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The Opposite of What You’d Expect

Good morning, everyone. Today, we are republishing “50 Years of Mediocrity”, a controversial 1998 article written by the cartoonist Sam Henderson, about his disappointment as a student at School of Visual Arts in New York, prompted by a celebratory issue of the alumni magazine:

Now we get to the work of students past and present. “A Day in the Night of a Comic Book Artist” is a portfolio of the best from Joe Orlando’s class. Orlando asked his students to show themselves at their drawing board, and his example can be seen. A young man looks in a mirror above his drafting table trying to get the right face for the page he works on. He is surrounded by tools, and in the background are visions of superheroes, aliens, and spaceships. The results are basically other versions of the same drawing. Most students draw the same lamp and chair but add slight variations like different angles or the ultimate SVA cartooning major’s wish-fulfillment fantasy— a bed nearby with a girl sleeping in it.

Fifteen years later, Henderson has a few regrets about how that story panned out, and so we also have a new article from him talking about how his attitude towards SVA has changed. Here’s a bit:

I heard secondhand how pissed off some people were about the piece. One faculty member (whom I didn’t know) apparently told his students not to read it. I trashed one artist who supposedly told someone at the comic store he worked at that he’d kill me if he ever met me. I knew a couple teachers socially who thought I was throwing them under a bus.

Elsewhere:

—Interviews with Superhero Creators. Grant Morrison talks at length with USA Today about the end of his Batman run and the beginning of his work on Wonder Woman. Also, longtime X-Men writer Chris Claremont talks to Sean Howe about the new Wolverine movie, and not getting a mention in the credits.

—The Funny Pages.
Derf wrote a longer update about his previously mentioned firing by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, and the end of his long-running strip, The City. Which led to a truly inspired rant on the Comic Strip of the Day site about the current state of newspaper publishing. Matt Bor continues his doom-‘n-gloom tour, talking to Truthout about what he believes is the dying art of editorial cartooning.

—Money. Jim Keefe, artist on the Sally Forth and Flash Gordon strips, talks about how cartoonists should price their work. Gary Tyrrell talks about the latest Kickstarter controversies.

—Heidi Macdonald does a end-of-show recap of the winners and losers of Comic-Con, and catches the welcome and imminent re-publication of Katherine Collins’s Neil the Horse.

—Tim Kreider writes about designing book covers.

—A South Carolina Christian advocacy group has attacked the College of Charleston’s choice of Fun Home as one of several books recommended for incoming freshmen, calling it “pornographic.”

—Ben Towle enthuses about the French cartoonist Chaval.

—Tom Spurgeon has a very strong short review of Geneviève Castrée’s Susceptible.

—Jason T. Miles writes about the origins of his upcoming horror anthology Insect Bath (and has set up a preview Tumblr for it, as well).

—The Los Angeles Review of Books has a video interview with Sammy Harkham.


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