Dear friends, The Beat has been blogging for nigh on four years now, and when we began, our goal was to put comics culture into the context of real world culture, and make cartoonists feel good about themselves by treating the medium as a place of ideas and influence, not the island of misfit toys. Now it appears that this movement may have gone too far. Just as the literary acceptance of comics began with the infamous New York Times mag cover story, the Times may have officially made this THE DAY COMICS JUMPED THE SHARK.
The evidence? A FASHION spread (above) on Indie cartoonists taken at Splat:
A PARADE of awkward TV and movie antiheros — think Ugly Betty, Velma from “Scooby-Doo,” McLovin from “Superbad” — has given nerdism a boost in cachet. Now come their off-screen counterparts, the crowd at Splat!, the graphic novel symposium that took place on Saturday at the New York Center for Independent Publishing in Midtown. The cartoonists, publishers, librarians and manga fanciers in the crowd elevated the overtly scholarly Poindexter look to a retro art form.
Skipping the requisite gadgetry (Bluetooth headsets and the like), most cultivated an aura of benign self-neglect. Overstuffed messenger bags, weathered cords, Converse sneakers and trilbys contributed to the effect. Tousled hair, windbreakers and spectacles, too, played a part in transforming these studiously nondescript characters into brashly confident avatars of cool.