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

January 6, 2005

Year in Review Review Reviewed

In a widely-discussed mini-essay, Karin L. Kross at Bookslut examines a pair of comics year in review columns to express a concern that critical examination of comics may become "polarized into Art vs. Pulp distinctions."

imageI found this column aggravating for several reasons. There's the too-easy conflation of pulp to sci-fi and superheroes. Eightball #23 and Bighead aren't even slightly recognized as superhero books, which they are at least in part. Kross fails to mention all the lists that do include books she likes that failed to make these two columns; if it's a question of list-type, well, the very catholic and similar-audience Publisher's Weekly list conveniently avoids scrutiny. It's also rudely asserted that Andrew Arnold writes to keep his hipster credentials, and more vaguely, that both columnists may have blithely passed by comics created by female cartoonists. It's an over-speculative trainwreck.

Comics elitists make generally laughable targets because so very few exist and those that do would likely be dismissed from the Elitist Custard-Eating and Cravat-Wearing Club for devotion to things like Jack Kirby, Little Lulu and Tales of Bizarro World. If you really think Captain America and the Falcon is better than something on a critic's list, the best way to make your case is to make your case, not sit there and figure out nefarious reasons why someone else doesn't agree with you.

It's good to see you make the list, Bone, but you're not pulpy enough or not the right kind of pulp or something.
posted 7:41 am PST | Permalink

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