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June 17, 2014

Go, Read: Dan Nadel Interviews Hillary Chute

Dan Nadel and Hillary Chute, two of our most prominent thinkers about comics, have a brief conversation over at on the occasion of Chute's new book. Nadel feels comfortable enough to ask confrontational questions, and Chute answers with candor.

imageI'm not sure that I understood every answer. For instance, at one point she says that the Comics: Philosophy And Practice symposium she hosted at the University Of Chicago -- a significant cultural moment for art comics -- wasn't entirely white. That 17 member guest list -- pulling from one of the sites about the event -- was "Lynda Barry, Alison Bechdel, Ivan Brunetti, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Robert Crumb, Phoebe Gloeckner, Justin Green, Ben Katchor, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Fran├žoise Mouly, Gary Panter, Joe Sacco, Seth, Art Spiegelman, Carol Tyler, and Chris Ware." I suppose she could mean Joe Sacco, who is of Maltese descent. There were a few other people around, too, so that might be it. I'm not looking to start an argument, I was just sort of interested in what she meant and wish Nadel had followed up.

Mostly, though, what I found fascinating was some of the discussion about the Hernandez Brothers and some stuff concerning the lack of the PictureBox generation of cartoonists at her symposium and in her new book. What I found interesting about it is that the response was about liking and respecting those artists as much as it was about the criteria used to select those artists. That's very comics to emphasize the former over the latter. It also suggests some more questions. To say that you didn't include the PictureBox generation because of an interest in long-form narrative makes it kind of odd that the Hernandez Brothers weren't invited to a symposium that was designed around such an interest. That's a funny line about pantheons Chute tosses back at Nadel, but mostly I would think you'd include Los Bros because of their obvious developmental importance to the spotlighted value, not because they're in some perceived quality-comics club or not. I had assumed at the time that Jaime and Gilbert were just sort of off the radar in terms of their contributions to the development of alt-comics, and I suspect they still might be a bit -- although the 30th anniversary of Love & Rockets, Gilbert's fans among key young cartoonists and Jaime's devastatingly good recent work seems to have increased their general profile over what it was in 2011-2012.

Me whining about a conversation that didn't happen shouldn't make you skip the conversation that did, though. It's fun.

Update: Heidi MacDonald reminds me that Lynda Barry is part Filipino, on her mother's side. I knew that, too, my brain's not working. So that's probably it.
posted 8:15 am PST | Permalink

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