Steven Grant“Why are so few of us left active, healthy, and without personality disorders?”

We’re losing another good one, as Steven Grant has announced that he is quitting his Permanent Damage column at CBR:

Well, it’s time to go. As several who solved last week’s Ultimate Comics Cover Challenge suspected, this is the final Permanent Damage. Partly due to time. Between Master Of The Obvious and Permanent Damage, I’ve been doing this over ten years now. That’s a longer stretch than I’ve ever done on anything, professionally anyway. I’m tired, I have way too much other work bearing down on me, and I’ve run out of things to say. Maybe if comics were a field on fire I might have more things to say, and might again. What we’ve got right now, if you scrape away all the pretty lights and look at the underbelly, is pretty much the same as it ever was. Not that I’m disgruntled, I’m not, I’m having a good time, but I’ve got nothing new to say about it. Every column I’d be likely to write this year can easily be capsulized in a quote from Douglas Adams:

Don’t panic.

Grant’s archives will remain available, a repository of observations on many subjects–politics, films, comics — that were trenchant without being merely cynical, and supplanted snark with observation. Grant is contributing comics reviews to, and working on various screenplays, comics and other projects so he’s far from gone.


  1. Sad news. Grant’s column was the only thing I made a point of reading at the first possible moment. His breadth of knowledge and opinion on just about everything made every column a joy, even when talking about things in US politics that made very little sense to me here in England.

    I hope he’ll feel suitably enthused/enraged to Wednesday pick up doing another column one day soon.

  2. Honestly, I liked his columns on writing comics more than most comics he’s actually written. Always skipped over the political stuff (“Hand puppet”?), but a really sharp, articulate guy with an interesting point of view. A distinct voice that will be hard to replace.

  3. Is anyone else tired of hearing about how “same as it ever was” comics are from people who mainly concentrate on genre comics from the big 2 and characters/tropes that have been sparked decades before we were all born? I mean, duh. Of course you can’t find a ton of new things to say about Superman, even the writers on the books can’t. And that’s not a knock, honest. I don’t hate Superman, I have written the character, he is what he is, and will always be what he is. Superman. Yeah. Got it. Make him cry, make him die, make them all die, it’s still licensing and underoos, movies and maxi-series. Some are good, some are awful, some are filling the rack and are just “there”. Duh.

    But to say comics as a medium is “the same as it ever was” is pure nonsense, sorry. Ditto as a business. If you’re burnt out, that’s understandable, but I don’t know that I’d attribute that to the industry. Parts of it, sure. That’s to be expected. But the few times I read Grant’s columns just made me shrug my shoulders and wonder a) what he was adding to comics to keep it from being the “same Old”?, and b) if he ever wrote about non-Diamond exclusive publishers (or the small publishers that copied their style) more than every blue moon. I found Grant’s column to be well-written, even if I didn’t agree with the piece, and he can be sharp. But he mostly wrote about a genre of comics, capes and guns for the most part, and that isn’t “comics”, sorry.

    A lot of people feel comics is a “field on fire”, I’m one of them (even if my career more resembles a burnt out husk). It’s been an embarrassment of riches between the web, strip and old comics reprints, manga translations, pockets of cultural acceptance for the form, overall cartooning chops and expression, education programs and schools, new appreciation for veteran/late cartoonists, and geek fandom as accepted lifestyle choice, as well as the ruling persona in the overall entertainment industry.

    My opinion, at least. And I’m a negative person when it comes to the industry. But I can’t see blaming the medium for stagnation right now if you’re ignoring the actual medium itself. If you’ve got a blind eye to things like the Scott Pilgrim phenomenon, web comics, and manga on the whole, etc, then winnow it down a bit and say comics as you experience them yourself are the same as it ever was.

  4. I’ll miss his columns a great deal. Really enjoyed his appreciations of artists like Kane and Chaykin who haven’t received the critical appraisal their works deserve. And, I thought his comments on politics and culture were usually right on.

  5. To Jess Lemon– Grant’s political writings didn’t make sense to you? Maybe you are trapped in the mainstream of crap that passes as news instead of propaganda and misdirection. Go find some Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, John Nichols and Robert McChesney and broaden your horizons a little bit.

    To Evan Dorkin– To each his own. I valued Grant’s writings a lot and found it educational. I cannot say the same about your website. The few times I have been there, it was a lot of whining and moaning about how crappy your life was. That does explain “Milk and Cheese” though. I thoroughly enjoy those cartoons. I had a t shirt until some asshole stole it from me.

  6. Mark M –

    Of course, to each his own. But comparing his column to my blog…what’s your point? My point — which you didn’t address — had nothing to do with the entertainment or educational value of Grant’s site. You not only missed or ignored that, you missed where I said positive things about his writing in the column.

    You don’t like my blog, that’s an opinion shared by many folks out there. Like you said, to each his own. It just has nothing to do with anything I was saying.

    Sorry you lost your t-Shirt, though. Who steals t-shirts? They’re…so used.

  7. As I rarely read Grant’s column I can’t speak as to how thoroughly Steven Grant covered indie comics, so maybe Evan’s right that he didn’t cover them much.

    It’s possible, though, that he simply didn’t cover them because he didn’t have much to say about them. Certainly people who do give them coverage also get burned out. Whatever did happen to Dick Hyacinth?

    My point (which I hope proves germane to what Evan’s saying) is that columnists can get burned out on pretty much anything– particular genres of comics or comics generally, sports, fashion, Girls Gone Wild– anything.

    Uh-oh, I tried to explicate a difference of opinion cordially, so here comes the usual TS accusation–


  8. I’ll miss his column and have to adjust my Wednesday schedule. But wait’ll you read his scripts for the Captain Action : Season 2. Innovative, fun and sharp. He’s such a strong writer and storyteller.