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Rob Clough On The Self-Indulgence Of My Midwest Travel Report; Team Comics Vs. The Good Feelings Era
posted October 9, 2012

I really enjoyed your trip report and didn't find it self-indulgent at all. I think what separates the current Era of Good Feelings about comics from simple Team Comics Boosterism is the sheer amount of work I see people doing. People are taking risks, getting projects done, improving at a rapid rate and seem to have a desire to be good, not just published. The rate at which micro-publishers are not only springing up by actively trying to assist other micro-publishers speaks to this sense of community-through-work, one that also respects and seeks to preserve the past (eg Robyn Chapman's Deep Girl reprint project). Being at SPX made me feel like there are more young artists who have improved at a more rapid rate than ever before, because they are totally sold out to comics as their 24/7 obsession And there seem to be more people than ever who want to help them get exposure and publication. The fact that this is now literally a worldwide phenomenon helps bring a lot of cross-breeding across comics scenes in different countries, like Kus and the Strumpet, to name two. I also thing that increasingly rigorous college-education programs have a lot to do with people getting better quicker and staying in the game. Those CCS kids treasure every single review, even negative ones. I once reviewed one CCSer in an anthology and labeled his work as "actively repellent", and he took the time to write to me and thank me, agreeing with my assessment! Those environments may be supportive, but I get the impression that everyone is ruthless with critiques -- which is how it should be.

What's interesting to me is what this looks like in ten years. 2000 saw a big increase in art-comics interest with Jimmy Corrigan published as a book, and launched what is now the current avalanche of good-to-very-good work, with the occasional great thing thrown in there. It'll be interesting to see what the likes of Michael DeForge, Joseph Remnant, Noah Van Sciver, Eleanor Davis, Lilli Carre', etc do given another decade of experience under their belt.