LINKAGE: Go read this stuff
I have nothing to say, but that won't stop me from posting. Let me be your guide, and point you toward some other fine readin' in the Internets:
• Rampage, we hardly knew ye. I don't consider myself a full-time comics blogger, but the ninth art is one of the tasty pop culture things I like to write about, and my personal favorite comics blog was Grim's Fanboy Rampage, which combined nuggets of comics news with snark a'plenty, excerpting info from dozens of comics Web sites out there and giving us the weird, the witty and the just plain sad. Particularly awesome were the posts about some comic message boards, and the sad, lost souls you'll find on them (they make "The Simpsons" Comic Book Guy look like James Bond). The comments threads and their zillions of contributors often turned into a wonderful free-for-all. It was a great forum, which of course means it couldn't last. Graeme hung up his blogging hat Monday, and will be sorely missed as a one-stop site for comics insanity. Rampage on, excellent one.
• With Graeme gone, I have to crown a new champion -- my revised favorite comics blog has to be Dave's Long Box, which combines snarky with serious criticism to create one of the funniest blogs I read, as one man analyzes the dogs and the gems of his comic book collection, one book at a time. If you want a fine sample post, go check out this evisceration of Batman #268 from 1975. And now that I've plugged Dave, he'll quit too. (Sad face)
• I really don't watch a ton of TV, but Tom the Dog does. His ongoing review of EVERY SINGLE new TV show this fall (well, except a reality show or two - he's not an idiot) has been great fun to read. Go check out his final wrap-up post for an in-depth analysis of why most TV shows, well, blow chunks, and why a couple don't.
• I do love The New Yorker, Oregon elitist that I am, and I think subscribing makes my mail carrier think I'm smart. But the most recent issue had a godawful article on graphic novels by Peter Schjeldahl, another one of those sneering rambles where some stiff academic deigns to inspect the graphic novel. Here's an actual excerpt:
"Like life-changing poetry of yore, graphic novels are a young person's art, demanding and rewarding mental flexibility and nervous stamina. Consuming them - toggling for hours between the incommensurable functions of reading and looking - is taxing. The difficulty of graphic novels limits their potential audience, in contrast to the blissfully easeful, still all-conquering movies, but that is not a debility; rather, it gives them the opalescent sheen of avant-gardism."
Egad. The New Yorker is usually better than this -- heck, they've got Art Spiegelman on staff! Comics are hard to read? Tell that to kids like me that partially learned to read from them.
I was considering writing a lengthy take-down of this blather - which basically asserts the great but critically overlauded Chris Ware is the only decent cartoonist the medium has ever produced, but Beaucoup Kevin beat me to it, and with more and better words than I would've used. Go read the original NY piece if you can, then read Kevin's cutting response to why Schjeldahl knows not of what he speaks. I swear, pomposity like this nearly makes me long for a condescending ol' "bam! bang! pow! comics aren't for kids!" type puff piece.
• I often wonder what offends the artistic sensibilities of reclusive retired "Calvin & Hobbes" auteur Bill Watterson more – the illegal car stickers that feature Calvin peeing on Ford or Chevy logos, or the illegal "response" stickers that feature Calvin on his knees praying to a cross? No wonder the man gave up. Discuss.