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Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 12/09

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§ Sweet. Designer/publisher Francoise Mouly recalls how she met future husband Art Spiegelman:

One year, I unexpectedly got a call from one of my acquaintances, the cartoonist Art Spiegelman, who had himself recently moved back to New York. He asked me if I had any plans for Thanksgiving, and I asked in return, “What is Thanksgiving?” We made plans to go to Chinatown for duck dinner that Thursday night. During dinner, Art — delighted to have found someone even more alienated than himself — enjoyed filling me in on all the details of the American custom: cranberry? What is cranberry? (There are none in France.) Sweet potatoes? Pumpkin pie??? After dinner, he invited me back to his place where he showed me his collection of comics (we have that pick-up line in French, but it’s usually “let me show you my collection of Japanese prints…”)


§ Scott Mendelson makes A Comparative Study of all three Punisher films at the Huffington Post:

In this current age of rebooting one comic franchise or horror franchise after another, it is still something of a milestone that we have a single property, The Punisher, that has been rebooted twice in just four years by the same studio. Add that to the fact that the DVD version of the first go at it, nearly twenty years ago, was released by Artisan, which was eventually folded up into the very studio that has continually tried to reboot the property. Thus, we know have three distinct Punisher movies, all either originally financed or currently owned by Lionsgate. Let us take a moment to look at all three films (in their original R-rated cuts), in the context of each other. Obligatory spoiler warning for all three pictures…

§ Domingos Isabelinho, the fiercest critic of them all, finds current comics criticism pretty damned lame. .


§ Photos from last week’s Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Holiday Party. Above, the newest New Yorker! blogger, Whitney Matheson, and cartoonist Paul Pope.

§ Tom Spurgeon suggests that the prevalence of old farts like me may be a plus for the comics industry
§ Valerie D’Orazio reveals that the silly feud between her and Tony Lee that had been raging between their blogs was a HOAX:

Yep. Me and Tony conceived of this whole back-and-forth as a spoof on Comic Book Internet Feuds™. Additional inspiration, for me, was the Daily Show/Conan/Colbert feuds from a couple of months ago. We tried to be extremely tongue-and-cheek about it, so it would be more or less obvious. Then Mr. Lee emailed me shortly thereafter to let me know he was taking on quite a pummeling, and it was decided to make this short.


It was indeed tongue-in-cheek and lacked credibility. Real internet feuds go something like this:

Feuder #1: Feuder #2 is an asshole.

Feuder #2: Feuder #1 is an ass hat.

..and so on.

  1. Domingos: “Dumbing down is, perhaps, a necessary strategy in order to survive. This pet theory of mine tells me that things never change…”

    And what could be dumber than a blanket condemnation without setting down any terms for one’s supposedly superior aesthetics?

    Heidi, I’ll never understand why you link to guys like this.

  2. And while you’re getting mad about that, I may as well add:

    You wouldn’t knowingly link to a site that was all about hating a particular ethnic group.

    Why link to a site whose raison d’etre is the unsubstantiated hatred of other people’s entertainment?

  3. I’m also told that Domingos severely dislikes cheese, sweaters with animals on them and the George Clooney seasons of Facts of Life, all without laying out his clear set of standards for diary products, gifts one gets from girlfriends and Charlotte Rae vehicles — WHEN WILL YOU STOP LINKING TO THIS BIGOTED, HATEFUL MADMAN?!!?

  4. Isabelinho isn’t really wrong – the level of analysis is pretty poor in most of the discourse around comics – it’s that superficial style of writing and understand you get from an undergraduate – they *sorta* know something about the subject but really they don’t have the domain expertise or learning to say much of interest or to place the work into any sort of context. I think it’s tied into the same reason that most of the current outpoint of the mainstream is so poor – like the current crop of writers they don’t read anything but comics.

  5. Sez Charles Knight:

    “Isabelinho isn’t really wrong – the level of analysis is pretty poor in most of the discourse around comics – it’s that superficial style of writing and understand you get from an undergraduate – they *sorta* know something about the subject but really they don’t have the domain expertise or learning to say much of interest or to place the work into any sort of context. I think it’s tied into the same reason that most of the current outpoint of the mainstream is so poor – like the current crop of writers they don’t read anything but comics.”

    Supposing I agreed to throw the stone about the general poverty of analysis both in mainstream and artcomics-critique…

    At least I wouldn’t have to worry about my glass walls crashing down around me, as Domingos would.

    Of course other peoples’ mileage may vary.

    Re: the critics who don’t read anything but comics– what about the critics whose idea of criticism consists of a “quick and dirty” boning-up on the works of a given author? I’ve read a few of these in some magazine or other, and I find that sort of thing more egregious than the stuff written by terminal fanguys and girls. I guess The Magazine that publishes such stuff thinks that expertise=geekdom.

    Blanket condemnations strike me pretty much the same way as the “quick and dirty” stuff. “Let’s hate the mainstream; hate hate hate.” Ho bloody hum.

  6. Tom Spurgeon say:

    “I’m also told that Domingos severely dislikes cheese, sweaters with animals on them and the George Clooney seasons of Facts of Life, all without laying out his clear set of standards for diary products, gifts one gets from girlfriends and Charlotte Rae vehicles — WHEN WILL YOU STOP LINKING TO THIS BIGOTED, HATEFUL MADMAN?!!?”

    Bizarro-Gene say: Do forget “babymen.”

    “I dread the day in which babymen critics will laud Harry Potter as the greatest book ever written.”

    Tom and Heidi do good job, Domingos full of love and charity. Absurdity obvious; me completely wrong.

    Hello.

  7. Gene, could you cite some online examples of criticism of superhero comics (assuming that’s what you mean by “mainstream”) that you considered informed and intelligent?

    I’d think that a critic could demonstrate greater insight by pointing out what’s good in a story generally regarded as seriously flawed than he could by going on at great length about all the problems with a terrible story. When the premise of a story is fatally flawed, practically everything that’s based on that premise will be problematic, so detailed criticism would be rather pointless.

    Note that Isabelinho separated academic criticism from journalistic criticism.

    SRS

  8. Steven,
    My point of pissed-offedness at the linked Domingos post is less about my asserting that there are great quantities of great “journalistic” online critics and more about his making a blanket condemnation of those critics without citing any examples to prove his case. He cites two or three people who seem to reinforce his point about a general “dumbing down” but that’s it. I can’t be sure from this essay what he thinks “dumbing down” means but I guess HARRY POTTER is supposed to be an example of same– though what that’s got to do with comics, I dunno. Love or hate Gary Groth, at least he usually provided hard examples.

    I also think that the use of the term “babymen” is doofus-y in the extreme and doesn’t exactly speak well for the wrtier’s supposed standards of excellence.

    I don’t know how to respond re: critiquing a flawed-but-salvageable story as opposed to a terrible one. I don’t think it has anything to do with Domingos or what I’ve written here, does it?

    I haven’t been able to link to anything within a Beat message in a dog’s age, but no links, but I’d recommend *I am Not the Beastmaster* and *Geoff Klock’s Blog.* (Which recommendation will probably sink whatever reputations they have now.)

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