Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Because how do you remember Elvis? You KNOW how you remember Elvis.

You know that bit from Denis Leary's No Cure For Cancer where he talks about how someone should have shot Elvis in the head back in 1957 -- before he got fat, pretentious and bloated -- so we could remember him in a nice way?

I've just been thinking about that bit a lot lately, is all.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Love comes in four colors. (And yes, I'm still bitter over Sue Dibny.)

Another day of work is nearly over
You must have seen the whole thing on TV
Seventeen more city blocks and I can almost smell you
Waiting at the windowsill for me

It's our forty-first anniversary

But we don't look a day over twenty-three
Not in this life
Not in this universe
We were still in high school when I met you
If you believe the continuity

I rescued you from robots
And untied you from the tracks

And you pretended not to know that it was me
We didn't even kiss
Until issue #26
This world still feels like 1963

I love this life
I love this universe

And you'll keep my identity a secret
And you will know the touch beneath my glove

I may go out every night and risk my life for strangers
But you're the only girl I'll ever love

Gwen Stacy isn't dead, she's only sleeping
And Elektra isn't evil or insane

Those bastards at the Pentagon can't really kill Sue Dibny
No more than they could kill off Lois Lane

And I swear to God there'll be hell to pay
If anybody tries to take you away

Forget this life
Forget this universe
You're everything I need

You are my life
You are my universe

They'll have to go through me

Lyrics from "Four Color Love Story," by The Metasciences.

Happy Valentine's Day, folks.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

"Good" graphic novels and tears of ink

This past week, I read Joe Sacco's Safe Area Gorazde, a graphic novel that's really graphic reportage/graphic journalism/something that implies it really happened and distinguishes it from, say, Captain Carrot and the Amazing Zoo Crew. Because it's not an obvious difference. Previously, I posted on City of Glass, and prior to that, I read Maus volumes I and II. These are all class assignments. We are also doing Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan, Phoebe Glockner's Diary of a Teenage Girl, and another book to be decided.

I am pushing to read a volume of Gaiman's Sandman in that slot, preferable Endless Nights, the 11th postscript volume of standalone stories, or volume four, Season of Mists. (I am really abusing the italics tag in this entry.) However, I have realized that this will not happen, because neither meets the requirements of Comics As Literature. To be a member of the C.A.L. canon, a work has to fit two of three descriptions, other than being a work of sequential art:
1. boring and/or incomprehensible
2. autobiographical, semi-autobiographical, or featuring a character with the same name as the author
3. about genocide or mass murder

Comics As Literature, pioneered by professional indie blowhard Scott McCloud, is a concept that really bothers me. Not because comic books are not literature, but because I believe they are all literature. When the majority of comics are excluded and denigrated so that a few prestigious authors can get read in college classes and be discussed by the Modern Language Association, a great disservice is done to the medium, this medium, this medium that is my blood. My heart speaks in the language of comics. I think comics and piss comics--when I cry, they are tears of ink, and when I fall on the ground, there is a great THUD outlined in bold black jagged lines.

McCloud is adamant about comics being a valid medium, and getting comics accepted into the literary canon, and yet his dismissal in Understanding Comics both of superhero/adventure comics and the very act of collaboration undermines this effort. The prioritization of abstract/cartoonish work produced by comix-auteurs and published by independent presses over collaborative work reaching a more popular audience thoroughly pisses me off. It makes me really fucking angry.

He explicitly states, as if it were some obvious fact, that collaboration between a writer and artists (penciller, inker, letterer, colorist) gets in the way of artistic expression. Only someone isolated in an isolated, Drawn and Fantagraphics Quarterly world could ever get away with this statement. Collaboration is the bread and butter of the low, mean, my-god-joe-the-teeth, Kryptonite, radioactive platinum, silver Spear of Longinus, Seduction of the Golden Innocent comics that I love and what the universe ultimately knows as the comic book. If collaboration is a barrier to art, then I am the Queen of Spain.

This is terrible and bitter. But when my professor describes Superman as a "guilty pleasure" compared to the illustrious Art Spiegelman, who I am dead sick of, I have to fight to keep ink from leaking down my cheeks. My words come from the heart in four colors and all this bullshit makes me sick inside.