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Best American Comics Criticism Roundtable: Different Forms and Shapes

Posted by on August 25th, 2010 at 12:05 AM
Noah Berlatsky does not understand the meaning of the word "erstwhile." Gary Groth is not the "erstwhile publisher" of The Best American Comics Criticism. He is, as the book's indicia indicates clearly, the co-publisher of the book. My hunch is that Berlatsky thought "erstwhile" was an insulting term and threw it into the mix. This is not untypical of how Noah uses the English language, as a form of grunting and hooting rather than a way of communicating ideas and experiences. If Fantagraphics wanted to do a companion volume of The Worst American Comics Criticism, it would do well to include a healthy dollop of Berlatsky's prose: Aside from two pieces on Winsor McCay, virtually everything Berlatsky has written is evidence of his complete inability to understand comics (or indeed any other art form).

Best American Comics Criticism Roundtable: Fresh as Today, Icon of Days Gone By

Posted by on August 24th, 2010 at 12:34 AM
Brian Doherty ponders the significance of the Ben Schwartz-edited collection.

Best American Comics Criticism Roundtable: Capturing the Experience

Posted by on August 24th, 2010 at 12:31 AM
Given that I'm in The Best American Comics Criticism and I exchanged some e-mails with editor Ben Schwartz about the content of the book while he was putting it together, you might think that I'm not the person to comment on it. But actually my little inside glimpse into the editing process helped clarify my judgments of the boon, since Ben quite wisely didn't listen to most of my suggestions.

Best American Comics Criticism Roundtable: Won’t the Real Lit-Comics Critics Please Stand Up?

Posted by on August 24th, 2010 at 12:27 AM
Caroline Small criticizes the Ben Schwartz-edited volume for unnecessarily narrowing the field of discourse.

The Strangest Pictures I Have Seen #8

Posted by on August 23rd, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Yes, it’s been a while since my last Strangest Pictures column. I blame Comic-Con and will continue to do so until the next Comic-Con. In the meantime, with the 60th anniversary of Peanuts impending, here’s this week’s comic.

You’re Short,

Hornpiping In: Popeye of the Cartoons

Posted by on August 23rd, 2010 at 1:52 AM
I see where Popeye is being discussed on one of the satellites, and as I happen to have been watching the DVD collection Popeye the Sailor Volume One 1933-1938 lately I thought I'd take the liberty (or have the infernal cheek) to set up my own little roundtable for one over here.

Best American Comics Criticism Roundtable: A Lost Opportunity

Posted by on August 23rd, 2010 at 1:50 AM
The announcement of Ben Schwartz's anthology of comics criticism was greeted with a modicum of excitement and expectation which was swiftly followed by a certain incredulity that such a book could be put together at all. Few would dispute the need for such a collection and any disagreements will inevitably boil down to questions of editorial philosophy as well as the individual choices. The retrospective nature of The Best American Comics Criticism (BACC) would suggest that the quality of the final compilation (or lack thereof) can be laid largely at the feet of the editor.

Best American Comics Criticism Roundtable: Not Best, Mostly American, Comics Non-Criticism

Posted by on August 23rd, 2010 at 1:47 AM
Ben Schwartz begins his introduction to Best American Comics Criticism with an anecdote: one day at a mall he heard two young girls arguing about what to call graphic novels. For Schwartz, this was a "definitive moment." Comics used to be for nebbishy, perpetually pubescent, socially stunted man-boys — but that's all over. Superheroes are dead, replaced by the teeming offspring of anthropomorphic Holocaust victims. Nowadays everybody from New York Times editors to real live tweens are enamored of the sequential lit. From a niche product for mouth-breathing microcephalics, comics have become our nation's primary containment vessel for deep meaningfulness. Open them and feel your world expand.

Best American Comics Criticism Roundtable: Ah Critics, They’re All Just Frustrated Critics.

Posted by on August 23rd, 2010 at 1:43 AM
I certainly have mixed feelings about being a part of this. I had my say in the introduction to The Best American Comics Criticism. Then again, critics of BACC didn't much pay attention to my introduction. So much for the high road. Friends told me, "Don't do it! You'll look thin-skinned and over-sensitive."

Survey of Aacks (With Post-Aack Analysis)

Posted by on August 19th, 2010 at 1:38 PM

You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

All aacks from Reflections, the Cathy fifteenth anniversary collection.

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