Comics

The Week in Comics: Tremors, Faults and Shake-Ups

A crack in the earth. i i
iStockphoto.com
A crack in the earth.
iStockphoto.com

As folks in the rest of the country are by now weary of hearing, the 5.8 quake that rocked — well, rattled — the East Coast yesterday left many a painting askew and many a commute a-screwed.

I Feel the Earth Move

The comics news site Newsarama took the rumbling in stride by swiftly posting this slideshow on notable Quake-Causing Comics Characters - a fun list with which it would be churlish, and entirely too tiresomely predictable, to quibble.

Yep.

...

...Okay but seriously, no Shakedown? I mean, sure, he's dead. But this is comics; that's a low bar. And while Quakemaster never made it into the pantheon of all-time baddies, he has got a cool costume. Which should surely count for something. Oh and his name? Is QUAKEMASTER. So. I mean.

Speaking of Shake-Ups: This Time It's Personnel

Yesterday Newsarama also highlighted this report from Deadline.com's Nikki Finke that Marvel's marketing team on the West Coast (read: the movies, not the comics) has been sacked by Disney. Merely eliminating redundant positions, or something more?

"Hey, Hon! You Wunnun Aword! Lit's Go Crick Summa Dem Craybs!"

At the Baltimore Comic-Con this past weekend, the Harvey Awards were given out. Professional comics creators both nominate and select Harvey winners. Mike Cavna at the Washington Post has the list of recipients — many of which, I merely note in passing, have been featured in in this space, including: Darwyn Cooke (Hunter), Los Bros. Hernandez (Love & Rockets), Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant!), Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba (Daytripper), Roger Langridge (Muppet Show, The Mighty Thor), Chris Samnee (The Mighty Thor), Juan Diaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido (Blacksad), Evan Dorkin & Jill Thompson (Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites), and Bryan Lee O'Malley (Scott Pilgrim).

Scoop! Supergods Scribe's Snipes Spite Superfans!

In an interview posted Monday on the Rolling Stone website, writer Grant Morrison offered a slew of opinions about some fellow comics creators while promoting his new book. Morrison has a famously fractious history with comics legend Alan Moore, but the interviewer's questions gave him a fresh chance to slap that old beef in a chafing dish and fire up the Sterno.

But what really seems to have riled up comics fans is Morrison's singling out of Chris Ware, the man behind the Acme Novelty Library and, perhaps most notably, the author of the gorgeous and exquisitely sad Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. If you're interested, you should read what Morrison had to say yourself, but he essentially called out Ware's approach as self-involved and depressive, and sees academics who praise a book like Jimmy Corrigan as entitled whiners.

Strong words? Ad hominem attacks? Sure. But not in any way surprising, given's Morrison's long history of bomb-throwing and his governing manifesto, which posits the comics medium as a place where bold, ennobling, gleefully goofy adventures take place — and in which heroes and villains reflect our best and worst selves.

(He happens to be flat wrong about Ware, by the way, who simply uses the form to find a wholly different but equally real form of beauty.)

As you can see in this comment thread at The Beat and elsewhere, the interview has spurred a fresh wave of mainstream vs. indie, spandex vs. hoodie, fans vs. academics sniping. Again, still, some more. As someone who finds himself perennially mystified by the armed camps that comics readers keep constructing around ourselves, I gotta say it's dispiriting. Predictably dispiriting, but dispiriting nonetheless.

For every indie comics reader who sniffs "I never read capes," there are ten superhero fans who ludicrously dismiss the entire spectrum of non-superhero fare as emo navel-gazing.

Every time I think we lovers of comics are getting closer to acknowledging the medium's enormous potential to tell stories — every kind of story — some new argument founded entirely upon personal taste erupts to distract us and reaffirm that a maddeningly artificial either/or, us/them mindset remains firmly in place.

Sylvester McMonkey McBean, you are needed on the damn set.

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