On Reading and Not Reading Gilbert Hernandez

Posted by on November 5th, 2010 at 9:40 AM

At HU, in an interlude from our Charles Hatfield roundtable, Ng Suat Tong discusses Gilbert Hernandez’s Human Diastrophism, and the perils and pleasures of reviewing books you haven’t read. (Note that Suat has read the work in question.)

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4 Responses to “On Reading and Not Reading Gilbert Hernandez”

  1. patford says:

    What is the point of, “My reading list is better than your reading list?”
    Domingos has a pretty impressive reading list, and I agree with almost all of it until things like Allan Moore crop up:
    If a person likes Allan Moore as a writer (liking him as a man of principal should be a given) that’s their pleasure, but I’ve read a fair bit and came away thinking it was not only aimed at teenage boys (no problem with that, and still possible to reach other sensibilities), but that would be impossible for anyone except a teenage boy (or a person of relative maturity) too enjoy his writing. And yet Domingos likes Moore, so I’m not seeing something.
    There is also a fair amount of stuff on Domingos’ list which Noah has been utterly contemptuous of. Not surprising because Noah for thinks it’s a good strategy to call anything he doesn’t like, “shit.”
    I also notice when Noah and Robert espouse the virtues of teen oriented Manga, Twilight, and Slasher Movies, Domingos can’t be bothered to comment.
    What this tells us is that tastes vary tremendously, and being scornfully dismissive, or critical posturing only derails productive discussion.
    I’d like to point out as well that the implications re. women read into the work of Crumb and Gilbert aren’t even close to how I read their work.
    As far as representational image I don’t see the need to go much further than the Venus of Willendorf to explain the commonality in their work.
    When I look at the work of Crumb and Gilbert I see men suffering at their hands to a far greater extent than women. In Crumb’s work no one comes off looking worse than himself. Look at the way he depicts himself as a slave to primitive urges, slobbering like an ugly animal.
    Their work seems entierly pro-woman, really an onslaught of the entrenched male attitudes which dominate modern advertising, film, television, and fashion. The ads in the New York Times Sunday Magazine are examples of blatant sexism in my world, where as Crumb and Gilbert are celebrating women.
    This isn’t to say they promote a view of women as an ideal, their work as a whole is to aware of human nature for ideals, but on the whole they are feminists.
    There has also been comment on the Bombastic nature of Crumb, and Gilbet’s work (this could be extended to loads of comics work).
    Comics is by it’s very nature inclined, but not limited to bombast.
    Many of the early entries on Domingos’ list are every bit as bombastic as a Fletcher Hanks comic book. The charges, cloying or bombast, levied against Crumb and Gilbert could just as easily be affixed to the work of Picasso for example.

  2. patford says:

    My daughter who is eleven wanted to read the Twilight books and I wanted to make sure they were age appropriate so I read one page and decided the books were shit, but otherwise inoffensive. She read all three, and declared them better than Jane Eyre, but not as good as Little Lulu.

  3. patford says:

    Jeet: “And at this point, HU is an institution, for better or worse.”

    Noah: “Okay, now I’m just flattered.”

    Don’t be so quick, are you sure Jeet isn’t making a sly reference to
    The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade

  4. Noah Berlatsky says:

    I’d be more flattered if he was!