1/20/11: Everyone's a critic

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§ Well, someone had to do it: Sean T. Collins delves deep into Google cache and old wounds to give a critical look at the legacy of Dirk Deppey and ¡Journalista!. Like pretty much everyone we talk to, Collins feels that the recent ¡Journalista! as found on the revamped TCJ.com was not as effective as the earlier one. And Collins points out that Deppey himself had much to answer for in the woeful rollout of TCJ.com:

TCJ.com is, frankly, an embarrassment — comically user-unfriendly (just by way of a for instance, I had to manually search it to find Dirk’s aforelinked post on Paul Levitz, which had been voted one of 2009′s best pieces of online comics criticism by one of TCJ.com’s constituent blogs, because the old permalink didn’t work anymore), spastically updated, intermittently focused, and almost entirely removed from the very discourse Dirk claimed had rendered it redundant. That vacuum allowed the emergence as The Comics Journal’s loudest and most prominent critical voice an approach to comics and comics criticism that couldn’t be more diametrically opposed to the traditional ideals and values of both the Journal and its parent company Fantagraphics if it were made to wear a snazzy yellow union suit and call itself Professor Zoom, The Reverse Comics Journal. I’ve never had any clear idea who to blame for all this — Dirk, Managing Editor Michael Dean, Assistant Editor Kristy Valenti, or founder/publisher/longtime editor Gary Groth; frankly, I think the buck has to stop at the top.


Given that Deppey was at the forefront of engaging with the comics/internet/journalism connection, some of the blame for the feeble, awkward efforts of the online replacement for a print magazine whose legacy and importance is among the medium’s most towering, should be laid at his feet, given what we know. Any ninny with a few spare hours and a WordPress or Tumblr account could set up a more functional site than TCJ.com, and that’s troubling. That so much of the site has been overrun by a pack of self-congratulatory screeching baboons doesn’t help, either.

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§ And at The Hooded Utilitarian, they have rounded up the Best Online Comics Criticism 2010 and it’s a pretty decent collection — praise must be given to the judges on that score. The winner:

SIX VOTES

(1) Jason ThompsonThe Other Love that Dare Not Speak Its Name (and other articles)

The jurors agreed to consolidate their votes into a single article. Other articles by Thompson which received interest were his pieces on Morality in Action ComicsCeres: Celestial Legend and Happy Mania. His articles appear regularly at Anime News Network where his column “House of 1000 Manga” is published weekly. At least one of the jurors considers him the best writer on manga today.


The judges discuss their choices in various essays — these are highly recommended for giving a lively view of the current state of online comics criticism:

(1) Derik Badman’s personal choices

(2) Melinda Beasi on the list and her choices

(3) Johanna Draper Carlson on the list and her choices

(4) Tim Hodler on the list and his choices

(5) Bill Randall on the list and his choices

§ Jason Aaron has some frank talk for those screenwriters who hope to kickstart their scripts by turning them into comics — and that includes even Darren Aronofsky:

But still, if you’re a struggling screenwriter with loads of unproduced scripts lying around, I realize the urge can be strong to wanna repurpose one of them as a comic book. All I ask, before you proceed, is that you run through this little checklist to determine if your screenplay can make it as a comic.

 

  1. Does your screenplay contain anything, absolutely anything, that would be remotely interesting for someone to actually draw? If the answer is no, then just stop here and walk away.


MORE in the link! A whole checklist.

§ An interview with second generation cartoonist Susie Cagle:

Yeah. It just didn’t feel like it was my thing. I fancied myself a rebellious kid. I certainly didn’t think that I was going to take up my parents’ career and continue the family business. It wasn’t something that I ever perceived as an option, really.

It’s funny. For most of us, setting out to make a life in comics is a bit of a rebellion in and of itself. It’s the sort of thing that parents tend to dissuade you from.

Exactly. You would think that, if there were any parents who would be accepting of a child who is a cartoonist, it would be mine.


§ The Collected Comics Library podcast celebrates its 300th edition with a chat with Charles Pelto of Classic Comics Press:

Today on the podcast I talk to Charles Pelto of Classic Comics Press, another person who shares in the joy of reprints. So much so, he started his own publishing house so he could ensure that strips like The Heart Of Juliet Jones, Mary Perkins On Stage and Big Ben Bolt will be enjoyed for years to come and not lost or forgotten and only to be preserved on a Wikipedia entry. We have a candid discussion on what is takes to start up your own publishing house, what makes for a good strip and the reproduction techniques involved. Please help in supporting Classic Comics Press by coming by their website and ordering directly from them. You can also keep up with the latest projects, including Rusty Riley and The Cisco Kid, by subscribing to their blog.

§ If you enjoy weird old ’70s detective TV shows, you will like Johanna Draper Carlson’s look at a comics-themed episode of Ellery Queen

Anyway, the fourth episode (not counting the pilot movie) may be of particular interest to readers here. It’s titled “The Adventure of the Comic Book Crusader“. (All of the episodes were “The Adventure of”.) Tom Bosley stars as Bud Armstrong, a murdered cartoonist who works for “Capricorn Comics”. Suspects include Donald O’Connor as “an ambitious lettering man”, Joseph Maher as “the layout expert”, two guys I didn’t recognize as a “background artist” and a “figure specialist”, and Lynda Day George as a “disillusioned secretary” (she kept getting hit on).

Comments

  1. Hey Heidi. In terms of the Best Online Comics Criticism, a small correction; there were two judges you don’t mention, Shaenon Garrity and Chris Mautner. (Neither has written essays about the judging (at least not yet)).

    And the yearly selection is organized by Ng Suat Tong (who does not participate in the judging.)

  2. Joe Lawler says:

    “Does your screenplay contain anything, absolutely anything, that would be remotely interesting for someone to actually draw? If the answer is no, then just stop here and walk away.”

    It seems like if a script doesn’t have anything interesting enough to draw, it likely doesn’t have anything interesting enough to film.

    Not that there can’t be exceptions to that. I doubt Glengary Glen Ross would make for an especially exciting comic book.

  3. >>>I doubt Glengary Glen Ross would make for an especially exciting comic book.

    It would if Umezu or Peter Bagge drew it!

  4. I applaud you for including a panel from an incest comic to represent comics blogging.

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