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

January 11, 2010

Archie, MoCCA and Credit: Dan Nadel Is One Hundred Percent Absolutely Correct

imageDan Nadel of PictureBox Inc. and Comics Comics wrote what seemed to be the most polite and generous negative post in history on the subject of chiding the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) for not following a bare minimum standard when it comes to providing credit on artworks featured at their new Archie show. Nadel is 100 percent right that a museum should embrace a standard of properly crediting work, that this is even more true in comics given the industry's history, that this is even more true for Archie Comics given their pathetic history regarding these issues, and that this is important despite the fact that everything about it puts a hand on our shoulder and giggles and declares it's not important.

Unfortunately, there's so much noise out there right now in comics land that this is exactly the kind of straightforward analysis that gets brushed past and nudged out of the picture. Additionally, some folks -- either for sport or for real, I can't tell -- took Nadel's admission of being conflicted as some sort of demented invitation to unleash the hounds of goofball Internet argumentation, circa 1995: Nadel is jealous, he's a hypocrite, he sucks worse, no one cares about the creators as much as they care about Archie and the other characters and to suggest otherwise is elitist posturing, and so on.

I would suggest that none of this changes the fact that Nadel's 100 percent right here. Credits are important and proper ones should be an expectation of any museum with an education mission. Nadel didn't say this to be mean, and I don't repeat it to pile on. There are different expectations for comics now than back when the big issues were things like whether or not this distributor said something rude to that company executive, or whether or not a 48-page story about She-Hulk was really a graphic novel. I think we're all going to fall short in some areas -- this site is daily testimony to that principle. Instead of justifying our screw-ups, or having others do it for us, it behooves us to simply correct them and move on. Nadel was nice enough to provide this opportunity to MoCCA, and I hope that the people with influence there will do a better job of taking him up on it, even if they don't say so in public.

Harry Sahle, in case you were wondering
posted 7:00 am PST | Permalink

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