Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 9, 2014

Not Comics: Article On Specific-Arts Amnesia And Why That's Bad

Brandon Nowalk's article at the AV Club here discusses how a culture surrounding a specific art form can become forgetful and even disdainful of past efforts. I'm not sure that that a strong case is made here in an advocacy sense for what to do about it and why, but I think the general notion is worth considering for comics. There is no one way to read comics, and it's actually a sign of a healthy art for that someone into superhero movies can dip into superhero comics or someone that likes memoirs can read Persepolis and not necessarily have any other interest in the medium. However, I do think that seeing where your interests might lie in an art form throughout its modes of expression can be a rewarding path to pursue, just like if you enjoy musicals or one-man shows you might want to try out some Chekhov or a really good-on-its-feet run at Othello.

Comics once had the advantage of being seen as primarily valuable for its older works in a time when a decent sampling of those works were still realtively easy to grasp in the context of the entire medium. While educated readers and commenters of course benefit from being as widely read as possible, I also think that a lot of things that are good stay good and accessible for decades or become relevant again when there's a cultural shift, so I hope people never move away from investigating the old as well as enjoying the new. If a work speaks to you, it doesn't matter when it was made.
posted 1:53 am PST | Permalink

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