Hate the Aesthetic Right
(Soundtrack: Buzzcocks — Singles Going Steady)
From the Comics Journal Messageboard comes Robert Fiore’s Adventures in Nomenclature. Check it out and see what you think of his “liberal/literal” distinction (I proposed Dave Sim’s real-fantasy spectrum as an alternative). I find the whole exercise far too polemical (of course, he wouldn’t be the first Fiore to come under this kind of fire!), but I can’t entirely discount any system that places Alex Ross’ work at the “wrong” extreme of the aesthetic continuum… I just cracked open Kingdom Come–which we’ll be discussing in class next week!–and I must tell you that “wrong” is the only word that adequately describes my feelings at this moment. So…so…wrong…
The really interesting thing about this particular type of conversation is that proponents of an “anti-realistic” aesthetic in cartooning (with whom I am in complete sympathy) are often the same people that decry the kinds of “anti-realistic” storytelling elements in superhero comics (“dynamic stasis”, retcons, and the whole romance/symbolist mode in general…) that fascinate me. What does this mean?
Oh. Right. It means give ’em something “cartoony”, but straightforward, with clear “development” and a “payoff”–like, oh, New Frontier, for instance, and they’ll eat it up! (unless they’ve written off superhero comics entirely–which at least has the virtue of making sense!)
Good Afternoon Friends!