“Honest Engagement” & A Brief Word on Seaguy #1

Sean Collins argues that my lack of enthusiasm for the imminent Deppey/Spurgeon era at TCJ must be rooted in a personal antagonism to these men and their aesthetic tastes. I don’t believe this is the case.

It’s nothing personal.

But listen–the gap between TCJ and Wizard isn’t an intellectual one. When you get right down to it, this is a war between opposing squads of cheerleaders. Some of them are erudite. Many are not. But everyone is entirely too creator-focused.

I champion text-based criticism as a “true middleground” because, when you eliminate the creator from the equation, there’s no one to cheer for, and the way is cleared for real meditation upon the reading experience. And that’s what I want.

Anyway, the point is a moot one now, because Marc Singer has brought The International Journal of Comic Art to my attention–and this is exactly the kind of publication I was asking TCJ to be…

And Seaguy #1? Well, I liked it, but it’s hard to really say more than that for now, because I have no idea where it’s going. I think this exchange between the protagonist and a guy in a cowboy hat at the amusement park gets to the heart of the book’s appeal:

Cowboy hat guy: It’s okay Seaguy, we don’t need your help. These ridiculous iron umbrellas will protect us from meteor showers…

Seaguy: But these aren’t just any ordinary meteors. Look. (a charred American flag juts out of the latest boulder from the blue to put a hole in the foundation of this “utopia”) Ah, who am I kidding? I’m just fooling myself that this will ever lead to anything.

Then Doc Hero hops off the “eye-go-round”, gives us a brief demonstration of the best power ever (instant carbon-dating), mutters: “no one ever gave a damn about the moon” (says him, right Larry?), and jumps back on the ride for more thrills to fill the void in a world without heroism. (This is where Mr. Rogers and Peewee’s Playhouse meet.) Then Chubby shrieks “Da Fug?” for about the fifth time and we’re off to the races! Can’t wait for next issue! Now I just have to find Demo #6

Good Day Friends!



  1. That would be Deppey/Dean. I’m just a freelancer and a columnist, although it will look like I’m writing more frequently than I do the next few issues as my columns overlap. Some issues I’m not in at all!

  2. thanks for commenting Tom.

    when it comes to comics, my main interest is in superheroes, and this will continue to be the case at least until I finish my dissertation (4 years from now, if all goes well!)–so naturally your role at TCJ is more important to me than Dean’s… I’m not going to be stubborn about this–starting in the fall, I’ll actually have the money to buy a few things that aren’t completely essential to my life, and I’m sure I’ll be checking in on TCJ with more regularity than I have up to this point. Who knows? Perhaps I’ll change my tune when I get into the rhythm of it.

    When I want close-reading though, I know where to look–The International Journal of Comic Art (I understand, of course, that not everyone wants close-reading…)


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