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We’re All Emotionally Bankrupt

We've got a double dose of comics for you today. First, Leslie Stein, the artist behind Eye of the Majestic Creature, who reviews the film adaptation of Phoebe Gloeckner's Diary of a Teenage Girl in the form of comics.

And then Rina Ayuyang is her, with the third installment of her week's residence in the Cartoonist's Diary spot. Today, she asks her mom to go with her to the museum.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The Ignatz Award nominations have been announced for this year. I may have missed it, but I haven't seen much controversy online about the picks.

I don't normally post promotional preview stuff like this, but I can't help myself when it's Jaime Hernandez on Archie.

—Reviews & Commentary. Yesterday, Dan linked to one of the two Peanuts essays going around online this week. Here's the other one, by Kevin Wong at Kotaku, arguing that Peanuts got ruined when Snoopy started fighting the Red Baron and light whimsy became the main focus. That's an old, popular argument -- I remember a big cover feature in the New York Press making the same claim at length some fifteen years ago or so. The opposing critical side argues that people place too much emphasis on the "dark" elements of Schulz's work because dark subject matter is irrationally considered more adult and sophisticated. Of course, in actual fact both sides are wrong/right, and Peanuts contains multitudes, and did so from beginning to end. There's light whimsical humor from the very earliest strips. Wong mentions the following strip from 1995 (long past the beginning of the Joe Cool era), but dismisses it only on the basis that it's not a "fully-formed joke." Well, it made me laugh out loud when I opened to it in the latest Complete Peanuts volume.

peanuts+fsf

Anyway, it's not hard to cherry-pick weaker or stronger strips from any era to make your case. But arguing that Peanuts isn't good in later years because Snoopy doesn't act like a real dog seems a little beside the point.

More importantly: it's obviously all right to prefer one era or tone over another. (In fact, my particular taste in Peanuts isn't that far off from Wong's, though I'm much more impressed with Schulz's consistency.) But one of the great strengths of the daily newspaper strip is its flexibility. Schulz knew exactly what he was doing.

Whit Taylor recommends three sites that feature feminist comics.

I don't believe we've linked to the relaunched Trouble with Comics site yet. Here's a post where the members discuss the concept of the "perfect comic shop" that demonstrates the site's strengths nicely.

And finally, Shaenon Garrity considers the prospects for a post-Fables Vertigo.


3 Responses to We’re All Emotionally Bankrupt

  1. That example made me laugh, too, but…it’s true that the rhythm and set-up (i.e. there isn’t either one) is more simplistic than it would have been in the early days. And not simpler in a good way, I think.

  2. Tim Hodler says:

    I think you may be right, but isn’t that one of the most interesting things about the late work of great artists? Seeing what’s left when their thematic and aesthetic obsessions boil down to their essence?

  3. steven samuels says:

    I don’t think the nineties strips suffered from whimsy. The problem was as a lack of variation in setting not to mention a limited gag palette. Too many Snoopy cookie jokes and not enough summer camp hijinks

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