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

September 16, 2005

Beyond the News of Record

Here's why I don't always trust the magazine-of-record approach to publishing news in comics. Take this one making the rounds and appropriately linked to by The Beat. Apparently, Anne Elizabeth Moore of Punk Planet and formerly of The Comics Journal has been hired to coordinate a series of Best American Graphic Narratives books for Houghton Mifflin, working with celebrity guest editors -- the first being Harvey Pekar. Fair enough. Sounds good.

On the other hand, Moore was either fired or forced out on the verge of being fired for performance reasons from her position at the Comics Journal, a position she held for her general writing background despite knowing relatively little about comics. Perhaps her next most applicable comics-related experience, co-founding and editing the comics-friendly Seattle magazine Matte, collapsed almost immediately amid rumors of acrimony over the debt incurred. Months after leaving Fantagraphics, Moore made several assertions in a magazine article of having had to work in a sexually charged workplace, which all by itself puts her in an awfully weird if not untenable position vis-a-vis that major publisher of what one figures will be a lot of best graphic narratives-eligible material -- and because it's a best-of-year book, publishers will still have this material in print, likely increasing their interest and role. Just to emphasize this may not be all easily relegated to the past, it's my understanding that an alt-comics figure turned down Pekar's role with the first book in part because of Moore's involvement.

It should be an interesting series of "best of medium" books, anyway. And it makes me wonder how many news-of-record briefs have a similar second side.
posted 8:18 am PST | Permalink

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