I’m as sick of you-know-what as you are, but thoughtful responses keep rolling in that deserve some link love:

Dick Hyacinth sums up the controversy and its aftermath.

I think the reason the “debate” proved so useless was her initial gambit of linking a critique of Best American Comics 2007 which almost everyone on earth would agree with (ie, it could have included worthy comics from a wider range of authors and styles) to a much more difficult to prove argument about young cartoonists’ prejudices (and maybe snooty comics critics’ prejudices? it’s unclear who’s doing the “valuing” in MacDonald’s synopsis of her argument) against genre fiction and/or recurring characters. The nature of this argument allowed for a variety of comment-leavers to twist it into something bizarre and unrecognizable,which only dragged the “debate” down further. It’s not that a discussion about middlebrow comics isn’t worth having, but, as it stands, it’s based on a premise that many people find untenable.

Metabunker tries to put it into a wider context, and I very much agree with the idea that the sudden surge of interest in comics criticism is part of what is at play here. There’s also a discussion of why some people might need to question assumptions.

From ‘King Maus’ and the camarilla on the New York rooftop to the ardent defense of the fresh shoots in the soil of the medium’s Plates Bandes, it is clear that a certain way of thinking about comics has, by virtue of its potency, established itself at the centre of the New Comics’ état des choses. Art Spiegelman is obviously a key figure in this development, as are the founders of the seminal French label L’Association. They have been the ambassadors of the New Comics to the World at Large, and It is to a large extent to their credit that the ‘graphic novel’ has become something of a publishing phenomenon, the at times difficult consequences of which some creators and small publishers are now starting to feel, as the boundaries of the newly expanded field are slowly becoming apparent.

Finally, Jennifer deGuzman takes me to task for my vague premise yet again, but thinks I touched on…something.

I took the post it as an impetus to think about what underlies Heidi’s frustration at what is recognized in comics. There is great diversity in the kind of stories told, but only the far ends of the spectrum are generally known outside of the industry and fanbase — there are the literary comics covered by the literary media and the superhero comics covered by the pop culture media who are more interested in the movies based on the comics than the comics themselves.

§ Leigh Walton introduces the term “rip-roaring” into the discussion, something that was very badly needed, and I think his post sums it all up, so unless someone says something incredibly brilliant (rather unlikely at this point) let’s just leave the body lying in the forest under some piled up leaves for now.


  1. I think Jennifer and Leigh pretty much hit it on the head. The division of all comics into “Lit” and “Pop” is a false dichotomy that only hurts comics fans.

    I wonder if that’s the reason that Manga seems such a breath of fresh air, so free, in that yes, you can explore deep metaphors about the self and existence, but you can do it with large… eyed women and giant robots.