Only a few today because things are sssllooowww:

§ Mike Manley continues hisassault on the Babymen:

The last several years the big word in comics has been Manga! Manga this, manga that, animae this, animae that, and the fact, it’s really become mainstream. manga is what comics were for people of my generation when we were kids. Most of my students who read comics, read manga. That demographic is clearly displayed in cons like Wizard Philly. That con is a babyman fest, alllll about the old superheroes and nada about what is really mainstream, which is manga. The population is mostly older white guys and guys down into their late 20’s. In contrast, the last NYCC was a huge mix that included lots of teenage girls and lots on animae and manga stuff,a refection of my average class make-up.

§ At Art Forum, Andrew Hultkrans has an excellent write-up of last Friday’s Post-Bang symposium:

Despite lingering cultural prejudices from bluenoses and bluehairs, comics have periodically “arrived” on the mainstream stage since the late 1960s. Each “moment” generated reams of earnestly legitimizing articles in respectable journals trumpeting the medium’s “newfound” sophistication, artistic achievement, and adult relevance, but all failed to reach critical mass. Today, however, with Hollywood working its way through the Marvel pantheon, Adrian Tomine’s work frequently gracing the cover of the New Yorker, and art-museum exhibitions honoring everyone from R. Crumb to Chris Ware, it may be for real. “Post Bang: Comics Ten Minutes After the Big Bang!” nobly sought to map the dimensions of this ostensibly new cosmos. Organized by Art Spiegelman and Kent Worcester, and sponsored by the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU in collaboration with the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, the all-day symposium—comprising four panels and two creator interviews—kicked off the weekend-long MoCCA Art Festival. Pacing myself, I attended two of the panel discussions and both interviews.

[Thanks to Bill K. for the link]
§ At Comic Book Bin, Hervé St-Louis looks at crowdsourcing, or letting the public choose:

Through crowdsourcing everyone can earn their fifteen minutes of glory. But the real power of crowdsourcing is the inherent intelligence of the crowds. DC Comics’ Zuda Comics Web portal uses this concept in deciding which Web comic strip will win its monthly competitions and have a chance to become ongoing monthly series published the parent company. Viewers are encouraged to vote and comment on comic strips. Tenants of crowdsourcing claim that the collective wisdom of crowds is more valuable than the single opinions of a few experts. Thus, the collective intelligence and taste of masses of comic book readers will help publishers like DC Comics determine what might be a successful comic book better than the opinion and insight of one editor.

Looking at most of the Zuda winners, we wouldn’t exactly use the term “inherent intelligence of crowds.” We’re sure crowdsourcing is a beloved pillar of the web 2.5, or whatever, but like focus group testing and most other popularity contests, the danger of blanderizing is very very real. Or as some internet pundit once said: A person is smart, People are stupid.


  1. “Crowdsourcing” is a terrible word, just on the face of it. Who coined that?

    Also, I recall your quote as being from the first “Men In Black” film.

  2. “The Wisdom of Crowds” is actually a great book I would recommend to everyone. Anything can get skewed — the gist of “wisdom of crowds” is to have a wide survey of an informed voting populace. I don’t think the way Zuda determines their winner is a good example of this.

  3. I love this bit from Manley’s post:

    “A literally walled off sub-sub culture of fetish collectors, out of the general publics view and taste.”

    Actually, you can’t get much more “sub” than the tastes of the general public.


    (In saying this I’m going here by the currently-dominant defintions of what “culture” is, BTW, not my own more pluralist take on the word, which would definitely value IRON MAN over PRINCESS DIARIES. I know, tough choice.)

  4. Here’s Mr Babyman’s Blogspot profile:

    “I create images as a compulsion; it is my religion. I am a zealot. I was an early convert; the excitement of trains, their large, dark, dinosaur-like power and rumble would fill my chest. Their dirty scent, oil and diesel smoke filled my imagination with the strength and wonder of their long slow journeys to far off places. Trains were joined by superheroes and Irvin Allen as vehicles and mediums of movement and power, these fantasies went further and gave me the ability to overcome my fears and boredom. I love the romance of line and form, mass, perspective, paint, tone, gesture, pen, ink, and brush. I love comics and animation, fantasy and works of great figurative realism, l love the bold brush lines and halftone dot patterns in a comic as much as I love the thick impasto of a loaded oil brush or the scrape of the palette knife and drawing from observation. I seek not to inhibit, limit or label, but to enable, I seek to couple the observed world with the fantasy world and focus my adult experiences and ability through my childhood lens to create work that has my voice today with the truth of my child.”

    Pseuds’ Corner, anyone?