Sell Your Brains

Today on the site Tucker Stone, who recently told me, “Everything’s coming up roses for Tucker Stone”, and then ordered some terrible vegetable fries he soon regretted, is sticking to his critical vibe, reviewing a new edition of Lone Wolf and Cub, Paul Pope, Adrian Tomine, Prophet, and Kick-Ass 3.

And now, instead of a buncha links, I have to get something off my chest. I am irritated by this Ignatz nomination for a Garo tribute book called SP7: Alt. Comics Tribute to GARO Manga, edited by Ian Harker and Box Brown. Here’s why…

No. I don't care one way or the other about that. I would really like to recreate Dan's "sell your boots" moment, and even asked around to try and find appropriate targets for a rant—I received suggestions ranging from Craig Yoe's reprinting of John K's Comic Book to a recent Steve Geppi Facebook posting—and for a while I even considered just writing a terribly inflammatory essay and posting it as if it was written by Dan, but I think it's better not to force it right now. I will deliver my "surprise" at a moment when it isn't expected...

No, wait. I am pissed off about something completely inconsequential: that stupid Peanuts/Smiths mashup Tumblr that so many soul-dead people are linking to and reblogging and acting like they are actually amused by instead of admitting that it's the most obvious and tired concept possible. In fact, the internet in general and the comics internet in particular is filled with worthless trivia and vaguely clever amusements to distract cubicle slaves from their empty existences, and they aren't working any more. The worst thing about this particular example is that it isn't actually that terrible; its biggest offense is just the vague feeling it inspires of Didn't somebody do this already? Far worse are all the people linking to it and praising it to the skies and just the general culture these days of everything being utterly wonderful or totally worthless. Obligatory two-minute hate followed by obligatory two-minute adoration, followed by the predictable backlash and then the backlash against the backlash. The internet age was supposed to deliver the publishing means of production to the masses and allow a billion different voices to flourish, but it sometimes feels like North American culture is more conformist than ever.

If this is getting incoherent—"these people like something I don't" doesn't match well with "everyone is exactly the same"—then so in some ways was my model. But it occurs to me that this rant still isn't going to work, because I didn't pick an appropriately polarizing target. I will try again a bit later. In the meantime, here's a buncha links.

—News. As alluded to above, the nominations for the Ignatz Awards have been announced. Many people have already noted the fact that all five nominees in the Outstanding Graphic Novel category were created by women--notable on top of that is how natural-looking a list it is; of the four books I've read, not one is a token.

Archie artist/writer Dan Parent has revealed that a story involving Archie characters taking a trip to Russia has been rewritten in protest against recent anti-LGBT actions in that country.

—Interviews & Profiles. NEA Arts magazine interviews Dan Clowes. Laura Sneddon recaps panels featuring Chris Ware and Joe Sacco at the Edinburgh book festival.

Here's a couple things I never thought I'd see: Molly Crabapple interviewing Warren Ellis for The Paris Review, and an interview with Crabapple herself at Talking Points Memo. (Actually the second one doesn't seem so strange, considering her recent politically oriented work.)

—Reviews & Criticism. Matthew Wolf-Meyer reviews the Avengers: West Coast Avengers Omnibus for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Chris Mautner reviews John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell's March for Robot 6, and J. Caleb Mozzocco reviews">Shigeru Mizuki's Kitaro for the same site.

—A category allowing me to perpetuate the same kind of bullshit I was ranting about earlier. This newspaper mix-up of Far Side and Dennis the Menace captions has been going around for years—I think I first saw it over a decade ago—but it's going around again for some reason, and it's still funny to me.

I had zero interest in seeing the R.I.P.D. movie until I learned that Jeff Bridges based his character on Jim Woodring's Frank! Now I would like to see the three-minute YouTube video showing evidence of this that gets made about a month or two from now.

Adrian Tomine went to the White House.

Orson Scott Card rants
aren't as much fun now that the whole world knows about them. Apparently I'm now so old that the only thing I can be a hipster about is weird political creeps. I have to admit that Card's kept the quality up.

10 Responses to Sell Your Brains

  1. Danny Ceballos says:

    Let the cubicle dwellers have their meaningless memes (as nutritional as Twinkies)
    We with eyes can see things like Warren Craghead’s FAUVES, Gabrielle Bell’s LUCKY, etc
    so let’s point them (our eyeballs – our listeners) in that direction

  2. Tom Spurgeon says:

    You’re fired.

  3. Tim Hodler says:

    I don’t know if I have it in me. Maybe it would be better if I thought of an actual legitimate gripe.

  4. patrick ford says:

    The peanut butter and jelly mix up is sublime.

  5. “Maybe it would be better if I thought of an actual legitimate gripe.”

    You’re doing the internet wrong.

  6. Briany Najar says:

    In the light of your refusal to ignite a comicsinternet-wide debate, perhaps you could unload your thoughts and feelings about such phenomena.
    Among other aspects it would be interesting to read a detailed taxonomy of the characteristic properties of typical debates, the personalities involved, the problems that arise, and the types of opinions and behavioural structures that cause the problems.

  7. Briany Najar says:

    Meanwhile, just for fun – and anyone can join in – consider the following dilemma.

    An indestructible, inhuman entity approaches you and declares that you have been mandatorily elected to legislate on a certain course of action. There are two options, and if you fail to choose one within 72 hours, all female members of the human species will be permanently deprived of the power of speech.

    Option A: All comics, in all their forms, across the entire planet will be irreversibly destroyed.
    Option B: All comics, in all their forms, from one Anglophone nation of your choice will be irreversibly destroyed. If you choose this option you are absolutely obliged to nominate the nation.

    Which do you choose?

  8. LWV says:

    The problem is how commonplace non-sequitur and “get it? GET IT?” References are in *all* media these days, combined with the sort of weird media-as-brand-as-lifestyle angle that mainstream stuff is sold at.
    It’s not a problem that “comix” have much because they’re often intentionally jamming, (or old, or foreign, or just tremendously disconnected from the outside world) but the copy on basically everything else made in English is just garbage. Characters in TV and movies and songs and in paintings are now primarily motivated by being seen by the audience, usually an audience that is able to make a personal connection with that character based on a (sponsored) drink choice or He-man callout. And that’s fucking sad. People don’t interface with the words or the pictures in Charming Charlie as much as they react to them as symbols, and because those are two not especially hot ,but still actually quite popular symbols a lot of people can feel like they are personally clever for following along.
    There’s a different but related problem in games writing where everyone has to be simple or blank and the controls and objectives have to be very obvious because players need the illusion of freedom and signifigance to connect with a game more than they actually need content to connect with.


  9. Knut Robert Knutsen says:

    I spot the flaw in your dilemma: the “penalty” for not making a choice regarding comics (which is still MALE dominated in production and readership) is to deprive all FEMALE humans of speech.

    This world is full of assholes that would listen to that proposition and go “Never mind the 72 hours, can you just deprive them of speech right now?”

    As for choosing to irreversibly destroy the comics of one Anglophone nation? I pick Tuvalu. Nothing against cartoonists or comics from Tuvalu, there are just fewer of them.

    But I still say that to some people the option of not choosing is the most attractive (as in, it shuts all women up and no comics are destroyed). Maybe the dilemma needs some work. Usually the penalty for not choosing is more severe and affects the chooser more directly.

  10. Briany Najar says:

    D’oh. I should have said their visibility.

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