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Talking Turkey

Hello everyone, and I hope all our US readers survived the feasting and family. First up today comes a feature article on something you most likely weren’t expecting to read about: Now You’re Logging, an early graphic novel on the Canadian logging industry created by an outdoorsman and self-taught cartoonist. Brad Mackay has more.

And Frank Santoro’s regular column plays host to Jacob Berendes’s scene report from Providence, Rhode Island.

Elsewhere:

In anticipation of his on-stage interview with Mad legend Jack Davis this weekend, Drew Friedman presents an online gallery of the artist’s work.

The Guardian, which seems to really be saturating their culture section with comics coverage lately, has two stories about comics and Occupy Wall Street: First, a not entirely coherent (but not necessarily wrong) essay by Ice Storm novelist Rick Moody, linking Frank Miller’s work and political commentary to Hollywood propaganda, and second, a really surprisingly good short interview with Alan Moore about the prevalence of V for Vendetta masks at Occupy protests. (The enjoyability of the piece may be linked to the fact that he isn’t asked for the five-millionth time to give his take on movies made from his books and/or current superhero comics.)

Here are outtakes from a profile of underground comics hero Spain Rodriguez.

Chip Kidd reviews a book about the Joker for the Wall Street Journal (and in a sidebar, gives a short list of his favorite books about Golden Age comics).

And finally, this will be catnip for some and provoke blank stares from others: Matt Seneca has just posted the first of a week’s worth of posts reprinting an online conversation with the Young Lions cartoonist and internet personality Blaise Larmee.


7 Responses to Talking Turkey

  1. Alec Trench says:

    Well, I was kind of enjoying that anti-Miller rant over at the Guardian – the writer seems able to shoot at the side of a barn that’s all lit up with neon signs saying ‘Shoot me!’ – but then I reached this bit:

    It’s a barely watchable film, but what from Hollywood these days is not similarly unwatchable, when so many high-profile releases are based on a medium, the comic book, made expressly to engage the attentions of pre- and just post-pubescent boys. At least comic books themselves are so politically dim-witted, so pie-in-the-sky idealistic as to be hard to take seriously.

    (my non-italics)

    That was when I realised that the reason I don’t read newspapers is because they’re all written by opportunist con-men with debilitating hangovers and absolutely nothing valuable to say who live deep in the dark back-pockets of tyrannical oligarchs.

    The photographers are OK, though. As long as they’ve had a beloved relation dispatched by a hoodlum, anyway.

  2. Dustin says:

    That Rick Moody article is pretty out there. Firstly, I think it’s kind of a stretch to propose Miller as the mouthpiece for Hollywood propaganda considering his limited forays into filmmaking. And the type of messages he decries as coming out of Hollywood these days have been coming out of Hollywood for many, many decades (but I guess admitting that would then not allow him to traffic in the “movies suck now” vein of thought that has also been prevalent for many decades.)

    Also, he says this about comic books:

    It’s a barely watchable film, but what from Hollywood these days is not similarly unwatchable, when so many high-profile releases are based on a medium, the comic book, made expressly to engage the attentions of pre- and just post-pubescent boys. At least comic books themselves are so politically dim-witted, so pie-in-the-sky idealistic as to be hard to take seriously.

    I’m assuming he really means to say mainstream superhero comics, in which case he would largely be right, but the fact that he makes no such distinction and instead damns an entire medium is definitely betraying an ignorance of the subject.

  3. Tim Hodler says:

    You’re right that he defines comics pretty narrowly there, though I wonder if the terminology confusion crept in with some overzealous copy editor. Moody is certainly aware of more ambitious comics, and expressed admiration for them in a review of David B. for the New York Times. (It wouldn’t be too hard to pick nits with that piece, too, but all I mean to point out is that he knows better comics exist.)

    • Kim Thompson says:

      I agree with this: I think Moody is clearly using “comic book” to mean very specifically the mainstream super-hero pamphlets, with the term “graphic novel” reserved for… well, the good stuff, whatever you might want to call it. It seems an acceptable shorthand to me.

      On the other hand, Moody has the peevish liberal’s tendency to conflate everything he doesn’t like into one big ball of reactionary evil; I suspect Miller himself would be appalled to be lumped in with James Cameron’s admittedly ham-fisted anti-imperialist human-self-loathing eco-fable, and the idea that Miller’s politics are typical of Hollywood is laughable on the face of it. (The difference between ROBOCOP and the Miller-written ROBOCOP 2 and 3 is that Verhoeven thought Robocop was the absurd end result of runaway politico-corporate malfeasance, while Miller thought Robocop was a damn good idea to take care of the punks. In a Miller STARSHIP TROOPERS 2 Verhoeven’s explicitly Nazi-inflected Neil Patrick Harris character would have been the unambiguous, unironic hero battling subhuman, possibly Muslim arachnids.)

  4. patrick ford says:

    Most likely Moody was talking about comic books in a film context, which would mean the kind of comic books which most closely resemble the current wave of ridiculous pantyhose fetish flicks.

  5. Alec Trench says:

    He does mention Sacco in that Epilepic review, as well, so maybe Mr. Hodler’s diagnosis is correct.

    Or, perhaps he uses “comic-books” in the way Eddie Campbell does (I think), meaning the trashy stuff, whereas “graphic novels” are, in Moody-speak, that ‘graphic genre’ of fiction which is gaining more and more tolerance in literary circles, on the condition that the subject-matter is autobiographical and/or thoroughly miserable in tone.

  6. R. Fiore says:

    Here’s what I could never figure out: Why is it that Rick Moody gets this big reputation as a comic novelist when he never writes anything funny, while Don DeLillo is thought of as so deadly serious when his work displays such a wicked sense of humor?

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