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

June 10, 2019

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Carol Tilley does the kind of research for which we count on our best academics, digging into Street & Smith vouchers for their insight into that company's 1940s comics. The article focuses on what the vouchers tells us about cartoonist Jane Krom Grammer. What a treat; super-interesting stuff.

* here's Matthew Surridge on Robert Crumb, using as its springboard Brian Doherty's recent piece on Crumb and PC culture. Robert Crumb isn't my favorite cartoonist, I have never in my life sought out a Robert Crumb comic, but he doesn't seem all that vexing to me, either. I think he's funny except when he's not. He's an interesting artist both in the drawings themselves -- what he chooses to draw and how -- and in the constellation of reactions to his work. I think he can be a remarkably clumsy and self-indulgent satirist, but that his aims with satire are consistent and exist on a parseable continuity. I think the sketchbooks are his great contribution, supported by what gets revealed in the autobiographical material, much of it ugly and dismaying. I think his critics come from a place of greater virtue than many of his hardcore fans -- that we hear about the size of his penis is a sign of what's being processed there on frequent occasion. I distrust the idea that art necessitates endorsement, on just about any level, but there are a billion ways to approach art and the majority aren't my own. I'm more a reviewer than a critic, but if I did have better tools, I suspect that Crumb may be more effectively understood as the author of a certain kind of self-perception rather than someone engaged with interpreting reality as received. He's Salinger, not Vonnegut. And of course my ability to engage with Crumb at all is shaped by my tremendous privilege. I can't blame anyone for checking out on art whose ideas are intentionally upsetting, even dehumanizing. It may be a moral failure of mine that I can stick around this long. I don't get the idea of his being censored.

* finally, I enjoyed looking at this Chris Schweizer Deadwood commission art.
posted 5:05 pm PST | Permalink

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