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Archive: January 2005



Excuse me, doesn’t Etrigan speak only in rhyming verse? Do these indie creators know nothing?

“The reader is left gasping.”

I got to read the article in The Eye that Bryan Lee O’Malley alluded to earlier when it went live today. I have a long-running skepticism toward interviews where illustrative quotes are pulled out of the ether, so I’m curious about where this mention of a movie really came from. Did Guy Leshinski say, “So, is this something you’d like to see play as a movie?” to get O’Malley to admit that “[t]he holy grail for cartoonists is the movie deal” or what?

I ask even though I have no right to ask, because it caused a crisis of conscience. I enjoyed Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life so much that I’m not even going to link to all the places where I talked about it because I know all my readers know this already. And because I talked about it so much, because I was an “early adopter,” Bryan Lee O’Malley contacted me and we ended up doing an interview in which I didn’t ask about movie options. That’s because I’m afraid I’m becoming some sort of hipster geek. My immediate response to the section of this profile asking about movie options was, “NO!!! Hollywood could never handle this right!!” That’s kind of goofy, since a Scott Pilgrim movie wouldn’t even have to be a Hollywood movie, but I’m just being honest here. While I think the book deserves success and a wider audience (and the money/security audience brings its creator) something makes me want to think that this book is pure, that it’s not just another attempt at a movie deal. And those aren’t mutually exclusive; it could be a perfectly good comic (and certainly is) and also make a fine movie, but I’m so taken by the way it works as sequential art that I wouldn’t want to read a Scott Pilgrim novel (and I’m lying a bit; I’d read it for sure) or hear what hot young actresses Wizard thinks would be even hotter as Kim or Ramona or Knives (and here I tell the truth). I want to just let things be themselves. But the flipside hipstery side of this is that I have to be sure I’m not saying this because I don’t want to be a person being neurotic that my favorite indie band is about to make it big and then I won’t be special anymore. I don’t think that’s what’s going on, but I just as strongly hope that there isn’t going to be a movie made and I can keep these comics comics. After all, I’m glad that there’s more publicity and the next volume in less than a month. I just want to spread the love, but seriously, there have to be lines!

And to prove I’m even more of a neurotic geek, although I don’t know how much hipsterism ties in here, I’m not asking for Mal to show up in the comments and set me straight about what happened, because I’m conflicted enough about knowing not all comics creators I write about live in a magical blog-free realm where nothing I say has any meaning. I just thought a good confession might make me feel better about this. And while I’m on this cleansing topic, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell doesn’t need a sequel. The end. (or is it?)

Feints and Resolutions

I just finished Jaime Hernandez’s collected Locas, which was Steven’s birthday gift from his parents. (I know this means I’m probably a lousy wife for reading a gift book before its recipient gets a chance, but at least Steven is reading too and it’s not as if I hid it from him so I could finish first.) It ends beautifully, in exactly the way I wanted it to finish because I’m a sap and I want closure but not restrictive closure, and this was a particularly satisfying open-ended ending. I don’t want to say more because, as I said, Steven hasn’t read the book, and while we don’t generally avoid spoilers, it seems a bit cruel to completely unwrap his present for him.

What I’ll say instead is that the whole last story, “Bob Richardson,” is about the spirals we weave around ourselves, the way the identities Maggie and Hopey have created for themselves through their wishes and deeds circle in tighter until real pain and deceptions have to crash in on themselves to contain a new reality. And I know I shouldn’t say stories are “about” things, know that they contain multitudes, but all I mean is that it’s useful for me at the moment to look at the tightening gyre rather than other aspects of the story, which I’m about to contradict by talking about one of them. Best friends Maggie and Hopey love each other and have sex with each other sometimes and have sex with others sometimes and occasionally those times even overlap. Part of the narrative movement, its sway, is Maggie’s understanding of her sexuality and her relationship with Hopey. Hopey seems happily bisexual, or at least consistently bisexual even when not happy, but Maggie considers her situation more complex. Is she really a straight girl who’s willing to make an exception for Hopey (and is it ever true when people say that? I’m too biased to know.) or bisexual or is she really straight and her friendly love for Hopey has just crossed over into the sexual realm? And can she love anyone else as much as she loves Hopey or more or differently? And what about loving herself?

I read Eve Tushnet this morning arguing that lovers’ genders matter in shaping a relationship, and while I wouldn’t use some of the terminology she does, some of what she’s talking about seems to play out in Locas. I think you have to take it even farther, though, and say that not only does your gender matter but your orientation and your relationship history and cultural background and the (gendered) expectations that puts on you, at which point I’ve gotten far away from what Eve was trying to say. Her point, I think, was that gendered behaviors work in such a way that the Venn diagrams don’t overlap much between how Maggie behaves and views herself in her relationships with Hopey vs. any of the men in her life. As far as Locas goes, that seems to be true, but there’s the deeper problem that Hopey and Maggie have idealized their relationship while still treating each other badly. I suppose the real arc of the last story is how they figure out how to be genuine in what they want and who they are, but that’s practically what I was saying before anyway.

This sort of thing had already been on my mind, though, because while we were in New Orleans I finally managed to find a used copy of Emma Donoghue’s first novel, Stir-Fry. I know I could have ordered it online, but somehow the thrill of the chase kept me going for about 10 years, which is a scary thought. I read it as a sophomore in high school and it was a turning point for me, my first favorite book. I managed to change favorite books once a year or so three more times before giving up on the idea of such a thing, but they were all more literary and well-known, and this one remained my sort of personal secret. To go back to Maggie and Hopey a bit, finding the novel was like coming across a lost love and wondering what would have changed in it and knowing how much had changed in me. Can the Obscure Object of Desire measure up as (the book equivalent of) flesh and blood?

In Stir-Fry, shy 17-year-old Maria leaves her little Irish town to go to university and ends up subletting a room in the apartment of two older students, Ruth and Jael, who quickly become the center of her social world. It’s some time before she realizes they’re a lesbian couple, something she’s never had to address before. There are all sorts of swirling emotions, the kind that appealed so much to 14-year-old me, as Maria suddenly worries that her lack of interest in guys her own age means she’s a lesbian, too, and just doesn’t realize it, or that spending all her time with lesbians is going to keep her from ever successfully finding a boyfriend. Meanwhile Ruth and Jael have problems and are both confiding in Maria and dealing with the way they hid their romance from her and still hide it from family members and everyone not in carefully segmented parts of their worlds. Maria halfheartedly pursues male friends as part of pursuit of a “normal” life, and finds it’s not what she wants. Motherly, political Ruth decides to out herself when she speaks at a public meeting. Brash, sulky Jael wants to flirt more and be less responsible. Maria is frightened and entranced by them both. And then before Christmas there’s a sudden break in domestic tranquility and all three women are left re-evaluating and misunderstanding the ties between them. The not-so-shocking resolution involves the understanding that sometimes you just don’t know what you want, and that’s fine. What’s more important is to be able to enunciate to yourself (and, if necessary, to others) that you don’t know and that you aren’t sure and that you’re considering possible outcomes. Clearly this isn’t a story that survives on the shocking new insight in brings or on narrative intricacies, but it’s very well-written and I found myself recognizing phrases I’d scrawled down on the notepad beside my bed a decade ago. It remains one of my favorite of Donoghue’s books because of nostalgia as much as for its own merits, but its merits include the nostalgia. If I’d had Love and Rockets handy when I was 14, I might have read that, but instead I was stuck searching the library for things I’d found in the New York Times book reviews section to puzzle out what it means to be a smart girl, a misfit trying to figure out her place in the world. I didn’t get the same satisfying ending Locas had, but it didn’t end until 1996 anyway. One book ends in a car and one with an opened door, but the message is the same: the future is out there and (even if you don’t understand how this relationship thing works) you’re not alone. And sure enough, whether I’m with characters or real people, I’m not.


Last year we didn’t do this sort of thing, but now that we’ve had wedding photos here and all sorts of silly personal things I’ll go ahead and say that Steven turns 23 today! I always want to make elaborate Eve of St. Agnes jokes, but I don’t even remember last night’s dreams and I don’t think there’s a big audience for Keats jokes. And if there is, I probably don’t want to know about it.

Steven's second pre-birthday cake at my parents'

Anyway, we’ll have a friend visiting from out of town (I hope) and I’m making German chocolate cake and we’ll have dinner out and watch some of our current Netflix holdings and just generally bum around. It sounds good to me. And while I’m not keen on my own birthday, it’s fun to celebrate someone else’s, especially because having all this extended family means tonight’s will be the third party (though none was really much of a party, thank goodness). And I can’t write well enough to really explain how exciting and reassuring and generally fun it is to have such a like-minded friend and husband in my life. Steven is basically the best friend I’ve ever had, which seems to me a particularly good base for a relationship.

We’re very much alike, but I think working on the blog together has highlighted some of the ways we differ in our approaches to humor and discourse and style. I’m glad we have this place because we both enjoy what we do and have done here, but also because it lets me track the last year in our relationship and the ways I’ve changed the way I write in conversation with his writing and also the way we have a sort of transcript of many of the things we’ve thought and talked about together. I’m sure not all relationships would benefit from joint blogs (and ours hasn’t always, either) but I’m glad we have a tangibly unified presence in the internet world. And while this is the first year we’ve been a couple that I haven’t bought Steven comics for his birthday, I have to enjoy having a husband who asked me to get him Derrida rather than the new Grand Theft Auto although he still wants both. While I complain sometimes about how dull our life is now, I can’t deny that I enjoy it!

So happy birthday, Steven, and thanks.

The Cruelest Month

Steven and I were talking about how we should probably be laughed out of the comics blogosphere because we go to the comics store maybe every other week and would only buy a floppy or two except that I feel so guilty spending under $20 that I always toss in some trade paperback or other, never the ones I’ve been longing for since they’re just not stocked. But we also don’t comment on what’s going to be available for purchase in a few months, and now I’m ready to make an exception to that general rule. DC’s April Solicits are available, and I feel a need to complain, although the complaint closest to my heart will go last because no one else cares. True to form, I think we’ll only be buying the titles by Grant Morrison, but I guess we’ll find out for sure when the time comes. Anyway, jumping in the game, here’s what stuck out to me.

The Fountain HC

Written by Darren Aronofsky, adapted by Kent Williams, art and cover by Williams.

Darren Aronofsky proved himself a filmmaker to watch with his provocative debut, Pi. His follow-up, Requiem for a Dream, continued the accolades, receiving Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. His latest accomplishment, however, comes straight to comics in the form of The Fountain, a gorgeously painted, oversized original graphic novel about the timeless truths of life, love and death.

Working with acclaimed painter Kent Williams, The Fountain crisscrosses through three distinct time periods: in 1535, during an ancient Mayan war; the present day, following one doctor’s desperate search for the cure for cancer; and the far future, through the vast exotic reaches of space. Interweaving these three periods, The Fountain follows Tomas — warrior, doctor, explorer — as he feverishly tries to beat death and prolong the life of the woman he loves.

A story so grand, one medium couldn’t contain it, Aronofsky is also shooting a feature film version of the story for New Regency and Warner Bros. Pictures starring Tony award-winning actor Hugh Jackman and acclaimed actress Rachel Weisz. But before he did, the filmmaker wanted The Fountain to be realized in the unique storytelling power and artistic beauty of the graphic novel. Together, Aronofsky and Williams deliver what might be considered the ultimate director’s cut.

I’m sure being the person who has to write the solicitation text is no fun at all, and the over-the-top hype here is pretty much standard. However, this is about a guy who’s living in 1535, the present and the “far future” and yet working “feverishly” to beat death? Admittedly maybe it’s about time travel or something, but it seems to me that he’s had his 1000th birthday or something and should probably just stop being so piggy about living. And if “the woman he loves” has made it through all that time with him, maybe her life has been prolonged enough already. Plus, blah, curing cancer to save the life of the woman he loves, awwwww. We’ve never heard anything like that before. And how can it be about “the timeless truths of life, love and death” if it’s all about beating death (and time)? Steven thinks this is a bad explanation for what might be a good movie, but I’m afraid the problems may lie deeper, although this certainly seems like bafflingly bad advertising.

And then there’s Ex Machina, where New York’s mayor faces off against “the supernatural horror that’s been terrorizing the subways.” Was I confused when I thought this book was supposed to focus on government and about what it would be like to have a superhero in a world where super stuff doesn’t otherwise happen? But oops, apparently someone forgot to mention the Lovecraft Express. I’m glad we stopped reading this when the first (goofy and unsatisfying) storyarc ended.

I do like the solicit text for Wild Girl:

Did Rosa survive her encounter with the Crocodile? And if so, will she have enough energy left to face the Dog Man and save her family? Every question is answered in the stunning conclusion of this mini-series.

For one thing, if the answer to the first question is No, then every question asked is already answered, stunning conclusion or no. I guess that means it’s a pretty safe bet that this isn’t the answer, but I’d be very happy if it were.

And saving the best for last, Mnemovore! Crazy comics publishers, why must you torment me so? It’s so easy to make a bad name for a comic, but why didn’t anyone realize this was one? I hate hate hate hate hate so much when Greek and Latin are mixed in neologisms. It drives me nuts. (Can you tell?) I understand that we’re dealing with a memory-eater, but “mnemonic” is derived from Greek and “voracious” comes from Latin, as any schoolchild could tell DC. If this were a comic about a mnemophage I would probably buy it because of the cool name, but since it’s polluted with Latin I’ll pass it by (unless it turns out to be much, much better than it looks now). And if the book doesn’t take off, you’ll know why; it’s the miasma that comes from deliberately (and foolishly) mixing etymologies and incurring my wrath.

Grotesque Anatomy?

I am having a sick day today and while I’m tempted to use that as an out if I later need to claim I was not in my right mind when writing this, it’s something I’ve been thinking about all weekend. The title of the post is my way of apologizing to John Jakala for mentioning the problem with Bombaby he brought to my attention without actually seeking out the link (here I do plead sick), and also because “grotesque anatomy” is an awfully good title he’s not using anymore.

While it wasn’t my inspiration here, we saw The Aviator Friday night and basically enjoyed it (though I thought the ending especially was needlessly heavy-handed) and also bought the first volume of Sgt. Frog. One thing leads to another, and I found myself buying and devouring volumes 2 and 3 before the weekend was over. It’s a book practically everyone had recommended and I found myself just as charmed as many other bloggers have already been, but on returning home with the first book I saw that Lyle had qualms about the portrayal of sexualized women. This made me curious since plenty of posts on this blog have been me complaining about just such things, and so I am surprised to say I’m not going to do so here. Sure, there are a lot of panty shots (what’s up with Natsumi’s basketball uniform?) and weird breast things going on in Sgt. Frog and they just didn’t bother me. I’m not sure I can explain why this is and it’s all going to be very idiosyncratic and probably won’t translate well to your experience, which is fine with me. That’s as far as I’m going to go with a disclaimer, but it seemed worth noting that I’m not trying to recreate the scene from The Aviator where the poor professor has to measure various “mammaries” to convince a skeptical ratings board of the acceptability of their prominence in The Outlaw.

Instead what we’ve got in Sgt. Frog is the Hinata family, where 14-year-old Natsumi and her slightly younger brother, Fuyuki, reveal and capture Keroro, a charming little megalomaniac from the planet Keron’s expeditionary invasion force. The head of the Hinata family is Aki, the manga editor mother often absent for weeks at a time, who cements Keroro’s place in the household.

first appearance of Aki Hinata

This is Aki’s first appearance, but is characteristic of her depiction as an editor throughout the first three volumes. While this is clearly part of the exploitative representation Lyle and others talked about, it struck me as less objectionable than, say, the scene in Mean Girls where Tina Fey accidentally removed her shirt in front of her students and a coworker. Here, Aki is even dressed in what seems like a work-appropriate outfit and her fervor for manga manifests itself in sexual double entendres, which is a consistent pattern. Because they find this a turn-on, her male subordinates become obsessed with pleasing her, since her professional praise is invariably sexualized. I have to admit, my first thought was that this is a pretty effective system for her, since she gets the results she wants and isn’t necessarily aware she’s a sexual object (and there’s no real textual evidence, since there are no adult romantic roles, that she’s a sexual subject in any meaningful way). The setup reminded me more of something like Groucho Marx’s verbal/sexual jabs, although generally less witty and more obvious. Because this is a light-hearted PG-level comedy, I’m not expecting any sort of examination of the effects female sexuality has on straight male geeks, although it’s something I think about and watch online, even if I don’t often talk about it here. At some level, though, Sgt. Frog is raising those questions, although in a superficial way, and I appreciate that enough that it doesn’t seem ridiculously exploitative to me.

But to be honest, I think a big part of it has to do with the fact that while Aki Hinata has the largest breasts in the book, they’d look positively tiny if she showed up in a standard superhero book from Marvel or DC. Her breasts are large for her slim frame, but not extremely or unrealistically so. And that ties into the reason I’m not disturbed by the focus on shots of young teen Natsumi in her bra:

Natsumi laments her increasing bust size

Natsumi is at an age where her body is changing and, like many girls, she sees this as a betrayal of sorts. In the last panel (reading right-to-left for manga) she says, “I just hope I don’t turn into a mutant like Mom!” While being spied on by a froglike alien isn’t a normal experience, I think discomfort with becoming physically/sexually mature is, and it was refreshing to see it. While Natsumi is often seen as a sexualized creature, whether caught in the panels changing her shirt or in the several instances her underwear makes an appearance, she has no interest in this role. When she has to “age” into an adult body in a later volume, rather than flaunting her physical assets she has to be brainwashed to agree to enter a bikini contest. Though she may look almost physically mature while she manages to capably run the household in her mother’s absence, she clearly still thinks of herself as the sort of person who would prefer to be playing basketball with her school friends. I don’t know how well Sgt. Frog sells with people who aren’t comics bloggers, specifically with the young teen girls who do read lots of manga, I would think that despite the cheesecake aspects of her presentation (and perhaps because of it) Natsumi would be a good object for identification. With fashion standards being what they are now, a lot of girls and young women have to balance the trend to look sexualized or provocative with their own actual sexual interests or lack thereof and the ways they want to present themselves. I know when I was younger I dealt with this basically through denial, cropping off all my hair and wearing huge clothes that cloaked the parts of my body I found awkward, among other less healthy means. I imagine it’s more normal to do what Natsumi does, look a bit sexy or at least be aware they’re being viewed sexually while trying to subvert this through the strength of pure personality.

Would it be better to keep all of this breast-anxiety off-screen? I don’t know. It’s there in Judy Blume books and I assume most young teens see the kinds of bodies on display on MTV or the magazines targeted to them. It’s not a new insight to notice that men’s lifestyle magazines typically have “hot” women on the cover, and that the same is true for women’s magazines. I think that’s something akin to what’s going on here, that Natsumi is definitely being portrayed for the audience that finds a view of a B-cup bra exhilarating while also passing on the more subversive message her own ambivalence toward her body portrays (which I don’t think you’d find as easily in either Maxim or Cosmo Girl). And again, I’m going back to breast size a bit, but since the proportions aren’t so insane, this is not as disturbing to me as finding out that real people find J. Michael Turner characters attractive, even if the character in question is a mere year or two older than Natsumi. It’s also sort of hard for me to believe that these shots of covered, proportional breasts are really so titillating (and I really couldn’t come up with a better word; sorry) in the world in which we live and read.

However, it’s easy to build bad breasts, and that was much of my reaction to Bombaby. I’d considered not buying it because it collects the first three released issues of the series along with the fourth issue, which wasn’t released separately, but I had been planning to buy the book in TPB anyway and figured that the publisher (Amaze Ink, though I’d somehow thought until I looked that it had been Slave Labor) could use the reminder that people will buy collected versions of books, so it’s worth treating both groups fairly. While the covers had been lovely and tempting, I didn’t especially enjoy the interior art and the story was weak, especially in its concluding chapter. I’m sort of sad that there weren’t any endnotes or explanations of what the creator was trying to do with the story, because I really couldn’t tell from the story. Also, isn’t the tutelary deity of Mumbai Mumbadevi, not “the Mumbai devi?” I’m sure they mean the same thing, but it bothered me. Actually a lot of things bothered me, but since it’s that kind of post we’ll focus on the art and the bodies.

Sangeeta wears an unflattering minidress

Here is protagonist Sangeeta, and while writer/artist Anthony Mazzotta clearly wanted to show her as curvaceous (to suggest something about Indian beauty standards? Again, notes might help) she just looks like she’s pregnant and weirdly shaped on top of that. She has no waist and her torso is frighteningly small. Her clothes look painful and odd. Who wears a microminiskirt with a turtleneck? And she seems awfully happy and calm for someone who avoided being attacked by a gang of thugs only moments before.

Sangeeta dances

And the above shows what happens to Sangeeta when she dances. Apparently her breasts are just two compartments of some sort of bag filled with liquid, since bulk seems to be able to move from one breast to the other when she moves. She still seems unnaturally happy, but I realize it’s a comic convention to avoid reference to the sort of pain swinging breasts of the size many female characters display would cause. Still, this seems pretty extreme to go unnoticed.

Sangeeta wears a t-shirt in bed

This is my last example, but it shows how after changing out of her miniskirt outfit into a t-shirt that is basically the same color (another bad art choice, in my opinion) Sangeeta’s breasts seem to have changed shape yet again, hanging down like separate bags barely attached to her body. Perhapps if I’d been more interested in the story I wouldn’t have spent so much time thinking about how odd and uncomfortable her breasts looked to me, but it’s also possible that’s part of a chicken-and-egg thing. What I’m getting at is that I was willing to give Sgt. Frog some extra slack because it did show off its characters’ breasts (a lot) but did so with breasts that were consistently sized and not unrealistic. Bombaby, while not using Sangeeta’s breasts as explicitly sexual objects, was more objectionable to me because the breasts made no sense in a story that made no sense.

And on that note, I’m going to go to bed so I can get up in the morning and go to work like a healthy(-ish) person and then probably not talk about breasts in this much depth for a very, very long time.

Superheroes, Romantic Comedies, and Identity

Here’s something I just thought of. I don’t know, it might be crazy talk, but I’ll tell you about it and you can tell me what you think.

When I lamented the action movie’s triumph over the romantic comedy in Spider-Man 2, I meant it. Spider-Man 2’s pairing of romantic comedy and superheroism is no mere accident of narrative—the romantic comedy and the superhero story have a crucial intersection, which is the recurring conceit of the duplicitous hero whose dual identity first covers and eventually discovers (to use an archaic sense of the word) a seriously fractured and incomplete identity. In superhero stories, this is manifested in the opposed secret and superheroic identities, the thesis and antithesis that never synthesize. Superman’s possession of two identities (or three, if Smallville Clark is different from Metropolis Clark) highlights his lack of a natural, coherent identity. He is a Kryptonian, an Earthling, and an American, but he’s also none of them. They are masks he can wear and remove at will, not his face. Same with Batman, although The Dark Knight Returns is perhaps an attempt to synthesize Batman and Bruce Wayne. Romantic comedies often present similar, usually less heroic, dual-identity protagonists—the most relevant standard for what I’m thinking about now is the story of a man trying to make it with two girlfriends at once, a story that inevitably climaxes with a scene where the poor bastard tries to take both women on date to the same restaurant at the same time.

Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life replays the classic same-restaurant-same-time scene, except that Scott is too inept to realize that it might cause problems to invite both Knives and Ramona to his concert, let alone that he should do anything about it. That scene is also the one in which it turns out Scott was only half-joking (if that!) about being a graduate of Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Scott really is thinks of himself as a superhero, if a highly unusual one. It can’t be coincidental that the book’s sidelong riffing on romantic comedy comes to a head in the same scene as the sidelong riffing on superheroes comes to a head. The climactic scene where the pop-culture fantasy (it’s all allusions to Star Trek technology, video games and musicals) that creeps through the book jumps up and really rocks out.

Judging by the previews (1, 2), the second Scott Pilgrim volume, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, is going to throw awkward-adolescent maturation stories into the mix—not surprising, since that’s another kind of story founded on identity formation and identity crises, as well as a common component of romantic comedies and superhero stories.

So what? I’m not sure, what do you think?

Edit: Changed “Scott really is a superhero” to “Scott really thinks of himself as a superhero”

Comment Spam

We’ve activated an anti-comment-spam option that’s new in WordPress 1.5: comments from authors with previously approved comments are whitelisted, and all other comments are queued for approval (or deletion) by us. The whitelisting is keyed on email address, so if you don’t provide an email address, your comment will be queued for moderation. To be clear: you aren’t required to provide an email address when you post a comment, but if you don’t, or if you’re commenting for the first time, your comment will not appear immediately. We get a few dozen comment spams a day, so we have a lot to sift through—if your comment doesn’t appear for several hours, don’t worry, and please don’t try to post it again.

Also, our WordPress seems to be having trouble remembering comment-author names—it should remember your name if you have cookies enabled—so check to see if your name has been filled in before you publish a comment. Hopefully we’ll have this minor problem fixed soon.

Immodest Proposal

I’m planning to post about pleasure and reading, although I hope not to reignite the great reading debate of last fall, but tonight has been given over to simpler pleasures like gin and Gadamer and I won’t be finished with that until tomorrow. As an aside, though, I have decided I think it’s hilarious that people will say that a Batman characterization takes them out of the story in a situation where (and I don’t actually recall if this had been the case with JLA Classified as much as with Marvel books) any given pageturn could lead to loud, ugly, often sexist ads rather than a continuation of the story from the preceding page. I read some single issues last night and remembered why Steven and I are evil people who wait for trades.

But enough of that, because if I hide my point any farther down it won’t get read. At any rate, here’s the scoop. I did my first interview last fall and enjoyed the fun and the stress of it and would like to have another go. I’m not trying to dredge up new comics creators, but instead merge this interest with another one, philosophy of blogging. So if you’re a comics blogger and would like to answer questions from me about your work and your authorial intent and goals and blogging ideals and whatnot, let me know. These things take time and I wouldn’t do more than one a month or so, but I’d like to try to address some of the perspectives we have around here in more detail and depth. Plus I’m interested and I think it would be fun, which is decidedly a bonus.

I’m not sure where I’m going to draw the lines on who counts or anything like that, and if 500 bloggers show up from the ether and want to be interviewed, I’m not claiming I’ll get to them all, but I’m also not expecting anything like that. I plan to follow the same system I did in interviewing Mal, reading as much of my subject’s work as I can and then shooting off questions that interest me. I imagine this will seem awfully incestuous to people who don’t like blogging about blogs, but I don’t plan to take that criticism to heart because I think there’s a lot of space for anthropology of comics blogs and I’ve been wanting to move in that direction for a very long time. This is just a step and I’ll see where (if anywhere) it goes.

Thought of the day

David Mack’s problem with poetry is, he keeps writing these frightening sing-songy nursery rhymes. Alan Moore’s problem is that he writes show tunes.

Neither of them should ever write poetry, but they do anyway!