Jennifer de Guzman’s “Life in Comics”

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Do you miss Jennifer de Guzman‘s always well-observed and trenchant column at now-definct Comics World News? SO DO WE! Luckily we were able to do something about it, and de Guzman’s NEW column “Life in Comics” will run the first monday of every Month in PW Comics Week henceforth. In her first column she discusses where the greatest hopes for comics lie:

Considering the present political climate, it probably is no surprise that the word hope has been on my mind a lot lately. Hope is a tricky concept because while it seems to indicate a positive outlook, it carries the underlying assumption that all is not presently as good as it could be. I’ve come to realize that this is perhaps what is behind some of the reactions to my last column at the now-closed site Comic World News, in which I asserted that more rigorous comics criticism will attract more literary-minded creators to the medium, thus setting the stage for a richer comics canon. In response, I was called to task for “complaining,” being “pessimistic” and having a “bleak” view of the state of comics.


De Guzman’s is one of several new columns that will be debuting this month in PWCW. You have signed up already, right?

Comments

  1. Excellent catch! :)

  2. Thanks to Dick Hyacinth, we know that this year, the top 10 books most often cited on Best of the Year Lists for *Comic-Oriented* Blogs included All-Star Superman, Scott Pilgrim, Exit Wounds, Shortcomings, and Criminal, and the top 10 books most often cited on Best of the Year Lists for *General Interest* Blogs included… uh… Exit Wounds, Shortcomings, All-Star Superman, Criminal, and Scott Pilgrim. Half the list of each was IDENTICAL. The two lists did diverge; comics-oriented blogs included Kim Dietch’s Alias the Cat and C.F.’s Powr Masters, while General Interest Blogs included Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic books instead.

    If I or anyone else “called her to task” for “complaining”, it’s because statements like “We don’t see more literary quality in comics being published today because too few critics treat comics as serious literature and art”… it’s because those statements are oblivious to the reality of what’s being written out there (as well as, of course, decades of history, market forces, etc.). And because they blame a convenient scapegoat (ooh, bad critics! bad!) for the failings of creators and, more importantly, the failings of publishers.

    Claiming that people who recognized that were “a cozy circle of publishers, comic book stores and readers, and it seems there are many who like it that way” … Yeah, no, it’s because I don’t get it! I’m part of the problem! Brian Hibbs is throwing a cuddle party and you’re not invited, New Yorker readers! The cozy circle demands more pablum! We demand pablum because we are so cozy!

    I mean, after all, isn’t that what every comic creator has done? Waited for the oh-so-influential comic critics to create an audience for them before going off and creating literary comics…? If I weren’t elbow-deep in cozy circle wetness, I’d see that. But spending years and years slowly creating a literary comic page by page– that’s something people would only do so they can get hosannahs from comic critics, so without us– it all falls apart! The center does not hold!

    I read things like “new readers are … those people who do not go to comic book stores”– I just don’t even– is that English? What do those words mean? Wait, so new readers DON’T go to comic book stores already? I thought new readers were people who went to comic book stores already– you know, the people who are just there for the ambience. DOES NOT COMPUTE. DOES NOT COMPUTE!

    If only the Cozy Circle included more regular people who think “pull box” is a porn genre– next year. Next year, we’re getting Buffy the Vampire Slayer on that top ten list, and Kim Dietch can suck on it.

  3. Jeez, Abhay. That’s a lot of exclamation points put to use in the task of completely missing the point. Thanks for playing!

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