Silly David! These Are For Kids!
(Soundtrack: Elvis Costello Extreme Honey: The Very Best of Warner Brothers Years)
Heidi MacDonald wonders:
“I would like to know why superheroes are so very, very important to this guy.”
Meanwhile, Tim O’Neil wants to know:
Why are we even talking about these books? The superhero genre is such a tiny, insignificant corner of the comics medium that it is simply galling on the face of it that so much literal and digital ink is wasted on the subject. Yes, wasted . . . because I’ll be damned if I think that bad 70’s Spider-Man comics deserve this kind of rigorous explication while Louis Riel or Quimby the Mouse or even The Boondocks are never discussed. Love & Rockets makes 99% of even the best superhero books look like dog puke, and I never see anyone discussing it. I’d love to see Fiore tackle a book like that, something I think could actually reward such a deep examination.
But Tim! I think of criticism as an art–and wouldn’t you agree that the worst thing an artist can do is worry about how people will perceive their creation? (Which does not, of course, mean that I don’t want people to fuel up on what I write! I make no bones about that–of course I do!) But I have to write about what interests me. And my primary interest is in a tradition of Puritan existentialist romance storytelling rooted in 17th century sermons and poetry…It’s a tradition that, as a novelist, I feel myself to be a part of (an insignificant part to be sure–but a part nonetheless!) This is why I’m so interested in romanticism in general–especially in its Transcendentalist guise. And Hawthorne. And Capra. And Frank O’Hara.
And it’s my sincere belief, as a student of American Culture, that, in the latter half of the twentieth century, the purest avatars of this tradition are Marvel Comics and Paul Auster’s novels. It’s that simple. You don’t have to believe me, of course. But I do confess that I’m a little saddened when people respond to my arguments/glosses by saying: “well, I don’t know why Fiore’s doing this, because the stuff he’s talking about isn’t worth discussing…” Where would I be if I let that kind of reasoning influence me? After all, Aaron Haspel (whom I respect a great deal!) doesn’t think Emerson, Keats, or Frank O’Hara are any worthier of discussion than Spider-Man! I have no choice but to trust in my compulsion to write about these works!
What does it matter what Gerry Conway’s intentions were? My goal in writing about the Gwen Stacy Clone Saga is not to convince you that these comics are sheer genius, but to convey to you a sense of the effect these books have had on my mind! And how on Earth can I do that if you’re too busy focusing on the limitations of the material in question to pay attention to what I’m saying? Of course, if you want to tear my writing apart, be my guest! I welcome that kind of discussion!
Okay, just a couple of quick hits before I have to take off:
1. Seaguy #2–am I crazy or is this series turning into Joe Versus The Volcano? (I love that movie by the way!)
2.The only interesting information I gleaned from Ronin Ro’s Tales To Astonish (aside from the fact that Vince Colletta was an asshole!):
According to Mark Evanier (quoted on page 165): “[Jack Kirby] didn’t like losers, he didn’t like dead people, and he chose not to dwell on failure and defeat and death in his work.” No wonder I find Kirby problematic–he’s like the anti-Morrison!
Good Afternoon Friends!