Soundtrack—Cypress Hill—“Black Sunday”

Man, these proposals are drivin’ me out outta my tree. I’ve just been sitting here filling out endless forms on the screen, and it’s exhausting somehow. The ratio of red to green in these eye o’ mine is uncomfortably high…

This will be a “regrouping” type post, I’m not up to going any further with what I’ve been discussing lately, but I thought I’d clarify my position on a few key points:

–On Lee/Kirby, I’ll just cut & paste I reply to Doc Nebula that I wrote earlier, because I’m not sure if everyone actually checks the old comment threads:

Just a final note on the Kirby/Lee thing (who am I kidding? this is going to be my life for the next two years!):
I agree with you about the bankruptcy of fannish conflicts over which man deserves credit for Marvel’s silver age… but what I’ve been trying to get at is that, well, that stuff happened quite a while ago now, and not many of the people who engage in these debates are talking about the ACTUAL Stan & Jack any more.

Basically, “Stan Lee” is code for the type of innovations that I’ve been talking about for the past couple of days (i.e. super-hero comics in the tradition of the American Romance, especially as written by Nathaniel Hawthorne). “Jack Kirby” is code for a completely different set of characteristics that exist within the same works of art–and, clearly the second interpretative emphasis is in the ascendant right now. What I want to do is rescue the first from obscurity–that’s how it works in the academy, it’s a critical see-saw, and the truth is (hopefully) in the record of the movement…

–On Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book:

I agree Sean, the nastiness on “Pulse” went both ways, but I happened to agree with Michael David Thomas that :

A comprehensive and contemplative biography of Stan Lee is an indisputably worthy goal. Likewise a serious attempt to assess the history and health of the American comics industry would a welcome resource to any serious student of the medium. Not quite so straightforward or easily explained is Raphael and Spurgeon’s decision combine the two and interpose Lee as the framing device for their history of comics.

I’m not sure if I side with him on the issue of the book’s “mean-spiritedness”, but I do know that it failed to shed one particle of light on its’ supposed subject. I ripped through the book in record time a couple of months back, and one of the reasons for that is that there was nothing in it that I didn’t already know (except for the fact that Roy “The Boy” Thomas had a rock band!) I’m not sure that we do need a “comprehensive and contemplative biography of Stan Lee”, but we sure as hell need that “serious attempt to assess the history and health of the American Comics industry” and, more importantly, we need a book that really engages the key works of the “rise” part of the equation—the Silver Age. And by really engaging, I mean close reading, not platitudinous comments about the shady politics going on behind the panels at Marvel. I just don’t care about that stuff at all, and even if I did, Raphael and Spurgeon don’t provide anything new in that vein either…

–On Nathaniel Hawthorne & The Blithedale Romance:

Darren, I can’t believe you “zone out” at the mention of Hawthorne! Does everyone else feel the same way? I hope not, because I think Blithedale is the greatest novel ever written, and the text is a key link in my chronicle of the journey from the Antinomian controversy through the “American romance” tradition, the pulp novels of Hammett and Chandler and into the Silver Age Marvel Comics we all know and love… I know that sentence might sound ridiculous now, but it’s all coming into focus on the word file that contains my “project statement”—and tomorrow I’ll start backing up these bombastic assertions!

Good night friends!



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