Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Best American Comics 2007

The Post-Christmas Blues

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A few more links to soothe (or cause) the post-Christmas blues:

* More depressing news from the credit sector: the current credit and liquidity crisis could make 1929 look like ‘walk in the park.’

* Via Srinivas, an apropos-of-nothing Jared Diamond profile in the New York Times tries to get at the heart of our complicated understanding of collapse and reemergence.

* Also in the Times, this review of Best American Comics 2007 preempts any review I might have written about the ways in which the book failed to quite live up to its promise this year, due in large part to Chris Ware’s strange over-reliance on autobiographical comics (though, as the review notes, there are still as always some really good bits).

* Shankar points to this Daily Kos diary that nicely satirizes the recent, incomprehensible spate of anti-Obama rhetoric in the blogosphere, originating just in the moment that he started to gain traction against Hillary, proving once and for all that the Left wouldn’t allow itself to be happy even if they did have a good candidate for once.

* And, in the Telegraph, we learn that the universe may be running down, presaging yet another possible end for everything: total stasis.

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December 26, 2007 at 3:04 pm

A depressive, self-deceiving character many found hard to love

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October 14, 2007 at 2:05 am

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The Return of Ze Frank! and Three More

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I was thinking just the other day how much I miss The Show (with Ze Frank). This little song doesn’t make me miss it less. Via Waxy.

Salon reviews Persepolis, which I’m really looking forward to. Salon also wants to abolish the electoral college, just a few hundred years too late.

AskMe: Help me survive the coming apocalypse. Remember: Zombies hate sunlight, and always aim for the head.

And at New Scientist: How does it feel to die? You might ask Funky Winkerbean’s Lisa Moore, who has just died of cancer. The funny pages sure seem to have gotten a lot less funny since I stopped reading them on December 31, 1995.

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October 12, 2007 at 1:04 pm

Chris Ware’s Introduction to Best American Comics 2007

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Hot on the heels of DFW comes Chris Ware’s introduction to Best American Comics 2007, via Austin Kleon.

Art in the twentieth century (at least in the West) all but stomped out the idea of storytelling in pictures. Before that, a narrative, whether religious, military, or mythological, practically formed the raison d’être for visual art’s existence. Altarpieces, through repeated sequential images, told the story of the Stations of the Cross, and giant tapestries and paintings recounted battles and victories for citizens and subsequent generations to admire and fear. But as the notion of art as essentially conceptual sprouted and eventually grew all over the previous century’s museum walls and museum-goers’ eyes, paintings or drawings that “showed something” were increasingly dismissed as sentimental, or, even worse, “illustrative.” There’s a certain logic to this, especially if the urge is toward reducing a medium to its absolute barest skin-and-bones essentials in an attempt to discover its innate truth. Unfortunately, the truth of painting and drawing is that they’re actually really great for showing things. (Music, on the other hand, isn’t; think of how clunky and disturbing a concrete sound like a car horn is when introduced into a melody line that otherwise seems to be perfectly capturing the ebb and flow of the heart; I don’t think it’s wrong to think that certain art forms might be better at one thing or another.) Comics, on the third hand (and at about the same time all of this was in full swing in the world of visual art), were showing things, lots of things: rape, murder, and other violence—so much so that in the 1950s comic books were forced to self-censor as activist Fredric Wertham suggested that the corruption of American youth could be directly traced to such pictured acts of horror (the story of which, incidentally, is lyrically illuminated in Art Spiegelman’s as-of-yet-unproduced opera Drawn to Death). Because of the traditionally narrative basis of the language in which they work, cartoonists are almost always cornered into “showing something.” And how lucky we’ve been! And how lucky painters have been, too, ironically appropriating comic book imagery for decades because it was one of the few permitted territories for visual representation that the art world could stomach, sort of a “cake and eat it too” approach. (I, for one, am actually glad they let me eat cake, even if I had to choke down a little theory with it.)

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September 19, 2007 at 2:20 am

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