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One More Day

I heard from this guy on the subway that May 21 is the day the Y2K bug finally strikes. I may be a pessimist but I don’t think our new robot rulers are gonna let us spend much time sitting around reading about comic books (was Monday’s outage a preliminary attack?), so get your kicks in now. We’ll all be working in the coltan mines soon.

Some ways to while away your final hours:

Dustin Harbin says goodbye to the Doug Wright Awards with one last diary entry. It has been fun to see the rolling waves of pleasure and argument getting started after each entry went up.

And Richard “Know Your New Yorker Cartoonists” Gehr weighs in with a review of Leslie Stein’s new Eye of the Majestic Creature.

Oh, and did we forget to mention that issue 301 made New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix? It did.

Elsewhere on the internet:

A great profile of Richard Thompson from the Washington Post. (Bill Watterson alert.)

Video footage has arisen from the 2010 APE interview Dan Clowes gave to Dan Nadel. (One of the reasons I like this interview is that before the show, Frank Santoro and I send Dan our most shameless comics-fan questions, and then he actually asked most of them.) [via]

TCAF has been getting all the glory, but Eric Reynolds went to the Swedish SPX festival in Stockholm, along with former TCJ.com diarist Vanessa Davis, Gabrielle Bell, Trevor Alixopulos, Dash Shaw, Brent Warnock, and many others. Check out his photos here.

Tom Devlin, Chris Oliveros, and John Porcellino took a trip with Chester Brown to visit his childhood environs. Tom Devlin Chris Oliveros has the photos (and their comic-panel equivalents from Brown’s work) in a great post over here.

Joakim Gunnarsson didn’t like the reproductions used in the recent Buz Sawyer book, and explains why here. The book’s editor, Rick Norwood, shows up in the comments to defend himself.

Conflict of interest alert: Sammy Harkham announces the next edition of Kramers Ergot, and Dan’s his new publisher:

Mondo (Alamo Drafthouse) is releasing a limited-edition screen print of Chris Ware’s poster for the film Uncle Boonmee, going on sale this morning.

Finally—and “not comics”—an item for those into hand-wringing discussions about criticism only: This post about the lack of negative jazz criticism is really interesting for the way it corresponds (and doesn’t) with the state of comics criticism. (It was more interesting before that site switched to TypePad last night and lost all its comments in the process.)


2 Responses to One More Day

  1. Chris says:

    The criticism link was good, and comics definitely has the same issues. Most criticism has less to do with the quality of books and what they’re saying, and more to do with promoting a certain view of comics or just pushing product in general. You never get real, aggressive criticism based on what’s truly happening in the work for a few reasons.

    1) Criticism is a commodity and most “reviews” are promotions for new products. Look at all the inane Chester Brown stuff this week. How much can you really say about simple drawings of prostitutes? Are we really that interested in the “plight” of a guy who can pay for gratification? The interviews/reviews are pure promo. If “Paying For It” was a reality show, it would be watched, but not respected. Because it follows a tradition of comics drawn in a simplistic, dull style with robotic, instruction manual dialog (the comics version of documentary), it gets critical favor. But that approach has been done to death. How much can you really say about it? Is it that different from Crumb pretending to bemoan his “guilt” at cheating on his wife in a comic strip? It’s just easy-to-swallow, navel-gazing bullshit. The reviewer doesn’t have to think to review it, because they’re not digesting anything innovative, and the product gets plugged. Everybody’s happy.

    2) Comics is a club for boys who feel entitled. There are tons of sites/blogs by creators lamenting their lack of work or giving sage advice despite the fact that they’ve produced so little. You see a lot of people trying to communicate their desire for community instead of creating comics that make a point. They talk about the work more than they do it. These cartoonists don’t criticize their peers because they prefer being loved/accepted over being honest and doing unique work. And when a comics figure is critical, like Alan Moore, their targets fire back so pathetically. I’m think of Jason Aaron’s CBR column about how he’d never read Moore again (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30200). The guy was so torn up because Moore, one of his heroes, didn’t like him? Who cares? Why does Alan Moore owe you attention. He has to like your work because you bought his comics? Is it really so hard to imagine that you’re just not that good? Or that you don’t have to take his opinion seriously? Comics could be full of healthy competition. Instead it’s a lot of people cranking out the same exact thing, more concerned with professional friendship instead of professional work. And why do you have to like someone personally to enjoy their work?

    3) Comics try to reach a relatively young, white, male audience almost exclusively. It’s funny to see the corporate/indie line in the sand, because the big guys and the indie gods (Clowes, Ware, etc.) all court this audience. They reflect lonely nerd interests back at a fan base ready to accept them. If the work is always about the audience, and nothing else, it’s hard for the audience to be very critical. The funniest part is, despite the extreme lack of real stories featuring people who aren’t young, white men, people in the industry actually wonder why they can’t reach a bigger audience! Comics will gladly kill itself.

    There’s a lot to criticize and not that much to be passionate about. But fans and pros don’t approach comics like the fans and pros of other media. It’s a cult interest, but defensively so. You see that in the attitudes of creators who defend their work as quality simply because they created it, whereas Moore’s comments are easy to sympathize with because he’s being critical of an industry that keeps going back to a well he created. If more people had his attitude, you’d get better work and better criticism. Instead you just get this very closed off little society with the pretense that it’s there to foster “real art” before any of this “real art” is every created.

  2. AB says:

    Could you give some examples?

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