‘Tooners now “brashly confident avatars of cool.”

Dear friends, The Beat has been blogging for nigh on four years now, and when we began, our goal was to put comics culture into the context of real world culture, and make cartoonists feel good about themselves by treating the medium as a place of ideas and influence, not the island of misfit toys. Now it appears that this movement may have gone too far. Just as the literary acceptance of comics began with the infamous New York Times mag cover story, the Times may have officially made this THE DAY COMICS JUMPED THE SHARK.

The evidence? A FASHION spread (above) on Indie cartoonists taken at Splat:

A PARADE of awkward TV and movie antiheros — think Ugly Betty, Velma from “Scooby-Doo,” McLovin from “Superbad” — has given nerdism a boost in cachet. Now come their off-screen counterparts, the crowd at Splat!, the graphic novel symposium that took place on Saturday at the New York Center for Independent Publishing in Midtown. The cartoonists, publishers, librarians and manga fanciers in the crowd elevated the overtly scholarly Poindexter look to a retro art form.

Skipping the requisite gadgetry (Bluetooth headsets and the like), most cultivated an aura of benign self-neglect. Overstuffed messenger bags, weathered cords, Converse sneakers and trilbys contributed to the effect. Tousled hair, windbreakers and spectacles, too, played a part in transforming these studiously nondescript characters into brashly confident avatars of cool.


  1. maija says

    No need to panic. The ironic nerd look has been fashionable since the ascendence of GenX and the dotcom boom ten years ago. But mostly I blame Judd Apatow. I think it’s the fashion that has contributed to making comics “cool”, not the other way around.

  2. says

    I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. But then some folks figure that vinyl trucker hats are fashion (or did at one time; I may have missed a memo.)

  3. says

    Hey, what’s a better gauge of mainstream acceptance than the mainstream getting sick and tired of your bullshit?

  4. says

    “brashly confident avatars of cool” This is my new mantra. This sums up everything I hope to be when I grow up.

    Or not.

    Unfortunatley, I’m six one and weight 198 pounds, I can’t find thrift store clothes that fit. Bummer.

  5. says

    Miocheal said:”Hey, what’s a better gauge of mainstream acceptance than the mainstream getting sick and tired of your bullshit? ”

    So true.
    Anyone know who these individuals are? I don’t recognize some of them.

  6. Joe S. Walker says

    The so-called quality press likes nothing better than a space-filling story about some spurious social trend. It means fuck all, I’m afraid.

  7. rich says

    Don’t worry … the author describes those in attendance with the prerequisite snark. Things haven’t changed much at all.

  8. Karen says

    Me, I’m way in the background of the third photo. Clearly, my geek fu is not mighty enough.

    I love that they led off the photo spread with the guy who was paid to be there to sell the cartoonists’ books, and had nothing to do with the geek culture at all.

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