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

September 19, 2019

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* I find the nasty undercurrent of the pushback against Chris Ware to be pretty weird, enough so I'm probably going to do something dumber and more embarrassing than this, eventually. Sorry, Mike. Sorry, everyone. I also just don't know what they're talking about half the time. This chippy review describes all of this interesting stuff going on on the comics page and then suggests that the book is best processed as trying something else unrelated to those things -- and failing. "Why so sad, Chris? Where are the recognizable characters?" I'd be as sad as Chris is rumored to be if that were the standard constantly switched in and out in front of my face.

Chris Ware is not in my personal Rushmore but he strikes me as a formidable artist and a nice man who works very hard and comes by his worldview honestly. Having Ware in your highest estimations of a cartoonist and what they can accomplish seems extremely reasonable. He's not as good at casual, penetrating psychological insight as he is with formal invention and crafting a kind of humor of futility, but hey, Michael Jordan couldn't hit a curveball. If all Ware ever did was show Superman face-planting in a downtown Chicago boulevard, I would love him just a little bit. I don't hate anyone who rides a tandem bike with their kid as a general rule. His comics seem human and humane. I know plenty of people like the people in his comics, or have encountered them in situations that can be treated artistically. Like Chris does. His work seems to me suffused with a variety of emotions and full of non-sad moments. You don't have to like him, or his work, but I am baffled anyone spends a lot of time working up these overheated reasons why he should be mocked, and that the targets of the mockery are his humor, his ambition, his engagement of the human condition, his craft and in some blink and hope it goes away moments his physical appearance? What in the fuck. Feeling like the praise someone receives is an oppressive demand on you that someone is shrieking you have to agree with it is a thing that happens when people are trying to lend drama to their own views, not something that actually exists. Why this gets directed at Chris Ware, who comes as close as any artist in the last 50 years to exceeding even the extravagant points made about his work, and does so with good humor and open engagement, that's beyond me. There are so many actually bad comics out there, made cynically and without care.

* finally, Jamie McKelvie asked for newsletter recommendation and everyone recommends the five or so made by his closest professional friends and fellow travelers. Mostly. They're all interesting ones, though. Except Zdarsky's.
posted 5:05 pm PST | Permalink

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