§ Yesterday feathers, panties and twitter feeds were ruffles by this piece in the Guardian entitled When did the comic-book universe become so banal? It was written by an art critic named Jonathan Jones , and while moaning about Scott McCloud and Chris Ware (the poor man’s Paul Klee) it finally came round to true greatness:
Joe Sacco’s drawings are sensitive and considered, rather than briskly stylish. His comics stand out for their passion and purpose. But the standard of true art in comics is surely Robert Crumb.
This Jones chap also wrote recently that “photography is not true art”, so he’s just a troll, folks. One of those annoying, posh high culture trolls, but just a troll. He happened to wander into a bookstore (possibly while wearing a paisley shirt) and had a deadline and…the rest is history. Neil Gaiman got off the most authoritative version of this zinger:
When did the @guardian articles become so banal? #gloriouslyuninformedarticlebyamanwhosawagraphicnovel http://t.co/E98w4bkliZ
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) February 16, 2015
§PS: The Guardian is actually serializing a new work called “The Last Saturday” by this guy named Chris Ware. And it’s pretty neat (Although the interface is a little odd.) My advice to you is to take any time you spent being enraged by Jones and spending it reading the 21 installments of The lAst Saturday instead.
§ Luckily, there were other, actually interesting mainstream pieces on comics over the holiday weekend, such as this report on international publishing from the Taipei International Book Exposition:
Graphic novels allow artists to express their emotions more freely than traditional comics because at the time of their emergence, traditional comics in France had already settled into a certain format, Beaujean said during a graphic novel forum Friday at the Taipei International Book Exhibition.
Johann Ulrich, head of the German publisher Avant-Verlag, said graphic novels are also gaining more recognition in Germany, even though, like in Taiwan, they do not occupy as big a market share as in Japan or France. More German graphic novelists are having their works published, said Ulrich.
His publishing house, for example, publishes around 15 new works per year at present, compared with 10 two years ago, he told CNA.
§ And this Taddy Jamieson piexe from The Sotland Herald suggests that comics are an urban art form that colors how we view our cities:
I’ve been thinking about the comic strip’s urban roots this week after a visit to a small exhibition at the Anise Gallery in London (just around the corner from the Design Museum). Sequential City showcases the work of six small press and indie comic creators: Owen D. Pomery, Alison Sampson, Lando, Hannah Berry, John Riordan and Tim Bird. “Drawing allows us to make sense of the world and through Sequential City we can see how these artists view the modern metropolis,” the gallery argues.
§ Paste Magazine interviewed Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez:
Paste: You don’t really collaborate, but do you discuss the order of stories in Love and Rockets? Does it come together organically? Do you bounce ideas off one another, or do you work pretty much in isolation, apart from some kind of psychic brother link?
Gilbert Hernandez: Sometimes Jaime and I will have similar stories appearing together in Love and Rockets without us knowing it until it’s time to put the finished stories in order. In Love and Rockets #7, we both have a long adventure/fantasy story. Since mine was conceived first, mine goes first in the issue, but it’s usually a matter of what flows best and which stories complement the other. More than ever, these days we usually don’t know what the other is doing until we see the book put together.
Jaime Hernandez: Sometimes two of my stories that sit next to each other will need a large gap in between to help the flow of the drama, so I’ll need a longer Gilbert story to stick in there and vice versa. We work in isolation, but I like to know what Gilbert is up to both as a fan of his work and a person I share the book with.
§ In weekend convention news, the MCM Expo Group’s Midlands Comic Con was a hit:
He said: “From 2007 to 2013 it was just in the one hall. Last year we moved into part of the second hall and we have taken over it completely. “The support from Shropshire and the surrounding area has been amazing. There is a real appetite for it and people who come will come back next year and bring their friends.”
And a couple dressed as Super Mario took the occasion to become engaged at the con.
§ The first Wizard World Indianapolis was held and drew about 5000 people
§ Headline of the day: ‘It’s like Comic-Con… but for cat people’
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.