Home > Letters to CR
Ben Schwartz on Reading Comics, Ingmar Bergman and Star Wars
posted August 23, 2007
Thanks for the kind words on your site re the new COMIC ART. I look forward to your comments on the Kaz article, posted or otherwise, when you have had a chance to read it.
Re: Eddie Campbell's comments on Doug Wolk's book
(a book I should say, like Mr. Campbell, I haven't yet read myself): "Did Ingmar Bergman have to justify Star Wars every time he sat down for an interview?"
No, but, Bergman and his generation of world class filmmakers had no problem praising the work of Ford, Hawks, Keaton, and other crowd pleasing filmmakers who were also world class talents. Anything truly great done in a medium should be recognized as such, whether it's a traditionally dismissed genre like slapstick comedy or Westerns (each dismissed in Ford and Keaton's day) or as in comics, superheroes. I feel the same way towards indie comics and films and such, that just because you attempt something good in a way traditionally accepted by critics as "important," that the work should be judged on its own merits, not by association. I'll put Ditko next to almost any indie cartoonist out there today. It would be impossible for me to see Clowes, Ware, or Los Bros without the context of superheroes as one of their early influences, and to see where they took the medium after that -- which is where you get the Bergmans, Kurosawas, Godards, and such of the movie world, who grew up on John Wayne movies.
Btw, People think of STAR WARS and JAWS as having a terrible influence on the modern movie world. I say, spend a week at any modern indie film festival and see if you don't want to come away wanting to hang John Cassavettes in effigy for all the hacks he inspired.