§ This article from the London Times Book Review by Michael Saler may just be the most evenhanded treatment of the Rise of the Graphic Novel from the viewpoint of a member of the Old Skool Cultural Elite yet:

But critics of genre are increasingly counter-balanced by prominent proponents and practitioners, including Haruki Murakami, David Mitchell, Joyce Carol Oates, Jonathan Lethem and Junot Diaz. The Library of America has published elegant editions of authors who only two generations ago gave libraries across America pause, H. P. Lovecraft and Philip K. Dick. Genre films and books are no longer a minority interest. They top the bestseller lists and popularity polls: we are all geeks now. The establishment’s disdain for genre, and the populists’ suspicion of experimental techniques, are largely things of the past. Generations weaned on cultures “high” and “low” have become the producers and arbiters of the arts, enabled by the expansion of the internet since the early 1990s. (Even the “establishment” is being overtaken by the less euphonious but more democratic “blogosphere”.) Two eminent figures in the effort to reconcile mass entertainment with intellectual respectability, the music critic David Hajdu and the novelist Michael Chabon, have taken stock of the irrational intolerance faced by genre artists in the past. Neither overtly celebrates today’s relative catholicity of taste – battles remain to be fought – but the simultaneous publication of their works reflects a broader cultural turning point.

Meanwhile, at EW (of all places) Chris Nashawaty turns on the HATE!

Sitting in the darkness of the theater, beaten numb by the whining adolescent angst of Peter Parker, fighting back a yawn during his schmaltzy rain-soaked smooch with Mary Jane Watson, nearly going into diabetic shock from all of the sugar-spun F/X eye candy that honestly couldn’t have looked more bogus, I felt…well, I felt really bored. At some point during those endless 121 minutes, I’d changed. And when the audience started whooping as the end credits rolled, I realized that my beloved summer movies were changing too.

Comic+Geek+Speak+3§ Larry Marder talks all things Image, Todd and of course Beanworld on Comic Geek Speak:

I kick in after the two minute mark of the stream after an ad for their sponsor, Team Epic. I really enjoyed this interview, including the parts about my tenures at Image Comics and McFarlane Toys. Even though I’m no longer affiliated in any way with either of those crews, I am still quite clear in what I accomplished (or fell short of) during that period of time in my life–almost 15 years.

But of course, my favorite thing to talk about is Beanworld. Of note is the behind-the-scenes, sit-com-like moment at the time marker of 22:27. I’m trying to explain the premise of Beanworld. One of my cats, Abby, decides that she is hungry and audibly meows while she was rubbing up against the phone handset. I can “hear” myself rolling my eyes and going off balance in mid-explanation as I’m shushing her away. I’m talking about Beanworld’s food chain and Abby is also discussing with me her agenda of the moment which is MY participation in HER food chain!

§ Indispensible Mike Manleyexplains why missing WizWorld Philly was no big deal:

There might be a lot of factors as to why this show was lame, maybe it was the rain and tornado warnings on Saturday, maybe the NYC show a month earlier stole the juice, maybe Wizards troubles and decline as an organization also factor, add in the shitty economy and gas prices, con fatigue, what have you. I don’t know, but the show basically sucked ass. I’m sure if you were drawing 56 or Spider-Dude you were busier, but the crowd was just not there as it has been and instead of this being a turn-around year, this was the year I think that clearly says this show has seen it’s best years and even as a reginal it’s one I think you can cross off the list. i live 20 minutes away and next year i doubt I’ll be back.I am not a fan in the traditional sense, I don’t do shows as a fan, I do them as a pro, a guy who makes his living sometimes as comic artist and an educator, I do them to meet some of my fans, press the flesh, promote Draw!, network and meet my fellow pros and friends. So that I think always makes my experience different from the fan who just wants card signed or to get a sketch from Jim lee, or Kevin Smith and that is always the basis of which I make my reports from.

§ Lynda Barry on NPR (via Tom)