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Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/17/15: When pedants attack

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§ 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.


Groan.

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:

Moving on.

§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’

10 COMMENTS

  1. The definition of an internet Troll is: “someone who disagrees with the person using the term.”

    He’s an art critic. He’s criticizing art. Just because you don’t agree, that doesn’t make his opinion less valid. I guess it does make him a “troll”–but that’s like saying someone “has cooties”. It’s just as stupid and childish an insult.

  2. I don’t agree with all of Jones’ hypothesises, but there’s something to what he’s saying. In the 00’s, there was a strong rise in alt comics of an Eisnerian way of thinking, epitomised in Craig Thompson’s Blankets. I think the Tomaki sisters inherited in their book This One Summer. Gene Yuen Lang’s Boxers & Saints hold it too, and at a glance, McLeod as well, though I haven’t read the Sculptor. There’s a load of skill, but there’s also a graphic banality in how edible they are. Thompson, Tomaki and Lang wrote books that wouldn’t surprise me if they ended up on a high school reading list 50 years from now. Comics need those sorts of authors. That said, there are loads and loads of alternatives to that sort of thing, and it’s not hard to find comic artists who are beating to their own drum, and would be hard to decipher by civilians outside of the world of comics. Overall, Jones sounds like a comics-tourist.

  3. “a couple dressed as Super Mario”

    In the spirit of this article’s title, they’re actually both dressed as a character by the name of Waluigi who is from the greater Mario franchise and appears mostly in the series’ party, sports, and racing games. Super Mario as a term is generally reserved for the main platforming games in which Mario stars (Super Mario Bros., Super Mario World, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, et al), where Waluigi has never appeared.

  4. “This was just the latest convention of its kind to make a stop here. Indiana Comic Con, Pop Con, GenCon, and Awesome Con will all be in Indianapolis this year.”

    http://www.indystar.com/story/entertainment/2015/02/12/wizard-world-gen-con-comic-star-trek-star-wars-walking-dead-doctor/23287979/
    10 fan events, 6 at the ICC. (Quite a few hotel events!)

    Awesome Con seems to have three shows: Indy, DC, Milwaukee. (There web page doesn’t like Chrome, so I can’t tell for sure. The other other sites are blocked at work.) November?

    GenCon pulls in 56K+. It’s anchored in Indy, and uses four of the ELEVEN exhibition halls. (239K sqft)
    Late July

    PopCon? (208.1K sqft) Late June

    Indianapolis Comic Con March 13-15, 2015 (hmmm…) (Also runs the Tampa Bay Comic Con)
    (335K sq ft) 20,000 attendance in 2014. They’ve maxed out the Tampa Bay CC at 50,000 attendance.

  5. @JonathanJones ….yeah, and Columbus sailed the ocean blue, zip bam boom, comics are sub-literature, troglodites and drooling cavemen…if you got some big fat fucking secret, why don’t you sing US something?

    Somebody tell him this argument was already old toast in 1986 when Art brought home a Pulitzer.

  6. Rest assured, Guardian readers are wearily familiar with Jonathan Jones’ frequent clickbait — at this point, he’s basically to (High) Art what Armond White is to cinema.

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