as you can. You won’t be sorry.

Also, Hayley Campbell reviews Jaques Tardi & Jean-Patrick Manchette’s Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot. I’m really looking forward to this book.

Okay, and now some links for the day:

1. The cartoonist Seth declares his support for the boycott against Marvel, mentioning in passing his own fondness for some of the company’s comics, his thoughts on the company’s obligations, and his suggested plan of action for those who still need their fix of stories featuring characters created by Jack Kirby.

2. Eventually we will talk Kim Thompson into writing an ongoing dream journal for us, and it will be amazing.

3. One of my three favorite comics podcasts, the Comix Claptrap, is back with the first episode of its fourth season. This time, they interview Annie Koyama, one of the best and most fascinating publishers of new comics around. (The hosts also briefly disagree about whether or not Dan is “nice.”)

4. Devlin & Burns & co. give a guided photo tour of their visit to Mimi Pond’s home.

5. Stan Lee is pretty old now, so it’s probably wrong to find amusement in the potential awfulness of something like this, but … what can I say? A flawed and petty man is putting together this batch of links today.

6. Apple is apparently censoring certain underground comics for iPad and iPhone users.

7. Finally, Ben Towle has posted the still much-discussed comic-strip response to Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics that was created by James Sturm and Art Baxter and originally ran in issue 211 of The Comics Journal. Towle also got comments from Sturm and Baxter regarding the creation of the strip and their thoughts on it today. If you read only one of these links, this should be the one! (Also the Seth one. And the Kim Thompson one.)


3 Responses to Number Seven

  1. patrick ford says:

    The Ben Towle link seems to be missing.

  2. R. Fiore says:

    May I point out just how staggeringly wrongheaded the Sturm & Baxter panel excerpted above is? It could be the dictionary illustration for the term “half bright.” First and foremost, it seems to escape their notice that they’re comparing a literary tradition spanning 3000 years with a comics medium that has existed little more than a hundred. Even leaving that aside, the argument presented is false. The potential of the comics was demonstrated by McCay, Feininger and Herriman in the first 25 years of its existence as a viable medium. To not see the vast realizable potential in their work alone is to be blind to art. To dismiss the genuine realized potential in the roomful of examples presented in that panel altogether because they are not works of art on the level of Shakespeare, Beethoven or Michaelangelo, which they definitely are not, is the most arrant kind of philistinism. To say that an art form that has devoted most of its energies to providing enjoyment is worthless depends on to what extent you value enjoyment. I would say that for the 35 or so years of my adult life I’ve been spending about two to six hours every weekend reading comics. Some have been better than others but I would say on balance these have been golden hours. It certainly amounts to more than “a few weeks.” The panel excerpted by itself demonstrates one phenomenal potentiality of the art form: It illustrates how in one single simple combination of words and images you can be completely and utterly full of shit.

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