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Home > Letters to CR

Stefano Gaudiano On Young Cartoonists
posted August 5, 2013
 

About 38-45 year-olds being referred to as "young cartoonists":

Oddly I've had the reverse experience of feeling weird when i see people younger than myself ranked among "veteran cartoonists" - not to mention the ludicrous "Legendary Artist" thrown about for people who have worked on a handful of average books. Granted, i'm 47, and i gather the definition of a professional veteran is someone who's worked over 10 years, which sounds fair enough (In my own mind "veteran" evokes a 20-year unbroken stretch of work). Language is tricky, and promotional urges will push abuse of any word to claim attention.

Anyway i'm writing to say that cartoonists can rightly be proud of just about any work published at an early age, and agree that 40+ is not young by any realistic definition, and 30+ is pushing it, BUT for some of the cartoonists you cited i'll argue that the early works you list were not really highlights except as starting points of illustrious careers, and would be unremarkable if not for the fact, in fact, that the cartoonists eventually became "veterans" [which i'll now define as: proven experts in the field, regardless of age or tenure].

No one would consider CEREBUS #1 as a "highlight" if Dave Sim had not evolved into a master (while still in his 20's, yes!) - and even Captain America #1, wonderful and iconic as it is, would be a highlight only as a historical artifact - a dynamic & hugely popular patriotic comic in a time of surging national unity - without the true high points of Jack Kirby's career as an artist, which were produced in the mid-60's and 70's when Kirby was about 50 years old.

I realize none of that has anything to do with your fundamental point about referring to middle-aged artists as young - i just never get tired of pointing out that the energy of youth is well-balanced by the accumulated experience of old age.