With Great Respectability Comes Great Polarization
(Soundtrack: The Muffs —Blonder and Blonder)
Oh those year-end lists!
As any longtime reader of my soapbox space knows, I don’t want comics in America to be treated as an immature medium, solely defined by the superhero and SFF genres. But I also dislike seeing the comics medium itself polarized into Art vs. Pulp distinctions, where anything that’s not “serious” or “literary” is immediately shunted off into its own genre ghetto — exactly as has been happening all along with film and novels. A good book — or comic, or movie — ought to be good regardless of its genre, and treated with equal respect. Perhaps it was too much to hope that comics might remain untouched by that polarization, but I’m still sorry to see it happening.
Me too Karin… Me too… And listen–I realize that the pose of “canonizer” ill-becomes me, but man, I can’t take any comics best-of list seriously that omits The Filth (unless they’re considering it as a 2003 publication? that could be, I suppose…but how many people really began thinking about the book until it came out in TPB, last May?)
Anyway, I think that’s it for me today…pretty busy prepping for the beginning of class next week! I’ll post my syllabus here on Friday!
In the meantime, here’s a preview of coming attractions:
1. “Too Much Cooke Spoils My Wrath: An Apology in Close-Reading”–yes! I’m going to go over New Frontier with fine-toothed aplomb! My entry-point, of course, will be Cooke’s frequent allusion to Yeats’ “the center cannot hold” (from “The Second Coming”)… what will I come up with? I don’t know!
2. “The Death-Bray; or, Day of the Jackass”: I’m also planning to do some work on Eightball #23–i.e. demonstrating how well it fits with my frequent contention that the use of “super-powers” is an extremely effective way of shining the existential spotlight upon a character or set of characters…oh yeah–along the way, I’ll be asking the question: “what is the difference between Clowes’ Andy and Owen Reece, the Molecule Man?”
Wanna know the answer?
There is no difference! (which doesn’t mean that the book doesn’t have merit as something other than a “critique of the superhero genre”!)
Good Afternoon Friends!